Hot money deals, 28 March 2012Which? experts round up the best money deals

28 March 2012

There's no such thing as free banking

Switching to a better bank account could save you money on your overdraft.

This week, we track down the best savings accounts and cash Isas, as well as the leading credit card and loan deals. We'll also help you to find the best bank account for your needs.

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: United Trust Bank offers the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings account at 3.55% on balances from £500.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Halifax and Saga offer the best three-year fixed-rate savings deals at 4%. The Saga account is available only to people aged over 50.
  • 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 and Cheshire BS offer the best instant-access cash Isa deals, paying 3.5%. However, these accounts do not accept transfers in from other providers. The top account that does accept transfers in is Santander's Direct Isa, paying 3.30%.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Saga offers the top one-year fixed-rate cash Isa account at 3.6%. This account is available to over 50s 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%.

Best credit cards for cashback

There are currently several good cashback credit card deals on the market from American Express, Capital One and Santander:

  • The Platinum Cashback Card from Which? Recommended Credit Card Provider American Express pays 5% cashback for the first three months (max £100), followed by a standard cashback rate of 1.25% on everything you spend. The card comes with an annual fee of £25 a year, so is only suitable for big-spenders. If you spend in excess of £10,001 within a year, you are eligible for 2.5% cashback during the anniversary month the following year.
  • The World MasterCard from Which? Recommended Credit Card Provider Capital One offers the highest introductory cashback level on the market of 5% for the first 3 months (max £100). You then earn 0.5% on an annual spend of up to £5,999, 1% on amounts between £6,000 and £9,999 and 1.25% on amounts above £10,000. The card comes with a relatively high APR of 19.9%.
  • The Santander 123 Cashback MasterCard offers 1% cashback on shopping at selected supermarkets, 2% cashback at selected department stores and 3% cashback at selected major petrol stations. The card charges an annual £24 fee, so is only suitable if you use it a lot.

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 7.7% APR for a £5,000 loan. Alternatively, at 8.6% – still highly competitive – borrowers can opt for two years of double 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 unhappy with your bank account and want to switch to a provider who offers a better deal for your requirements, check out our guide on Finding the best bank account.