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Hot money deals, 14 June 2011

Which? Money experts help you maximise your cash

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Our hot money deals will help you make the most of your cash, keep your savings safe and get the best loans and mortgages

Which? Money experts round up the best money deals on the market and bring you the top accounts for banking, saving and borrowing.

Savings accounts

  • Instant access: krbs and Santander offer the best instant-access deals at 3%. Both accounts include a 2.5% bonus payable for a year. However, if you are willing to give 30 days notice, consider Hinckley & Rugby Building Society’s Postal Notice Account instead as it pays an impressive 3.25% on balances from £2,500.
  • Two-year fixed rate: krbs’s branch or postal account offers the best 2-year rate at 4% from balances of £500. Interest is paid monthly or yearly.
  • Four-year fixed rate: Melton Mowbray BS currently top our table with their four-year fixed internet account paying 4.35%. The minimum investment is £1,000 and interest is paid yearly.

Cash Isas

  • Instant access: AA’s Internet Access Isa offers the best instant-access deal paying 3.35%. However, this account does not allow transfers-in from other providers. If you want to transfer in previous years’ funds, then krbs’s Easy Access Cash Isa is the best option paying 3.01% (including a 2.5% bonus payable for a year).
  • Two-year fixed rate: Chelsea BS and Santander offer the best 2-year deal at 3.7%. Transfers-out are subject to 120 days interest penalty.
  • Four-year fixed rate: Cheshire BS, Derbyshire BS, Dunfermline BS and Halifax currently pay the best 4-year fixed rate at 4.4%. The minimum investment is £100, apart from Halifax which is £500.

Credit cards for 0% purchases

If you want to spread the cost of a large purchase over a longer period, it’s worth getting a 0%-on-purchases credit card.

The Marks and Spencer Money MasterCard and the Tesco Bank Clubcard MasterCard have the longest 0% on purchase deals on the market at 15 months. Both cards offer a loyalty scheme and are Which? Recommended Providers, reflecting good customer service in our customer satisfaction survey.

Current accounts

  • If you’re always in credit: Santander’s Preferred Current Account currently offers the best deal paying 5% on credit balances up to £2,500 for the first 12-months. However, after 12-months the rate drops to just 1%.
  • For running a large overdraft: First Direct’s 1st Account is cheapest for running a £500 authorised overdraft for two weeks each month. Over a year it would cost £17. This account comes with a £250 interest-free overdraft and a £100 bonus when you switch.
  • Good for customer satisfaction:  If customer satisfaction matters to you, it’s worth considering bank accounts from First Direct, Smile, Co-operative Bank and Nationwide as they achieved a top score in our latest customer satisfaction surveys.

Read our current account reviews for more details.

Unsecured personal loans

If you’re looking for a cheap personal loan, chances are that you’ll find a more competitive deal from your local supermarket than from your bank. Sainsbury’s currently provides top rates of 8.2% APR for a £5,000 loan repaid over 3 years, and 6.8% APR for a £10,000 loan repaid over 5 years.

Mortgages: 2-year moving tracker deal

The best mortgage deal for you will depend on your own circumstances. Our unique mortgage finder tool takes account of all fees and charges to help you find a mortgage tailored to your needs.

If you’re moving house and are looking for a good 2-year tracker deal:

  • For a high loan-to-value deal, The Post Office offers the lowest initial rate 4.85%, tracking at 4.35% above the base rate for 22 months. It has an arrangement fee of £995.
  • For a low loan-to-value deal, Saffron BS offers the lowest initial rate in this category of 1.99% (tracking at Bank of England base rate + 1.49% for the course of the deal). There are no arrangement fees and you can overpay by lump sum or regular payments. It is only available to borrowers in Essex and nearby counties, directly from the lender.

For more details and also to see our full selection of fixed, discount and tracker deals, go to our mortgage Best Rates tables. 

And finally… this week’s money-saving tip

A recent report has found that half of the workforce faces a pensions shortfall, finding themselves with inadequate means to maintain a reasonable standard of living in retirement. By taking a few simple steps, it is possible to maximise your pension income. See our 5 ways to build a better pension, including a short video explaining company pension schemes.

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