Hot money deals, 16 May 2012Which? experts round up the best money deals

16 May 2012

Computer keyboard with 'buy now' written on return key

Section 75 gives you some backup when buying online using a credit card

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 shop confidently online.

Best savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: Derbyshire BS 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: Tesco Bank offers the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings account at 3.5%. Access via the internet or over the telephone.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Close Brothers Savings and Halifax offer the best three-year fixed-rate savings deals at 4%.
  • Five-year fixed-rate savings: AA and BM Savings currently lead our five-year fixed-rate savings account tables, paying 4.4% on balances of at least £1.

The market's best cash Isas

  • Instant access cash Isa: Cheshire BS offers the best instant-access cash Isa deal, 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 and does not accept transfers in from other providers.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Halifax currently tops our three-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 4% on initial balances of at least £500.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: BM Savings and Halifax currently lead our five-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 4.25% on balances of £500 and above.

0%-on-purchases credit cards

This type of credit card deal provides an introductory period ranging from three months to 15 months interest-free. Make sure you repay any debt by the end of the introductory period as the card will then revert to its headline rate.  

The best credit cards for 0%-on-purchases are currently offered by Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Halifax and Barclaycard, all of which offer 15 months interest-free, followed by representative APRs of 15.9%, 16.9%, 17.9% and 18.9% respectively. Both Tesco and Marks & Spencer are rated well by Which? members and are Which? Recommended Providers. Additionally, cards from Tesco, Marks & Spencer and Barclaycard come with reward schemes.

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 7.6% APR for a £5,000 loan. Alternatively, at 8.5% – 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, Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank offer a market-leading rate of 6% APR.

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

You can use various methods of payment when buying online, but if you use a credit card, you have the advantage of protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Section 75 protection means that your credit card issuer is liable, along with the retailer, for your purchase if things go wrong. So if the item doesn't arrive, or arrives in a damaged or broken state, your card issuer will have to reimburse you for the cost.

This protection only applies to purchases of over £100. If you're making a fairly large purchase, and can use a credit card to do so, it's a reassurance well worth having. For more information, see our guide to .