There's just time to get a last minute Isa

There's still time - just - to make the most of your tax free savings allowance for this year with an Isa. Here are some of the best deals to snap up while you still have time.

There is still time just to get a cash Isa for this tax year. A cash Isa is simply a tax free savings account into which you deposit your savings: you get an allocation for it every year (£5100 this year). But once the money is in it any returns on it will come tax free forever (or until you withdraw it).

The deadline for using this years allowance is 5 April (Tuesday). That isn't far away, but get on the phone right away and you should find you can get an account set up in time. The best looking cash Isa on the market as I write (it is worth double checking this on is from Santander.

You will have to telephone or visit a branch to apply (it is too late to do it online) but if you do you will find the account pays 3.3% and commits to be 2.8% above the UK base rate (now 0.5%) for the next year at least.

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So if the Bank of England puts interest rates up the rate on your Isa account will go up too. 3.3% isn't enough for your money to beat inflation but, given its tax-free status, the account is a lot better than most of those on the market at the moment.

Otherwise you can look at Barclays, which is offering 3.25% on its Golden Isa. However if you don't have a Barclay's current account you will have to go to a branch to apply.

Finally if you want to put money into a stocks and shares Isa but don't actually fancy investing don't forget you can keep cash in an ISA as long as you intend to invest it. Most providers pay an appalling rate of interest on the cash you hold like this. Usually Hargreaves Lansdown is no exception but they are offering a short term deal that pays 3% at the moment. It isn't great. But it is an awful lot better than nothing.

For more on how to make the most out of your Isa visit our personal finance section.

Merryn Somerset Webb

Merryn Somerset Webb started her career in Tokyo at public broadcaster NHK before becoming a Japanese equity broker at what was then Warburgs. She went on to work at SBC and UBS without moving from her desk in Kamiyacho (it was the age of mergers).

After five years in Japan she returned to work in the UK at Paribas. This soon became BNP Paribas. Again, no desk move was required. On leaving the City, Merryn helped The Week magazine with its City pages before becoming the launch editor of MoneyWeek in 2000 and taking on columns first in the Sunday Times and then in 2009 in the Financial Times

Twenty years on, MoneyWeek is the best-selling financial magazine in the UK. Merryn was its Editor in Chief until 2022. She is now a senior columnist at Bloomberg and host of the Merryn Talks Money podcast -  but still writes for Moneyweek monthly. 

Merryn is also is a non executive director of two investment trusts – BlackRock Throgmorton, and the Murray Income Investment Trust.