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Hot money deals, 23 August 2011

Which? experts round up the best money deals

Home contents insurance

Make sure you’re not double-insuring your possessions like mobile phones – you might have cover already under your home insurance

This week our experts recommend the best savings accounts and cash Isas, and hunt out the best 0%-on-purchases credit card deals. We also examine this week’s best rate loans and mortgages.

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: Leeds BS offers a top-paying 1-year fixed rate account at 3.6% on balances of at least £100. This account can be operated at a branch or by post
  • 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: Secure Trust Bank offers the best 4-year fixed rate account at 4.4%. This account can be operated by 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: Nottingham BS and The Post office offer the best 3-year fixed rate accounts paying 4%. Both accounts can be operated at a branch or by post
  • 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: Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank currently lead our 5-year fixed rate table with their accounts paying 4.5%. The minimum investment is £2,000 and interest is paid yearly

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 & 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.

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 customers of banks or other institutions. 

  • 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 has reduced its rate to 6.4% APR for all loans of between £7,500 and £15,000 over 12 to 84 months. This is currently the best rate available on the market

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 moving house and looking for a two year discount deal, our best rates this week are:

  • High loan-to-value: Mansfield BS offers a rate of 4.59%. It’s a good initial deal but reverts to 5.59% after the two year period
  • Low loan-to-value: Principality offers an excellent discounted rate of 2.79% until 2013

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

It’s rarely worth paying for something twice, so think about having a clearout of all the personal financial outgoings you could avoid. One example is insurance cover for your gadgets. Do you really need additional insurance for your mobile phone? You may already have this as part of a bundled bank account package, or be covered by your home contents policy. 

To see which home insurance policies we rate – for both buildings and contents cover – take a look at our home insurance guide and Which? Recommended Providers.

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