Top cash ISAs

Top cash ISAs 2022/23

Up to 3.2% easy access or up to 4.26% fixed

A cash ISA is a savings account where you'll never pay tax on the interest – and in the 2022/23 tax year, you can put up to £20,000 into one if you're 16 or over. And with savings rates significantly higher over recent months, if you do need an ISA's tax benefits, this guide has all the top picks.

Top-pick cash ISAs

Other MSE savings guides...

Top savings accounts: The top-paying normal savings
Regular savings: Up to 7% interest if you can save monthly
Children's savings: Earn 5.5% on kids' savings
Current accounts: Get up to 5.12% on smaller sums

What is a cash ISA?


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 2022/23, which ends on 5 April 2023, it's £20,000.

Just like normal savings, cash ISAs come in different flavours – there's easy access (withdraw 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.

Do I need a cash ISA?

Since 2016 the personal savings allowance means relatively few savers actually pay tax on interest, as all basic 20% rate taxpayers can earn up to £1,000 interest in savings before it's taxed (higher 40% taxpayers £500). Fewer than one in 20 people get close to that; for everyone else there's no practical cash ISA benefit.

Instead the interest rate is what counts, and cash ISAs usually pay less than normal savings. Yet there are a couple of caveats. You should consider opening (or keeping) a cash ISA if:

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

  • You're 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.

  • You're 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. 

How do I compare cash ISA rates to normal savings rates if I pay tax?

If you pay tax on savings interest, it's often not clear whether a higher-paying normal savings account beats a cash ISA for you.

Yet, 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 vs the cash ISA equivalent. If normal savings don't pay more than that, then you're better off in the cash ISA. 

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Eight 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...

  • On 6 April 2016 the personal savings allowance (PSA) was launched, which means all savings interest is now automatically paid tax-free. Basic 20% rate taxpayers can earn up to £1,000 interest a year without needing to pay tax on it, higher 40% rate taxpayers £500 (top 45% taxpayers always pay tax on savings).

    For most people that will be enough to make all their savings tax-free, and therefore the question is simply "what pays the highest rate?"

    Currently, the answer to that is normal savings, especially when it comes to fixes. So before you opt for an ISA, check if you really need one – unless you're a top-rate taxpayer or have very large savings, you can get better returns with top normal savings.

    So when should you open a cash ISA?

    For top-rate taxpayers or bigger savers who have used up their PSA, there are big tax advantages of saving in a cash ISA.

    - Basic-rate taxpayers over the PSA limit. For every £100 interest you earn in normal savings you only get £80, whereas in an ISA you get the whole £100. Therefore the normal savings rate would have to be 25% higher for it to beat a cash ISA.

    - Higher-rate taxpayers over the PSA limit. For every £100 interest you earn in normal savings you only get £60, whereas in an ISA you get the whole £100. Therefore the normal savings rate would have to be 66% higher for it to beat a cash ISA.

    - Top-rate taxpayers. For every £100 interest you earn in normal savings you only get £55, whereas in an ISA you get the whole £100. Therefore the normal savings rate would have to be 82% higher for it to beat a cash ISA.

    To work out what rate a normal fixed savings account would have to pay to beat an ISA, take the ISA rate and multiply it by 1.25 (if you're a basic-rate taxpayer), 1.66 (higher-rate taxpayer) or 1.82 (top-rate taxpayer). 

    Also it's worth remembering that while £1,000-a-year interest seems a lot, with 5% interest rates, you only need about £20,000 saved to earn that much. So saving in an ISA now could protect you from future tax.

  • 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 and Shares ISA into a Cash ISA?

    This depends on the provider. Most providers allow you to transfer Stocks and 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.

  • 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.

    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 a LISA and a cash ISA 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 £221,520 plus interest when using the 2022/23 allowance).

    Graphic shows how you could have saved £221,520 in a cash ISA since their launch, based on the account's allowances: £3,000 in each tax year from 1999/00 to 2007/08; £3,600 in both 2008/09 and 2009/10; £5,100 in 2010/11; £5,340 in 2011/12; £5,640 in 2012/13; £5,760 in 2013/14; £15,000 in 2014/15; £15,240 in both 2015/16 and 2016/17; then £20,000 in each of the last six tax years, including the current one.
  • Each tax year (6 April until the next 5 April), everyone aged 16 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 2021/22 tax year, when the maximum was £20,000, that's it – it's gone. Or if you put £2,000 in during 2021/22, 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 only be subscribed to (pay into) one cash ISA with one provider in any tax year – so you can't usually open both a fixed cash ISA and easy-access cash ISA (for example) in the same tax year.

    However, the below providers do allow this, as long as all opened ISAs are with the same provider and the total balance doesn't exceed the £20,000 ISA allowance:

    This all sits separately to the rule that allows you to split your £20,000 ISA allowance across all ISA types, so you could, for example, still deposit £3,000 into a junior ISA, £4,000 into a Lifetime ISA and £13,000 into a cash ISA all in the same tax year.

    This is something to note if you are considering getting a fixed-term cash ISA. These accounts typically only let you add funds during the first 30 days. Because you can only pay into ONE cash ISA per tax year, this will be your only chance to use up your ISA allowance (unless you bank with a split ISA provider or have different ISA types).

  • 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. But if you're unlikely to need access in the short term, consider a fixed-rate ISA – many of these pay more and still let you withdraw (for a fee).

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

Two providers pay the top easy-access rate of 3.2%. Which you go for will depend on your preferred features. 

For unlimited withdrawals, but not flexible. Santander (min £500) lets you withdraw as many times as you like, though isn't flexible, meaning any money you withdraw and then redeposit counts towards your £20,000 ISA allowance.

For a flexible ISA, but with withdrawal restrictions. Paragon Bank (min £1) limits you to three penalty-free withdrawals per year, but is flexible, meaning any money you withdraw can be redeposited within the same tax year without impacting your ISA allowance. 

For unlimited withdrawals and flexibility, Principality Building Society pays the top rate at a slightly lower 3.1% (min £1).

Provider Rate (AER variable) & any withdrawal restrictions Flexible? How to open & any transfer limitations


(min £500)


(account switches to ISA Saver after 12 months, paying 0.6%

No Online/ branch
Paragon Bank
(min £1)


(max 3 withdrawals per year or rate drops to 0.75%)




Principality Building Society

(min £1)

(includes 0.4% fixed bonus for 12 months)
Yes Online
Decent options from established names. As we know some prefer to save with bigger brands.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs*

(min £1)


(includes 0.25% fixed bonus for 12 months)


No Online
(no transfers in)
Sainsbury's Bank
(min £500)
2.91% No Online
Ways to boost your interest. It's possible to beat the rates above, though there are restrictions.

(stocks & shares ISA)

(min £1)

3.25% No App

Coventry Building Society through Hargreaves Lansdown

(min £10,000)

3% + £100 cashback

(max six withdrawals per year or 50-day interest penalty)



(no transfers in)

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

Already have a fixed-rate ISA? Rates have changed significantly in the past couple of years, and unlike fixed-term savings accounts, ISAs let you withdraw early for an interest penalty. Try our tool to see if you should ditch and switch.

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

If you don't need the tax benefits of an ISA, normal fixed-rate savings currently pay higher rates across all fix lengths. But if you do, we've some decent options in the tables below.

Santander is the top payer for a one-year fix, paying 4.15% (min £500). This can be opened online or in branch. Plus it'll email you a £50 voucher if you transfer £10,000+ from an existing ISA held elsewhere.

For a two-year fix, Virgin Money pays the top rate of 4.26% (min £1) with an account that can only be opened online. 

Thinking about fixing for longer terms?

The top three- and five-year rates are lower than the top two-year rate – so there's little incentive to fix for longer terms. If interest rates were to rise further, the longer you fix, the longer you forgo the ability to switch to a better deal.

That being said, unlike with traditional savings accounts, it's usually possible to withdraw from a fixed ISA before the end of the term – though there's often a hefty interest penalty.

Top one-year fixed ISAs

Provider Rate – AER (min deposit) Transfer in allowed? Penalty to withdraw How to open When can I access interest?
Santander 4.15% (min £500) Yes + £50 voucher if over £10k 120 days' interest Online/ branch At maturity

Virgin Money

(matures 24 Apr 2024)

4.11% (min £1) Yes 60 days' interest Online Monthly or at maturity

Leeds BS

(matures 30 Apr 2024)

4.1% (min £100) Yes 60 days' interest Online/ branch/ post At maturity

Top two-year fixed ISAs

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

Virgin Money

(matures 24 Apr 2025)


(min £1)

Yes 90 days' interest Online Monthly, annually or at maturity
Santander 4.25% for 18 months (min £500) Yes + £50 voucher if over £10k 120 days' interest Online/ branch At maturity
4.2% for two years (min £500) 

Leeds BS

(matures 30 Apr 2025)

4.2% (min £100) Yes 150 days' interest Online/ branch/ post Annually or at maturity

Top three-year fixed ISAs

Provider Rate – AER (min deposit) Transfer in allowed? Penalty to withdraw How to open When can I access interest?
Leeds BS
(matures 4 May 2026)
4.2% (min £100) Yes 240 days' interest Online/ branch/ post Annually or at maturity
Aldermore 4.15% (min £1,000) Yes, at application 180 days' interest Online Monthly,  annually or at maturity
Paragon Bank 4.15% (min £500) Yes 270 days' interest Online/ post Monthly, annually or at maturity

Top five-year fixed ISAs

Provider Rate – AER (min deposit) Transfer in allowed? Penalty to withdraw How to open When can I access interest?
United Trust Bank 4.05% (min £15,000) Yes Varies (1) Post Annually or at maturity

Secure Trust Bank

(matures 2 May 2028)

4% (min £1,000) Yes, at application 365 days' interest  Online Annually or at maturity
UBL UK 4% (min £2,000) Yes 365 days' interest Online/ post/ app Monthly, quarterly, annually or at maturity, paid away

(1) The penalty to withdraw is calculated by multiplying the amount you're withdrawing, by the number of days before the account matures, by the interest rate. This is then divided by 365.

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.

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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.


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 anytime, but if it's one you've paid into in this tax year you must move the whole amount and close the ISA completely.

    With transfers of previous years' ISAs you can split this cash across different accounts.

  • 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 2022/23 you can make £12,300 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. (From April 2023 the threshold for paying tax on capital gains will be lowered to £6,000 and then further to £3,000 from April 2024).

    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 in any case. 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 £2,000 earned. Anything over that is taxed at 7.5% for basic, 32.5% for higher, and a whopping 38.1% 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. (From April 2023, the dividend allowance will lower to £1,000/year and then further to £500/year from April 2024).

    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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