Hot money deals, 30 May 2012Which? experts round up the best money deals

30 May 2012

Hotel and beach

Check out our travel insurance best buys to cut the cost of cover abroad

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 pick the best travel insurance cover for your needs.

Best savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: Post Office's Online Saver Issue 5 account tops the best instant-access savings table at 3.17%. The rate includes a 1.52% bonus payable for 12-months.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: Close Brothers Savings offers the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings account at 3.45% on minimum deposits of £10,000.  
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Close Brothers Savings offers the best three-year fixed-rate savings deals at 4%. This account is operated by post.
  • Five-year fixed-rate savings: AA and BM Savings currently lead our five-year fixed-rate savings account table, 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 3.35%. However, this account 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.

Best credit cards for 0% balance transfers

If you owe money on your credit card and need some breathing space to pay it off, these providers offer the longest 0% balance transfer deals: 

  • The Barclaycard Platinum Balance Transfer Visa has one of the longest 0% deals on the market, at 22 months. The card comes with a representative APR of 17.9% and a 2.9% (min £7.25) balance transfer fee if you transfer a balance within 60 days of taking out the card.
  • The NatWest/RBS Platinum MasterCard also comes with a 22 months 0% balance transfer deal with a higher 3.2% (min £5) transfer fee and a representative APR of 17.9%. 
  • Halifax offers a 22-month 0% deal on the 22 Month Balance Transfer MasterCard. The card comes with a high balance transfer fee of 3.5% (min £3.50) and a representative APR of 17.9%. There is also a shorter 20-month 0% deal on the 20 Month Balance Transfer MasterCard, which has a lower transfer fee of 3%. For both cards you must be earning more than £20,000 to apply.
  • Which? Recommended Provider First Direct has a 20-month 0% deal with 2.9% (min £5) transfer fee and 16.9% representative APR on the Gold Card Visa. However, to be eligible for the deal you will need to be a 1st Account (current account) holder.

With the exception of First Direct, none of the cards listed above score very well for customer service in our recent member survey. If the deal length is less important to you and you want a cheaper deal than those listed above, the Barclaycard Platinum Low BT Fee Visa is currently offering a 17-month 0% deal with a reduced 2% (min £7.25) handling fee and a 18.9% representative APR.

Take a look at our 0% balance transfer table for a roundup of the best deals on the market each day.

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

If you are planning your summer holiday and want to find out more about travel insurance, check out our guide on getting the best travel insurance and our latest best buy annual and single trip tables.