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Hot money deals, 29 February 2012

Which? experts round up the best money deals

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Earn extra money and reduce your impact on the environment with our 10 green money making tips

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 earn some extra money by going green.

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: Vanquis Bank offers the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings account at 3.55% on balances from £1,000.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Vanquis Bank offers the best three-year fixed-rate savings deal at 4.01%. Interest is paid yearly on initial balances of at least £1,000.
  • 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: Cheshire Building Society’s Direct Cash Isa offers the best instant-access cash Isa deal paying 3.06%. However, this account does not allow transfers in from other providers. If you want to transfer in previous years’ funds, then Marks and Spencer Money’s Advantage Isa is the best option paying 3%.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Aldermore offers the top one-year fixed-rate cash Isa account at 3.35%. This account can be operated via the internet by post or telephone.
  • 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: BM Savings, Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank’s Fixed-Rate Isa account currently leads our five-year fixed-rate cash Isa table paying 4.25%.

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 (fixed for five years and reverting to a representative APR of 12.9%). To apply you need to be aged 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 but has an above-average customer score of 67%.

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

Find out how to earn extra money and reduce your impact on the environment with our 10 green money-making tips.

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