Hot money deals, 14 March 2012Which? experts round up the best money deals

14 March 2012

Like any insurance, you should compare which GAP products are available before buying.

Like any insurance, you should compare which GAP products are available before buying.

This week, we track down the best savings accounts and cash Isas, as well as the leading credit card and loan deals. We also help you to save money on GAP Insurance.

Best savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: Derbyshire Building Society's NetSaver Issue 3 account tops the best instant-access savings table at 3.06%. The rate includes a 2.06% bonus payable to 30 June 2013.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: Allied Irish Bank UK offers the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings account at 3.4% on balances from £1,000.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Halifax and Saga offer the best three-year fixed-rate savings deals at 4%. The Saga account is available to people age over 50 only.
  • Five-year fixed-rate savings: BM Savings currently leads our five-year fixed-rate savings account table paying 4.65% on initial balances of at least £1.

The market's best cash Isas

  • Instant access cash Isa: AA's Internet Access Isa Issue 3 offers the best instant-access cash Isa deal paying 3.5%. The rate includes a 3% bonus payable for a year.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Santander offers the top one-year fixed-rate cash Isa account at 3.5%. This account can be operated through the internet only.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Halifax currently tops our three-year fixed-rate cash Isa table paying 4.25% on initial balances of at least £500.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Halifax's Fixed Rate Isa Saver account currently leads our five
  • -year fixed-rate cash Isa table paying 4.5%.

The best credit cards for use abroad

Nationwide's new Select Visa comes with a 12.9% representative APR, charges 0% commission for transactions made abroad and offers 0.5% cashback on sterling transactions. The card is only available to Nationwide FlexAccount holders and offers better value than its debit card that charges 2% for each overseas transaction.   

For the over-50s, Saga's Platinum Visa has no foreign loading fees for use abroad and charges a reasonable 11.9% APR on new purchases. The card also includes 55 days interest-free on cash withdrawals, but charges 2% (min £2) for each withdrawal.

For customers of all ages, the Halifax Clarity MasterCard is good value for use abroad as it too doesn't charge foreign loading fees or cash withdrawal fees. The card comes with a 12.9% APR on purchases and cash withdrawals. However, there is no interest-free period on cash withdrawals, so you'll pay interest from the moment you take out the cash.

If you are happy to pay an annual fee the Sainsbury's Finance Gold MasterCard is worth considering. This card has some good perks, including family travel insurance, but comes with a £5 monthly fee. The APR on purchases is 9.94%. No interest is charged on purchases and cash withdrawals so long as you pay off your balance in full and on time each month. 

For a credit card that matches your needs, read our guide to finding the best credit card and check out the best credit card deals currently available by visiting our Best Rate credit card reviews.

The cheapest unsecured personal loans

In our best rate personal loan tables we show the lowest rates available for loans that aren't exclusive to specific account holders or existing customers of banks or other institutions. 

  • For those borrowing £5,000 over three years: Sainsbury's offers a representative rate of 7.9% APR for a £5,000 loan. Alternatively, at 8.6% - still highly competitive - borrowers can opt for two years of doubled Nectar points and a £25 gift card.
  • For those borrowing £10,000 over five years: M&S Money offers a market-leading rate of 6% APR.

And finally... this week's hot money tip

If you’re buying a new car, you may be offered Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) insurance at the dealership – which is designed to cover any shortfall between the car’s value and the car insurer’s payout if it is stolen or written off. While this is very valuable cover, it can pay to shop around to see if you're being shown the best deal. When we investigated in February, for a £24,000 VW Golf we found a 3rd party provider’s quote that beat the dealer’s offer by £298. See our online guide for more.