Savings update: take advantage of two new top-paying accounts
Both Virgin Money and Shawbrook Bank have launched easy-access accounts with leading rates.
The Virgin Money Defined Access account issue 6 pays 1.26% before tax (1.01% after tax) and is available through branches, by post or online. It limits the number of withdrawals you can make each year to just three. If you make any more the rate drops to 0.5% (0.4%).
The online Shawbrook Easy Access 5 pays 1.25% (1%) with no withdrawal restrictions.
The top easy-access deal is 1.45% (1.16% after) from French-owned online bank RCI followed by Coventry Building Society at 1.3% (1.04%). The Coventry deal is on offer online, in its branches and through the post. Neither have withdrawal restrictions.
Fixed rate deals and cash Isas
On fixed-rate deals the best one-year rate comes from Swedish-owned Ikano Bank at 1.75% (1.4%) - although iPad and iPhone users can sign up for the 2% (1.6%) on offer from the new Atom Bank. Close Brothers pays 1.7% (1.36%).
For two years Ikano Bank pays 2% (1.6%), Atom 2.2% (1.76%) and Close Brothers 1.95% (1.56%).
On cash Isas M&S Bank pays a top 1.4% tax-free fixed for one year. Both M&S and Coventry offer a slightly higher 1.5% if you are prepared to tie your money up for two years.
The top easy-access cash Isa deal is 1.4% with the Coventry but you can't transfer your existing cash Isas into this account.
Yorkshire Building Society at 1.35% and Virgin Money at 1.31% both accept transfers but they limit the number of withdrawals you can make from your account each year. Sainsbury's Bank and M&S Bank both pay 1.3% and accept transfers.
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.