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Hot money deals, 02 August 2012

Which? experts round up the best money deals

Tax through a magnifying glass

This week, we track down the best savings accounts and cash Isas, as well as the leading credit card and loan deals. If you are completing a tax return for 2011-12 why not use the Which? tax calculator to help you work out how much you owe. 

Best Rate savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: KRBS’s Direct Savings and Santander’s eSaver Issue 5 accounts top the best instant-access savings table at 3.20%.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: United Bank UK offers the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings account at 3.45% on minimum deposits of £2,000.  
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Saga offers the best three-year fixed-rate savings deal at 4.00% (available to over 50s only). Bank of Cyprus UK are next offering 3.90%.
  • Five-year fixed-rate savings: Vanquis Bank currently leads our five-year fixed-rate savings account table, paying 4.06% on balances of at least £1,000.

Best Rate cash Isas

  • Instant access cash Isa: Santander offers the best instant-access cash Isa deal, paying 3.30% (including a 2.80% bonus payable for a year) from initial balances of £2,500.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Santander offers the top one-year fixed-rate cash Isa account at 3.50% for balances of at least £2,500. This account can be operated at a branch, by post or over the phone.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Marks & Spencer Money currently tops our three-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 3.75% on initial balances of at least £500.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Halifax currently leads our five-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 4.15% on balances of £500 and above.

The best credit cards for use abroad

  • For customers of all ages, the Halifax Clarity MasterCard offers the best value for use abroad as it doesn’t charge foreign loading fees or cash withdrawal fees. The card comes with a 12.9% APR on purchases and cash withdrawals. However, there is no interest-free period on cash withdrawals, so you’ll pay interest from the moment you take out the cash.
  • For the over-50s, Saga’s Platinum Visa has no foreign loading fees for use abroad and charges a reasonable 11.9% APR on new purchases. The card also includes 55 days interest-free on cash withdrawals, but charges 2% (min £2) for each withdrawal.
  • The Metro Bank Personal Credit Card MasterCard, which is tied to a current account charges no foreign loading fees and does not charge for cash withdrawals, with 13% representative APR on all transactions. You can only apply for a Metro Bank current account and credit card in branch, which are currently only located in London.
  • Nationwide Select Visa comes with a 12.9% representative APR, charges 0% commission for transactions made abroad and offers 0.5% cashback on sterling transactions. The card is only available to Nationwide FlexAccount holders and offers better value than its debit card that charges 2% for each overseas transaction.  
  • If you are happy to pay a monthly fee, the Sainsbury’s Finance Gold MasterCard is worth considering. This card has some good perks, including family travel insurance, but comes with a £5 per month fee. The APR on purchases is 9.94%. No interest is charged on purchases and cash withdrawals so long as you pay off your balance in full and on time each month. 

For a credit card that matches your needs, read our guide to finding the best credit card and check out the best credit card deals currently available by visiting our best rate credit card reviews.

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 7.5% APR for a £5,000 loan.
  • For those borrowing £10,000 over five years: Sainsbury’s, Derbyshire Building Society, Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank offer a representative rate of 5.9% APR for a £10,000 loan.

And finally… this week’s tip

If you are looking to complete a tax return for 2011-12 the Which? tax calculator can help you work out how much tax you should pay. 

It also offers essential information on the taxes you pay, whether you’re owed a tax refund, and what types of income are tax free.   

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