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Hot money deals, 28 September 2011

Which? experts round up the best money deals

Old car broken down

Having adequate car insurance cover is a must, but you don’t need to pay over the odds on your renewal quote.

In this week’s Hot Money Deals, we round up all the best savings accounts and cash Isas that are currently on the market, together with the best airline credit cards. This week, we also help you haggle on car insurance.

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).
  • 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 account is operated via the internet.
  • 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%. Only available 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: Clydesdale Bank, Northern Rock and Yorkshire Bank offer the top 1-year fixed rate accounts at 3.3%.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Nottingham BS, Post Office and Saga offer the best 3-year fixed rate accounts paying 4%. The Saga account is only available to those aged 50 and over.
  • 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.

Airline credit cards

If you fly abroad on holiday, you might be tempted by an airline-branded credit card. Similar to reward and cashback credit cards, airline cards give you points or airmiles when you use the card for your everyday spending. The more you spend, the more miles you earn, which can in turn be converted into free flights.

The best cards include fees, charges and taxes in the deal when you redeem your points – airline credit cards from Thomas Cook, Lloyds TSB and NatWest/RBS all do this, so you won’t be hit with extra costs when you use your points.

Other cards, including cards from Ryanair, British Airways, BMI and Virgin leave you to pay the extras yourself, so what looks like a free flight could end up costing you more than you think.

  • Read our review of airline credit cards for all the best deals.

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 representative rate of 7.9% 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: The Marks & Spencer Personal Loan and Sainsbury’s Standard Loan both offer the leading representative rate of 6.7% APR.

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

  • High loan-to-value: Newbury BS offers a 3.95% deal. In addition to having a good rate, it has no arrangement fees. First-time buyers are required to offset from the savings account of another family member.
  • Low loan-to-value: Newbury BS offer a rate of 3.15%. It has no arrangement fees and flexible repayment features. It is only available to borrowers in England and Wales through mortgage advisers and brokers as well as directly from the lender.

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

And finally… this week’s money-saving tip

Would you haggle with your car insurer to get a cheaper quote? If you’re happy with your current insurer, you might be reticent to switch, even if your renewal premium is much higher than last year. Haggling works.

If your renewal quote seems unreasonably high, tell your insurer you intend to switch (even if you’re not really keen). Most will try to keep your business by significantly discounting their initial quote – often to match or beat a previous quote or a competitor’s. If they won’t reward your loyalty by dropping the price, switch.

  • For more great ways to save on car insurance, read the Which? guide to finding the best car insurance.
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