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Hot money deals, 12 October 2011

Which? experts round up the best money deals

piggy bank

You could get a better savings rate than you’re on now by switching to a Which? Best Rate account


This week, we track down the best savings accounts and cash Isas (including fixed-term deals), as well as the leading credit card, loan and mortgage deals. 

Best savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: Northern Rock offers the best instant-access deal at 3.11% (including a 1.5% bonus payable for 12-months).
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: Cheshire BS, Derbyshire BS and Dunfermline BS offer the top-paying 1-year fixed rate accounts at 3.55% on balances of at least £100.
  • 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: Barnsley BS, Chelsea BS, Clydesdale Bank, Northern Rock and Yorkshire Bank offer the top 1-year fixed rate accounts at 3.3%.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Post Office offers the best 3-year fixed rate account paying 4%. This account is 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.

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.

  • Sainsbury’s Finance Low Rate MasterCard – New from Sainsbury’s, this card offers the lowest representative APR on the market of 6.9%. You will need to be a Nectar card holder to be eligible for the card.
  • 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 age 25 or above and earn a minimum salary of £25,000

Both Capital One and Co-operative Bank have very good customer scores of 70% and 80% respectively and are Which? Recommended Providers. Sainsbury’s just miss out on being a Which? Recommended Provider with an above average customer score of 67%.

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 offers the leading representative rate of 6.4% 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 remortgaging and looking for a fixed rate deal that lasts for two years, our best rate this week is:

  • Low loan-to-value: RBS & NatWest have a fixed rate offer of 3.05%. It has minimal fees, a low rate and flexibility, making it a great deal.
  • High loan-to-value: Yorkshire BS offers a rate of 4.29%. The deal carries a booking fee of £195 and you can overpay by up to 10%

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

Ever wondered whether it’s worth switching your savings account? Take a look at these numbers and see if they convince you:

If you had £10,000 in Northern Rock’s Saver Reward account (paying 3.11%), you’d earn £217 more a year than you would in an average-paying account – and as much as £300 more if you had your savings in a poor value account offered by some of the high street banks. 

As you can see, it’s worth keeping an eye on the interest rate you are receiving and moving your money if necessary. For more information on choosing a savings account that will suit your circumstances and pay a competitive rate, read our guide on Finding the best savings account.

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