Hot money deals, 11 October 2012Which? experts round up the best money deals

11 October 2012

Credit card payment, section 75

This week, we track down the best savings accounts and cash Isas, as well as the leading credit card and loan deals. We also reveal which credit card providers have made it as Which? Recommended Providers based on our latest survey of Which? members.

Best Rate savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: The AA and Halifax top the instant-access savings table at 2.80% from initial balances of just £1. Both accounts include a variable rate bonus, so you will need to switch to a more competitive account once the bonus period has ended.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: M&S Bank offers the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings rate at 3.10% from initial balances of £500. This account can be operated by post or over the phone.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: M&S Bank and Principality BS offer the best three-year fixed-rate savings deal at 3.50% from initial balances of £500.
  • Five-year fixed-rate savings: Julian Hodge Bank and Principality BS currently lead our five-year fixed-rate savings account table, paying 3.75%.

Best Rate cash Isas

  • Instant access cash Isa: The Post Office leads our table for instant-access cash Isa deals, paying 3.01% (including a 1.26% bonus payable for 18-months). M&S Bank's Advantage Isa pays 3.00% and doesn't include a bonus.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: M&S Bank offers the top one-year fixed-rate cash Isa account at 3.10%. This account requires an initial minimum deposit of £500 and can be operated by post or over the phone.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: The Halifax, M&S Bank and Virgin Money currently top our three-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 3.50%.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Julian Hodge Bank currently leads our five-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 3.75% from initial balances of £5,100.

The best credit cards for use abroad

  • For customers of all ages, the Halifax Clarity MasterCard offers the best value for use abroad as it doesn't charge foreign loading fees or cash withdrawal fees. The card comes with a 12.9% APR on purchases and cash withdrawals. However, there is no interest-free period on cash withdrawals, so you'll pay interest from the moment you take out the cash.
  • For the over-50s, Saga's Platinum Visa has no foreign loading fees for use abroad and charges a reasonable 11.9% APR on new purchases. The card also includes 55 days interest-free on cash withdrawals, but charges 2% (min £2) for each withdrawal.
  • The Metro Bank Personal Credit Card MasterCard, which is tied to a current account charges no foreign loading fees and does not charge for cash withdrawals, with 13% representative APR on all transactions. You can only apply for a Metro Bank current account and credit card in branch, which are currently only located in London.
  • Nationwide Select Visa comes with a 12.9% representative APR, charges 0% commission for transactions made abroad and offers 0.5% cashback on sterling transactions. The card is only available to Nationwide FlexAccount holders and offers better value than its debit card that charges 2% for each overseas transaction.  
  • If you are happy to pay a monthly fee, the Sainsbury's Bank Gold MasterCard is worth considering. This card has some good perks, including family travel insurance, but comes with a £5 per month fee. The APR on purchases is 9.94%. No interest is charged on purchases and cash withdrawals so long as you pay off your balance in full and on time each month. 

For a credit card that matches your needs, read our guide to finding the best credit card and check out the best credit card deals currently available by visiting our best rate credit card reviews

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: Yorkshire Bank, Clydesdale Bank and Sainsbury's Bank offer a representative rate of 5.7% APR for a £10,000 loan.

And finally... this week's money tip

Between February 2012 and September 2012 we surveyed 14,592 Which? members about how they rate their credit card provider. To see which brands are rated best for customer score and also have Best Rate products see our credit card Which? Recommended Provider table.

We also show a breakdown of how each provider scores for several aspects of customer service in our credit card satisfaction table.

More on this…

  • Bills and Budgeting - for tips and ideas on making your money stretch further
  • Christmas Money - our guide to saving money on your Christmas shopping
  • Which? Money Helpline - we can help you with your money queries