When the new tax year began on 6 April you got a new cash ISA allowance of £5,640 for 2012-13.
Using your ISA allowance sooner rather than later has notable advantages, not least that you benefit from tax-free interest earlier (than if you waited until the end of the tax year in April 2013). Download your free moneyfacts.co.uk guide to cash ISAs and your ISA allowance.
While the best cash ISA rates have recently seen significant reductions, there are still some great accounts on offer...
Platinum Instant ISA Issue 1
ISA transfers in allowed Minimum investment: £1,000 Rate includes 1.05% bonus for 12 months
View Easy Access ISA best buys
Penny says… "The Platinum Instant ISA Issue 1 is 0.05% ahead of the next best easy access cash ISA from the Post Office®. Benefitting from a low 1.05% bonus for 12 months, this ISA from Manchester BS would pay a solid, if not stellar 2.01% AER after a year (providing rates stay the same).
The downside to the Platinum Instant ISA is that it can only be managed in branch or by post, which may deter savers who don't have a Manchester BS branch nearby and want more ready access to their cash.
Also, with a minimum deposit of £1,000, those with smaller ISA savings pots will need to look elsewhere. For those with £100 or more to save into an ISA, the Post Office® pays 3.01% AER on its Premier Cash ISA, or ING Direct pays 3.00% AER on deposits of £1 or more."
60 Day Notice Cash ISA
Inflation-beating rate (based on the Retail Prices Index) ISA transfers in not allowed Minimum investment: £1 Rate includes 0.50% bonus for 12 months with interest rate guaranteed to be at least 3.25% until 5.4.13 Access allowed on 60 day notice (or loss of interest if you need the money sooner)
See ISA best buys
Penny says… "Leading the top variable rate cash ISA Best Buys is a trio of 60 day notice ISAs from Coventry BS, West Brom BS and Aldermore.
Coventry's 60 Day Notice Cash ISA is 0.07% ahead of its closest competitor, but is only available for those looking to use their 2012-13 cash ISA allowance of up to £5,640. If you're looking to transfer an existing ISA pot, the West Brom BS WeBSave ISA 6 is the best on offer - paying 3.18% AER. However, the WeBSave ISA from West Brom does have a fairly large introductory bonus (of 1.66% until 30.9.13), so you'd need to review it again in a year to ensure you're still getting a competitive rate "
1 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA (2)
Inflation-beating rate (based on the Retail Prices Index) ISA transfers in allowed Transfers out subject to 180 day loss of interest (no other withdrawals permitted) Minimum investment: £1 See 1 year fixed rate ISA best buys
Penny says "Unfortunately the best 1 year fixed rate ISA cannot muster a better rate than the top notice period cash ISA from Coventry BS.
But while you can't access your money during the term of this 1 year ISA from Metro Bank, with a notice period ISA you will be able to make a withdrawal if you need to (albeit after waiting your notice period or by forfeiting some interest).
That said, the distinct advantage of a 1 year fixed rate over a variable notice period ISA is that the interest rate is guaranteed not to drop for a full year. The top notice ISA from Coventry BS is only guaranteed to be 3.25% AER until next April, so if the Bank of England lowers base rate in the next few months (which some are predicting it will) you could find that you don't get the 3.25% rate for the whole year."
2 Year Fixed Rate ISA
Inflation-beating rate (based on the Retail Prices Index) ISA transfers in allowed Transfers out/ withdrawals on closure only and subject to 120 day loss of interest Minimum investment: £500
Penny says "The 2 year fixed rate ISA category isn't as competitive as some of the other fixed rate terms at present. The 2 Year Fixed Rate ISA from Santander is 0.05% ahead of Mansfield BS in second place, but you then have to look to Julian Hodge Bank and Bank of Cyprus UK at 3.35% AER for the next best rate.
Interestingly at present the gap between the best 2 year and 5 year fixed rate ISAs is just 0.45%, but the margin that separates the top 1 year and top 2 year fixed ISA rates is 0.35% on its own. So this 2 year ISA from Santander is well-placed: paying significantly more than the top 1 year ISA from Metro Bank, but just 0.10% less than the top 3 year rate from SAGA."
3 Year Fixed Rate ISA
Inflation-beating rate (based on the Retail Prices Index) ISA transfers in allowed Transfers out/ withdrawals subject to up to 270 day loss of interest Minimum investment: £1 Over 50s only
Penny says "SAGA stands out as the top 3 year ISA provider with a great rate of 3.70% AER for the over 50s. If you are under 50 though, the best rate on offer is 3.50% AER - sizeably less than SAGA's top rate. However, if you are under 50 and looking at a top rate of 3.50% AER, you're spoilt for choice with Halifax, Julian Hodge Bank, Wesleyan Bank, Ulster Bank, M&S Money, Post Office® and krbs all offering 3 year fixed ISAs at this rate.
The 3 Year Fixed Rate from SAGA also offers a monthly interest option, which may raise the eyebrows of anyone who uses their ISA interest to supplement their income."
As an added bonus, savers with more than £5K in Halifax ISAs or savings accounts can register for a free monthly prize draw to win up to £100,000.
You should bear in mind though that if you need to make a withdrawal from the ISA, or want to transfer your money during the term, the account must be closed and you will forfeit 320 days' interest."
Fixed Rate ISAs
1 Year Fixed Rate ISAs
2 Year Fixed Rate ISAs
3 Year & Over Fixed Rate ISAs
Cash ISAs - Variable
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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