Individual Savings Accounts, or ISAs, let you earn money tax free when you save or invest, but there are several different types to choose from.

What are the different types?

There are three main types of ISA:

What is a cash ISA?

It is a tax free savings account that lets you save without any risk to your money from stock market volatility.

You can compare cash ISA interest rates using our table or read our guide for more information on cash ISAs.

What is a stocks and shares ISA?

It is an account that lets you invest your money in a range of stocks and shares while keeping a tax free status on any returns you make.

Your money is at risk in a stocks and shares ISA, meaning you have the potential to make or lose money depending on how the stock market performs.

What is an innovative finance ISA?

It lets you use your ISA allowance when investing in peer to peer lending.

This is a tax free way of growing your money and the returns offered are usually higher than rates offered by cash ISAs.

Innovative finance ISAs are not protected under the FSCS, but some companies use their own protection scheme, so make sure you understand the risk before investing.

How much can you pay in an ISA?

You have an ISA allowance of 20,000 that you can use between all three ISA types during each tax year (6th April to 5th April).

For example, you could pay 5,000 into a cash ISA, 5,000 into a stocks and shares ISA and pay the remaining 10,000 of your allowance into an innovative finance ISA.

You do not need to spread your allowance between each type of ISA. You can use your entire allowance in any way to try and get the best return.

Are ISAs the best way to earn interest on your savings?

You may be considering an ISA to maximise the interest you earn from your savings, as ISA interest is tax free.

However, using an ISA to save money is no longer the only way to earn interest tax-free.

Through the personal savings allowance, you can earn a specified amount of money each tax year before your earnings are taxed, including your savings interest.

You will only pay tax on savings interest if the amount of interest you earn exceeds your starting rate for savings and your personal savings allowance, and your total income exceeds your personal allowance.

For most savers, the interest you earn will therefore not be taxed. You could save your money in whatever account offered you the best deal without having to worry about paying tax on your earnings.

However, if you're likely to exceed these allowances, then an ISA can still be a great way of maximising the money you earn in interest.

You can find out more about paying tax on your savings interest here.



How many ISAs can I have?


As many as you want, but you can only pay into one cash, stocks and shares and innovative finance ISA during the same tax year. Find out more here.


Can I take my money out of my ISA whenever I want?


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


Is my money safe in a cash ISA?


Yes, most are backed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) which protects your money up to 85,000 in a single institution.


Is my money protected in an investment ISA?


Yes, but only if the investment is registered with the FSCS, then your investment will be protected up to 50,000.


How can I track the performance of my investment ISA?


Most let you track the performance online or you could also ask your financial advisor for a valuation if you invested through one. Read this guide for more.

About our ISA savings and investments comparison


Who do we include in this comparison?


We include investment ISAs from our panel, and every cash ISA. They are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Here is more information about how our website works.


How do we make money from our comparison?


We have commercial agreements with some of the companies in this comparison and get paid commission if we help you take out one of their products or services. Find out more here.

You do not pay any extra and the deal you get is not affected.

Last updated: 19 April 2021