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Hot money deals, 16 November 2011

Which? experts round up the best money deals

Skiers on the slopes

Travel insurance is vital if you’re heading off on a winter-sun holiday

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. We also help you find the best travel insurance policy for your winter sun holidays.

Best savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: Santander’s eSaver Issue 4 account offers the best instant-access deal at 3.1%. The rate includes a 2.6% bonus payable for a year.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank offer the top-paying 1-year fixed rate accounts at 3.6% on balances of at least £2,000.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank offer the best 3-year fixed rate deals at 4.3%. Interest is paid monthly or yearly.
  • Five-year fixed rate savings: Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank offer the top-paying 5-year fixed rate accounts at 4.7%. Both accounts can be operated at a branch or via the internet.

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: Northern Rock offers the top 1-year fixed rate account at 3.35% on balances of at least £500.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Northern Rock and Post Office offer the best 3-year fixed rate accounts paying 4%. The Post Office account can be operated at a branch or by post.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Halifax’s Isa Saver account currently leads our 5-year fixed rate table paying 4.4%. The minimum investment is £500

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 – 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 71% and 79% respectively and are Which? Recommended Providers. Sainsbury’s just misses 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: Sainsbury’s offers a rate of 6.2% – presently the best rate on the market. Nationwide also offers this rate to its customers, so worth a look if you have a Flex account.

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 switching mortgages and looking for a discount deal that lasts for 5 years, our best rate this week is:

  • Low loan-to-value: Newbury BS offers a 3.15% deal with no arrangement, valuation or legal fees attached. It 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 . 

And finally… this week’s money-saving tip

If you’re jetting off abroad for some winter sun, it’s vital to take out a before you go. Which? Best Buy travel insurance policies all provide a high level of medical cover – key if you’re skiing and need expensive treatment after an accident. Our Best Buys offer at least £2 million of medical cover in Europe, or £5 million for worldwide policies, including an air ambulance.

They also offer at least £1,500 of cover for baggage or personal belongings and cover for lost or stolen money and a minimum of £1 million of personal liability cover.

We also gather details of which insurers cover unexpected events. If you’re worried about airline failure, strikes, volcanic ash, terrorism or civil unrest, check if your chosen insurer will cover you with our comprehensive travel insurance unexpected events list.

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