Barclays has launched the top-paying easy access cash Isa for the mass market as the battle for your money intensifies.

The bank will pay a variable 3.25% for a year in its Golden Isa (issue 3). If the Bank of England base rate moves up or down, the return will also move in line.

Many economists expect base rate to rise this year (see the Cash Isas guide).

However, the guarantee to track base rate ends on 1 March 2012. In addition, the rate paid includes a bonus of 1% so whatever the return in a year, it will drop by 1%.

Another catch is the account does not accept transfers from old Isas.

Barclays, which regularly launches best-buy Isas during the end-of-tax-year Isa season, was beset by huge customer service problems on its 2007 and 2008 issues but improved during 2009 and 2010.

You can deposit up to £5,100 in a cash Isa during the present tax year (which ends on 5 April) and up to £5,340 in the next tax year.

Santander offers a higher 3.3% easy access rate but only for some existing customers, and 3.15% for everyone else. These accounts track base rate but do not allow transfers in.

Halifax pays 3% standard (3.2% for some existing customers) with easy access but it DOES allow transfers in.

Further reading/Key links

Top deals: Cash Isas, Isa Transfers, Full Isa Guide