Halifax has finally announced its Cash ISAs for the 2014 ISA season and it is offering a little bit of cheer with some competitive rates. That said, it’s a bit of a mixed bag and continues the underwhelming feel for this years’ season.
The two and three year fixed rate ISAs in particular have jumped straight to the top of the best buy tables for accounts available to all – although the Santander two year is still quite a bit better at 2.30% for its own 123 current account, 123 credit card and Santander Select customers.
The easy access ISAs are competitive, but better rates can be found elsewhere, even on the high street. However they are flexible with no restricted access on withdrawals and the ability to transfer in other ISAs; the combination of these two factors is fairly uncommon at the moment. What is interesting to see is a large introductory bonus attached to the rates, something of a dying trend these days.
Although the bonuses are large and any saver opening the account should be mindful to move their money at the end of the bonus term, they are fixed for 12 months. This means that unlike many existing variable rate accounts that have seen, in some cases hefty, rate cuts, these rates are at least largely guaranteed for the term.
Whilst some of the rates on offer are competitive in the current ISA market, these launches are unlikely to get anyone too excited and it is hard to see any major providers making a big statement in this ISA season.
Providers’ need for ISA funds has rapidly reduced which is likely to disappoint savers looking for better rates. We desperately need competition to return to the market and there’s little sign of that coming any time soon.