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Hot money deals, 14 September 2011

Which? experts round up the best money deals

Bride and groom at wedding

Keep the cost of your wedding under control with our top tips for a budget big day

This week our experts recommend the best savings accounts and cash Isas, and round up the best cashback credit card deals. We also examine this week’s best rate loans and mortgages and help you plan a special wedding day on a budget.

This week’s best savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: Derbyshire BS offers the best instant-access deal at 3.18% (including a 2.18% 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: Skipton BS offers a top-paying 1-year fixed rate account at 3.45% on balances of at least £500. This is an internet-only account
  • 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
  • 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 and Principality’s e-Isa accounts are the best options 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
  • 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
  • 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

Best credit cards for cashback

There are currently several good cashback deals on the market from American Express, Capital One, MBNA and Santander:

  • The Platinum Cashback Card from Which? Recommended Provider American Express pays 2.5% cashback for the first 3 months (max £100), followed by a standard cashback rate of 1.25% on all spend. The card comes with an annual fee of £25 a year, so is only suitable for big-spenders.
  • The World MasterCard from Which? Recommended Provider Capital One offers the highest introductory cashback level on the market of 5% for the first 3 months (max £100). You then earn 0.5% on an annual spend of up to £5,999, 1% on amounts between £6,000 and £9,999 and 1.25% on amounts above £10,000. The card comes with a relatively high typical APR of 19.9%.
  • MBNA also offers a 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 an 18.9% APR.
  • New from Santander, the 123 Cashback MasterCard offers 1% cashback on shopping at selected supermarkets, 2% cashback on selected department stores and 3% cashback on selected major petrol stations. The card charges an annual £24 fee, so is only suitable if you use it a lot.

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 great 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: Sainsbury’s offers a leading representative rate of 6.3% APR. Alternatively, at 6.9%, borrowers can instead opt for two years of doubled Nectar points and a £25 gift card.

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 tracker deal that lasts for five years, our best rates this week are:

  • High loan-to-value: Yorkshire BS offers a deal of 3.99%, tracking at 3.49% above base rate, but which cannot go below 3.99%. Available direct from the lender, this deal comes with an arrangement fee of £800 and a booking fee of £195.
  • Low loan-to-value: Cumberland BS offers a deal of 2.75%, tracking at 2.25% above base rate, but which cannot go below 2.75%. It has no arrangement, valuation or legal fees.

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

The average wedding now costs around £20,000, but there are plenty of ways to cut the cost of your big day without compromising on quality and enjoyment. Our expert guide to budget weddings includes 10 ways to cut the cost of the reception and great ways to budget for your wedding, as well as style tips for budget brides and grooms.

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