Best Cash ISAs

Compare cash ISAs and find the top cash ISA rates.

Updated: June 14, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

|
Rachel Wait

Edited By

Rachel Wait

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Are you looking to make the most of your savings? There are ways you can make the most of your spare money beyond just a standard savings account.

An Individual Savings Account (ISA) lets you earn tax-free interest on your savings. There are four main types, each with its own benefits: cash, stocks and shares, innovative finance ISA, and lifetime ISAs.

You can usually open a cash ISA if you're aged 16 or over and a UK resident. In this article, we'll explore cash ISAs and introduce you to the best ones in 2024.

ProviderScoreDetails
1. Chip★★★★★Learn more
2. Virgin Money★★★★★Learn more
3. Moneybox★★★★★Learn more
4. Zopa★★★★★Learn more
5. Charter Savings Bank★★★★Learn more
6. Shawbrook Bank★★★★Learn more
7. Kent Reliance★★★★Learn more
8. Cynergy Bank★★★★★Learn more
9. Principality Building Society★★★★★Learn more
10. Hargreaves Lansdown★★★★★Learn more

What Is a Cash ISA?

A cash ISA is a type of savings account that offers tax-free interest. By contrast, with a standard savings account, you might have to pay income tax on the interest you earn if you exceed your personal savings allowance. This is £1,000 per tax year for basic rate taxpayers, and £500 a year for higher rate taxpayers.

Going over this allowance is more likely now that interest rates have risen. But if you save in a cash ISA, you won't need to pay tax on any of the interest you earn.

You can only open one cash ISA in a tax year, which runs from 6 April to 5 April. However, you can transfer your cash ISA to another provider during the same tax year.

For the 2023/24 tax year, you can pay up to £20,000 into a cash ISA. This allowance resets at the start of the new tax year and can be spread across the four different types of ISA. Some cash ISAs are flexible, which means that if you withdraw money from your cash ISA and replace it again within the same tax year, it won't affect your ISA allowance.

If you've got more than one ISA, you can combine them into one new ISA. Using an ISA transfer service to make the switch will prevent any money you've saved from previous tax years from counting towards your current tax-free allowance. Just check whether the ISA you're transferring to allows transfers in.

There are two types of cash ISAs:

  • Fixed-rate cash ISAs: You'll need to lock away your money for a fixed term but you'll get a fixed interest rate in return. You can't access your cash during this period without paying a hefty penalty fee. You won't usually be able to top up your funds after the initial deposit either. Fixed terms often range from one to five years.
  • Easy access cash ISAs: You can access the funds within the account at any time, as well as pay into the account whenever you want to, as long as you don't exceed your annual allowance. Easy access cash ISAs are sometimes known as instant access cash ISAs. Interest rates are usually variable.

Cash ISA rates will vary from ISA provider and ISA type. The Annual Equivalent Rate (AER) determines the interest rate if the interest was paid and compounded once annually. You will want to look around for the best cash ISA rates.

Cash ISA: Pros and Cons

We've compiled a list of all the pros and cons of opening a cash ISA.

Pros

✔️ Tax-free savings: You won't pay tax on any interest earned in a cash ISA, no matter how much this is.

✔️ No risks: Most, if not all, cash ISAs are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Plus, unlike stocks and shares ISAs, there's no risk your investment will go down.

✔️ Transferrable: You can switch your cash ISA to another provider anytime during the tax year.

✔️ Some cash ISAs are flexible: This means you can withdraw funds and pay them back in within the same tax year, without this affecting your annual allowance.

Cons

❌️ Not all cash ISAs allow transfers in: Some providers won't accept transfers in from other ISAs, so be sure to check.

❌️ Funds are locked away: If you choose a fixed-rate cash ISA, you won't be able to withdraw money from the account as it is locked away for the agreed fixed term.

❌️ Limited ISA allowance: The annual ISA allowance is £20,000, so you're limited on how much interest you can earn.

Best Cash ISAs in 2024 — Reviews

We've included easy access and fixed-rate cash ISAs in our list of best cash ISAs 2024.

Product NameRate (AER)Min DepositMax BalanceAccess
1. Chip Cash ISA5.10% AER (variable tracker)£0£20,000Online
2. Virgin Money Easy Access Cash ISA Exclusive4.76% AER (variable)£0£85,000Online/Branch
3. Moneybox Cash ISA5.16% AER (variable)£500£20,000App
4. Zopa Access Smart ISA5.08% AER (variable)£1£250,000App
5. Charter Savings Bank Easy Access Cash ISA4.81% AER (variable)£5,000£1mOnline
6. Shawbrook Bank 1 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA4.76% AER (fixed)£1,000£250,000Online/Phone
7. Kent Reliance Easy Access Cash ISA4.96% AER (variable)£1,000£1mOnline/Branch
8. Cynergy Bank Online ISA Access Account4.90% AER (variable)£1£20,000Online
9. Principality Building Society Online Bonus ISA4.85% AER (variable)£1£250,000Online
10. Hargreaves Lansdown Cash ISA 4.65% AER (variable)£1No limit statedOnline

1. Chip Cash ISA – (Our Top Choice for 2024)

  • Interest rate: 5.10% AER (variable tracker)
  • Minimum balance: £0
  • Account access: Online only (no branches available)

First on our list of the best cash ISAs or individual savings accounts is Chip. Its highly competitive 5.10% AER is available to customers and allows you to earn monthly interest on a tax-free basis. So you'll not need to pay tax on your earnings.

You'll be able to gain instant access to your cash. We found that withdrawing money will not affect the annual ISA allowance Chip offers you when you replace the money in the same tax year.

This easy-access cash ISA offers convenience. However, keep in mind that to use this account, you mustn't have paid funds into a different type of ISA within the same tax year as stated by ISA rules and regulations

Unlike fixed-rate ISAs, we found that Chip uses a variable rate, meaning your cash ISA rate will move according to the Bank of England base rate. You will receive a higher rate when the base rate increases.

You'll get a lower rate when the base rate decreases. We found that this differs from fixed-rate cash ISAS, which pays a fixed amount of interest regardless of the base rate.

With Chip, we noticed your eligible deposits gain protection from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This benefit means that any savings up to £85,000 remain safe even if the Chip financial institution fails.

You will have a maximum of £20,000 over the many types of ISA, including stocks and shares ISAs. However, once the new tax year arrives, Chip will offer you a new £20,000 ISA allowance.

2. Virgin Money Easy Access Cash ISA Exclusive

  • Interest rate: 4.76% AER (variable)
  • Minimum balance: £0
  • Account access: Online or in the branch

Virgin Money Easy Access Cash ISA Exclusive pays a competitive 4.76% AER (variable). There is no minimum amount required to open and maintain this account.

You must be a UK resident aged 18 or over. UK residents who are 16 or 17 and already have a fixed rate Cash ISA with Virgin Money will be allowed to select an appropriate Cash ISA to reinvest their funds into at maturity.

You can withdraw money using your internet or mobile banking, by calling, writing or talking visiting a Store.

3. Moneybox Cash ISA

  • Interest rate: 5.16% AER (variable)
  • Minimum balance: £500
  • Account access: Mobile banking app access only

The Moneybox cash ISA offers a competitive 5.16% AER, which includes a 12-month bonus of 0.91% – after this time, the rate will drop. The account requires a minimum balance of £500. If your account balance falls below £500, a lower interest rate of 0.75% AER will be applied.

However, unlike most instant access accounts, you can only make up to three withdrawals from the ISA every 12 months without impacting the rate. If you make four or more withdrawals from the cash ISA, a lower interest rate of 0.75% will be applied.

You can only access the ISA via mobile banking, but the app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. You can open a cash ISA within minutes on the app; download it and deposit the initial £500 to get started. In-app, you can transfer any other ISAs with other providers into a Moneybox cash ISA.

4. Zopa Access Smart ISA

  • Interest rate: 5.08% AER (variable)
  • Minimum balance: £1
  • Account access: Mobile banking

Zopa's cash ISA works a little differently. You'll have one flexible cash ISA, but within that you can spread your ISA allowance across different pots. You can choose access ISA pots that let you access your money when you need to, or fixed term ISA deposits, that let you lock away funds for one to five years.

Zopa's Access ISA allows you to withdraw money whenever you need to, and you can pay it back as many times as you want within the same tax year without affecting your ISA allowance.

You can access your cash ISAs via the Smart Savings Hub, allowing you to add and manage your ISA pots from your smartphone. The Smart Savings Hub has multiple tools to help you grow your savings.

5. Charter Savings Bank Easy Access Cash ISA

  • Interest rate: 4.81% AER (variable)
  • Minimum balance: £5,000
  • Account access: Online only

If you've got a spare £5,000 to save and you're happy to bank online, take a look at this cash ISA from Charter Savings Bank. It pays a great rate of interest and you can access your money whenever you want to. Just note that if your balance drops below £5,000, your rate will drop to 0.10% AER.

Transfers in from other ISAs are permitted and you can choose whether you want to have your interest paid annually or monthly.

6. Shawbrook Bank 1 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA

  • Interest rate: 4.76% AER (fixed)
  • Minimum balance: £1,000
  • Account access: Online or over the phone

This is another competitive one-year fixed-rate cash ISA, but you'll need to pay in at least £1,000 to open it. Applications can only be made online, and you must be at least 18 years old to open the account. Once opened, you can manage your account online or over the phone.

If you make any withdrawals during the one-year term, you'll be charged 90 days' interest. Transfers from other ISAs are permitted.

7. Kent Reliance Easy Access Cash ISA

  • Interest rate: 4.96% AER (variable)
  • Minimum balance: £1,000
  • Account access: Online or in the branch

This is another account that pays 4.96% AER on balances of £1,000 or more. If your balance drops below this, your rate will fall to 0.10% AER.

As this is an easy-access account, you can withdraw your money whenever you want to and you can also add to your funds up to the £20,000 annual allowance. The account can be managed online or in branch. If you want to transfer in funds from other ISAs, this must be done within 30 days of opening the account.

8. Cynergy Bank Online ISA Access Account

  • Interest rate: 4.90% AER (variable)
  • Minimum balance: £1
  • Account access: Online access only

The Cynergy Bank Online ISA only requires a £1 opening deposit and pays a competitive rate of 4.90% AER. No bonus is included so the rate won't suddenly drop off after a year, but remember it is variable so could change. You can access your funds whenever you want to, penalty-free.

You can only apply and manage your cash ISA online and will automatically be enrolled to use the online banking services. You can only transfer in ISAs when you first open the account, and all external withdrawals are paid to your nominated account.

The account isn't flexible, so whatever you withdraw, you can't put it back in during the tax year.

9. Principality Building Society Online Bonus ISA

  • Interest rate: 4.85% AER (variable)
  • Minimum balance: £1
  • Account access: Online banking access only

The Principality Building Society's Online Bonus ISA pays 4.85% AER for the first 12 months. This rate includes a 0.75% bonus, so the rate drops to 4.10% AER after that period. If this means your account is no longer competitive, you might need to switch to a new one.

You can pay in from £1 to £20,000 in the current tax year and transfer in any existing ISAs. You can close or transfer the account anytime to get a cash ISA elsewhere. You can make withdrawals at any time.

As the ISA is flexible, you can take money out and put cash in within the same tax year. You must open and manage the ISA online.

10. Hargreaves Lansdown Cash ISA

  • Interest rate: 4.65% (AER)
  • Minimum balance: £1
  • Account access: Online access only

Hargreaves Lansdown's Cash ISA provides an innovative and user-friendly platform where you can access competitive interest rates through a range of online banking partners. Notably, you have the flexibility to switch between offers from these partners seamlessly, facilitating optimal returns without the hassle of managing multiple accounts.

The account offers easy access products with top rates, with its highest paying offering paying 4.65% AER currently. You can contribute anywhere from £1 to £20,000 within the current tax year, and it allows for the transfer of existing ISAs. All management of the account is conducted online, ensuring convenience.

This unique ability to switch between competitors with Hargreaves Lansdown's Cash ISA without the hassle of closing and opening new accounts is a significant convenience, streamlining your financial management and enhancing your ability to adapt to changing market conditions.

Leading Cash ISAs: The Verdict

A cash ISA is a great way to earn interest on your savings without worrying about paying tax on it. This is particularly beneficial when interest rates are high, as you're more likely to exceed your personal savings allowance with a standard savings account.

With the right ISA provider, you can choose whether you want to lock away your funds in return for a fixed rate of interest, or have the flexibility of accessing your funds when needed.

Related Guides:

FAQs

What Are the Different Types of ISAs?

How Many Cash ISAs Can You Open?

How Are ISAs Different From Standard Savings Accounts?

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