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Hot money deals, 2 May 2012

Which? experts round up the best money deals

Taking a dispute to the small claims court

Read our guide on how to take a dispute to the small claims court

This week, we track down the best savings accounts and cash Isas, as well as the leading credit card and loan deals. We’ll also provide a guide to taking disputes to the small claims court.

Best savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: Derbyshire BS NetSaver Issue 3 account tops the best instant-access savings table at 3.06%. The rate includes a 2.06% bonus payable to 30 June 2013.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: Tesco Bank offers the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings account at 3.5%. Access via the internet or over the telephone.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Vanquis Bank offers the best three-year fixed-rate savings deal at 3.91%, with a minimum deposit of £1,000. 
  • Five-year fixed-rate savings: Vanquis Bank currently leads our five-year fixed-rate savings account table, paying 4.41% on initial balances of at least £1,000.

The market’s best cash Isas

  • Instant access cash Isa: AA and Cheshire BS offer the best instant-access cash Isa deals, paying 3.5%. However, these accounts do not accept transfers in from other providers. The top account that does accept transfers in is Santander’s Direct Isa, paying 3.30%.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Saga offers the top one-year fixed-rate cash Isa account at 3.6%. This account is available to over 50s only.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Halifax currently tops our three-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 4.25% on initial balances of at least £500.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Halifax’s Fixed Rate Isa Saver account currently leads our five-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 4.5%.

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 card comers with a 14% purchase APR.
  • The Aspire MasterCard from Which? Recommended Credit Card Provider Capital One offers 5% cashback 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%, but charges no annual fee.
  • Which? Recommended Credit Card Provider Capital One also offers the Aspire Elite MasterCard for customers who have an income of more than £50,000 p.a. and own a home. This card offers the highest introductory rate on the market of 5% cashback for the first 3 months capped at £200. You then earn 1% on annual spend up to £15,000, 2% on amounts between £15,000 and £50,000 and then 1.35% for annual spend of £50,000 and above. The card charges an annual fee of £120 with a purchase APR of 17.69%. The card also comes with some additional benefits that include concierge service, extended warranty and best price protection.  
  • 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. Santander charges an annual £24 fee on the card, so it’s 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 7.6% APR for a £5,000 loan. Alternatively, at 8.5% – still highly competitive – borrowers can opt for two years of double Nectar points and a £25 gift card.
  • For those borrowing £10,000 over five years: M&S Money, Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank offer a market-leading rate of 6% APR.

And finally… this week’s hot money tip

The small claims procedure is a quicker and simpler way of using the courts to settle disputes than other parts of the courts system – you don’t need a solicitor, and the hearing itself is fairly informal. 

We provide our step-by-step guide on how to take a dispute to the small claims court or the Sheriff Court in Scotland. We also provide a sample letter that you can use before you take a dispute to the small claims court. 

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