Top junior ISAs

4.95% tax-free kids' savings

Junior ISAs (JISAs) let you save or invest up to £9,000 in the 2024/25 tax year, with the cash locked away until the child turns 18. This guide has the pros and cons of junior ISAs, how to transfer in from a Child Trust Fund, plus the top paying accounts.

We've a couple of guides to help you save in the best place for your child, so before you read on, check you're in the right place...

Top junior ISAs


This guide is the right place to find out how junior ISAs work, how long money's locked away and today's top rates.

These pay up to 5.8%, typically on smaller amounts. Most accounts give instant access to the savings.

What is a junior ISA?

A junior ISA is a permanently tax-free savings or investment wrapper aimed at encouraging families to save for their children's futures. Any money you put in one will be locked away until your child's 18th birthday, when it becomes their cash (and will become a standard ISA).

You can put up to £9,000 into a junior ISA in the 2024/25 tax year, which ends on Friday 5 April 2025. The £9,000 can be split whichever way you like between the two types of junior ISAs:

  • Junior cash ISAs. This is where you put the cash in what is quite simply an always tax-free savings account. The money is completely safe (provided it's in a UK-regulated provider and you've no more than £85,000 with that financial institution) and you get a defined amount of interest. The only risk is the money won't grow as quickly as inflation.

  • Junior stocks & shares ISAs. Here, returns depend on the performance of the stocks or shares you've invested in.
Our guide has full info on what you need to know about junior ISAs, then we have  junior cash ISA best buys. We don't really cover investments on MoneySavingExpert.com, but we do have some information and links to more about stocks & shares junior ISAs

How do I open a junior ISA?

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Most providers require you to apply by post or prefer you to go into your local branch, though a select few do allow you to open junior ISAs online.

Not all major banks and building societies offer junior ISAs. We list the top rates below in our best buys, alongside how you can apply. If your child is 16 or 17, they can usually apply for a junior ISA themselves. 

When you apply for an account, you may be asked to provide:

  • Proof of identity and address for yourself
  • Proof of identity for you child
  • A linked bank account in your name

The requirements can vary depending on the provider, so make sure to check the terms and conditions.

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The nine junior ISA need-to-knows

Everything you need to know about how junior ISAs work...

  • Any child under 18 can have a junior ISA but how to actually open one depends when they were born.

    If your child was born after 3 January 2011, it's simple – just find the top junior ISA and open it for them (or get them to open it if they're 16 or 17).

    However, any under-18 born before 2 January 2011 would have had a Child Trust Fund automatically opened for them by the Government. These CTFs can now be converted to junior ISAs, and it's usually a good idea to do that

    A few under-18s born before January 2011 may not have had a CTF opened for them (for example, because they weren't UK citizens at the time). If that's the case, they'll be able to apply for junior ISAs now.

    Who controls the junior ISA – is it me or my child?

    Until the age of 16, parents or legal guardians are entirely in charge of paying money in, picking the providers and the type of junior ISA (cash or shares).

    At 16, the child has the opportunity to take charge of these decisions if they want to – but the money is still untouchable until they hit 18.

    Anyone with parental responsibility for the child can open an account. Usually these are the child's parents, but even grandparents if they're legal guardians of the child. However, ANYONE is allowed to put money into the account.

  • Junior ISAs used to be a big thing as it meant that the savings interest you got would never be taxed. But, this is no longer such a big thing. Children are taxed just like adults, and just like adults that means that if they've no income they can earn up to £18,570 a year from savings without paying tax on it (that's the £12,570 personal allowance + £5,000 starting savings allowance + the £1,000 personal savings allowance (PSA)).

    Even in the unlikely event they have real income, the personal savings allowance allows them to earn up to £1,000 a year interest tax free (unless they become higher rate taxpayers in which case… WOW!)

    Most under 18s won't be subjected to taxes, such as income tax and capital gains tax, which make cash ISAs a potentially lucrative prospect for some adults.

    So these days there are only three main reasons you'd put new money into a junior ISA rather than the top children's savings accounts:

    1. You want to lock the cash away until they're 18. Junior ISAs mandate this so it's an easy way to do it. Though as we explain below, you need to be prepared that this means on their 18th birthday, the money is theirs to do with as they please.

    2. They'll earn more than £100/yr in interest from money given from parents. Junior ISA savings are tax free and remain tax free year after year.

    Yet money given to a child by each parent or step-parent (not grandparents, aunts, uncles etc) which generates more than £100/year in interest in normal (non-junior ISA) savings will be paid at the parent's tax rate.

    Once the child earns more than £100 in interest, the whole lot is taxed at the parent's tax rate (though if the parent is within their personal savings allowance and the child's savings don't take them over, then it'd still be tax free).

    Yet if the child goes over the £100 limit and the parent is over their PSA then the interest would be taxable – in which case saving it in a junior ISA would be a tax benefit, as then it's tax free. For a full explanation, read how kids' tax works.

    3. If junior ISAs pay more than normal savings. Even if there's no tax advantage for your child, then if the rate is higher, as it sometimes is, then you could save in a junior ISA for them. So compare the junior ISA rates below to the top kids' savings rates.

    If junior ISAs pay more, so you're thinking of it, do remember the money is locked away until 18. If rates change and kids savings pay more later, you won't be able to withdraw it and shift it there.

  • Any under-18 born before 2 January 2011 would have had a Child Trust Fund automatically opened for them by the Government.  

    If your child has a Child Trust Fund, you can now convert it to a junior ISA. This is a major boost for those with a cash CTF where rates tend to be far worse (as many banks and building societies had abandoned CTFs, instead concentrating their best rates on newer junior ISAs).

    It means those trapped in old accounts can switch to better payers. However, it's worth noting that not all junior ISA providers accept transfers from CTFs, so you'll need to check before you apply. We note those that do accept CTF transfers in the table below.

    Full the full pros and cons, see the Child Trust Funds guide.

    Don't know where your Child Trust Fund is saved? There are an estimated one million lost Child Trust Funds. We've written a Reclaim your lost Child Trust Fund guide to help you track it down. 

  • As soon as you put any cash in a junior ISA, it's locked away until your child reaches 18, at which point the cash becomes theirs. So consider carefully whether you're happy with not having control of what it's spent on.

    This is a key point of where you decide to save. With normal kids' savings, you can access cash at will (until control of the account passes to your child, which tends to be around age 16). But, with a junior ISA, it's locked away – completely inaccessible – until they turn 18. You also don't have the same control about what happens to the cash. Know that...

    It's their money. At age 18, they can do what they want with the cash

    From the day the cash goes in a junior ISA, it's the child's money, not the parents'. So even if you've planned the cash to be for a home deposit for your child, if they want to spend it on partying, you can't legally stop them. Saving in your own name could be safer.

    What happens to the junior ISA when my child turns 18?

    Once the child turns 18, the junior ISA automatically rolls over into a normal adult ISA, and they will retain whatever split between cash and investments existed at that time.

    From then on, the account holder (ie your newly-minted adult child) will be able to add cash up to whatever the prevailing ISA allowance is at the time – currently £20,000. It can be split however you chose to between cash ISAs (including a Help to Buy ISA), stocks & shares ISAs, innovative finance ISAs and Lifetime ISAs.

    The interest rate (or investment types) the junior ISA will be rolled into is entirely up to your provider. So check the rate at the time, and if it's poor, remember you have a right to transfer it.

    To make sure the adult ISA gets set up, the child should provide the bank with their National Insurance number, so normal ISA set-up procedures can be adhered to, before the adult ISA opens at age 18. See the Cash ISA Guide for full details of how they work.

  • There's no easy way to decide, and no right or wrong answer, it's all about your attitude to risk – and also how old your child is.

    The younger they are, the more likely investing will beat saving, as over longer periods the stock market tends to outperform cash. Yet there's no guarantee. If your child is close to 18, you're more at risk of the vagaries of the stock market if they plan to withdraw it straight away, as they could incur a big loss if investments have tanked.

    Looking to invest? It's important to note MoneySavingExpert.com doesn't cover where you should place your investments – it's not our field of expertise. Instead, if you're thinking of investing, these Hargreaves Lansdown and Beanstalk guides may be useful.

    Or you can try comparison site MoneySupermarket for a non-exhaustive list of providers.

  • Kids can save £9,000 per tax year (for 2024/25) in a junior ISA. The tax year runs from each 6 April to the following 5 April, and it's important to remember you'll lose unused allowances (or portions of them) for good. However, once in the children's ISA wrapper, they remain efficient year after year.

    Yet there's no obligation to use your kids' junior ISA allowance, or to pay a minimum amount in each year to keep the account active. The junior ISA will stay open whether you use it or not. 

  • You can split the £9,000 allowance between a junior cash ISA and a junior stocks & shares ISA as you wish. So if you want to deposit £4,500 into a junior cash ISA and £4,500 in a junior stocks & shares ISA this tax year you can do this – providing you don't go over the £9,000 annual limit. You can transfer providers as often as you like, but can only hold one of each type at any one time.

    If moving from cash to investments, or vice versa, you can keep the original account as you'll still only have one of each. If moving to a different account within the cash ISA wrapper or within the investment ISA wrapper, the original account will close so you'll only have one.

    In future tax years, you must either deposit new money in the same account or, if you choose another account, you'll need to transfer all your money from previous years to it.

  • There's nothing stopping you switching between junior ISA providers. In fact, to make sure you're getting a top rate all the time, this will be essential, especially for cash JISAs.

    And you can also switch between the two ISA types – cash JISAs and stocks & shares JISAs – if your saving or investing priorities change too. Yet it's not as simple as switching a standard savings account, as transferring an ISA is technical.

    But, as long as you abide by our golden ISA transfer rule, it should go smoothly:

    Never withdraw the money yourself if you're transferring! You'll immediately lose all the tax benefits.

    Instead, speak to the new provider and fill out a transfer form. Your new provider should then sort it all out, including contacting your current provider, and moving the money over for you.

    It's worth noting with a junior ISA that if you're transferring from cash JISA to another cash JISA provider, you'll need to transfer the whole amount of money in the JISA account, you can't leave some with the old provider and take some over to the new one, as you can't have more than one cash JISA open at once. The same principle applies to stocks & shares junior ISAs too.

    However, you can hold one cash junior ISA and one stocks & shares junior ISA at the same time, so if you've had all your child's savings in one of them, you can split it and transfer some to the other type. 

    When you're ready to transfer, just open the new JISA account and tell the new provider the details of your old JISA. It'll notify your old provider, and will handle the transfer for you. 

Top junior cash ISAs

Below, we've listed the highest-paying junior cash ISAs open to all. However, it's always worth checking your local building society, as it may have a good branch-only offer for local customers – as a nationwide website, we can't cover all of these.

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Junior cash ISAs – what we'd go for

Coventry BS pays the top rate at 4.95%, though it can only be opened via post or branch. You can transfer in from existing JISAs, as well as from Child Trust Funds.

For an account you can open and manage online, Tesco Bank and NS&I both pay 4%, so you sacrifice a little on rate for the convenience.

Provider Rate (AER variable) How to open Transfer in allowed? Interest paid Max FSCS Protection
Coventry BS 4.95% on £1+ Post/ phone/ branch Yes Annually £85,000
Loughborough BS 4.8% on £1+ Post/ branch

Yes,

but not from Child Trust Funds

Annually £85,000
Skipton BS 4.75% on £1+ Post/ branch Yes, but not from Child Trust Funds Annually £85,000
Stafford BS 4.75% on £1+ Post/ branch Yes Annually £85,000
Leek BS 4.75% on £10+ Post/ branch Yes Annually £85,000
Top online accounts. The accounts below offer a lower rate but can be opened and managed online.
Tesco Bank 4% on £1+ Online/ phone Yes Annually £85,000
NS&I 4% on £1+
Online Yes Annually 100% of deposit backed by HM Treasury

How do I pay into a junior ISA?

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You can usually deposit money into a junior ISA in the same ways you would with a normal bank account, via cash deposit in branch, cheque, a one-off bank transfer or a regular payment such as a standing order.

You can deposit a lump sum or top up your child's ISA as frequently as you like, though you can't pay in more than the £9,000 allowance per tax year.

You can also transfer an existing junior ISA to a new provider. Some (but not all) providers also allow you to transfer existing Child Trust Funds. We list whether or not providers allow this in our best buys table.

What are some alternatives to junior ISAs?

Normal kids' savings accounts are often the more lucrative option, given that they typically pay higher interest rates and most under 18s' savings won't be subjected to taxes anyway

These accounts can also be more practical if you want your child to be able to deposit and withdraw money regularly, given that money deposited in a junior ISA is locked away until your child turns 18.

For more information, read our full kids savings accounts guide here. We list our top picks for easy-access savings accounts, where your child can withdraw and deposit whenever they like, and regular savings accounts, where they can deposit small amounts each month. 

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.

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