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 moneysupermarket.com) 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.
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.