ISA season kicks into action

29th February 2012

Nationwide put the cat amongst the pigeons with its new, market leading instant access ISA.  The new account, named Online ISA, pays 3.10% AER and, as the name suggests, is available via the internet only.  The account is slightly unusual as it’s fixed for 18 months, as well as including a fixed bonus of 2.10% until 30 September 2013.  You also have to have a Nationwide card based account to open this ISA, however you can open the FlexAccount with as a little as just £1.

Hot on the heels of Nationwide is Aldermore Bank which propelled itself to the top of the variable rate ISA best buys with the launch of its 60 Day Notice Cash ISA, paying 3.15% gross/AER, or for monthly interest you can earn 3.11% gross monthly.  Although there is no bonus included in the rate, you do have to give 60 days’ notice for any withdrawals or forfeit 60 days interest for instant access.  The minimum opening balance is £1,000 and comes with an interest rate guaranteed to be at least 1.75% above Bank of England Base Rate until 1 March 2013.

Aldermore has entered our fixed rate ISA tables with the launch of its latest 1 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA, which now pays 3.35% gross AER up from 3.20% on its previous version.

Leeds Building Society has also launched a new one year fixed rate ISA with its biggest selling point that it allows access to 25% of the capital invested.  The problem is that the rate is 3% which is less than the Nationwide deal above, which allows full, easy access.

Barclays has shown it’s hand this week with the launch of its Loyalty Reward ISA but it’s not overwhelming. At 3.05% AER there are better rates to be found and you have to hold a Barclays current account or have £500+ in a Barclay’s savings account to qualify. We’ll let you know of any more updates but keep an eye on our Best Buy tables for up to date information.

Away from ISAs we’ve seen the launch of Investec’s new High 5 and High 10 accounts.  These are interesting accounts as they track the average of the top best buys, tracking them weekly and changing the rates accordingly.  The High 5 issue 2 tracks the average of top 5 best buys, looking at no notice accounts (AKA easy access!), notice accounts, internet accounts, monthly interest accounts, over 50s accounts and introductory bonus accounts.  The High 10 tracks the average of the top 10 from the same categories.  The current rates are 3.17% gross AER for the High 5 and 3.11% gross AER for the High 10.  Both accounts are available on a high minimum of £25,000 and with a maximum of £100,000.  And they’re not appropriate for those looking for an account with easy access; these accounts will only allow access to your money with six or three months’ notice (six for the High 5 and three for the High 10) so you can’t access your money early.

Nationwide has opened a new issue of its popular MySave Online account, with a reduced rate of 3.02% AER. It’s just holding onto a space on the easy access best buy table – but there are certainly better accounts to consider that pay better rates and don’t have such restricted access.

Derbyshire Building Society, part of Nationwide Group, has launched a new issue of its NetSaver account, issue 3, which pays a respectable 2.95% gross AER on a minimum opening balance of £1,000.  Although the account isn’t a best buy, it’s not far off the current best rate of 3.10% (from Santander) and has penalty free instant access on withdrawals.  However, it does come with a bonus of 1.95% until 30 June 2013 and is restricted to the internet only. So don’t forget to add this product to your Rate Tracker portfolio.

With Nationwide currently in the easy access account best buys, top in the easy access cash ISAs shortly followed by Cheshire Building Society (part of Nationwide) and now with Derbyshire Building Society (part of Nationwide) coming out with a fairly competitive account, it certainly seems to be on a mission to draw in savings money at the moment. But it’s worth noting that all these providers are under the Nationwide umbrella, so all share an FSCS licence.  Therefore the £85,000 compensation will cover the total of all the cash held with these providers, not £85,000 per provider.

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