Coventry and BM Savings offer top savings rates
The top easy-access accounts are the Coventry BS Online Saver 5, and BM Savings, part of Halifax, Online Reward 3.
Both pay 1.6% before tax (1.28% after tax), but limit savers to four free withdrawals a year. The BM Savings rate includes a 1.1 (0.88) percentage point bonus for the first 12 months.
The best deal with no restrictions comes from Sainsbury's Bank: its eSaver Special at 1.55% (1.25%).
On fixed-rate deals you can earn 2.03% (1.62%) for one year or 2.21% (1.77%) for two years from Britannia, part of Co-op Bank. For three years the top rate comes from ICICI Bank at 2.55% (2.04%).
On tax-free cash Isas the best easy-access deal comes from Tesco at 2%, but you can't transfer existing cash Isas into this account. The best deals for transfers are 1.75% from Virgin Money on £1, or 2% with BM Savings as long as you have a minimum £15,000.
Looking at fixed-rate cash Isas, Britannia pays 2% for a year or 2.25% for two years. The top three-year deal comes from Coventry Building Society at 2.35%.
This article was written for our sister website Money Observer
Invidivual Savings Accounts were introduced on 6 April 1999 to replace personal equity plans (PEPs) and tax-exempt special savings accounts (TESSAs) with one plan that covered both stockmarket and savings products, the returns from which are tax-exempt. The ISA is not in itself an investment product. Rather, it’s a tax-free “wrapper” in which you place investments and savings up to a specified annual allowance where the returns (capital growth, dividends, interest) are tax-exempt (you don’t have to declare ISAs and their contents on your tax return). However, any dividends are taxed within the investment, and that can’t be reclaimed.
This is a mutual organisation owned by its members and not by shareholders. These societies offer a range of financial services but have historically concentrated on taking deposits from savers and lending the money to borrowers as mortgages, hence the name. In the mid-1990s many societies “demutualised” and became banks. One academic study (Heffernan, 2003) found demutualised societies’ pricing on deposits and mortgages was more favourable to shareholders than to customers, with the remaining mutual building societies offering consistently better rates. In 1900, there were 2,286 building societies in the UK; in 2011, there are just 51.