Investment ISAs are tax-efficient wrappers for long term investments. You may get back less than you pay in as your capital isn't guaranteed and charges may apply. Your personal circumstances will determine how much tax you pay on your investments and returns; tax laws may change.

Sainsbury's Bank 2 Year Fixed Rate Saver
Account Type
Fixed Bond
Open With
£5,000
Interest Rate
1.7% AER fixed for 2 years
Protection Scheme
FSCS
Halifax 18 Month ISA Saver Fixed
Account Type
Cash ISA
Open With
£500
Interest Rate
1.6% AER fixed for 18 months
Protection Scheme
FSCS
No withdrawals allowed except on early closure subject to the loss of 135 days tax-free interest.
GE Capital Direct GE 100 Day Notice Account Issue 4
Account Type
Notice
Open With
£500
Interest Rate
1.55% AER variable on £1+
Protection Scheme
FSCS
Interest can be paid monthly or annually. Withdrawals are available subject to 100 days' notice. The monthly interest option pays a marginally lower interest rate of 1.54% Gross (1.55% AER).
Skipton Limited Edition eSaver
Account Type
Easy Access
Open With
£1
Interest Rate
1.25% AER variable
Protection Scheme
FSCS
GE Capital Direct GE Saver Issue 7
Account Type
Easy Access
Open With
£500
Interest Rate
1.2% AER variable on £1+
Protection Scheme
FSCS
Interest can be paid monthly or annually. The monthly interest option pays a marginally lower interest rate of 1.19% Gross (1.20% AER).
Halifax ISA Saver Online
Account Type
Cash ISA
Open With
£1
Interest Rate
1.05% AER variable inc. 0.80% 12 month bonus
Protection Scheme
FSCS
NatWest Cash ISA
Account Type
Cash ISA
Open With
£1
Interest Rate
1% AER variable on £25,000+
Protection Scheme
FSCS
Earn tax free interest of up to 1.00% AER (variable) on balances of at least £25,000 and earn up to 0.50% AER (variable) on balances below £25,000.
Aldermore Easy Access Issue 9
Account Type
Easy Access
Open With
£1,000
Interest Rate
1% AER variable
Protection Scheme
FSCS
Halifax Online Saver
Account Type
Easy Access
Open With
£1
Interest Rate
0.90% AER variable inc. 0.70% 12 month bonus
Protection Scheme
FSCS
Different rates apply depending on balance. When the 12 month introductory period ends, the Online Saver variable rate will apply, currently 0.20% gross/AER.
NatWest Instant Saver
Account Type
Instant Access
Open With
£1
Interest Rate
0.5% AER variable
Protection Scheme
FSCS
AXA Self Investor stocks & shares ISA
Account Type
Investment ISA
Open With
£500 or £50/month
Interest Rate
-
Protection Scheme
FSCS
0% ISA account charge for new customers investing before 30 April 2015. Fund manager charges will apply. Capital is at risk. We don't give financial advice.
SunLife My Smarter (New ISA)
Account Type
Investment ISA
Open With
£100 or £10/month
Interest Rate
-
Protection Scheme
FSCS
Invest from £10 a month. You could get back less than you paid in. Provided by Scottish Friendly. Apply online today & claim £25 M&S vouchers. T&Cs apply.
Nutmeg Stocks and Shares ISA
Account Type
Investment ISA
Open With
£1,000 or £50/month
Interest Rate
-
Protection Scheme
FSCS
Nutmeg builds & manages intelligent investment portfolios suited to your risk appetite, all inside a New ISA wrapper. Set up a NISA & transfer your old ISAs.
Interactive Investor ISA
Account Type
Investment ISA
Open With
Any amount
Interest Rate
-
Protection Scheme
FSCS
Chance to win back your ISA subscription up to £15,240, T&Cs apply. Invest in a wide range of UK and International Shares, Funds, Gilts and Bonds. No percentage fees on funds. £20 quarterly fee includes trades to the value of £20, plus free ISA.
SVS Securities Stocks & Shares ISA
Account Type
Investment ISA
Open With
Any amount
Interest Rate
-
Protection Scheme
FSCS
Self-Select Stocks and Shares ISA. Only £5.75 per trade with no admin, monthly or inactivity fees & an optional experienced dedicated portfolio manager to help guide you with your investments at no extra cost.
AJ Bell Youinvest Investment ISA
Account Type
Investment ISA
Open With
£500 or £25/month
Interest Rate
-
Protection Scheme
FSCS
Deal online from just £4.95 & never pay more than £9.95. No account charge.
Scottish Friendly Assurance My Fund Select (New ISA)
Account Type
Investment ISA
Open With
£10/month
Interest Rate
-
Protection Scheme
FSCS
A £50 welcome gift card redeemable at over 70 UK retailers such as Amazon, M&S, John Lewis, Next & iTunes.
Hargreaves Lansdown HL Vantage Stocks & Shares ISA
Account Type
Investment ISA
Open With
£100 or £25/month
Interest Rate
-
Protection Scheme
FSCS
Award-winning stockbroking and fund supermarket. No charges when you buy/sell funds and a low-cost reinvestment service. Share dealing from £5.95 to 11.95 per trade. Receive free fund and share research from the UK’s largest investment broker.
True Potential Investments Stocks and Shares NISA
Account Type
Investment ISA
Open With
£50
Interest Rate
-
Protection Scheme
FSCS
Reach your investment goals with risk-based funds & one low platform fee of 0.40% (all investments). Fund management fees from 0.39% - 1.33%. Top-up from £1 on the go with 'impulseSave'. Capital at risk.
F&C Investment Trust ISA
Account Type
Investment ISA
Open With
£500 or £50/month
Interest Rate
-
Protection Scheme
FSCS
TD Direct Investing Trading ISA
Account Type
Investment ISA
Open With
£100 or £25/month
Interest Rate
-
Protection Scheme
FSCS
£15k annual allowance. £0 yearly fee for ISAs with balances over £5.1k (£30 VAT if below £5.1k). Capital at risk. If you're unsure this ISA is suitable, seek independent advice.
Trustnet Direct ISA
Account Type
Investment ISA
Open With
£100 or £20/month
Interest Rate
-
Protection Scheme
FSCS
Trustnet Direct gives you unique research and trading tools to help you maximise your choice, invest in over 8,000 Funds or Shares.
Funding Circle Peer to Peer Lending
Account Type
Peer to Peer
Open With
£20
Interest Rate
6.8% p.a.
Protection Scheme
Own Scheme
This account offers attractive returns but your money won't be protected by the FSCS so make sure you understand the risks before you apply.
Lending Works Peer to Peer Lending up to 3 years
Account Type
Peer to Peer
Open With
£10
Interest Rate
5% annualised
Protection Scheme
Own Scheme
This account offers attractive returns but your money won't be protected by the FSCS so make sure you understand the risks before you apply.
Landbay 3 Year Fixed Rate
Account Type
Peer to Peer
Open With
£100
Interest Rate
4.4% annualised fixed for 3 years
Protection Scheme
Own Scheme
This account offers attractive returns but your money won't be protected by the FSCS so make sure you understand the risks before you apply.

We provide an independent comparison service free of charge but we may receive a commission from some of the companies we refer you to. These are indicated with purple buttons.

Savings Accounts Explained

by Hannah from money.co.uk

Find the savings account that will work for you and your money - we explain how.

man giving presentation

Shocking as it sounds your savings accounts could actually be losing you money by paying you a rate of interest that's below inflation. For this reason, if you haven't kept an eye on the return you're getting from your saving accounts, it could well be time to move your hard earned cash to a more profitable home. However, deciding to move is the easy part, choosing a savings account can be more tricky.

There are such an enormous range of good savings accounts available, for children and adults, that knowing which is right for you isn't always easy. So, to make things a whole lot simpler, we explain the three essential questions that you need to ask when looking for the best savings accounts.

Where can I get the best savings account rates?

This is always the most important question to ask and while it may seem like an obvious one, the answer isn't always as straight forward as it may seem. Getting the best rates isn't always about picking the highest interest savings accounts as, once tax is factored in and bonuses expire, even the best saving account can soon turn into a mediocre one.

ISAs

If you're a tax payer at least 20% of any interest you earn on your money will go straight to the tax man (40% or 50% of it if you pay your tax at higher rate). The only relief your savings get from this deduction are when they are 'hidden' in an ISA.

You can save up to 15,000 a year in a Cash ISA for the 2014/15 tax year and, as interest is paid tax free, this is the first place you should look to save as great returns are available.

In the past many people found ISAs inaccessible as the regulations that surrounded them were confusing (to say the least). However, in April 2008 they were simplified so that now there is really no excuse not to take advantage of the tax free saving benefits these accounts offer.

For more information on finding an ISA account that's right for you, without having to reach for a calculator, read our guide Understanding ISAs.

Regular savings accounts

In general, regular savings accounts are often the next best place for your money as they often feature headline grabbing savings rates that banks and building societies use to lure in new customers. However, while this type of saving account can give you a really good return they usually come with a whole plethora of restrictions that govern how much you can pay in and how you can access your money so it pays to do your research first.

For more on the benefits and drawbacks of regular savers read our guide How to Get the Most from Regular Savings Account.

Fixed rate bonds

Savings bonds and fixed term accounts usually offer a better return than their instant access counter parts and really attractive rates of interest are available for those who don't mind tying their money up for a while. However, this type of fixed account is only ever worth considering if you are confident that you won't need to access your money as it's likely that interest penalties will be applied if you need to make a withdrawal mid term - this would seriously affect the profitability of even the best savings account.

Instant access savings accounts

Instant access accounts are next in line and tend to be a much more flexible option as you can get to your money as and when you need it. Compare savings account interest rates and look for the highest return possible but keep an eye out for bonuses that inflate the interest rate for a short while and then drop.

If you're happy to move your money regularly then chasing bonus rates can be a very profitable pastime. To do this you'll need to compare savings accounts on a regular basis. If new best buy savings accounts are introduced onto the market and the savings accounts rates and terms and conditions suit, you'll simply need to transfer your money so that you continually profit from the highest interest savings account available.

However, if this sounds like too much effort and you know that you are unlikely to have the time or inclination to shop around then a savings account that pays a consistently high rate of interest is likely to be more suitable. Accounts that offer rate guarantees are also a very good bet as they give you the confidence that your money is getting a good return until a certain date in the future.

Peer to peer

You can get some of the highest rates with social savings accounts, which use your deposit towards a loan for a person who wants to borrow money. They are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, so they come with different risks to standard accounts, which we have looked at in our guide to how social lending works.

What kind of access do I need?

While interest rates are an undoubtedly important part of choosing a home for your money, it's also important to find a top savings account that's going to let you access your money in a way that suits you.

Fixed term options do often offer the best returns (and tend to be available in anything from 6 month to 5 year terms). However, if you are likely to need your money at all during the specified time frame then it's unlikely that this type of account will be worth your while as the interest penalties typically associated with mid-term withdrawal will outweigh any benefit earned from even the best saving accounts.

For this reason, high interest, instant access accounts are usually a good bet if you need to be flexible with your funds. Both taxable and tax-free accounts are available with instant access so you will be spoilt for choice and should base your decision largely on interest rates when comparing them.

In addition to this, you'll also need to consider how you want to access your money. If you're friendly with your computer then an online savings account is likely to be convenient and providers often offer the best returns over the internet. However, if you value a branch based service then this is something to look out for too as, while maximising your savings is about getting the best return on your money, it's only worth it if you have an account that you feel comfortable operating.

Do I need an income from my savings?

Many of the top savings accounts only pay interest annually, either on the anniversary of account opening or on some other pre-specified date. However, others allow you to take income from your investment on a monthly basis. Some accounts on the other hand offer both options so that you have the flexibility to choose without compromising on getting the type of account you want.

If you're likely to need a monthly income from your money then this is definitely an important feature to consider when you compare saving accounts.

What now?

Once you've figured out what type of savings account is going to work for you it's simply down to finding an account that matches your criteria, something that using our handy top ten savings accounts comparison tables should only take a few minutes at most.

However, it doesn't stop there. While it's tempting to sit back and relax once you've made sure that your money is working hard you shouldn't get too comfortable as accounts do change and savings rates do drop.

By keeping an eye on the return your account is providing, taking the time to regularly compare savings accounts interest rates using comparison sites and strategically switching when it stops giving you the best deal, you can make sure that your savings continue to grow as fast as they possibly can indefinitely.

Other useful resources for savings rates:

  • HMRC - Advice on ISAs from the taxman
  • DirectGov - Free advice on choosing the right savings account
  • Advice & Guide - Free, independant tips on getting more from your savings

Savings Account Companies