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Hot money deals, 16 August 2011

Which? experts round up the best money deals


In-store loyalty cards can offer you double or triple the value of your points if you spend them on days out at theme parks or other tourist attractions

This week our experts take a look at the full range of savings accounts and cash Isas, and hunt out the best credit card deals for borrowing. We also examine this week’s best rate loans and mortgage deals.

This week’s best savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: Derbyshire BS offers the best instant-access deal at 3.11% (including a 2.11% bonus payable to 30 November 2012). However, you will need to review this account once the bonus period ends as the rate drops to just 1%
  • One-year fixed rate savings: West Bromwich BS offers a top-paying 1-year fixed rate account at 3.55% on balances of at least £1,000
  • Two-year fixed rate savings: Bank of Ireland UK offers the top 2-year fixed rate deal at 4%. This is closely followed by the Post Office’s Online Bond paying 3.96%
  • Three-year fixed rate savings: Post Office’s Online Bond offers the best 3-year fixed rate at 4.21% on balances of at least £500. Interest is paid monthly or yearly
  • Four-year fixed rate savings: Aldermore offers the best 4-year fixed rate account at 4.25%. This account can be operated by internet, post or telephone
  • Five-year fixed rate savings: Saga offers the top-paying 5-year fixed rate accounts paying 4.65%. However, Saga savings accounts are available only to those aged 50 and over

The market’s best cash Isas

  • Instant access cash Isa: AA’s Internet Access Isa Issue 2 offers the best instant-access deal paying 3.05%. However, this account does not allow transfers-in from other providers. If you want to transfer in previous years’ funds, then Northern Rock’s e-Isa is the best option paying 2.80%
  • One-year fixed rate cash Isa: Metro Bank offers the top 1-year fixed rate account at 3.25% on balances of £1 upwards.You can operate this account at a branch, by post or telephone
  • Two-year fixed rate cash Isa: The Post Office  tops the 2-year fixed rate table with their branch-based or postal account paying 3.75%
  • Three-year fixed rate cash Isa: Northern Rock offers the best 3-year fixed rate account paying 4.01% on balances of at least £500
  • Four-year fixed rate cash Isa: Halifax are top with their 4-year fixed rate at 4.3%. The account can be operated at a branch, online, by post or by telephone
  • Five-year fixed rate cash Isa: Birmingham Midshires currently leads our 5-year fixed rate table with its five-year postal account paying 4.65%. The minimum investment is £500 and interest is paid monthly or yearly

Best credit cards for borrowing

A card with a low typical APR can come in useful if you only want to hold one card and not switch too often. Whether it’s to spread the cost of a big purchase, enjoy Section 75 cover or simply for use in case of emergencies, our Best Rate everyday credit card deals offer great value.

  • Barclaycard Simplicity Visa – 7.9% representative APR. The card comes with the Freedom rewards scheme that allows you to earn cashback on purchases with participating retailers. To apply you need to be 21 or above and earn a minimum salary of £20,000
  • Capital One Click Mastercard – 9.9% typical APR. This card also offers discounts at a range of retail groups for online purchases. For the first six months, you can get 30% off Zavvi.com, 25% off Travelpack.com, 20% off and free delivery with Tedbaker.com, and 50% off Viagogo.co.uk. To apply you need to be 21 or above and earn a minimum salary of £20,000
  • Co-operative Bank Platinum Fixed-Rate Visa – 9.9% typical APR. To apply you need to be 25 or above and earn a minimum salary of £25,000

Both Capital One and Co-operative Bank both have very good customer scores of 70% and 80% respectively and are Which? Recommended Providers.

The cheapest unsecured personal loans

In our Best Rate tables we show the lowest rates available for loans that aren’t exclusive to specific account holders or existing members of banks or institutions. Within the deals we consider for our best rates, there is a saving of £678 for a three-year loan of £5,000, and £872 for a five year loan of £10,000.

  • For those borrowing £5,000 over three years: Sainsbury’s offers a top representative rate of 8.1% APR for a £5,000 loan. Alternatively, at 8.6% – still highly competitive – borrowers can instead opt for two years of doubled Nectar points and a £25 gift card
  • For those borrowing £10,000 over five years: M&S Money and Sainsbury’s are at the top of our best rate tables with a rate of 6.70%. The only lender that can beat this deal is Nationwide Building Society, which offers a deal of 6.50%, but to existing customers only

To compare these top deals with the interest rates on offer from your bank, read our news story Does your bank charge 27% for a £1,000 loan?

Today’s top mortgage deals

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 remortgaging and looking for a five year discount deal, our best rate this week is:

  • Low loan-to-value: Newbury BS offers a rate of 3.15%, which reverts after the deal period to 4.45%. It has no arrangement, valuation or legal fees and is only available to borrowers in England and Wales – through mortgage advisers and brokers, as well as directly

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

And finally… this week’s money-saving tip

Loyalty cards offer a great opportunity to earn points and cashback on shopping at a particular store. To make the most of your rewards, follow these tips:

  • Rather than spending your points on shopping in-store, many providers double or treble the value of your points if you spend them on days out or meals in restaurants
  • Research the cost of items on the internet before cashing in your loyalty points. If you can find it cheaper elsewhere, you may be wasting your hard-earned loyalty points
  • Don’t hoard or forget about points or vouchers as many expire if not used within a year. If the scheme goes bust or you lose your card you are also unlikely too get your points back

To see which schemes offer the best return on your spending, take a look at our loyalty scheme guide.

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