With the deadline to put money into your tax-free cash Isa account fast approaching, Which? provides our weekly look at the best deals out there.
Cash Isa deadline is 5 April 2013
The cash Isa deadline is important as it signifies the end of the tax year. You’ll lose this year’s tax-free savings allowance if you haven’t put money into an Isa before that date.
Each year you can deposit your savings into a cash and/or stocks and shares Isa. The overall limit for the tax year ending 5 April 2013 is £11,280 and this goes up to £11,520 for the new tax year of 2013/14 starting 6 April 2013. However, the limit for cash Isas is £5,640, going up to £5,760 for 2013/14.
The market’s best cash Isas
Instant access cash Isa
Top of the pile at the moment in the best instant-access cash Isa sector is Cheshire Building Society’s Isa Saver Issue 1 account paying 2.50%, which includes a 2.00% bonus payable to 31 July 2014.
Harpenden Building Society’s Simply Isa and Stafford Railway Building Society’s Cash Isa are worth noting as both accounts don’t include a bonus, so you won’t have to worry about the rate dropping off after 12 months.
Notice cash Isa
Notice cash Isa accounts tend to pay a higher rate for locking up your money, but don’t rely on this always being the case as some accounts don’t pay more than an instant access Isa. Coventry Building Society’s 60 Day Notice Isa pays an attractive rate of 2.80%, but you’ll need to give 60 days notice to get at your cash.
One-year fixed-rate cash Isa
Metro Bank’s one-year fixed-rate cash Isa is the best in the market at present paying 2.25% and allows transfers in from other providers. The one-year fixed-rate Isa from The Halifax isn’t far behind with a rate of 2.05%.
Two-year fixed-rate cash Isa
The two-year fixed-rate cash Isa deal from The Halifax, paying 2.50% is the best product if you’re happy to tie your money up for two years. NatWest follows closely behind with its Isa paying 2.35%.
Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa
The Halifax’s fixed rate Isa account currently tops our three-year fixed-rate cash Isa table paying 2.60% on initial balances of at least £500. The Bank of Scotland are next paying 2.40%.
Four-year fixed-rate cash Isa
The fixed cash Isa deal from The Halifax pays 2.65% and is the best four-year fixed-rate cash Isa deal at the moment.The Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB also offer competitive accounts, paying 2.45% and 2.40% respectively.
Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa
The Halifax also leads our five-year fixed-rate cash Isa table paying 2.70%. They offer market-leading accounts for a two, three, four and five-year fixed rate deal.
Cash Isa tip of the week
You’re only allowed to pay new money into one ‘active’ Isa per tax year, but you can hold multiple ‘inactive’ Isas from previous tax years. Don’t automatically put money into the same Isa as you had last year though, as it may not be offering a competitive deal this year.
Also, it’s worth checking the rate you’re getting on previous years’ ‘inactive’ cash Isas – if the rate is disappointing, switch them to an Isa that allows transfers in.