These are the best ISA rates currently available - explained by a finance expert

by Derin Clark

With a new tax year just starting, it means that many banks and building societies will be offering their most attractive ISA (individual savings account) rates to help bring in new savers. In addition to this - for those lucky enough to be able to put away the maximum tax-free ISA limit of £20,000 into a savings account - the new tax year signals a reset of this restriction.

While the current economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has meant that the usually highly competitive rates launched by banks and building societies at this time of year have not materialised, there are still some competitive rates available in the charts at the moment for savers looking for a good ISA deal.

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Here we’ve taken a look at some of the best ISA rates that are currently available.

The best fixed rate ISAs

A fixed rate ISA normally offers the most competitive rates in the ISA charts, but in exchange for high rates, savers have to lock their money into the account for a fixed term. The term can last from anywhere from one year to over seven years, but usually the longer the fixed term, the higher the rate being offered.

The top rate being offered in the fixed rate chart overall currently comes from Shawbrook Bank, which pays 1.65% AER on its 7 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA Bond Issue 1. This ISA has a seven year term and only allows savers to access their money during that time through earlier access, which comes with a 360 days’ loss of interest penalty. To open this ISA, savers need a £1,000 minimum opening deposit. Savers can transfer money into the ISA from other cash and stocks and shares ISAs. This ISA can only be opened online but can then be managed online and by phone.

For savers who want the higher rates fixed rate ISAs offer, but who do not want to lock their money away for a number of years, a one year fixed rate ISA could be a better option. Two banks are currently offering the best one year fixed rate of 1.35%.

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Aldermore offers this rate in its 1 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA and Kent Reliance pays it on its Cash ISA 1 Year Fixed Rate – Issue 34. Both ISAs require a £1,000 minimum deposit to open, and accept transfers in from other ISAs, but savers should be aware that there may be time limits on transfers. The ISA from Aldermore can only be opened and managed online, while the ISA from Kent Reliance can be opened online, in branch and by post and then managed online, in branch, by post and by phone.

The best easy access ISAs

For those who want to be able to access their money at any time, an easy access ISA could be the ideal ISA. Easy access ISAs give savers more flexibility with when they can withdraw their money than fixed rate ISAs, however savers should be aware that some easy access ISAs do come with restrictions on when money can be withdrawn. Normally easy access ISAs offer lower rates than fixed ISAs, but there are still good rates being offered on these ISAs.

The top easy access ISA rate at the moment is 1.25% AER, which is being offered by both Bath Building Society and Penrith Building Society. Bath Building Society pays this rate on its Instant ISA, which requires a deposit of just £1 to open. Penrith Building Society pays the same rate on its ISA Issue 2 and ISA Issue 3, both of which require a £100 opening deposit.

All of these ISAs allow unlimited further additions and withdrawals at any time. For those already with an ISA and who want to transfer their ISA funds to these accounts, the ISA from Bath Building Society allows transfers from Cash ISAs, as does ISA Issue 3 from Penrith Building Society. ISA Issue 2 from Penrith Building Society does not allow transfers in at all. Normally, these ISAs can be opened and managed in branch, but with only essential banking services being allowed due to the coronavirus lockdown, they can currently only be opened and managed by post.

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All the rates highlighted above were correct at the time of writing, but as the ISA market is very active at the moment these rates might not last for long. Those looking to open an ISA will be able to find all the current rates available on ISA charts