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Hot money deals, 29 November 2012

Which? experts round up the best money deals

Price alert sites

This week, we track down the best savings accounts and cash Isas, as well as the leading credit card and loan deals. We also show you how to pick the best time to buy.

Best Rate savings accounts

  • Instant access savings: Tesco Bank tops the instant-access savings table at 2.40% but includes a variable rate bonus, so you will need to switch to a more competitive account once the bonus period has ended. M&S Bank and the Post Office follow closely behind at 2.35%
  • One-year fixed-rate savings: United Bank UK offers the top-paying one-year fixed-rate savings rate at 2.75% from initial balances of £2,000.
  • Three-year fixed-rate savings: Close Brothers Savings offers the best three-year fixed-rate savings deal, paying 3.30% from initial balances of £10,000.
  • Five-year fixed-rate savings: Vanquis Bank currently leads our five-year fixed-rate savings account table, paying 3.17%. This account can be operated via the internet only.

Best Rate cash Isas

  • Instant access cash Isa: M&S Bank leads our table for instant-access cash Isa deals, paying 3.00% and allows transfers-in. The Isa from Cheshire BS also pays 3.00% but transfers-in from other providers are not permitted.
  • One-year fixed-rate cash Isa: M&S Bank offers the top one-year fixed-rate cash Isa account at 2.80%. This postal or telephone account requires a minimum initial deposit of £500.
  • Three-year fixed-rate cash Isa: M&S Bank currently tops our three-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 3.00%.
  • Five-year fixed-rate cash Isa: BM Savings and United Trust Bank currently lead our five-year fixed-rate cash Isa table, paying 3.00%.

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 Balance Transfer Visa has one of the longest 0% deals on the market, at 24 months. The card comes with a representative APR of 17.9% and a reduced balance transfer fee of 2.8% (min £7.25) if you transfer a balance within 60 days of taking out the card. Barclaycard also offers a 0% deal of 23 months with a reduced transfer fee of 2.6% (min £7.25), with 17.9% representative APR. 
  • The NatWest/RBS Platinum Extended Balance Transfer MasterCard also comes with a 23 months 0% balance transfer deal with a higher 3.5% (min £5) transfer fee and a representative APR of 17.9%. They also offer a 22 months 0% deal, with a slightly lower balance transfer fee of 3.2% (min £5) and 17.95% representative APR.
  • MBNA offers a 22-month 0% deal on the Platinum Extended Balance Transfer Visa with a reasonable 2.85% (min £3) handling fee and 16.9% representative APR. The deal is only available through selected aggregators MoneySupermarket.com, Lovemoney.com, comparethemarket.com and confused.com  
  • The Tesco Bank Clubcard MasterCard offers a 22 months 0% balance transfer with a 2.9% handling fee and comes with a representative APR of 16.9%.
  • Halifax offers a 22-month 0% deal on the Balance Transfer MasterCard. The card comes with a high balance transfer fee of 3% (min £3.50) and a representative APR of 18.9%.
  • MBNA offers a 20-month 0% deal on the Credit Card Visa with a reasonable 2.5% (min £3) handling fee and 16.9% representative APR.  
  • If the length of the deal is less important and you are looking for a low transfer fee, NatWest/RBS currently offers a 0% deal with 1% (min £5) handling fee on the Low Balance Transfer Fee MasterCard which comes with a typical APR of 17.9%.

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: Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank offer the leading rate of 7.00% APR for a £5,000 loan.
  • For those borrowing £10,000 over five years: Derbyshire Building Society offers a market leading rate of 5.40% APR for a £10,000 loan.

And finally… this week’s money tip

If you’re looking for a bargain buy, browsing online and using comparison sites can lead you to the best current deals – but you can also save money by biding your time. We tracked the prices of 151 appliances and technology products for a month, and for printers found a typical price variation of 25%.

Price alert sites, such as Idealo, Price Spider, Shopping.com and Find-DVD can help you make the best of these differences. They track prices with major online retailers and email you an alert once your selected product has fallen below your target price, and some also provide details on how frequently prices have changed historically on particular sites.

See our online guide for more.  

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