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Hot money deals, 29 June 2011

Which? experts round up the best finance deals

Pile of coins

Get the best deal on your savings, credit cards and mortgage with Which? Hot Money Deals.

This week we look at the best cashback credit cards and how to get a top deal on travel insurance, as well as our regular Best Rate round-up.

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. You can open the Santander account with just £1
  • Two-year fixed rate: Sainsbury’s and Tesco Bank offer the top 2-year fixed rate deals at 3.85%. You can operate the Sainsbury’s account online or by telephone. The Tesco account is accessed by telephone only
  • Four-year fixed rate: Melton Mowbray BS offers the best 4-year fixed rate at 4.35% from balances of £1,000. Interest is paid monthly or yearly

Cash Isas

  • Instant access: AA’s Internet Access Isa is the best instant-access account paying 3.35%, but doesn’t allow transfers-in from other providers. If you want to transfer in previous years’ funds, krbs’s Easy Access Cash Isa is the best option paying 3.01% (including a 2.5% one-year bonus payable)
  • Two-year fixed rate: Chelsea BS and Santander offer the top 2-year fixed rate deal at 3.7% from balances of £100 and £1 respectively
  • Four-year fixed rate: Halifax are top with their 4-year fixed rate at 44%. The account can be operated at a branch, online, by post or by telephone

Best American Express credit cards for Cashback

The Platinum Cashback Card from Which? Recommended Provider American Express is great if you’re planning to spend a lot on it in the first three months. It pays 5% cashback for the first 3 months (max £100), followed by 0.5% on an annual spend of up to £3,500, 1% on amounts between £3,501 and £7,500 and 1.25% on amounts above £7,501. You have to spend more than £3,000 a year to earn any cashback. Pay your bill off every month as the card has an APR of 19.9%.

MBNA also offers a very good American Express credit card with cashback. This card has a generous 1.5% cashback on spending at major supermarkets and petrol stations and 0.75% on all other purchases. A Visa card option is also available which offers a reduced 1.25% cashback level at major supermarkets and 0.5% on all other purchases. Both cards come with a relatively high 18.9% APR.

Check our Cashback credit card table for all the best deals.

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 just £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 customer satisfaction survey. Read our current account reviews for more details.

Unsecured personal loans

If you’re looking for a cheap personal loan, Sainsbury’s maintains its lead in our tables this week, offering representative rates of 8.1% APR for a £5,000 loan repaid over 3 years, and 6.8% APR for a £10,000 loan repaid over 5 years. For Flex Account holders, however, Nationwide currently offers a market-leading rate of 6.6% APR on sums between £7,500 and £14,999 for up to 5 year terms.

Mortgages: 2-year discount 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 discount deal:

  • For a high loan-to-value deal: Tipton & Coseley BS offers an initial rate of 4.69%, collared at 2.99% (meaning it won’t fall below this level, even if market rates fall). It’s a decent deal available direct from the provider – but only to those living in the Midlands
  • For a low loan-to-value deal: ING Direct offers a discounted rate of 2.50% for up to 70% LTV. This is available direct across Great Britain

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

And finally… this week’s money-saving tip

Buying travel insurance online can save you as much as 20% off your premium. Over half of providers offer customers an online discount.

There are also savings to be made if you are a couple buying travel insurance, as many providers offer a discount. Best Buy insurers including Direct Travel and EasyJet offer couples a 25% discount.

For details of Best Buys for different age groups and destinations, read our Travel insurance review.

pound coins

Which? Money – Live pensions Q&A

Are you baffled by state pensions or Sipps? Are you worried about being able save enough for your retirement? Whatever your pension questions, Which? experts will be on hand to answer them during our live Q&A on Friday 1 July. 

Sign up now to take part in this exclusive event for members at www.which.co.uk/pensionsqanda, or log on at 12.30pm on the day to get involved.

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