Santander and Halifax raise cash Isa rates
Santander has raised the rate on its Direct Isa Saver 6 to 1.6%, putting it among the top easy-access cash Isas, available over the internet or telephone.
The very best internet deal comes from National Counties Building Society Online Cash Isa at a slightly higher 1.65%.
You can transfer your existing cash Isas into these accounts.
Nationwide's Easy Saver Isa, on sale through its branches and the internet, also pays 1.6%, but it does not accept transfers from other providers.
Halifax has also raised its rates for new savers, to 1.55% on its Isa Saver Online and 1.5% on its branch-based Isa Saver Variable. Both rates include a bonus for the first 12 months.
Other good deals include Nationwide's Isa Saver, with a rate of 1.5% with no bonus and transfers accepted.
On fixed rates, top deals for one year come from National Counties BS at 1.76% or Britannia, part of Co-op Bank, at 1.71% until April next year, while Halifax pays 2% for 18 months.
Nationwide, Halifax and Britannia pay 2.05% for two years, while with Coventry Building Society you can earn 2.75% fixed until November 2017.
On taxable accounts the top easy-access deal comes from West Bromwich WebSaver at 1.35% (1.08% after tax), with no bonus and no withdrawal restrictions.
Britannia pays a higher 1.5% (1.2%), but restricts you to four withdrawals a year. The top branch-based account offers with no withdrawal restrictions come from Leeds BS, Newcastle BS and Virgin Money at 1.25% (1%).
On fixed-rate deals internet bank Firstsave pays 1.9% (1.52%) for one year. At Britannia the rate is 1.71% (1.37%), while Metro Bank pays 1.7% (1.36%).
FirstSave pays 2.35% (1.88%) for two years and 2.6% (2.08%) for three years.
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.