Best cash Isas 2021: Where to get the best cash Isa rates and deals

Our savings picks: This is Money’s five favourite best buy cash Isas – there are now NO easy-access deals paying 1%

Our assistant editor Lee Boyce picks his five favourite cash Isas for savers in 2021 – essential reading to help you choose a top savings account for your money.

This top Isa round-up has keeping our readers updated on the best savings deals since 2014 – and is kept up-to-date throughout the year – bookmark it for the very latest developments.

How an Isa works and why you should have one

Each year in April, savers are given a fresh Isa allowance that qualifies for tax-free interest. 

For the 2020/21 financial year, starting 6 April 2020, the limit is £20,000. The limit will be the same for 2021/22 too.

Piggy five: We round-up the best tax-free deals – and it is slim pickings at the moment

You can transfer Isa money whichever way you wish between an investment account to savings account, whereas previously you could only shift it from saving to investments. 

Although cash Isas don’t currently offer fantastic rates, it is still worthwhile opening one to shield money away from the taxman.   

Isa rules state you can only contribute to one Isa per tax year.

You can also transfer an old Isa for better returns. Here’s a quick guide to Isa saving.

It is possible to switch your current year’s cash Isa if you move the entire amount, but it is far simpler to get your choice right in the first place.

Rates are low and that makes the best Isa more important

Banks and building societies should be apologising to savers for the slim pickings on offer here. 

The best buy easy-access rate on a tax-free account has plunged under 1 per cent for the first time while no major bank comes close to featuring on the list. 

Savings rates really are dire at the moment and unfortunately, institutions are doing little to shelter savers from the assault of the low interest rate environment.

The coronavirus crisis cut to 0.1 per cent for the base rate, launch of a new funding scheme to pump cheap money to banks, and expansion of quantitative easing, has made things even worse. 

Many now ask themselves why bother?

Yet when rates are low it becomes even more important to make sure you are getting as much as you can from your savings. 

We also think an Isa is still worth having, despite the new tax-free savings interest allowance of £1,000 a year for basic rate taxpayers and £500 for higher rate taxpayers. 

It’s tough to get that much interest now, but one day rates will rise. 

Money sheltered in an Isa will deliver a tax-free income, even above that £1,000 level and if you are building up a long-term pot, you may one day be very grateful for that.

And who knows if the personal savings allowance will be around forever – it is much more likely to disappear than the Isa wrapper.

You may also want to look into stocks and shares version of an Isa – how to choose the best (and cheapest) DIY investing Isa.


Our five favourite Isas round-up is a permanent feature of This is Money.

It comes complete with an explanation detailing why we’re happy to pick each account.

This page will be kept updated as and when new deals pop up or old ones get scrapped.

Our team work tirelessly to stay on top of the latest rate changes, but banks and building societies can pull deals without telling us. 

If you spot a deal here that is not longer available please email us at [email protected]

Remember, you can open an Isa or transfer (provided you’re not tied to a fixed-term) at any time during the year.

Note that we don’t just copy the best rates from the savings tables – we scour the market for all-around winners. 

This is a taster of the top deals. For the best rates, visit our savings rates tables, which are comprehensive and independently compiled.

Our five favourite Isas:  

Nationwide BS, 18-month fix, 1.1%* [full details]

– Facts: £1 to open but open only to existing customers

– Transfers in: Yes

– This is Money says: The 1.1 per cent rate has an asterisk next to it for a reason. That’s because the building society’s basic rate on the account is 0.75 per cent. However those who transfer more than £10,000 from an old Isa receive a £50 cashback bonus which takes the rate closer to 1.1 per cent. While it means there are hoops to jump through – including being an existing customer – the payoff is a rate that is the best around short of fixing for half-a-decade. 

Al Rayan Bank, easy-access, 0.6% [full details]

– Facts: £50 to open

– Transfers in: Yes

– This is Money says: We’ve now unfortunately reached a point in which an easy-access account paying less than 1 per cent interest is considered the best buy. It has Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection. It can be opened online, by post, phone or in branch. The rate is the ‘expected profit rate’, as it is a Sharia bank, and therefore doesn’t pay interest. However in practice it works the same way.

West Bromwich BS, one-year fix, 0.55% [full details]

– Facts: £1,000 to open

– Transfers in: Yes

– This is Money says: This is the best rate that you can get for 12 months after the West Midlands building society recently bumped up its rates. Aimed at local savers, the account can be opened in-branch or by post. 

Charter Savings Bank, two-year fix, 0.62% [full details]

– Facts: £5,000 to open

– Transfers in: Yes

– This is Money says: West Bromwich also offer the best two-year fix at 0.7 per cent but savers outside the West Midlands can get a slightly lower rate online with Charter Savings Bank. It can be opened with £5,000, accepts transfers and has the option of paying monthly interest.  

Gatehouse Bank, five-year fix, 1.1% [full details]

– Facts: £1,000 to open

– Transfers in: Yes 

– This is Money says: The overall best rate on an Isa requires fixing until 2026 and it comes from Shawbrook Bank. 

What you need to know about Isas

Listen to our special Isa podcast – we tackle the basics and have tips for those who are experienced Isa savers or investors.

We also look at why investing is the best way to get inflation-beating returns over the long-term, how savers can eke some precious extra interest from accounts, and why an Isa is worth having.

 Press play to listen to the show above, or listen (and please subscribe if you like the podcast) at Apple Podcasts, Acast and Audioboom or visit our This is Money Podcast page.  



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