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Top Cash ISAs 2018/19

1.35% easy access or 2.3% fixed

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Martin

Updated Daily

ISAs: They're a piece of cake

Everyone aged 16 and over can put a new £20,000 into a cash ISA – a savings account where you never pay tax on the interest. The best pay up to 2.3% and if you've opened one in previous tax years, you can open another and can also transfer your old ISA to the new one.

ISA Countdown

If you don't use it, you lose it.

What is a Cash ISA? Plus 5 need-to-knows

Cash ISAs are just savings accounts you NEVER pay tax on. Everyone in the UK aged 16 or over gets an ISA allowance at the start of each tax year - for 2018/19 it's £20,000.

Just like normal savings, cash ISAs come in different flavours – there's easy access (where you can withdraw money whenever you want), fixed rate (where you get a guaranteed rate, but are supposed to lock cash in for a set time) and a variety of other types.

Quick questions

What happens to the allowance if I haven't used it by the end of the tax year?

Can I make withdrawals?

How many ISAs can you have?

Can I split between a fixed and easy-access ISA (or regular saver ISA)?

Is my money safe in an ISA?

  • All savings are now paid tax-free, so consider if a cash ISA is worth it for you

  • Cash ISAs can be flexible – letting you replace withdrawn cash

  • If you're a wannabe first-time buyer, consider a Help to Buy ISA or Lifetime ISA instead

  • Cash in an ISA stays tax-free YEAR AFTER YEAR

  • Check rates on old ISAs, as many are pitiful

Best easy-access cash ISAs

Easy-access cash ISAs mean you can take out your money when you want, without penalty. However, there are fixed rates that offer some access so don't plump for an easy access unless you know you need to be able to withdraw the money within the first year.

Charter Savings

Top rate but limited access to your cash

Virgin Money 1.35% AER

The Double Take E-ISA from Virgin Money pays 1.35% and you can save from £1. While it offers the top rate, the account isn't for everyone as you can only make two withdrawals per calendar year.

If you do make two withdrawals and wish to make another, the only way to access your cash is by closing the account or transferring out to another ISA.

1.35,1
Need-to-knows
  • This ISA is not flexible so any money you take out of it and replace will count again towards your annual ISA allowance. For more on flexible ISAs see our need-to-know.

  • There's no bonus on the account so you need to watch in case the rate drops. If it does, transfer out to a better paying ISA.
  • Virgin Money has the full £85,000 UK savings safety guarantee.
SUMMARY:

Rate: 1.35% AER variable | Min deposit: £1 | Access: Online | Interest paid: Annually or monthly | Allows previous ISA transfers: Yes | Flexible: No

Charter Savings

Decent rate if you've £1,000+

Shawbrook Bank 1.3% AER

The Easy Access Cash ISA from Shawbrook Bank pays 1.3% so is a good option for those looking for an easy-access account.

Do be aware that if your balance falls below £1,000 you'll receive just 0.25% interest.

1.3,1000
Need-to-knows
  • You can make unlimited penalty-free withdrawals from the account.

  • There's no bonus on the account so you need to watch in case the rate drops. If it does, transfer out to a better paying ISA.
  • This ISA is not flexible so any money you take out of it and replace will count again towards your annual ISA allowance. For more on flexible ISAs see our need-to-know.
  • Shawbrook Bank has the full £85,000 UK savings safety guarantee.
SUMMARY:

Rate: 1.3% AER variable | Min deposit: £1,000 (for top rate) | Access: Online/ phone | Interest paid: Annually or monthly | Allows previous ISA transfers: Yes | Flexible: No

Quick question (show allhide all)

My building society or bank has a better rate than accounts here. Why isn't it featured?

Best fixed-rate cash ISAs

Fixed-rate savings are designed to lock money away for a set period. But by law, cash ISA providers MUST allow you access to your money, whenever you want it, though most will levy heavy penalties to do so.

For a slightly larger choice of accounts, please see Fixed ISA Transfers.

Top fixed-rate ISAs:
Effective rate withdrawing after (1)
Provider Rate (AER) Fixed Term Transfer allowed? Interest paid Penalty to withdraw 1yr 2yr 3yr 4yr 5yr
Top fixed ISAs (all allow early access/closure)
Paragon Bank
wesleyan
1.55% (min £500) One Year Yes Annually or monthly 90 days' interest 1.55% - - - -
Shawbrook Bank
Halifax
1.75% (min £5,000) Two Years Yes Annually or monthly 180 days' interest 0.89% 1.75% - --
Paragon Bank
Leeds BS
1.86% (min £500) Three Years Yes Annually or monthly 270 days' interest 0.49% 1.17% 1.86% --
Coventry BS
coventry
2.3% (min £1) Five Years Yes Annually 180 days' interest 1.17% 1.73% 1.92% 2.02% 2.3%
(1) The effective rate will be slightly less if you add more than one lump sum but the accounts will be in roughly the same order as keeping the same amount in there.

Best ethical cash ISAs

Ethical savings accounts – where providers behave ethically in terms of the environment, human rights and more – have jumped in popularity. Our main focus always is telling you the top savings rates, but to match demand we've worked with Ethical Consumer to list the top-paying accounts that also rate highly on their ethics.

ethical consumer savings scale

Ethical easy access savings – earn up to 1.25%

ALL THE ACCOUNTS BELOW HAVE THE FULL £85,000 UK GUARANTEE

Coventry BS 1.25% AER – Unlimited withdrawals

Ethical Rating 13.5/20

The Easy Access Coventry BS ISA pays 1.25% and you can open it with £1. Plus, it's a flexible ISA, meaning you can replace anything that you take out in the same tax year, without affect your annuual limit. Coventry BS has the full £85,000 savings guarantee.

Ethical fixed savings – earn up to 2.3%

ALL THE ACCOUNTS BELOW HAVE THE FULL £85,000 UK GUARANTEE

Coventry BS 2.3% AER fixed for five years - allows transfers in

Ethical Rating 13.5/20

The Coventry BS fixed-rate ISA pays 2.3% AER and is fixed for five years. The account can be opened online, over the phone, by post or in branch.

Leeds BS 1.61% AER fixed for two years – allows transfers in

Ethical Rating 14/20

The two-year fixed-rate cash ISA from Leeds BS pays 1.61% AER from £100, plus you can transfer in previous years' ISAs. The account can be opened online, by post or in branch.

ISA Countdown

If you don't use it, you lose it.

How to compare the top Cash ISA rates

Fixed rate deals can change regularly. For a full list of fixed rate ISAs, use the MoneySupermarket* comparison (select cash ISAs and then bonds) or Moneyfacts. Though remember, they're just a simple list of top rates, so ensure you check for the possible pitfalls noted in this article.

The ISA savings calculator

When using the calculator below, use the AER (annual equivalent rate) for increased accuracy. It should be listed on your statement. Obviously as most accounts' interest rates are variable, the answers will change if the rate does, so only use the calculator to get a rough indication of your likely outcome.

The Cash ISA Calculator Pick your question

&

Please enter a valid current balance.

Please enter a valid monthly deposit.

Please enter a valid interest rate.

Please enter a valid number of years.

Your result

After saving {{ps.result.originalMonthlyDeposit | currency:'£':(ps.result.originalMonthlyDeposit % 1 > 0 ? 2 : 0)}} a month for {{ps.result.originalYears || 0 | addYearsLabel}} and {{ps.result.originalMonths| addMonthsLabel}},
you will have {{ps.result.totalSavings | currency:'£':(ps.result.totalSavings % 1 > 0 ? 2 : 0)}} in savings.

As you'll be saving more than {{ps.isaLimit | currency:'£':(ps.isaLimit % 1 > 0 ? 2 : 0)}} per year, we are assuming other family members will be using their ISA allowances to help you achieve this!

Please enter a valid target.

Please enter a valid current balance.

Please enter a valid monthly deposit.

Please enter a valid interest rate.

Your result

To save up {{tts.result.originalTarget | currency:'£':(tts.result.originalTarget % 1 > 0 ? 2 : 0)}}, by saving {{tts.result.originalMonthlyDeposit | currency:'£':(tts.result.originalMonthlyDeposit % 1 > 0 ? 2 : 0)}} a month,
it will take you {{tts.result.timeToSave | addYearsMonthsLabel}}.

As you'll be saving more than {{tts.isaLimit | currency:'£':(tts.isaLimit % 1 > 0 ? 2 : 0)}} per year, we are assuming other family members will be using their ISA allowances to help you achieve this!

Well done, you already have {{tts.result.originalTarget | currency:'£':(tts.result.originalTarget % 1 > 0 ? 2 : 0)}} in savings.

&

Please enter a valid target.

Please enter a valid current balance.

Please enter a valid interest rate.

Please enter a valid number of years.

Your result

To have {{cmd.result.originalTarget | currency:'£':(cmd.result.originalTarget % 1 > 0 ? 2 : 0)}} in savings after {{cmd.result.originalYears || 0 | addYearsLabel}} and {{cmd.result.originalMonths| addMonthsLabel}},
you should save {{cmd.result.monthlyCalculation | currency:'£':(cmd.result.monthlyCalculation % 1 > 0 ? 2 : 0)}} a month.

As you'll be saving more than {{cmd.isaLimit | currency:'£':(cmd.isaLimit % 1 > 0 ? 2 : 0)}} per year, we are assuming other family members will be using their ISA allowances to help you achieve this!

Well done, you already have {{cmd.result.originalTarget | currency:'£':(cmd.result.originalTarget % 1 > 0 ? 2 : 0)}} in savings.

The calculator assumes you put money in at the beginning of each month, so if this isn't how you do it, the answers will be ever-so-slightly out. If you don't make regular deposits but put in lump sums, figure out the monthly equivalent for a rough answer. Feel free to play with the results to see how your savings are affected.

Want to complain about your savings provider?

If your savings provider has given you the incorrect interest rate, or you haven't received your interest at all, then you don't have to suffer in silence. It's always worth trying to call your provider first to see if it can help, but if not...

Resolver Info Box

This tool helps you draft your complaint and manage it too. It's totally free, and offered by a firm called Resolver, which we like so much we work with it to help people get complaints justice.

If the complaint isn't resolved, you can use Resolver to escalate it to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.

ISA FAQs

Here's a list of the most common queries. If you've got a question we've not answered below, in the text above or in Martin's ISA video below, suggest a question in the forum.

Moving your ISA

  • I've got several ISAs from previous years – can I put them all into one?

  • If I open and pay in to an ISA in the current tax year, then the rate drops, can I move it?

  • Can I transfer my ISA to someone else?


  • Using and accessing your ISA

  • Can I open a joint ISA with my partner?

  • What happens to a cash ISA if the holder has passed away?

  • Will I get any interest if I haven't had money in the account for a full year?

  • If I take money out of my ISA, do I then pay tax on it at my usual rate?

  • Should I use my ISA allowance for cash or stocks & shares?


  • Alternatives to ISAs

  • Is it even worth saving in an ISA as rates are so low?

  • Should I offset my mortgage instead of putting cash into an ISA?

  • Should non-taxpayers bother with ISAs when it makes no difference?

  • If £1,000 or £500 in interest are tax-free in savings anyway, is there any point in an ISA?

  • Cash ISAs vs premium bonds – what's best?

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