ISA rates tend to vary depending on the type of ISA you go for and whether or not you want instant access to your funds, or if you’re prepared to tie up your funds for a year or more.
So, what does ISA mean? ISA stands for individual savings account and it’s designed to help you store your funds, tax-free, up to twenty thousand pounds a year. Many people consider ISAs to be one of the best ways to save for home ownership or retirement. But there are many different types of accounts to choose from, each of which will come with their own unique benefits and drawbacks.
If you want to learn how to get the best rates on an ISA, keep reading.
How ISAs Help You Save for the Future
With individual savings accounts, the rates that are shown are the rates you’ll actually get since the returns from this type of account are tax-free. With the annual allowance, the basic rate taxpayer can earn approximately one thousand pounds of savings each year without paying taxes on it. Higher rate taxpayers that are paying taxes at the forty percent rate on income between forty-five thousand pounds and one hundred and fifty thousand pounds will be entitled to a lower personal savings allowance of five hundred pounds a year.
Additional taxpayers who earn more than one hundred and fifty thousand pounds will not get an allowance.
Keep in mind that if you decide to transfer your funds into a type of alternative individual savings account, you should never just cash in your account because you will lose your tax-free benefits.
Variable and Fixed Rates
With some individual savings accounts, typically easy access accounts, you’ll pay a variable rate of interest. This means that the rate may change over time. You must be prepared to move funds if your account doesn’t look competitive or the rate drops.
Like with other types of ISAs, if you decide to transfer your funds into an alternative account, you should never cash in your existing account, otherwise, you’ll lose out on the tax-free benefits.
The fixed rate individual savings account works very much like fixed rate bonds. Fixed rate ISAs require you to tie up your funds for a determined period of time. During this time you’ll earn a fixed rate of return. This type of account can be useful if you’re trying to save for a home or another type of particular goal, however, the inability to access funds for a year or more can be a major drawback for some. Usually, fixed rate accounts will pay higher interest rates compared to variable savings accounts in exchange for locking up your funds with the provider.
Keep in mind, if you choose a longer term fixed rate account once the interest rates begin to climb, higher returns may become available.
Finding the Best Rates
When you’re shopping around for the best rates, you should consider how you plan on using your funds. Do you have any emergency funds set aside? If not, dipping into your ISA seems more likely. If this is the case, then an easy access account will be the best option. If you can afford to leave your funds untouched for at least a year then you might want to opt for a fixed rate account which will pay a higher return.
Once you’ve determined which account is right for you, then you can compare the rates.
Do the Rates Change?
Individual savings account rates do not change unless you have a variable rate ISA, in which case the rate could change at any time.
If your funds are stored in a fixed rate account, then the rate remains the same.
ISA rates will not change at the beginning of a new tax year. During the new year, you will be able to start your twenty thousand pounds deposit allowance all over again.
There are some account rates that will include a type of short-term bonus, which will disappear after the first year. If you don’t decide to go with an ISA account then you should take note of when the balance expires so you can be prepared to move your money.
To learn more about ISA bonuses, click here to review our extensive ISA guide.
Stocks and Shares ISAs
The stocks and shares ISA returns will depend solely on the performance of the funds you have chosen to invest in. You may end up getting significantly less than what you put into the account. This type of ISA should only be considered if you’re able to invest your funds for a period of five years or more since this will give you a much better chance of riding out any market volatility.