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Hot money deals, 04 October 2012

Which? experts round up the best money deals

Managing rising petrol costs

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 ways to manage the costs of motoring.

Best Rate savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: The AA, Halifax and Santander top the instant-access savings table at 2.80% from initial balances of just £1. All accounts include a variable rate bonus, so you will need to switch to a more competitive account once the bonus period has ended.
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: Tesco Bank offers the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings rate at 3.20% from initial balances of £2,000. This account can be operated via the internet or over the phone.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: The Co-operative Bank offers the best three-year fixed-rate savings deal at 3.62% from initial balances of £1,000.
  • Five-year fixed-rate savings: Julian Hodge Bank and Principality BS currently lead our five-year fixed-rate savings account table, paying 3.75%.

Best Rate cash Isas

  • Instant access cash Isa: The Post Office leads our table for instant-access cash Isa deals, paying 3.01% (including a 1.26% bonus payable for 18-months). Marks & Spencer Bank’s Advantage Isa pays 3.00% but doesn’t include a bonus.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: Marks & Spencer Bank offers the top one-year fixed-rate cash Isa account at 3.10%. This account requires an initial minimum deposit of £500 and can be operated by post or telephone only.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: The Halifax currently tops our three-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 3.75% from initial balances of £500.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: The Halifax currently leads our five-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 4.00% from initial balances of £500.

Best 0%-on-purchases credit cards

These cards won’t charge you interest on your shopping for up to 16 months. Make sure you make the minimum payment each month or you’ll lose the deal.

  • Tesco Clubcard MasterCard currently offer the longest deal on the market with 16 months interest-free. The card also comes with a reward scheme.
  • The Marks & Spencer MasterCard and Halifax All in One MasterCard offer the next best deals with 15 months interest-free.
  • NatWest/RBS YourPoints World MasterCard offers 13 months 0% purchases. The card also comes with a loyalty scheme. Points can be redeemed against flights and other travel products or for goods at some popular high street names.  
  • The Bank of Scotland MasterCard offers 13 months on both purchases and balance transfers with 3% handling fee of the amount transferred onto the card.

Take a look at our 0%-on-purchases credit card table for more great 0% deals.

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 the leading rate of 7.1% APR for a £5,000 loan.
  • For those borrowing £10,000 over five years: Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank offer a representative rate of 5.7% APR for a £10,000 loan.

And finally… this week’s money tip

When we surveyed thousands of consumers about their biggest financial concerns, 81% mentioned rising fuel prices, just ahead of energy and food costs. With the costs of motoring not expected to go down over the long term, many people are considering means of reducing their fuel requirements, such as through car sharing. We have an online guide which includes a calculator to help you work out how much you could save. It’s also worth ensuring you’re not being charged over the odds for your petrol. Visit petrolprices.com to find the cheapest petrol in your area.    

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