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Hot money deals, 8 February 2012

Which? experts round up the best money deals


There are plenty of ways you can get discounts on a whole range of household products, read our guide to find out more.

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 save money with our essential guide to getting discounts on products ranging from TVs to white goods.

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. However, this provider has a very poor customer satisfaction rating of 35%, so we advise caution.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: FirstSave and Shawbrook Bank offer the top-paying one-year fixed rate accounts at 3.6%.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Vanquis Bank offers the best three-year fixed rate deal at 4.15%. Interest is paid yearly on initial balances of at least £1,000.
  • Five-year fixed rate savings: BM Savings and Vanquis Bank offer the top-paying five-year fixed rate accounts at 4.65%.

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 Virgin Money’s Easy Access Isa or E-Isa accounts are the best options paying 2.85%.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Metro Bank offers the top one-year fixed rate account at 3.25% on balances of at least £1 and can be operated at a branch, by post or telephone.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Aldermore currently tops our three-year fixed rate table paying 3.8% from balances of £1,000.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Krbs Flexible Fixed Rate Isa account currently leads our five-year fixed rate table paying 4.35%.

Best credit cards for 0% balance transfers

If you owe money on your credit card and need some breathing space to pay it off, these providers offer the longest 0% balance transfer deals: 

  • The Barclaycard Platinum with Extended Balance Transfer Visa has the longest 0% deal on the market at 22-months. The card comes with a representative APR of 17.9% and a 2.9% balance transfer fee.
  • Halifax offers a 22-month 0% deal on the Balance Transfer MasterCard. The card comes with a high balance transfer fee of 3.5% and a representative APR of 17.9%. There is also a shorter 20-months 0% deal on the 20 Month Balance Transfer MasterCard which has a lower transfer fee of 3%. For both cards you must be earning more than £20,000 to apply.
  • Which? Recommended Provider First Direct has a 20-month 0% deal with 2.9% transfer fee and 16.9% representative APR. However, to be eligible for the deal you will need to be a 1st Account (current account) holder.
  • Virgin Money currently offers one of the best deals on the market on its Credit Card MasterCard. The card has a 20-month 0% balance transfer period, a 16.8% APR on new purchases and balance transfer fees of 2.99%.

With the exception of First Direct, none of the cards listed above score very well for customer service in our recent member survey. If the deal length is less important to you and you want a cheaper deal than those listed above, the Barclaycard Platinum Low BT Fee Visa is currently offering a 16-months 0% deal with a reduced 1.6% (min £7.25) handling fee if you transfer a balance within 60 days of opening the card.

Take a look at our 0% balance transfer table for a round up of the best deals on the market each day.

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

There are plenty of money-saving ways to get discounts on various products from TV’s to white goods if you know where to look. 

Visit our online guide on discounts to find out where to go to buy nearly new, refurbished or clearance products. We also show you where to go to get discount deals on technology gadgets and appliances as well as the best time of year to buy cheap products including TV’s cameras and cars.   

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