Cash Isa deals of the week 24 December 2015Top savings rates of the week

24 December 2015

Piggy bank Christmas

Earn 1.65% AER in the best instant access ISA

Which? Money provides our weekly roundup of the best cash Isa deals on the market to help you invest your tax-free allowance for 2015/2016.

Cash Isa allowance for 2015/2016

Each year you can deposit your savings into a cash or stocks and shares Isa, or both. The overall limit for the 2015/16 tax year for both cash and stocks and shares Isas is £15,240.

To maximise your tax-free allowance, remember to save in a cash Isa before putting your money into an ordinary taxable savings account.

Here, we take a look at some of the best cash Isa rates on the market. If you're keen to find out more about any of these deals, we've also included links to Which? Money Compare, where you'll find more details about each Isa.

Best-rate cash Isas

We have excluded Isas with certain qualifying conditions and restrictions on withdrawals.

Instant-access cash Isa 

The top rate meeting our criteria is from Punjab National Bank, offering 1.65% AER. This Isa must be opened in-branch. Click on the link to see more about the Punjab National Bank Instant Access Cash Isa

The easy access Isa from Post Office Money is next in our table, paying 1.51% AER.

Notice cash Isa

Notice cash Isa accounts once paid a higher rate for locking up your money than instant access Isas but at the moment there aren't any notice Isa accounts paying more than the top instant access cash Isa rate.

The 60 Day Notice Isa from Kent Reliance tops the table, paying 1.40% AER on balances from £1,000. Click on the link for more on the Kent Reliance 60 Day Notice Isa

One-year fixed-rate cash Isa

Currently topping the one-year fixed-rate cash Isa table is Al Rayan Bank, paying 1.90% AER. However, the rate is an 'expected profit rate' from its sharia-compliant investments, so returns are not guaranteed. Click on the link for more information about the Al Rayan Bank Fixed Term Deposit Cash Isa

The AA offers the next best rate in our table at 1.76% AER from initial deposits of £500.

Two-year fixed-rate cash Isa

The AA tops this table, paying 2.01% AER from initial deposits of just £1. Click on the link for more about the AA's 2 Year Fixed Cash Isa

The Principality Building Society and Shawbrook Bank offer the next best rates in our table, both paying 2.00% AER.

Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa  

Punjab National Bank offers the best rate in our table in this category, paying 2.30% AER. Click on the link for more on the Punjab National Bank 3 Year Fixed Cash Isa.

National Counties Building Society offers the next best rate in our table, paying 2.21% AER from initial deposits of just £1,000.

Four-year fixed-rate cash Isa 

Leeds Building Society and Punjab National Bank offer the best rates in our table, both paying 2.35% AER.

Julian Hodge Bank offers the next best rate in our table, paying 2.05% AER. This account can only be opened and operated by post.

Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa 

National Counties Building Society pays a rate of 2.51% AER and comes top of our five-year fixed-rate table.

Principality Building Society, Punjab National Bank and State Bank of India offer the next best rates in our table, all paying 2.50% AER.

Which? Money Compare table: Fixed-rate cash Isas - compare hundreds of deals

Help to Buy Isa - first-time buyers

If you're saving for your first home, you can now open a Help to Buy Isa, which is designed to help first-time buyers get onto the property ladder.

You can deposit up to £200 a month in a Help To Buy Isa (plus an additional initial deposit of £1,000), with the government topping up these savings by 25% up to a maximum of £3,000.

Your Help To Buy Isa savings can be used to buy a home worth up to £250,000, or £450,000 in London. And if you're buying with someone else, you can open separate accounts and jointly earn a bonus of up to £6,000.

Halifax's Help To Buy Isa is the best deal announced so far, paying 4% AER. The next best deal - paying 1% AER less - is Virgin Money's Help to Buy Isa at 3% AER. 

It's worth noting that you can't contribute to a cash Isa in the same tax year as a Help to Buy Isa. Therefore, if you want to open a Help to Buy Isa in the 2015/2016 tax year, make sure you don't add any money to a cash Isa in this tax year. 

The Which? Money Compare tables let you search hundreds of savings accounts and cash Isa deals from providers large and small so that you can find a good home for your nest egg. We also combine this with our unique customer scores that show you how well the providers featured are likely to treat you in the long run.

More on this... 

  • Have your savings questions answered by calling the Which? Money Helpline
  • Read our comprehensive expert guide to how to transfer your cash Isa
  • Discover what happens to your Isa savings when you die under the new inheritance rules

Which? Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Which? Financial Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 527029). Which? Mortgage Advisers and Which? Money Compare are trading names of Which? Financial Services Limited.