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Hot money deals, 15 February 2012

Which? experts round up the best money deals

Online booking

Booking online through a special discount website could get you a great meal out for less

This week, we track down the best savings accounts and cash Isas, as well as the leading credit card and loan deals. We also help you to save money on eating out.

Best savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: Santander’s eSaver Issue 4 account tops the best instant-access savings table at 3.1%. The rate includes a 2.6% bonus payable for a year. However, this provider has a very poor customer satisfaction rating of 38%, so we advise caution.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: FirstSave and Shawbrook Bank offer the top-paying one-year fixed rate savings accounts at 3.6%.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank offer the best three-year fixed rate savings deals at 4.1%. Interest is paid yearly on initial balances of at least £2,000.
  • Five-year fixed rate savings: BM Savings currently leads our five-year fixed rate savings account table paying 4.65% from balances of £1.

The market’s best cash Isas

  • Instant access cash Isa: AA’s Internet Access Isa Issue 2 offers the best instant-access cash Isa 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 Marks & Spencer Money’s Advantage Isa is the best option paying 3%.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Marks & Spencer Money and Metro Bank offer the top one-year fixed rate cash Isa accounts at 3.25%. Both accounts can be operated by post or telephone but Metro Bank also offers branch access.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Governor Money’s Saffron BS account currently tops our three-year fixed rate cash Isa table paying 4% on initial balances of at least £100.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Krbs Flexible Fixed Rate Isa account currently leads our five-year fixed rate cash Isa table paying 4.35%.

Best credit cards for cashback

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

  • The Platinum Cashback Card from Which? Recommended Credit Card Provider American Express pays 5% cashback for the first three months (max £100), followed by a standard cashback rate of 1.25% on everything you spend. The card comes with an annual fee of £25 a year, so is only suitable for big-spenders. If you spend in excess of £10,001 within a year, you are eligible for 2.5% cashback during the anniversary month the following year.
  • The World MasterCard from Which? Recommended Credit Card 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 APR of 19.9%.
  • The Santander 123 Cashback MasterCard offers 1% cashback on shopping at selected supermarkets, 2% cashback at selected department stores and 3% cashback at 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 personal loan 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 7.8% 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 offers a market-leading rate of 6% APR.

And finally… this week’s hot money tip

If you enjoy eating out and want to find out how to get deals and discounts at your favourite places or eat in top London restaurants for less, check out our guide on 10 ways to save on eating out.

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