More table-topping Cash Isas launched
With less than three weeks to go before the end of the tax year on 5 April, banks and building societies are launching cash Isa accounts.
Skipton Building Society's Bonus Isa Saver pays a top easy-access rate of 1.5% including a 0.5% bonus for 12 months.
Post Office Premier Isa also pays 1.5% including a 0.65 percentage point bonus for 18 months. Also at 1.5%, National Savings & Investments (NS&I) Direct Isa joins the leaders. There is no bonus but as with Skipton, you can't transfer your existing cash Isas into this account.
On fixed-rate cash Isas, Shawbrook Bank pays a top 1.65% for one year, and Virgin Money 1.6%. You can earn 2.1% from both Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks, but the account is only available through their branches. The next best deal is 1.95% from both Shawbrook Bank and Post Office.
On taxable accounts, Virgin Money has launched an easy-access account paying a top rate of 1.35% before tax (1.08% after tax) available over the internet or through its stores.
There is no initial bonus on the account so your rate won't plummet after the first year. But you are restricted to making three withdrawals each year. If you make more the rate drops to 0.75% (0.6%).
Coventry Building Society pays a slightly higher 1.4% (1.12%) and limits you to a more generous 12 withdrawals a year - but you have to run the account through the post.
The best deals on internet-based accounts with no bonus and no restrictions come from Charter Savings Bank, State Bank of India, Skipton Building Society and Kent Reliance, all at 1.25% (1%). In branches Kent Reliance pays 1.5% (1.2%) and Virgin Money 1.21% (0.97%).
On fixed-rate bonds, Charter Savings Bank pays 1.8% (1.44%) for one year, while the top rate for two years is Shawbrook Bank at 2.2% (1.76%).
Those aged 65 or over can do better with NS&I. It pays 2.8% (2.24%) for one year and a top 4% (3.2%) for three years. The maximum you can put into each bond is £10,000 and they are on sale until 15 May.
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.