Hot money deals, 9th August 2012Which? experts round up the best money deals

09 August 2012

Fast Train

This week, we track down the best savings accounts and cash Isas, as well as the leading credit card and loan deals. We also look into your rights when travelling.

Best Rate 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: Which Recommended Provider Aldermore and United Bank both offer the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings rates of 3.45%.  
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Secure Trust Bank offers the best three-year fixed-rate savings deal at 4.01%. Close behind, Saga (for customers aged over 50) offers a rate of 4.00%.
  • Five-year fixed-rate savings: Vanquis Bank currently leads our five-year fixed-rate savings account table, paying 4.06% on balances of at least £1,000.

Best Rate cash Isas

  • Instant access cash Isa: Manchester Building Society leads our table for instant-access cash Isa deals, paying 3.06% (including a 1.05% bonus payable for a year) from initial balances of £1,000. It's available at branches and by post.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Which? Recommended Provider Aldermore offers the top one-year fixed-rate cash Isa account at 3.30% for balances of at least £1,000. This account can be operated by post, online or over the phone.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: The Bank of Cyprus currently tops our three-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 3.70% on initial balances of £500 or more.
  • 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 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 half price reduction on the balance transfer fee currently offering 1.45% (min £7.25) 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. 

Take a look at our 0% balance transfer table for a round-up 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: Marks & Spencer Money offers a the leading rate of 7.30% APR for a £5,000 loan.
  • For those borrowing £10,000 over five years: Sainsbury's, Derbyshire Building Society, Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank offer a representative rate of 5.9% APR for a £10,000 loan.

And finally... this week's tip

If you are delayed by over an hour as a result of a train delay, you may be entitled to money back. The National Rail Conditions of Carriage set out that minimum compensation claimable is 20% of any single journey, and 10% of a return. However, depending on the train operator, you may be able to claim back higher amounts for shorter delays (such as half an hour).  

For more, see our online guide to train delays and cancellations.

Also, see our Travel rights guide for what legal protection you have when you're travelling, and what to do if things go wrong.

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