Hot money deals, 18 October 2012Which? experts round up the best money deals

18 October 2012

Which? Investment Portfolios

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 the Which? investment Portfolios.

Best Rate savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: The AA tops the instant-access savings table at 2.80% from initial balances of just £1. This account 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: United Trust Bank offers the best three-year fixed-rate savings deal at 3.55% from initial balances of £500.
  • Five-year fixed-rate savings: United Trust Bank currently leads our five-year fixed-rate savings account table, paying 4.00%.This account can be operated at a branch or by post.

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: United Trust Bank currently tops our three-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 3.55%.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: United Trust Bank currently leads our five-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 4.00% from initial balances of £5,000.

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 23 months. The card comes with a representative APR of 17.9% and a reduced balance transfer fee of 2.8% (min £7.25) if you transfer a balance within 60 days of taking out the card.
  • New from Tesco Bank the Clubcard MasterCard for balance transfers is offering a 22 months 0% balance transfer with a 2.9% handling fee and comes with a representative APR of 16.9%.
  • 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.
  • MBNA offer a 20-month 0% deal on the Credit Card Visa with a reasonable 2.5% (min £3) handling fee and 16.9% representative APR.  
  • 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: Sainsbury's Bank offers the leading rate of 7.1% APR for a £5,000 loan.
  • For those borrowing £10,000 over five years: Derbyshire Building Society offers a representative rate of 5.60% APR for a £10,000 loan.

And finally... this week's money tip

When it comes to investing, defining your attitude to risk isn't easy, and ultimately only you can decide how cautious or adventurous you are with your money. To help examine your options, we've built eight illustrative portfolios - each reflecting a different asset allocation and level of risk that comes with it. Uniquely, we show not only how much you could gain, but also how much you could potentially lose in each case, based on an investment of £10,000. For more on this, see our online guide - How to invest.

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