It's been a month since the new ISA was officially launched, amid much fanfare and high hopes of it rejuvenating the savings market. However, it hasn't yet had the positive impact that was hoped – not only have providers failed to offer enticing rates to encourage savers to top-up to the new £15,000 limit, but savers themselves seem largely unaware of the changes that have taken place.
Lack of awareness
Research from GE Capital Direct has revealed a worrying lack of awareness surrounding the new ISA/NISA, with almost half (47%) of those surveyed being completely unaware that anything's changed. Less than one in five (18%) said that they knew about the increase to their ISA allowance, while nearly six in 10 (55%) said they didn't know when the new limit was made available, suggesting that a lot of British savers could be losing out.
However, even those that are aware of the changes aren't necessary going to do anything about them. The research also found that 47% of people didn't plan to do anything else with their savings, despite the opportunity to keep up to £15,000 away from the taxman, and since the NISA was launched just 4% of savers have 'topped up' their account.
Sheragh Beirne, of GE Capital UK, commented on the findings: "The introduction of New ISAs should be a welcome boost for savers in the current low interest rate environment. Our research shows, however, that many savers are missing out by failing to optimise their tax-free savings of £15,000 this year."
Take advantage of the new landscape
So, isn't it time you took advantage of things? The chance to keep up to £15,000 out of the taxman's reach is an opportunity too good to pass up. And, if you can find a decent rate, you could benefit even more – just think about the tax-free returns you could achieve!
Even though the hoped-for mini ISA season hasn't materialised, it doesn't mean there aren't good deals to be found. The top easy access ISA from Coventry pays an impressive 2.00% on a minimum investment of just £1, and if you're willing to lock your money away, you could earn even more.
Of course, there are bound to be some people that simply can't afford to top up to the £15,000 limit, but that doesn't mean you should stop thinking about the rate. Even small amounts can soon add up, particularly if you've got a good deal, and if you do find yourself in a position to top up further, you want to be in a competitive account.
Check out our pick of the top cash ISAs – or, to maximise your returns, see what inflation-beating accounts you can uncover – and see if you can take advantage of things, no matter how much you've got to stash away.
What are the changes?
If you're one of the 47% still confused as to what the changes actually mean, here's a quick lowdown.
Of course, the basics haven't changed. You can still only have one active cash ISA and one stocks and shares ISA per year, and your allowance can't be rolled over to the next one, so try to use as much of it as you can for maximum tax efficiency. After all, if you don't use it, you lose it!
Compare ISA's in our best buy charts
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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