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New ISA enters market

Entering the market this week with a competitively priced fixed rate ISA is Yorkshire Bank. From a minimum investment of £10, the Cash ISA Fixed Rate Bond Issue 51 pays 1.30% on maturity until 30 April 2020. The account can be opened in branch, over the phone or online, and then operated by the same channels except online.

Transfers in are accepted and further additions are allowed while the issue remains open. Withdrawals are not permitted, although the ISA can be closed early or transferred out to another provider subject to a sliding penalty scale of up to 180 days’ loss of interest, depending on the number of days left until maturity. A version paying an increased rate of 1.60% (Issue 52) is available for Yorkshire Bank or B current account holders, with both ISAs also available through Clydesdale Bank.

Market-leading ISA launched

Launching a new market-leading easy access ISA this week is Coventry Building Society. From a minimum deposit of just £1, Easy Access ISA (Online) pays 1.50% yearly, which is the top rate for an account with no opening restrictions in this sector. Deposits and transfers in are welcome, and transfers out can similarly be requested without penalty. There are no penalties for withdrawals either, and the ISA also has the benefit of flexible ISA status, which means money can be withdrawn and replaced in the same tax year without it counting any further towards the saver’s annual ISA allowance. This account must be opened and operated online.

Top rate cash ISA

Increasing rates on selected Internet Only Cash ISAs this week is Wesleyan Bank, which sees the two-year option paying the top rate for its term. Needing the full annual ISA allowance of £20,000 to open, the one-year version pays 1.76% yearly, while the two-year pays a market-leading 1.96%. Transfers into these online-only ISAs are accepted, however it should be noted that once open no further deposits can be made. Withdrawals and transfers out are allowed with the loss of up to 90 days’ interest.

New competitive easy access ISA

A new competitively priced easy access ISA was launched this week by Leeds Building Society. Double Access ISA pays a variable rate of 1.30% yearly from a minimum deposit of £5,000, with transfers in accepted and further additions allowed while the issue remains open. Transfers out can be made without penalty, although it should be noted that only two withdrawals are allowed per calendar year, with any further withdrawals subject to a 30-day loss of interest penalty. This account must be opened in branch but can then be operated online as well.

Looking for an Easy Access Cash ISA? See Latest Top Rates in left hand column
Savers Friend In Focus

Business Bonds

If you run a business and are looking for a home for your spare funds, many providers offer fixed rate bonds that are open to non-personal customers.

The top paying short-term business bond on the market this week is from BFC Bank. 12 Month Fixed Term Deposit Account 1 pays 2.50% on maturity from an opening balance of £10,000, although it should be noted that once open no further deposits can be made and there is no access to funds prior to maturity. The account, which is available to businesses with a maximum turnover of £50 million, must be opened by post but can then be operated by phone as well.

Bonds enter the charts

Extending its product range this week with the launch of two highly competitive medium-term bonds is PCF Bank. From a minimum deposit of £1,000, the 2 Year Term Deposit Issue 17 pays 2.26% yearly, while the 30-month version (Issue 10) pays 2.35% yearly. Both accounts permit further additions for 14 days from account opening, however there is no access to funds prior to maturity. The bonds can be opened by post or online and then operated by the same channels as well as over the phone.

Easy access rate review

Reviewing rates this week but remaining competitive in the easy access market is Cynergy Bank. Online Easy Access Account – Issue 22 pays 1.43% yearly from an opening deposit of just £1, however this rate includes a 0.43% bonus for 12 months, making a review essential when it expires. Further deposits can be made into this online-only account at any time and there are no restrictions on withdrawals, other than they must be made via a nominated account.

Cash ISA boost

Increasing rates across its range of cash ISAs this week is Kent Reliance. In the easy access ISA sector, Cash ISA – Easy Access – Issue 17 now pays 1.25% from a minimum deposit of just £1, which increases to 1.40% at £1,000, while its 60-day notice account (Issue 16) pays 1.45% yearly from a minimum of £1,000. Both accounts permit transfers in and further additions are permitted via cash, cheque, bank transfer or debit card, and there are no restrictions on withdrawals, with earlier access allowed on the notice ISA with the loss of 60 days’ interest.

At the same time, Kent Reliance also increased rates on its fixed rate cash ISAs, with its one-year deal (Issue 29) now paying 1.60% on maturity while its two-year (Issue 29) pays 1.90% yearly. Both accounts require a minimum deposit of £1,000, with further deposits and transfers in accepted. Earlier access to funds is allowed subject to a penalty of 180 days’ loss of interest, with the same penalty applying for those who wish to transfer the ISAs to another provider.

It should be noted that the withdrawal method on all products is dependent on how the account is opened – the accounts can be opened in branch, by post and online and managed by all these channels as well as by phone – and for those looking to supplement their income, all accounts offer a monthly option paying slightly reduced rates.

Market-leading short-term ISA

OakNorth increased the rate on its short-term ISA this week resulting in it becoming the market-leader in this sector. Fixed Rate Cash ISA now pays 1.78% monthly from a minimum deposit of £1,000, with transfers in from cash ISAs accepted and further deposits allowed for 30 days from account opening. This 12-month ISA permits withdrawals of at least £1,000, however this will result in the loss of 90 days’ interest, with the same penalty applying if savers wish to transfer the ISA to another provider. The account must be opened online but can then be operated by phone as well.

JISA rate rise

Increasing the rate on its junior cash ISA this week and becoming more competitive as a result is NS&I. Junior ISA pays 3.25% yearly from a minimum deposit of just £1 and is available to those aged up to 17. The account can be opened and operated online and there is no penalty to transfer out, while transfers in of both Junior ISAs and Child Trust Funds are welcome. The JISA has the added benefit of being back by HM Treasury, so 100% of funds are protected.

Bank and Building Society Reviews

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Rachel Thrussell

Ask Rachel

Working in the financial industry for over 30 years, Rachel Thrussell is the leading independent expert on UK savings products. Her views are constantly in demand from both the industry and the press.

My ISA is about to mature and I want to move it to a different provider. How do I go about it?

There’s been a lot of activity in the ISA market recently, which means there are plenty of options if you want to move your funds to a better account – but there’s a set transfer process that has to be followed if you want to retain the tax efficiency of your savings.

First of all, you’ll want to compare the options thoroughly. You can search through the latest top rates in our charts, but pay particular attention to whether your potential new account accepts transfers in, as not all of them do (you can filter your results by choosing the relevant feature in the “Transfers in allowed?” drop-down menu). Once you’ve found an account that’s right for you, all you have to do is open it and complete a short transfer form with your new provider. They’ll take care of everything else. NEVER just withdraw the money, close the account and then open a new one, as you’ll lose the tax advantages of your savings pot.

Get your savings questions answered by Rachel by emailing rachel@saversfriend.co.uk We regret we cannot answer emails personally

This week's
average rates

How do your savings compare?
No Notice 0.65%
Notice 1.12%
Cash ISA 1.31%
1 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.44%
2 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.63%
3 Year Fixed Rate Bond 1.88%
4 Year Fixed Rate Bond 2.16%
5 Year Fixed Rate Bond 2.17%
12 March 2019

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Easy access rates increase year-on-year

Easy access savings rates haven’t fared the best over the last few years, but happily it looks as though the tide is starting to turn, with the latest research from Moneyfacts.co.uk showing that rates on both easy access ISAs and standard savings accounts have been increasing year-on-year since 2017.

Intense competition between savings providers has been behind the boost, resulting in the best rates available rising significantly. For example, the highest yearly easy access account rate (based on a £1 deposit) has risen by 0.49% in the last two years, while the highest restriction-free easy access ISA rate is up by 0.45% over the same period.

The data shows that, in March 2017, the highest easy access interest rate with a £1 deposit was being offered by Virgin Money at 1.01%, while today the same provider is offering the highest rate of 1.50% yearly. With easy access ISAs, meanwhile, Paragon Bank was offering the highest rate in March 2017 at 1.05%, whereas today it is being offered by Coventry Building Society at a rate of 1.50%.

Easy access accounts can be ideal for those who aren’t sure how much they can save each month, and can be particularly suited to those looking to start or build an emergency fund. However, while building such a fund is a core part of financial planning, it seems that fewer people are able to do so, with figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that UK households’ saving ratio – the amount people are able to save based as a share of total disposable income – has almost halved since 2008, falling from 7% to 3.8%, and very few are happy with their current financial situation.

Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, noted that “the absence of any savings may be attributed to a struggle to save, such as with those on a low income. [However,] those savers who have little to no savings may want to start thinking about putting some cash aside to weather any financial storm, or they might end up caught out because of their lack of a nest egg.

“Generally speaking, a savings pot equivalent to between three and six months’ worth of expenses is a wise sum to have to hand to cover the essentials, and an easy access account is an ideal vehicle to choose for flexibility… those who can start to put some cash aside will find decent easy access accounts available.”

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