Savers are running out of time to maximise their Isa allowance for the year but for this squirreling away their cash could be better off not.
First introduced in 2001, the cash Isa was seen as the champion option for savers. However, since interest rates have plummeted meaning other savings options provide better returns.
Interest rates, set by the Bank of England, have been at historic lows for much of the past decade. Last week the Bank cut rates back down to 0.25pc from 0.75pc.
High street banks will follow suit in cutting the rates available from savers meaning there is only a short window for savers to secure the best rates. Telegraph Money looks at the options.
Fixed- rate bonds
Those looking to lock their cash away for a fixed period are able to get better rates via bonds than an Isa.
For savers who need their cash soon, online-only bank SmartSave offers the best one-year rate of 1.56pc. Savers will need to put in a minimum of £10,000 to benefit from the table-topping payout and not access their cash for 12 months.
For savers with less to put away, Shawbrook Bank has the second-best rate, slightly lower at 1.55pc. A deposit of £1,000 is needed to open the account. Savers also cannot access their cash for a year.
三级成人视频RCI Bank offers the best two-year and five-year fixed term bond rates at 1.65pc and 1.9pc respectively. The digital bank is the British-based financial arm of car manufacturer Renault.
South African bank Investec has the best bond for those willing to lock away their cash for three years, with a rate of 1.8pc, although the minimum is £25,000. For deposits of less, RCI offers 1.75pc payouts on anything above £1,000.
In comparison, the best one-year fixed rate Isa三级成人视频 pays 1.36pc. From Virgin Money , savers that maximise the Isa limit would get a payout of £272, £40 less than the fixed-rate bond.
三级成人视频Virgin Money offers the best rates for two and three years of 1.5pc and 1.55pc respectively. Over five years, Hodge Bank, pays 1.65pc.
Although lower rates, Isas have the distinct advantage that, if needed, people can withdraw their money, usually for the loss of interest ranging from 60 days for the shorter bonds to one year for the five-year rates.
Some current accounts offer higher returns than both fixed-rate bonds and Isas but often come with much more stringent stipulations三级成人视频 and tend to reduce significantly after the first year.
Nationwide is currently offering a 5pc rate for the first year but this is only eligible for savings upto £2,500 and savers must deposit at least £1,000 per month into the account.
For more than this, the third-highest rate of 1.5pc from Santander is available on up to £20,000.
三级成人视频Although they pay a lower rate than fixed savings accounts, the Isa remains a good option as it shelters gains from tax. Currently there is a £1,000 tax-free interest allowance for basic-rate taxpayers and £500 for higher-rate payers.
Although unlikely, if saving significant sums, those in the higher-rate band could breach this三级成人视频 without in the top-paying fixed-rate bond with a deposit of £32,000. For savers nearing, or likely to earn over these allowances, it is worth considering splitting between an Isa and a savings account.
As well as this they are more flexible. While people may lose the interest payments, they can still get their money back in case of emergencies. With a fixed-rate bond most of the top-paying providers refuse early withdrawals.