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Santander to close Help to Buy ISA applications early

Santander's Help to Buy ISAs will only be available to open until Thursday 28 November – two days before the official deadline.

Help to Buy ISAs can be a decent savings account option if you're a first-time buyer saving for a deposit, as the state will add 25% on top of what you save.

The official deadline for getting a Help to Buy ISA is 11.59pm on Saturday 30 November – it's a Government scheme, so banks can't open them for customers after this. Once opened, you can keep saving in it until 2029.

But Santander says any applications should be completed, and customers should have confirmation that their accounts have been opened, on or before Thursday 28 November.

Our current top pick Help to Buy ISA offers 2.58% AER interest, whereas Santander pays 2.25% AER if you have a Santander 123 account or you're a Santander Select customer, or 1.75% AER if not.

Barclays, Nationwide and NatWest, which offer the top-pick Help to Buy ISAs listed in our guide, say they don't plan to close applications until the official Saturday 30 November deadline.

If you're looking to open a Help to Buy ISA, you shouldn't wait right until the deadline anyway. Act now and use our Help to Buy ISA guide to find the best rates.

What is a Help to Buy ISA?

A Help to Buy ISA is a type of tax-free savings account, but its key benefit is that the state will add 25% on top of what you save (up to £3,000) when you buy your first home with the money you've saved.

The rules are:

  • You have to be 16 or over to get one.
  • You can only use your Help to Buy ISA to purchase a home worth a maximum of £250,000, or £450,000 in London.
  • You can't own or have ever owned an interest in a residential property, either inside or outside the UK, whether it was bought or inherited.
  • You need to have at least £1,600 saved to get the bonus (so you'd get £400 extra).
  • The maximum amount you'll get the bonus on is £12,000 (so a £3,000 bonus). If you have more than that, you can still use the ISA to save, you just won't get more than £3,000 on top.

See our Help to Buy ISAs guide for the full information, and see Help to Buy ISAs vs LISAs to check if a Lifetime ISA (which also offers a 25% bonus) is the better option for you.

Why is Santander closing its Help to Buy ISA early?

A Santander spokesperson said: "To ensure that we are able to effectively meet the needs of our customers, we will be accepting applications for the Santander Help to Buy ISA completed by Thursday 28 November."

The bank has said that the decision was partly made to ensure that customers will receive a consistent level of service online and in its branches – many of which are closed on Saturdays, which 30 November falls on.

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