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Hot money deals, 19 September 2012

Which? experts round up the best money deals

Students

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 at which student bank accounts offer the largest overdrafts.

Best Rate savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: The Post Office’s Online Saver Issue 7 account tops the instant-access savings table at 2.95% on balances from just £1.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: The Post Office offers the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings rate at 3.25% from initial balances of £500. This account can be operated via the internet, by post or over the phone.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: The Co-operative Bank offers the best three-year fixed-rate savings deal at 3.62% from initial balances of £1,000.
  • Five-year fixed-rate savings: Julian Hodge Bank’s Postal account currently leads our five-year fixed-rate savings account table, paying 4.00% 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). This account can be operated at branch or by post.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Bank of Cyprus offers the top one-year fixed-rate cash Isa account at 3.15% from balances of £500. This account can be operated at a branch, via the internet, by post or over the phone.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: The Halifax currently tops our three-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 3.75% from initial balances of £500.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: The Halifax and Julian Hodge Bank currently lead our five-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 4.00%.

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.
  • Barclaycard Simplicity Visa comes with a 7.9% representative APR. To apply you need to be 21 or above and earn a minimum salary of £20,000.
  • Capital OneRate MasterCard – 9.9% typical APR. 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 before reverting to a representative APR of 12.9%). To apply you need to be aged 18 or above and earn a minimum salary of £10,000.

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 Bank offers the leading rate of 7.1% APR for a £5,000 loan.
  • For those borrowing £10,000 over five years: Tesco Bank offers a representative rate of 5.7% APR for a £10,000 loan.

And finally… this week’s money tip

If you’re about to start university, you may still be considering which student account is best for you. The average cost of living expenses within an academic year is estimated to be £16,613 in London and £15,523 outside London – so it can be very useful to have access to an overdraft if you need it. We think this should be the key factor to look for in a student account, with any freebies on offer being viewed very much as a secondary consideration. When we reviewed 14 student accounts, we found Halifax and HSBC offering the largest overdraft facilities (each up to £3,000). See our student bank account reviews for more details.

More on this…

  • Bills & Budgeting – top tips and money saving guides on how to make your money go further
  • Which? Campaigns – find out how Which? is campaigning on your behalf
  • Which? Money Helpline – we can help you with your money queries
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