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Hot money deals, 21 June 2011

Which? experts round up the best finance deals


Putting aside an hour to compare your savings accounts, Isas, credit cards, loans and mortgage with Which? Best Rate accounts could save you hundreds of pounds a year

Which? Money experts round up this week’s best money deals 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 Coventry Building Society’s eNotice Account instead as it pays an impressive 3.05% on balances from £1,000.
  • One-year fixed rate: Barnsley BS, FirstSave and Yorkshire BS offer a top 1-year fixed rate  deal at 3.5% from balances of £1,000.
  • Three-year fixed rate: krbs’s branch or postal account offers the best 3-year fixed rate at 4.25% from balances of £500. Interest is paid monthly or yearly.
  • Five-year fixed rate: Birmingham Midshires currently tops our 5-year fixed rate table with its five-year fixed internet or postal accounts paying 5.05%. The minimum investment is £1 and interest is paid monthly or 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).
  • One-year fixed rate: Aldermore’s fixed rate Isa pays the top 1-year fixed rate at 3.33% from balances of £1,000. The account can be operated via the  internet, by post or telephone.
  • Three-year fixed rate: krbs, Nottingham BS and Saga offer the best 3-year fixed rate at 4%. The Saga account is available to over-50s only.
  • Five-year fixed rate: Birmingham Midshires currently leads our 5-year fixed rate table with its five-year postal account paying 5%. The minimum investment is £500 and interest is paid monthly or yearly.

Credit cards for 0% balance transfers

If you owe money on your credit card and need some breathing space to pay it off, it could be worth transferring to a new 0% balance transfer deal.

Barclaycard currently offers two of the longest deals on the market. The Barclaycard Platinum with Extended Balance Transfer Visa offers 0% for 20 months, but with a high 3.2% transfer fee and 17.5% typical APR/ Alternatively, the Barclaycard Platinum CC Balance Transfer Visa offers a shorter 19 month 0% deal but with a lower 2.9% handling fee.

If you currently have a 0% deal with Barclaycard you won’t be able to transfer your current balance to either of these deals. There are currently several competitive 0% deals with a duration of 18 months from Natwest/RBS, Virgin Money, MBNA and Bank of Scotland. Take a look at our 0% balance transfer table for more details.  

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, Sainsbury’s maintains its leading rates in our tables this week, offering 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. Market averages in these categories are 10.79% APR and 8.33% APR respectively.

Mortgages: 5-year 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 5-year tracker deal:

  • For a low loan-to-value deal: Cumberland BS offers an initial rate of 2.79%, collared at 2.79% (meaning it won’t fall below this level, even if market rates fall). The deal has no arrangement fees, but is available only in Cumbria and surrounding regions.

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


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Example: If you were to transfer a balance of £8,000 from your existing card with an APR of 18.9%, to a card with no balance transfer fee and an APR of 16.9% on a 12 month deal and you were repaying £200 per month, then the saving would be £127 over the 12 month period.

And finally… this week’s money-saving tip

If you’re paying too much interest on your credit card, find out how much you could save by switching using our handy balance transfer interest calculator.

Just enter the amount you owe on your credit card, the interest rate (APR) on your new and old cards and the length of time you want to calculate the savings over.

Type in how much you plan to repay each month and any balance transfer fee charged by your new card (this is usually around 3% of the balance you want to transfer).

The calculator will show you the potential saving you could make with your new credit card over the chosen period.

For all the best deals, read our reviews of 0% balance transfer credit cards. And if you’re not sure which type of credit card is best for you, read our guide How to find the best credit card.

If you don’t fancy switching to a new card, you can use our repayment calculator instead to work out when you’re likely to pay off your existing credit card bill and how much quicker you could pay it off by making a higher monthly repayment.



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