Revealed: the investment platforms that pay less than 1% interest on cash holdings

Do you know how much interest the cash balance in your investment portfolio, ISA or pension earns? We lift the lid on the best and worst interest-payers - and what you can do about it.

Investment platforms are paying customers an interest rate on their cash balances that is far below the Bank of England base rate.

While there has been pressure on the banks and building societies failing to hike savings rates in line with the base rate - which is now 4% -  some investment platforms have also been paying customers a paltry rate on their cash holdings.

The base rate has gone up ten times since December 2021. It is expected to reach 4.5% this summer.

We asked eight large investment platforms how much interest they pay to investors on cash holdings, whether in an investment account, stocks and shares ISA or self-invested personal pension (Sipp). 

One platform doesn’t pay a penny in interest on cash balances held within ISAs and Sipps, while another pays zero interest on cash balances below £25,000.

Others pay measly rates of 0.85% or 1%, way below the base rate. The most generous rate is currently 2.65%. 

The interest rate earned on cash balances is particularly important as we approach the end of the tax year. Investors often park their money in cash to use up their tax-free allowances before 5 April, and then invest the money later. Many investors also choose to move money into cash within their account, waiting for opportunities to invest or markets to settle.

The City regulator has previously warned of the “potential harm” that customers face from leaving investments in cash earning little or no interest.

Some advised platforms, which are used by financial advisers to invest clients’ money, pay no interest and charge a fee to hold your money in cash, meaning investors face a double whammy.

In terms of platforms for private investors, while a few pay zero interest, several are preparing to raise their interest rates next week. We outline how much interest investors earn on eight popular platforms - and any new rates that will soon take effect - and what you can do to boost your return.

Barclays Smart Investor

Barclays Smart Investor wins the award for paying the least amount of interest on cash balances - zero, to be precise, on ISAs and Sipps.

It only pays interest on cash balances held in general investment accounts (GIAs) – the cash is held in an account called an Investment Saver, which directly pairs with the GIA. The current rate of interest is just 0.55%, and this applies regardless of the size of the cash holding. 

The interest is paid on the first day of each month, based on the cash held in the GIA the previous month.

A spokesperson said there are no penalties for holding cash on the platform. 

Unfortunately, there is no option to increase the interest rate paid on any cash you hold. If you’re unhappy with the lack of interest, you can vote with your feet and move your investments to a competitor. Read our article on How to pick an investment platform for inspiration.

Charles Stanley Direct

Charles Stanley Direct also pays no interest on cash balances, although it does pay interest on large cash holdings of more than £25,000.

For those with cash balances above £25,000, a rate of 1.05% is paid; cash balances above £50,000 attract a rate of 1.3%; and balances above £100,000 receive 1.5% interest.

This applies to all products, such as GIAs, ISAs and Sipps.

However, on 1 March, the rates will improve, and all accounts, regardless of the size of the cash holding, will receive interest.

Accounts with a cash balance of up to £50,000 will enjoy a rate of 1.5%; balances of up to £100,000 will receive a rate of 1.7%; and balances above this level will receive 1.9% interest.

Hargreaves Lansdown

The UK’s largest investment platform, Hargreaves Lansdown, has increased its interest rates over the past year - but they are still far below the 4% base rate. 

It pays 1% on the first £9,999 held as cash in a stocks and shares ISA, junior ISA or lifetime ISA, gradually rising to 2% on sums above £100,000. On fund and share accounts, the rate varies between 1% and 1.6%, depending on the size of cash holding.

On Sipps, it pays a higher rate of 1.7% on the first £9,999 held as cash, rising to 2.3% for balances of more than £100,000.

A spokesperson said: “We will pass on the vast majority of the last rate rise and any future rate rises to clients.

“HL cash accounts have always been interest-bearing and after more than 14 years of being in the doldrums, interest rates have now normalised which has enabled us to pass more interest onto clients.”

Hargreaves Lansdown customers held £14.5 billion in cash in December 2022. The platform makes money from these holdings - it made £121.6 million in revenue from cash held in investment accounts in the last six months of 2022.

Hargreaves has an Active Savings service that offers better rates from partner banks, which investors can switch their cash into. There is no fee for this, and investors can currently earn 4%. However, customers must actively switch. This is a separate cash savings platform managed alongside a customer’s investment accounts (there is currently no Sipp option though).

The platform said: “We tell clients when they are holding too much cash for too long, and encourage them to use our Active Savings service.”

Hargreaves is also planning to launch a cash ISA.

Interactive Investor

Interactive Investor (ii), the UK’s second largest investment platform, increased its interest rates on 1 February, and will raise them again on 1 March.

For ISAs and junior ISAs, the interest rate is currently 0.75% on cash balances up to £10,000. On sums above this level, it pays 1.75%.

For Sipps, it pays 1% on cash balances up to £10,000, and 2% on values over £10,000. For trading accounts, the interest rate ranges from 0.5% to 1.5%.

From next month, it will pay 1.25% interest on ISAs and junior ISAs (2.25% for cash balances above £10,000). For Sipps, the interest rate will rise to 1.5% (2.5% on balances over £10,000). Meanwhile, the interest paid on trading accounts will rise to 1.1% for cash balances up to £10,000, and 2.1% for larger balances. 

There are no penalties for holding your money in cash. Interest on all accounts is calculated each day and credited on or around the 25th of each month. 

Interactive Investor also offers a separate Cash Savings Account, where you can move your money between deals from more than 25 UK banks and building societies. Tying your cash up for six months currently earns you an interest rate of 3.57%, rising to 4.25% for those locking their money up for two years. 

If you’re planning to leave some of your investment pot in cash for at least six months, it could be worth withdrawing your cash and taking advantage of this service.

AJ Bell

AJ Bell pays just 0.85% on cash balances of £10,000 or below, in an ISA, junior ISA, lifetime ISA or dealing account.

For those with larger cash balances, the rate rises to 1.35%.

Similar to Hargreaves and ii, there is a higher interest rate for cash holdings within Sipps. Cash balances of £10,000 or below earn 1.35%, while bigger sums earn 2.1%.

AJ Bell offers a Cash Savings Hub paying rates as high as 4.2%. Like the ii service, you need to lock your money up for at least six months. This is a separate feature to AJ Bell’s  investment accounts, so you can’t hold these cash accounts in your ISA or Sipp.


Bestinvest offers the best interest rate out of the investment platforms that we surveyed.

Its current interest rate on cash is 2.65%, and this will rise to 3.1% on 27 February. This applies to all accounts, whether it’s a general investment account, ISA or Sipp. 

The interest rate applies regardless of the value of the cash or the length of time the money sits in cash.

“We believe this is by some distance the most generous interest rate paid by any investment platform,” a spokesperson said. “Clients do not need to move their money out of these investment accounts to get this interest.”

The cash holdings are held with SEI, an external custodian, and Bestinvest does not take any of the interest as revenue.


The interest rate paid on cash held in Vanguard UK Personal Investor accounts is 2.2%.

There are no additional charges for keeping some of your investment portfolio as cash, and no penalties.

A spokesperson said that “Vanguard UK Personal Investor is intended as an investment platform, and as such while investors can of course hold cash on the platform (at the 2.2% rate), we do not offer cash or savings accounts or products.”

Fidelity Personal Investing

Fidelity pays 1.5% on cash balances in ISAs, junior ISAs, investment accounts and cash management accounts.

It pays 1.9% interest on cash held in Sipps and junior Sipps.

It told MoneyWeek: “We pay a flat rate of interest, regardless of balance, which we feel is simpler as well as fairer to all our customers, including those with lower balances.”

It added: “Fidelity Personal Investing does not charge platform fees on cash.”


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