PracticePeople In PracticeWeb Reviews – Beat the ISA deadline.

Web Reviews - Beat the ISA deadline.

This weekend will be the last chance to take advantage of various tax free savings products, such as ISAs, before the end of the tax year.

So rather than dashing down to the high street to see what last minute offers are available, use the web to do the research so that your full tax allowance can be used before 5 April.

It will be tight and you will need to make sure you have everything to hand, including the money, to beat the deadline.

The new group of stand-alone online banks should, in theory, be able to offer very competitive rates, particularly for straight interest earning cash ISAs, as overheads should be considerably lower than those available over the counter in the high street.

Unfortunately, time is against the online banks as you might need to get proof of ID to them, so if you do not have an account with them already, you might have to make do with a plain bricks and mortar account.

www.thisismoney.co.uk is a very good starting point for ISA savings research.

Backed by personal finance writers from the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, the site gives a clear round up of what is available in the savings market, with regularly updated comparisons, and highlights some key points that should be considered before signing on the dotted line.

The Co-operative Bank’s www.smile.co.uk offers the best rate for savers, but it might be too late to try and arrange the account online. www.egg.com and www.cahoot.com compete with smile for the silliest name, but all are worth looking at, and even if you miss the deadline there is nothing to stop you from signing up for the next tax year. Of the high street names, the Bank of Scotland’s website (www.bankofscotland.co.uk) always scores well in web reviews but it did take a while to find details of its ISAs on the site.

First Direct’s site is very slick, but you will have to phone up for details of interest rates, though that is not difficult as the company is predominantly a telephone banking operation.

OUR TOP FOUR SITES www.thisismoney.co.uk Simple to understand, easy to navigate, packed with useful tips on personal finance. ****

www.smile.co.uk Arguably the top internet bank. Offers good interest rates and signing up is straightforward. ****

www.bankofscotland.co.uk Comprehensive site and good facilities, but it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for. ***

www.firstdirect.com Very nice site. Plenty of thought has gone into the design, but remember it is a phone bank. ****.

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