Compare Our Best Cash ISA rates

Choose a cash ISA with the rate, term and access you're looking for and enjoy earning tax-free interest on your savings.

  • Compare a variety of cash ISA providers
  • Earn interest tax free
  • Pay in up to £20,000 each year

Compare cash ISAs from top providers

You'll only find results from genuine companies. Our data experts check each company before we add them to our comparisons.

Skipton
paragon
Leeds Building Society

How to get a cash ISA

1

Decide how much to save

This will be part of your ISA allowance. If you will need to spend soon, look at easy access cash ISAs.

2

Sort for what is important to you

For example, you can choose to see the highest interest rate cash ISAs at the top of the table.

3

See if you meet the criteria

Hover over each option in the table to see if you meet the criteria for that particular cash ISA account.

4

Choose the best account for you

Click 'see deal' on the right-hand side. You'll be able to find out more and apply for your account.

Cash ISA deals

20 results found, sorted by shortest term. How we order our comparisons. Commission earned affects the table's sort order.
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Skipton Cash eISA Saver Issue 10
Term
Instant access
Open with
£1
Interest rate
0.45% AER variable
Protection scheme
FSCS
ISA transfers in
Accepted
Interest is earned daily and paid on the anniversary of account opening.
Rate Tiers
Gross rateGross rateAER rateAER rate
Excluding bonusIncluding bonusExcluding bonusIncluding bonus
£10.45%0.45%0.45%0.45%
Eligibility
Maximum AgeUnlimited
Minimum Initial Deposit£1
Minimum Age16 years
Minimum Monthly Investment£1
Permanent UK Resident
Skipton 1 Year Online Fixed Rate Cash ISA Issue 168
Term
1 year
Open with
£500
Interest rate
0.5% AER fixed
Protection scheme
FSCS
ISA transfers in
Accepted
Interest is paid on the anniversary of account opening and on maturity. Withdrawals not allowed, early closure incurs interest penalty which may mean you get back less than you paid in. Check restrictions on paying in.
Rate Tiers
Gross rateGross rateAER rateAER rate
Excluding bonusIncluding bonusExcluding bonusIncluding bonus
£5000.5%0.5%0.5%0.5%
Eligibility
Maximum AgeUnlimited
Minimum Initial Deposit£500
Minimum Age16 years
Permanent UK Resident

What is a cash ISA?

ISA stands for Individual Savings Account. With a cash ISA, you earn interest on your savings, but you don't have to pay any tax at all on the interest you receive.

Every person aged 16 and over is entitled to an annual tax-free ISA allowance of £20,000 (correct for tax year 2021/22). That means you can put up to £20,000 into your cash ISA each year. You get a new allowance when the new tax year starts.

The cash ISA rules

You can only open and pay into one cash ISA each year. But everyone gets a tax-free ISA allowance per year (£20,000 for the 2021/22 tax year), which is how much you're allowed to put in.

Over time you might end up with several cash ISAs, but this doesn't increase your limit – you can still only pay into one cash ISA each year.

Your ISA allowance can be split across different types of ISA. For example, you could have a cash ISA, a stocks and shares ISA and/or an innovative finance ISA – but you can’t put in more than £20,000 overall.

A cash ISA is tax free for the entire time that your money is in there. That's why it's a good idea to use up your ISA allowance each year you have money to save.

money tree illustration

Who can get a cash ISA?

Any UK resident aged 16 or over can open a cash ISA.. You must not have already saved into a different cash ISA in the same tax year or used up your ISA allowance.

If your child is under 16, they can't open an adult ISA and you can't open one for them. You'd have to open a junior cash ISA for them instead. They can't open an adult stocks and shares ISA or lifetime ISA until even later, when they turn 18.

Types of cash ISA

Before you do a comparison to find the best ISA rates, you'll need to decide what type of cash ISA you're looking for. All cash ISAs are tax free. There are lots of types to choose from, including:

Instant cash ISA

You can withdraw and put in money from your ISA allowance whenever you like.

Notice cash ISA

You will need to give to give notice to withdraw money from your account or you will be charged. This notice could be up to 60 days.

Regular saver cash ISA

You commit to saving money every month in exchange for a higher interest rate.

Fixed-rate cash ISA

This gives you a good interest rate in exchange for you keeping your money there for a specific length of time, usually one to five years.

Junior cash ISA

You can open one on behalf of your child. It has its own ISA allowance (£4,368), and can't be touched until your child turns 18 years old.

Lifetime cash ISA

You can put in up to £4,000 a year and the government adds another 25%. You can withdraw to buy your first home or when you turn 60.

interest graph

Cash ISA interest rates

The most important part of choosing the best cash ISA for you is balancing access and interest rates.

Our graph shows the impact of different interest rates on £1,000 of savings over a two-year period. A seemingly small change in interest rate can have a big impact on the amount of money your savings are earning.

But access is important too. Some accounts with strict rules will charge you interest penalties and fees if you try to withdraw your money early. In the case of a Lifetime cash ISA, you will loose your bonus payments if your withdraw money to spend on something other than retirement or your first home.

Top tips to find the best cash ISA for you

Should you just pick the best cash ISA rates you can find? There's a lot to think about when choosing a cash ISA – and it's not just about finding the best cash ISA rates.

You'll need to do a cash ISA comparison to decide which is the one for your needs overall.

To find the top cash ISA, you'll need to think about:

  • The best cash ISA rates on offer

  • How much you have to put in when you open your account

  • The term

  • Whether you're allowed to do transfers

  • What kind of cash ISA you want, as there are lots of different types.

When you’re looking at rates, you should also watch out for teaser rates. That’s when you’re offered a great rate for a short, initial period.

Choosing a provider is also a crucial part of your decision. Ask yourself these questions to work out what's important to you in a provider:

  • Do I want the provider to have a high street premises?

  • Do I want a cash incentive to open my ISA?

  • Do I want a provider I already know and trust?

  • Do I want to be able to manage my ISA using a mobile app?

  • Do I want a provider who'll advise me on other savings products?

These are all crucial factors in choosing the top cash ISA provider for you.

Term cash ISA interest rates

Tracking down the best cash ISA for you involves balancing your need to access your money with finding the best interest rates on the market. Remember, small changes to interest rates can significantly impact the money you are earning.

Fixed-term accounts should have higher interest rates than instant-access accounts. However, they will often have strict rules around charges, interest penalties and fees if you try to withdraw your money prior to the end of your term. If you have a lifetime cash ISA, you will forfeit any bonus payments if your use your balance on something other than retirement or your first home.

Our table takes representative examples on the market at the time of writing. It shows how fixed-term savings produce higher interest rates, but you may find that the ability and freedom to access your money is worth more.

Cash ISA termInterest rateOpen with
Instant access (no term)0.58%£5,000
Lifetime ISA (no term)²0.85%£1
1 year0.8%£500
2 years1.01%£500
3 years1.11%£500
5 years1.25%£100

Cash ISA pros and cons

It's great when you find the best cash ISA for your needs. But you should remember that, as with everything, there are still pros and cons. Here's the lowdown.

  • Cash ISAs are tax free, so you get to keep all the interest you earn
  • You have access to your money if you need to make a withdrawal for any reason
  • Your money's protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS¹), up to £85,000
  • You may not be able to access your money instantly
  • Even with the very best cash ISAs on the market, rates of interest aren't usually that high
  • You can only save up to your ISA allowance and into one cash ISA account per tax year

Alternatives to cash ISAs

Other kinds of ISA give you tax benefits on capital gains made from financial investments.

These include:

  • Stocks and shares ISA: A tax-efficient way of investing your money. This lets you put your ISA allowance of £20,000 into a range of different investments. You could earn more money doing this than with a cash ISA but it's risky as the stock market's unpredictable. Be aware that you could lose money as the income can go up and down so you could get back less than you’ve invested.

  • Innovative finance ISA: Avoid paying tax on capital gains from crowdfunding or peer-to-peer investment. These aren't covered by the FSCS.

There are lots of alternatives to opening an ISA. These include:

  • Personal savings allowance: Everyone's allowed to earn a certain amount of interest without paying tax on it. A basic rate taxpayer can earn up to £1,000 in interest per year. This drops to £500 for higher rate taxpayers (2020/21 tax year). Remember that your cash ISA allowance is separate to your personal savings allowance.

  • Interest-paying current accounts: Top-paying current accounts pay as much as 5% on your money. These are currently hard to come by. The amount you can save is usually capped a lot lower than with an ISA. The cap tends to be £1,000-£3,000.

  • Premium bonds: These let you save money with the chance of winning cash prizes from monthly draws. For every £1 you put in, you get a unique number which is entered into the draw. If one of your numbers is chosen, you win a tax-free prize ranging from £25 to £1 million.

  • Fixed-rate bonds. These are fixed-rate savings accounts that allow you to invest a large sum for a fixed period, for a guaranteed return. During the fixed period, you have no access to your funds. 

  • Peer-to-peer lending. This is where you invest your money by loaning it to a borrower. They pay you back, with interest. The risk is that the borrower might not be able to pay their debt.

"Unlike investment ISAs, returns are guaranteed with cash ISAs. You could earn more interest with a stocks and shares ISA, but you will be at risk of losing some or all of your money.

"Which is best for you will depend on your appetite for risk. Think about how much you are prepared to lose before you choose the ISA for you."

How does a cash ISA work?

You can only open and pay into one cash ISA each year. But everyone gets a tax-free ISA allowance per year (£20,000 for the 2021/22 tax year), which is how much you're allowed to put in.

Your ISA allowance can be split across different types of ISA. For example, you could have a cash ISA, a stocks and shares ISA and/or an innovative finance ISA – but you can’t put in more than £20,000 overall.

Because you can open one cash ISA each new tax year, over time, you might end up with several cash ISAs. But, remember, this doesn't increase your tax-free cash ISA limit. You can still only pay into one cash ISA each year.

The good thing to remember about having a cash ISA is that it is tax free for the entire time that your money is in there. That's why it's a good idea to use up your ISA allowance each year, if you have money to save.

Who will benefit from a cash ISA?

Cash ISAs were once an incredibly attractive prospect, as they were a way to get tax-free interest on your savings. In 2016, the Personal Savings Allowance (PSA) was launched. The PSA means basic rate tax payers can earn £1,000 interest per year tax free, and higher rate tax payers can earn £500 interest per year tax free. This has made cash ISAs slightly less appealing to most people.

However, if you’re an additional rate tax payer, you don’t get any Personal Savings Allowance, so a cash ISA can be a way to earn tax-free interest. Similarly, if you’re over your Personal Savings Allowance 

Transferring money from one cash ISA to another

You can usually transfer funds into your cash ISA from a previous year's ISA account. As long as it's a transfer, it doesn't count as having more than one ISA. Not all cash ISAs let you do this, so double check whether yours does. Some charge a fee.

Many older ISAs pay low rates, so transferring can be a helpful way to access better rates. You can even consolidate all your old ISAs into one, and up the rate on all your ISA cash in the process.

If you transfer all your funds into one account, you'll only have one cash ISA to manage. But accounts that allow transfers might not give you the best cash ISA rates. You can search for the best cash ISA transfer accounts using our comparison table.

If you do transfer all your ISA cash into one ISA account, you may then have more than £85,000 with one financial institution. This means you wouldn’t be within the Financial Services Compensation Scheme limit of £85,000 per institution. Therefore you may not have the protection you need.

To do a transfer, ask your new cash ISA provider for an electronic transfer form. You shouldn't just withdraw the cash yourself to move it, because your money could instantly lose its tax-free benefits. It's crucial that you do it in the right way. It usually takes around 15 days for the transfer to complete. You can make a complaint if it takes longer, which may speed it up.

There are a few ISA accounts that let you withdraw and replace money during a tax year, without losing that amount from your allowance. That would mean that you could remove, £1,000 (for example), and then replace it in the same tax year without it affecting your ISA limit. ISAs that allow this are usually called flexible ISAs. Check carefully whether yours has this feature before you withdraw cash.

Remember that you can't transfer an ISA to someone else.

Cash ISA FAQs

Some ISAs let you withdraw money and replace in during the same tax year without using up any more of your ISA allowance, find out more here.

Only if the ISA allows withdrawals but there are restrictions on paying money back in, find out more here.

Yes, your finances are not checked when you open a savings account. If you need help choosing the right savings account, read this guide.

No, you can choose how much access you have to your money by picking the right savings account. This guide explains which accounts are available.

When you've found the best cash ISA rates and the best cash ISA for you, you can start saving your money knowing it's safe. Most banks are backed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

This scheme protects your money up to £85,000, per financial institution that you bank with (not per account).

The AER, or Annual Equivalent Rate, is the rate of interest you will earn in a year including fees, bonuses and compounding.

Gross interest, or the gross interest rate, is what you earn when you first open your account. It does not consider compounding, fees, bonuses and time.

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Why compare cash ISA deals with money.co.uk?

Comparing investment ISA accounts could save you money. Our multiple award-winning comparison service makes sure you get the lowest fees and rates possible based on your individual circumstances. Our aim is to provide you with the most up-to-date information, as well as useful tools and calculators so to help you make life's most important decisions and take control of your money.

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We have always aimed to provide the best possible services to bridge the gap between our users and our clients. Over the years, we have been thrilled to be recognised by various prestigious bodies and organisations for those efforts.

¹To find out more about how the Financial Services Conduct Authority protects your money, visit FSCS.org.uk.

²You must be 18 or over but under 40 to open a Lifetime ISA. To find out more, read our guide to Lifetime ISAs or visit the GOV.UK page.

Last updated: 3 September 2021