Hot money deals, 04 April 2012Which? experts round up the best money deals

04 April 2012

Life insurance may prove invaluable, but consider carefully which type of policy you go for.

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 save money on life insurance.

Best savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: Nottingham BS eSaver Plus Issue 3 account tops the best instant-access savings table at 3.20%. The rate includes a 2.20% bonus payable to 30 June 2013.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: Aldermore and United Trust Bank offer the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings accounts at 3.55%.
  • 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: AA currently leads our five-year fixed-rate savings account table, paying 4.6% 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 borrowing

A card with a low typical APR can come in useful if you only want to hold one card and not switch too often. Whether it's to spread the cost of a big purchase, enjoy Section 75 cover or simply for use in case of emergencies, our Best Rate everyday credit card deals offer great value:

  • Sainsbury's Finance Low Rate MasterCard - This card offers the lowest representative APR on the market of 6.9%. You will need to be a Nectar card holder to be eligible for the card.
  • Barclaycard Simplicity Visa - 7.9% representative APR. The card comes with the Freedom rewards scheme that allows you to earn cashback on purchases with participating retailers. To apply you need to be 21 or above and earn a minimum salary of £20,000.
  • Capital One Click MasterCard - 9.9% typical APR. This card also offers discounts at a range of retail groups for online purchases. For the first six months, you can get 30% off, 25% off, 20% off and free delivery with, and 50% off To apply you need to be 21 or above and earn a minimum salary of £20,000.
  • Co-operative Bank Platinum Fixed-Rate Visa - 9.9% typical APR (fixed for five years and reverting to a representative APR of 12.9%). To apply you need to be aged 25 or above and earn a minimum salary of £25,000.

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 shopping for life insurance on a comparison site, you might find 'low start' or 'reviewable' policies topping the list on cost. However, this may be a false economy. As the name suggests, reviewable pricing can be revised over time - meaning that as you age, premiums can become dramatically more expensive. 

It's worth considering policies with 'guaranteed' premiums. Although at the outset, they may seem a little more expensive comparatively, the 'guarantee' is that the premium will be fixed for the term of the policy. For more on life insurance, how to buy it, and things to look out for, check our online guide.