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Hot money deals, 6 September 2012

Which? experts round up the best money deals

Group buying

This week, we track down the best savings accounts and cash Isas, as well as the leading credit card and loan deals. We also look at a way to save cash through group buying. 

Best Rate savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: Santander’s eSaver Issue 6 account tops the instant-access savings table at 3.00% from initial balances of just £1.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: FirstSave offers the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings rate at 3.45%. This account can be operated via the internet only.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Krbs offers the best three-year fixed-rate savings deal at 3.75% from initial balances of £1,000.
  • Five-year fixed-rate savings: Julian Hodge Bank currently leads our five-year fixed-rate savings account table, paying 4.00% on balances of at least £1,000.

Best Rate cash Isas

  • Instant access cash Isa: Manchester Building Society leads our table for instant-access cash Isa deals, paying 3.06% (including a 1.05% bonus payable for a year). This account can be operated at branch or by post.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Metro Bank offers the top one-year fixed-rate cash Isa account at 3.25% from balances of just £1. This account can be operated at a branch, by post or over the phone.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: The Halifax currently tops our three-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 3.75%.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: BM Savings currently leads our five-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 4.05% from initial balances of £500.

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 Bank offers a the leading rate of 7.10% APR for a £5,000 loan.
  • For those borrowing £10,000 over five years: Derbyshire Building Society offers a representative rate of 5.80% APR for a £10,000 loan.

And finally… this week’s tip

Group-buying websites, like Groupon, KGBdeals and Living Social, sell products and services at discounted prices through purchasing in bulk from companies and passing savings onto their customers. The discounted deals vary daily and can include things like eating out, tickets to sporting events and shows, and even holidays. They can prove to be a very effective means of saving money – although it is possible to be stung if you don’t carefully check the details of the offers and the items being purchased. 

We have a five step online guide that shows how you can get the most out of group buying sites, and also what rights you have if what you receive doesn’t match what you paid for. 

More on this…

  • Bills & Budgeting – top tips and money saving guides on how to make your money go further
  • Which? Campaigns – find out how Which? is campaigning on your behalf
  • Which? Money Helpline – we can help you with your money queries
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