Hot money deals, 12 July 2012Which? experts round up the best money deals

12 July 2012

Plane at sunset

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 when exchanging currency for your holiday. 

Best savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: KRBS's Direct Savings and Santander's eSaver Issue 5 accounts top the Best instant-access savings table at 3.20%.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: Barnsley BS, Chelsea BS and Yorkshire BS offer the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings accounts at 3.55% on minimum deposits of £1,000.  
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Secure Trust Bank offers the best three-year fixed-rate savings deal at 4.01%. The Co-operative Bank and Saga are next at 4.00%.
  • Five-year fixed-rate savings: BM Savings currently leads our five-year fixed-rate savings account table, paying 4.20% on balances of at least £1.

The market's Best Rate cash Isas

  • Instant access cash Isa: Santander offers the Best instant-access cash Isa deal, paying 3.30% (including a 2.80% bonus payable for a year) from initial balances of £2,500.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Santander offers the top one-year fixed-rate cash Isa account at 3.50%. This account can be operated at a branch, by post or over the phone.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Marks & Spencer Money currently tops our three-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 3.75% on initial balances of at least £500.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Halifax currently leads our five-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 4.15% on balances of £500 and above.

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're eligible for 2.5% cashback during the anniversary month the following year. The card comes with a 14% purchase APR.
  • The Aspire World MasterCard from Which? Recommended Credit Card Provider Capital One offers 5% cashback for the first three 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%, but charges no annual fee.
  • Which? Recommended Credit Card Provider Capital One also offers the Aspire Elite MasterCard for customers who have an income of more than £50,000 p.a. and own a home. This card offers the highest introductory rate on the market of 5% cashback for the first three months capped at £200. You then earn 1% on annual spend up to £15,000, 2% on amounts between £15,000 and £50,000 and then 1.35% for annual spend of £50,000 and above. The card charges an annual fee of £120 with a purchase APR of 17.69%. The card also comes with some additional benefits that include concierge service, extended warranty and best price protection.  
  • 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. Santander charges an annual £24 fee on the card, so it's 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 7.5% APR for a £5,000 loan.
  • For those borrowing £10,000 over five years: Sainsbury's offers a representative rate of 5.9% APR for a £10,000 loan.

And finally... this week's tip

Planning your summer getaway? It's probably worth looking further afield than your bank when changing your money. Which? research shows banks typically fail to offer the best exchange rates. You could save a lot by approaching several companies, and the best rates are often found online. If you've never exchanged currency online before, or are unsure of how it works or have concerns about how secure it is, see our six-step guide.

More on this…

  • Travel Money - the Which? guide to getting the best deal for your holiday
  • Prepaid cards - the pros and cons and how different cards compare
  • Travel Insurance –  all you need to know on travel insurance plus our Which? Recommended Providers