A: If you want instant access to your savings, but you want to take advantage of this financial year’s tax-free savings allowance, it’s best to open a good easy access Cash ISA as soon as possible this month.
A new financial year starts on Friday 5 April, and you can save a further £5,760 tax-free on top of any savings (maximum £5,640) you can squirrel into the 2012/2013 ISA you open this month.
So what are the best easy access cash ISAs on the market at the moment? Currently the rates are pretty awful, so here are my recommendations – the best of a bad bunch!
The Cheshire Building Society ISA Saver (Issue 1) has a rate of 2.5% AER, which includes a 2% bonus until 31 July 2014. So you would have to make sure you made a note of the date and transferred your savings out when the rate drops to 0.5%.
You also need a minimum deposit of £1,000 to open this ISA, but you can at least transfer in previous years’ ISAs. You can access this ISA online or over the phone.
The NS&I Direct ISA offers a rate of 2.25% AER. This is a variable rate, so do keep an eye out for rate drops and be prepared to transfer. You only need £100 to open the ISA and you can transfer old ISAs into it. You can access this ISA online or over the phone.
The GE Capital Direct GE Saver Cash ISA also offers a variable rate of 2.25%, but it is slightly less flexible. Access to the ISA is online only, you need at least £500 to open it and you can’t transfer previous years’ ISAs into it.
Andrea Ventress, money expert
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