Job for the day: check the interest rate you are getting from your ISA. If it is rubbish then move it, and if you have not used up your ISA allowance for this year, then do it now.
The best deal currently comes from Newcastle building society, whose Bonus ISA (Issue 2) pays 3.05 per cent. It allows ISA transfers — but remember, never directly withdraw cash and move it elsewhere: you’ll lose the tax-free wrapper surrounding the money. Instead, apply to the bank for an ISA transfer and it will organise the paperwork for you.
This tax year’s ISA allowance is £10,680, half in cash, and half in stocks and shares. The latter, though, are riskier as they are reliant on the ebbs and flows of the market.
From April, the allowance for the new year will rise to £11,280.
And if your saving account is paying out low rates it’s worth considering putting a portion of your leftover savings into an instant-access, savings account offering a fairly decent return but still providing direct access to the money if you should need it.
The top-paying instant-access savings accounts include ING Direct’s savings account, paying out 2.9 per cent, Virgin Money’s easy access saver, where interest is 2.85 per cent, and Sainsbury’s Finance extra saver which offers 2.75 per cent.
That compares to the stingiest providers, who include Cambridge Building Society and Intelligent Finance, who offer accounts paying out just 0.1 per cent.
Spending a couple of minutes switching to a top buy could trigger a serious savings boost. And in the current high inflation environment, it’s important to limit the extent to which nest eggs are watered down.
Switching at most banks is easy, whether online, by phone or going into a High Street branch - they’re all desperate to sign up new customers so make the process as pain-free as possible.
If your savings exceed the ISA allowance and you’ve also squirrelled away cash in an instant-access savings account for emergencies, you might want to consider a bond. These are longer-term savings accounts, usually lasting one to five years.
Within the shorter range, a top choice is the AA’s one-year fixed-rate bond, paying out interest of 3.6 per cent. Over five years, Shawbrook Bank’s five-year fixed rate bond issue 1 pays out 4.8 per cent.
Banks aren’t known for their generosity, so make sure you’re capitalising on the very best of the interest deals they are offering.