The best cash ISAs for transfers

Savers are looking to use their ISA allowance early this year as they seek to beat low interest rates and rising inflation. But don’t overlook the money you invested in previous tax years...

If you haven’t checked the interest rates on cash ISAs you already have, it’s time to do so. Millions of savers have money sitting in accounts paying paltry rates of interest. Even if the account was market leading at the time you opened it, there’s no guarantee it remains competitive.

So, if you have money in an easy access account it’s worth reviewing your cash ISAs annually as many of the highest rates include 12-month bonuses so they drop considerably after the first year. If you’ve opted for fixed rate deals, remember to move your money once the fixed rate ends.

However, while you can move funds from one cash ISA to another without losing the tax-break not all accounts accept transfers in. What’s more we’ve seen a number of providers reduce rates or pull ISAs from the market in recent days so there’s no time to waste. Here we give a rundown of the leading deals that accept transfers in…

Where can you move your money?

If you want to transfer your ISA balance into a high paying account that still gives you access, then the Alliance & Leicester Direct ISA Issue 6 (also available under the Santander brand) offers the best rate at 2.75%. This includes a 12-month bonus of 2.25% so make a note to move your money again this time next year.

This account is specifically aimed at those with money to transfer from previous tax years as that rate is only available on balances of £9,000 or more. If you have less than that, the rate is less competitive at 2.00%.

Nationwide’s e-ISA also pays 2.75%, and the minimum investment is just £1. However, you must have a Nationwide card account to qualify. The qualifying accounts include the FlexAccount and CashBuilder account. The great rate is bolstered by a 1.00% bonus that runs until the end of June next year, so at that point you’ll probably want to look for a new ISA.


Birmingham Midshires’ ISA Extra and Cheltenham & Gloucester’s Cash ISA both pay 2.70% and accept transfers in. However, the Birmingham Midshires account is boosted by a 1.00% bonus for 15 months and C&G’s ISA drops to 1.00% after the first year.

The Marks & Spencer Flexi Cash ISA pays 2.65% on new and existing ISA savings. Its bonus period lasts for 18 months, after which it drops by 1.25%.

Alternatively, the Halifax ISA Direct Reward account is paying a competitive 2.60%. After one year it becomes a Halifax ISA Saver Direct account, paying a variable rate that’s currently just 0.50%.

There’s a minimum balance of £1,000, which you have to maintain for 12 months, and just four withdrawals can be made in the first year. Break those rules and you’ll lose the 2.60% rate and drop to the 0.50% rate early.

Locking your cash away

Are you saving for the long term? One option is to lock your ISA savings away in a fixed rate bond, because you get a better rate on your money if you can guarantee you won’t be withdrawing it.

For example, if you can afford to lock your money away for three years, both the Clydesale Bank Cash ISA Fixed Rate Bond and the Yorkshire Bank Fixed Rate Bond (Issue 4) accept transfers – plus they pay an impressive 3.90%.

Another option is the Halifax Fixed Rate ISA Saver, paying 3.75% for three years. Again, there are no withdrawals allowed, but you can transfer money in from existing ISAs when you open the account. If three years is too long, Halifax’s two-year Fixed Rate ISA Saver is paying a leading rate of 3.50%.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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