Top cash ISAs 2024/25

Up to 5.2% easy access or up to 4.89% fixed

A cash ISA is just a savings account where you'll never pay tax on the interest – and in the 2024/25 tax year, you can put up to £20,000 into one or more if you're 18 or over. This guide helps you decide if you need an ISA, plus has all the top picks.

Other MSE savings guides...

Top savings accounts: The top-paying normal savings
Regular savings: Up to 7.5% interest if you can save monthly
Children's savings: Earn 5.8% on kids' savings
Current accounts: Get up to 5.12% on smaller sums

What is a cash ISA?

ISA

Cash ISAs are just savings accounts you NEVER pay tax on. Everyone in the UK aged 18 or over gets an ISA allowance at the start of each tax year – for 2024/25, which ends on 5 April 2025, it's £20,000.

Just like normal savings, cash ISAs come in different types. There's easy access, where you withdraw whenever you want, and fixed rate, where you get a guaranteed rate but are supposed to lock cash in for a set time.

Who are ISAs best for?

Since 2016, the personal savings allowance (PSA) means you get a tax-free amount of interest, earnable in any savings...

  • Basic 20% rate taxpayers can earn up to £1,000/year interest tax-free
  • Higher (40%) rate taxpayers can earn £500/year tax-free
  • Top (45%) rate taxpayers don't get a PSA

Remember, that's the interest you can earn, so you need a lot of savings to generate it. And with very low savings interest rates between 2016 and 2022, very few paid tax on savings interest. At one point, you needed around £250,000 in top easy-access savings to generate it.

But, now rates have risen, basic rate taxpayers only need around £20,000 in normal savings to pay tax on it, and higher-rate around £10,000...

If you don't have this much, then as cash ISAs usually pay less interest than normal savings, you should opt for a standard savings account. Those who should consider opening (or keeping) a cash ISA are those who:

  • Already pay tax on savings interest. Here opening a cash ISA rather than saving in normal savings is a no brainer.

  • Are near the limit where you'll earn enough interest to pay tax on interest. If that's the case, money in cash ISAs now could protect you from future tax.

  • Are happy to lock cash away but may just need to access it. Fixed cash ISAs must let you withdraw money (for a big interest penalty). Normal savings accounts lock your money away with no access.

Might I still be better off in normal savings even if I pay tax?

Some simple maths can help you compare. Take the rate on the ISA you're looking at and multiply it by:

- 1.25 if you're a basic-rate taxpayer
- 1.66 if you're higher-rate taxpayer
- 1.82 if you're a top-rate taxpayer

The result of that sum is the rate you need to get on normal savings for it to be the winner. If normal savings don't pay more than that, then you're better off in the cash ISA.

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Cash ISA need-to-knows

To help you work out if opening a cash ISA is right for you, it's worth getting your head around the following need-to-knows...

  • Many old ISAs now pay appalling rates, so check yours now. If they don't come close to the current top picks, you can transfer to boost them, but you must do it correctly. Consolidating new and old cash ISAs into one new shiny ISA makes it much easier to transfer again in future. You can also transfer an ISA without paying any new money in.

    We note in all our top picks below whether an ISA allows transfers into it.

    How to transfer an ISA

    Transferring an old ISA is a technical process – it's not just like switching a normal savings account. Yet as long as you abide by the golden ISA transfers rule, it should go smoothly.

    If you want to transfer, never withdraw money from a cash ISA! You'll immediately lose all the lasting tax benefits.

    Instead, speak to the new provider and fill in an ISA transfer form. Your new provider should then sort it all out, including moving the money over for you – keeping your ISA cash permanently tax-free.

    The banks have agreed to a guideline of 15 working days for the transfer to take place, so you should begin to receive interest within this time. If it goes much over 15 working days, it's worth complaining to the ISA provider to see if it can speed it up, or at least compensate you if the delay means you lose a decent chunk of interest.

    Can I transfer more than one old ISA into a new one?

    Consolidating all your old ISAs into one is allowed, and often a good way of upping the rate on your whole wodge of ISA cash, because providers regularly slice rates on the money you've saved in previous years.

    To do this, just tell the new provider you want to transfer in from multiple old ISAs. However, watch that it doesn't push your combined savings with one financial institution over £85,000, as then you'd no longer be within the UK's savings safety limit (read Are your savings safe?).

    Is there any reason not to transfer?

    You may be charged a penalty by your current provider for transferring out. This is not common these days (except on fixed ISAs if you leave during the term), but always check, especially if your accounts are old.

    A small penalty such as 30 days' lost interest isn't such a big issue, but a higher fee essentially locks you in, as the gain from switching is gazumped by the transfer charge. If your ISA has a penalty for leaving, work out whether you'll be better off by switching to the better interest rate.

    Can I transfer my ISA to somebody else?

    No, unfortunately not. You can withdraw the cash and give it to someone else but once money is taken out of an ISA, it loses its tax-free status – unless interest is then covered by your (or their) personal savings allowance. You also can't open a joint ISA with somebody else – ISA stands for 'individual savings account'. You get one ISA allowance each and that's it.

    Can I transfer a stocks & shares ISA into a cash ISA?

    This depends on the provider. Most providers allow you to transfer stocks & shares ISAs into cash ISAs and vice versa, however some only allow transfers in from other cash ISAs. So it's worth checking with the provider before you open the account.

    Can I do a partial ISA transfer?

    Yes, you can transfer all or part of an ISA deposit to a new ISA provider at any time. This can be current tax year subscriptions or money from past years. Following changes to the ISA rules on 6 April 2024, you can now do a partial transfer of current year subscriptions, as well as a full transfer. 

     

  • Some cash ISAs are flexible meaning you can replace cash withdrawn from them in the same tax year without it using up your year's ISA limit.

    In practice, this means that if you had £1,000 in a flexible cash ISA you could withdraw £500 and replenish it later in the tax year without affecting your ISA limit.

    Just note that you must replace the money in the same flexible ISA for it not to count towards your £20,000 allowance. 

    A £500 withdrawal from a non-flexible ISA would reduce your annual ISA limit even if you later deposited £500 back into the account. 

    We note in our top picks below whether or not the ISAs are flexible – for full info on the flexibility, see Flexible ISAs.

  • The Lifetime ISA (LISA) launched on 6 April 2017 and offers a 25% state bonus on your savings, if you use them towards buying a first home or for retirement. You can only open one if you're aged between 18 and 39.

    You can save a maximum of £4,000 a year into a LISA and use the bonus to buy property worth up to £450,000. However, access your money for anything other than purchasing a first home or for retirement aged 60+ and you'll pay a 25% withdrawal penalty. You can open LISAs and cash ISAs in the same tax year. Full info is in our Lifetime ISA guide.

  • Cash in an ISA stays tax-free as long as it's in there. The aim's to protect more of your money which is why we nag you about using the full ISA allowance if you can.

    If you miss a year now, you might regret it five years later. If you've big savings, you can gradually protect more and more of your cash. Those who started saving when ISAs were first introduced in 1999 could now be sitting on a good tax-free lump sum (up to £241,520 plus interest when using the 2023/24 allowance).

  • Each tax year (6 April until the next 5 April), everyone aged 18 or over gets a new ISA allowance. But if you don't use it, you lose it.

    Once that year's closed, you can't put another penny in that specific ISA allowance. So if you put aside nothing in the 2023/24 tax year, when the maximum was £20,000, that's it – it's gone. Or if you put £2,000 in during 2023/24, you can't now top it up as that tax year is closed.

    If you do deposit the cash in time, you can keep it in there, tax-free, for as long as you like. Then, as soon as the new tax year starts on 6 April, you can deposit a whole new year's allowance.

  • You can now open and/or be subscribed to (pay into) multiple cash ISAs in any tax year – so you could open both a fixed cash ISA and easy-access cash ISA (for example) in the same tax year with different providers. Just note that the total paid in per tax year across all ISAs mustn't exceed the £20,000 ISA allowance.

    You can also split your £20,000 ISA allowance across different ISA types. You could add £3,000 into a stocks and shares ISA, £4,000 into a Lifetime ISA and £13,000 into one ore more cash ISAs all in the same tax year.

  • ISA savings safety works the same as normal savings. So provided your money is in a UK-regulated bank or building society account, it's protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Its golden rule counts for cash ISAs too...

    The first £85,000 per person, per financial institution is guaranteed.

    While that sounds simple, the exact rules are more complex – not every bank in the UK is UK-regulated and there are complicated rules involving how different banks are registered and what counts as a 'financial institution'. For full info about the rules, see our detailed Are your savings safe? guide.

    How to maximise safety

    If you've more than £85,000 of savings (including cash ISAs and others) in one bank, then, in the unlikely event it went bust, only the first £85,000 is fully guaranteed. So for total peace of mind, don't put more than this in any one institution. Spread it around instead.

    The cash ISAs we include in this guide are all from banks protected by the UK's Financial Services Compensation Scheme. 

Top easy-access cash ISAs

Easy-access cash ISAs let you take out your money when you want, without penalty – so are a good option if you know you'll be dipping into your savings, or you're not sure. The issue is, the bank can change the rate of interest at any time. If you're unlikely to need access in the short term, consider a fixed-rate ISA. Though these don't currently pay more, the interest rate is fixed for an agreed period and you can still withdraw (for a fee).

Easy-access cash ISAs – what we'd go for

Unusually, top easy-access ISAs currently pay more than top easy-access savings accounts – so even if you don't need the tax benefits of an ISA, you may want to opt for one anyway in order to get higher rates.

Top online accounts with unlimited withdrawals. Top rate comes from investment platform Trading 212, which pays 5.2% and can be opened online or via app with £1 (more info if you click the link). It normally allows you to transfer cash from existing ISAs in, though there's so much demand currently it's pausing that (but you can open it now, and transfer across to it later).

Top app-based accounts, with some important caveats. Plum pays the top rate of 5.17%, though the rate drops after a year. You also can't get this top rate if you transfer in from an existing ISA, and you can only make three penalty-free withdrawals a year.

If you know you'll need more access to your savings, Chip pays 5.1% with no restrictions on how much you can withdraw, though, again, you can't transfer in from an existing ISA. These accounts work slightly differently to others, click the links to see full explainers.

Zopa pays 5.08% and does allow you to transfer in, however you have to open another account first and the rate drops by 0.5% after a year.

Prefer an established name? Marcus (by Goldman Sachs) offers a lower rate of 4.55% and can be opened online. However, the rate falls significantly after a year.

Provider Rate (AER variable) & any withdrawal restrictions Flexible? How to open & any transfer limitations When can I access interest?
Top rates for online accounts with unlimited withdrawals. Though some rates can be beaten below. 

Trading 212

(min £1)

5.2% Yes Online/ app (transfer ins currently paused) Daily
Charter Savings Bank
(min £5,000)
4.97% No Online Monthly or annually
Kent Reliance
(min £1,000)
4.86% No Online/ branch Monthly or annually
Top rates for online accounts with restricted withdrawals. If you'll need less access to your cash.

West Brom BS

(min £1, matures 31 Aug 25)

5%

(max two penalty-free withdrawals, rate drops to 2.7% from third onwards)

No Online Monthly or annually

Paragon Bank

(min £1,000)

4.95%

(max two penalty-free withdrawals, rate drops to 1.5% from third onwards)

Yes Online Monthly or annually
Boost your interest with an app-based account, with some caveats. Click the links for more info.

Plum

(min £100) (1)

 

5.17%, but a lower 4.29% if transferring in existing ISA

(rate drops to 4.29% after 12 months, max three penalty-free withdrawals per year, rate drops to 3% from fourth onwards)

No App, rate of 4.29% interest on transfers in  Monthly

Chip

(no min)

 

5.1% Yes App, no transfers in Monthly

Zopa

(must open its Smart Saver first)

5.08%

(rate drops to 4.58% after 12 months)

Yes Mobile app Monthly
Top rate from an established name. As we know some prefer to save with bigger brands. 

Marcus (by Goldman Sachs)

(min £1) (2)

4.55%

(rate drops to 4.04%% after 12 months)

No Online, no transfers in Monthly

All have Financial Services Compensation Scheme savings protection of up to £85,000. (1) Savings deposited in Plum's cash ISA are held in with Citibank, which is FSCS protected. (2) Marcus shares FSCS protection with Goldman Sachs International Bank and Saga.

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

    MoneySavingExpert.com is a national website serving England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. So we try to feature accounts open to everyone, which means you need to be able to open them online, by phone or by post.

    Branch-based accounts are more difficult, as unless the account is offered by one of the big banks it's unlikely that everyone will be able to reach a branch. For example, someone in Carlisle couldn't access branch-based accounts offered by Suffolk Building Society as there isn't one close by.

    It's always worth looking at local building societies and banks as they can occasionally have a corking branch-based account. But because we're a nationwide site, we can't feature them all.

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Top fixed-rate cash ISAs

Fixed-rate savings are designed to lock money away for a set period and offer rate security in return. Yet by law, cash ISA providers MUST allow you to access your money. However, some require you to close the account or transfer out to get your cash. And most will levy heavy penalties on withdrawals – anywhere between 60 and 365 days' worth of interest.

If you're opening a fixed cash ISA, you'll usually need to put the amount you're saving in it within two-to-four weeks, though it varies across providers and sometimes they give you longer. So if you want to use up your annual £20,000 ISA allowance each year, you'll need an easy-access ISA or to open additional fixed accounts each tax year.

Already have a fixed-rate ISA? Rates have shot up recently, and, since ISAs let you withdraw early for an interest penalty, it may be better to switch. Use our ISA switching calc to check.

Fixed-rate cash ISAs – what we'd go for

Currently, one- and two-year fixed rates are decently higher than three- and five-year rates – so there's little incentive to lock in for longer, unless you want absolute certainty of returns over a longer period. And remember, if you don't need the tax benefits of an ISA, normal savings pay higher rates.

Shawbrook Bank currently offers the top rate for one-year fixes at 4.89% (min £1,000), while OakNorth Bank offers the top rate for two-year fixes at 4.65% (min £1).

If you want a longer fix, Principality BS pays the top rate for three- and five-year fixes at 4.5% and 4.17%, respectively (both min £500). 

Prefer an established name? Top rates here come from Co-op Bank at 4.62% for one year (min £5,000, or £1 if transferring in existing ISA) and TSB at 4.35% for two years (min £1). 

Top one-year fixed ISAs

Provider Rate – AER (min deposit) Transfer in allowed Penalty to withdraw? How to open? When can I access interest?
Shawbrook Bank

4.89%

(min £1,000)

Yes, at application 90 days' interest Online Monthly or at maturity
Castle Trust Bank

4.87%

(min £1,000)

Yes 90 days' interest Online At maturity
OakNorth Bank

4.84%

(min £1)

Yes 90 days' interest Online/ app At maturity
Top rates from established names. As we know some prefer to save with bigger brands.
Co-op Bank

4.62%

(min £5,000, or £1 if transferring in)

Yes 180 days' interest Online/ post/ branch At maturity

Virgin Money

(matures 24 June 2025) (1)

4.61%

(min £1)

Yes 60 days' interest Online Monthly or at maturity
Bank with Virgin Money? Boost your interest if you have (or get) one of its current accounts. 

Virgin Money

(current account customers only) (1)

5.05%

(no min)

Yes 60 days' interest Online/ branch At maturity

All have Financial Services Compensation Scheme savings protection of up to £85,000. (1) Virgin Money shares FSCS protection with Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank.

Top two-year fixed ISAs

Provider Rate – AER (min deposit) Transfer in allowed Penalty to withdraw? How to open? When can I access interest?
OakNorth Bank

4.65%

(min £1)

Yes 180 days' interest Online/ app At maturity

Secure Trust Bank

(matures 9 Jul 26)

4.65%

(min £1,000)

Yes, at application 180 days' interest Online Annually or at maturity
Shawbrook Bank

4.64%

(min £1,000)

Yes, at application 180 days' interest Online Monthly, annually or at maturity
Top rate from an established name. As we know some prefer to save with bigger brands. 
TSB

4.35%

(min £1)

Yes 180 days' interest Online/ branch Annually or at maturity
Co-op Bank

4.21%

(min £5,000, or £1 if transferring in)

Yes 180 days' interest Online/ post/ branch Annually or at maturity

All have Financial Services Compensation Scheme savings protection of up to £85,000.

Top three-year fixed ISAs

Provider Rate – AER (min deposit) Transfer in allowed Penalty to withdraw? How to open? When can I access interest?
Principality BS

4.5%

(min £500)

Yes 270 days' interest Online/ branch Monthly, annually or at maturity
Shawbrook Bank

4.48%

(min £1,000)

Yes, at application 270 days' interest Online Monthly, annually or at maturity
United Trust Bank

4.48%

(min £5,000)

Yes Varies (1) Online Annually or at maturity
Top rate from an established name. As we know some prefer to save with bigger brands.
TSB

4.1%

(min £1)

Yes 270 days' interest Online/ branch Annually or at maturity

All have Financial Services Compensation Scheme savings protection of up to £85,000. (1) Penalty depends on the number of days remaining when you withdraw – full details are in the yellow box on page five of the terms and conditions.

Top five-year fixed ISAs

Provider Rate – AER (min deposit) Transfer in allowed Penalty to withdraw? How to open? When can I access interest?
Principality BS

4.17%

(min £500)

Yes 360 days' interest Online/ branch Monthly, annually or at maturity
United Trust Bank

4.15%

(min £5,000)

Yes Varies (1) Online Annually or at maturity
Shawbrook Bank

4.14%

(min £1,000)

Yes, at application 360 days' interest Online Monthly, annually or at maturity
Top rate from an established name. As we know some prefer to save with bigger brands.
Halifax

3.8%

(min £500)

Yes 365 days' interest Online/ app/ phone/ branch Monthly, annually or at maturity

All have Financial Services Compensation Scheme savings protection of up to £85,000. (1) Penalty depends on the number of days remaining when you withdraw – full details are in the yellow box on page five of the terms and conditions.

The ISA Savings Calculator

No matter what you're saving for, this calculator can help you work out how much you'll save by a certain date, based on your account's interest rate, how long it'll take you to set aside your target amount, and what you need to put away each month to hit a certain figure. 

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

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, you can use free complaints tool Resolver. The tool helps you manage your complaint, and if the company doesn't play ball, it also helps you escalate your complaint to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.

Cash ISA FAQs

Here are some common ISA-related queries. If you've got a question we've not answered below or in the text above, suggest a question in the MSE Forum.

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

    Yes, and you should. You can transfer ISA cash any time, whether that's in full or only part of your balance. It doesn't matter if this is current tax-free subscription or cash from ISAs opened in past years.

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

    If you're married or in a civil partnership, if your partner dies you can inherit a one-off extra ISA allowance on top of the annual £20,000, up to the total amount they had saved in ISAs. These are known as 'additional permitted subscriptions' (APS).

    You have a few choices. You can simply keep the ISA with the same provider, move it to a different provider that accepts APS (not all do), or the ISA goes to someone else but you get the extra allowance. To claim your allowance, you'll need to give your partner's full name, address, date of birth and date of death, your marriage/civil partnership certificate and their national insurance number if you know it. Some providers may also require a copy of their death certificate.

    The allowance you'll inherit will depend on when your partner died:

    • Before 6 April 2018. You'll inherit an allowance equivalent to the total value of your partner's ISAs at the date of death.
    • On or after 6 April 2018. You'll inherit an allowance equivalent to the total value of the ISAs once their estate is settled, when their ISAs are closed, or at the third anniversary of their death, whichever is earliest – so any growth in value will be taken into account.

    The inherited allowance is available to make use of for three years after your partner has passed away, or 180 days after the completion of their estate, whichever is later.

    Note that inheriting the allowance is not the same as inheriting the cash in the ISA – your partner could, for example, leave some or all of their ISA money to someone else. You'd still get the extra allowance, but would have to fund it with your own savings.

    If you're not married or in a civil partnership, you won't inherit any extra allowance.

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

    This is all about whether you gain more from putting savings into an ISA or using your ISA allowance for investing.

    The gain from putting cash into an ISA is simple – you never get taxed on the interest. But with investing, whether you actually gain from putting it in an ISA depends on your circumstances.

    Are you comfortable with an element of risk? If you invest in a cash ISA, you know that the interest rate you're given is the one you'll get. The nature of stocks & shares ISAs means that you don't have the same guarantee – there's ALWAYS risk involved when investing, as the value of your investments can go down as well as up, depending on how well your funds, bonds and shares do.

    Are you eligible for capital gains? Stocks & shares ISAs exempt you from capital gains tax (a tax on profits that you only pay when you sell an asset, such as your investments). Yet for 2024/25, you can make £3,000 a year of profits before being hit by this tax, so this protection only helps those who are selling sizeable assets within one tax year – otherwise it's irrelevant.

    Will you put money into bonds? If you're investing in bonds such as corporate bonds or gilts (government bonds), you get the income without it being taxed. For other bonds, a stocks & shares ISA will shelter the income from tax.

    Will you get an income? If you receive an income from dividends, you pay no tax on the first £500 earned. Anything over that is taxed at 8.75% for basic, 33.75% for higher, and a whopping 39.38% for additional-rate taxpayers. Within a stocks & shares ISA, you pay no tax on dividend income, regardless of your tax status. So if you earn more than your allowance, it can represent a significant saving.

    If you pay tax on savings interest, you'd need to do a comparison between the amount of tax you'd get charged on savings outside a cash ISA and the amount of tax on any investments held outside a stocks & shares ISA. If you're unsure, you could always stick to the previous ISA situation where you could only split your allowance between cash and investments 50/50.

    Small investors who won't use their capital gains and are putting cash in shares investments will gain more using their cash ISAs to the limit, then putting the rest in shares. Big investors, especially those putting money in bonds, should max out their stocks & shares ISAs. Read our Stocks & shares ISA guide for more information.

  • Can I swap between stocks & shares, innovative finance and cash ISAs?

    Yes, you can – and vice versa.

    You can transfer your money to a cash ISA from a stocks & shares ISA and back again as many times as you like, giving you more flexibility in managing your tax-free savings. This is also the case for innovative finance ISAs, providing it allows you access to your cash – the higher rates are for longer fixed terms.

    Check that your intended provider accepts transfers – some don't. And also watch out for fees on stocks & shares ISAs and innovative finance ISAs. You may be charged to set up the ISA or to leave it, so multiple transfers may lose you money.

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