Our savings picks: This is Money's five favourite best buy cash Isas for 2015

Every little helps: Savings rates might be low but at least an Isa means interest is tax-free

Every little helps: Savings rates might be low but at least an Isa means interest is tax-free

Our savings correspondent Lee Boyce picks his five favourite cash Isas for savers in 2015 - essential reading to help you choose a top savings account for your money.

This page is kept up-to-date throughout the year - bookmark it for the very latest developments.

How an Isa works and why you should have one

Each year in April, savers are given a fresh Isa allowance that qualifies for tax-free interest.

For the 2015-16 financial year - which began on 6 April 2015 - the limit is set at £15,240, all of which can go into a cash Isa, after an announcement in the 2014 Budget.

And you can also transfer Isa money whichever way you wish between an investment account to savings account, whereas previously you could only shift it from saving to investments.

Although cash Isas don't currently offer fantastic rates, it is still worthwhile opening one to shield money away from the taxman.  

Read This is Money editor Simon Lambert explain how to use a New Isa to boost returns.

Isa rules state you can only contribute to one Isa per tax year.

You can also transfer an old Isa for better returns. Here's a quick guide to Isa saving.

It is possible to switch your current year's cash Isa if you move the entire amount, but it is far simpler to get your choice right in the first place.

Rates are low, but that just makes an Isa more important

Savers have been hit in recent years with low interest rates as banks and building societies fail to match tax-free Isa rates to standard accounts.

To those injuries was added the insult of the Funding for Lending scheme that pushed cheap cash through banks and building societies to borrowers and removed the incentive to offer decent savings rates.

This is now closed for lenders looking to gain more funds by increasing mortgage lending, but with plenty left in their pots they have little incentive to offer good rates.

But low rates just make it even more important to shelter your interest from the taxman, which is what a cash Isa does.

In the 2015 Budget, George Osborne revealed that from April 2016, every basic-rate taxpayer will be able to earn £1,000 interest a year without having to pay tax. Higher-rate taxpayers will be able to earn £500 interest. 

Read why Money Mail savings guru Sylvia Morris still believes using your cash Isa allowance is important despite the changes announced and Financial Mail on Sunday personal finance editor Jeff Prestridge also thinks the tax-free allowance is worth utilising.


Lee Boyce: This is Money's savings expert

Lee Boyce: This is Money's savings expert

Our five favourite Isas round-up is a permanent feature of This is Money.

It comes complete with an explanation detailing why we're happy to pick each account.

This page will be kept updated as and when new deals pop up or old ones get scrapped.

Our team work tirelessly to stay on top of the latest rate changes, but banks and building societies can pull deals without telling us. 

If you spot a deal here that is not longer available please email us at editor@thisismoney.co.uk

Remember, you can open an Isa or transfer (provided you're not tied to a fixed-term) at any time during the year.

Note that we don't just copy the best rates from the savings tables - we scour the market for all-around winners. 

This is a taster of the top deals. For the best rates, visit our savings rates tables, which are comprehensive and independently compiled.

Our five favourite Isas:

West Brom BS Limited Access Websaver - 1.55% [Full details]

- Facts: £1 to open

- Transfers in: Yes

- This is Money says: This account accepts transfers in and is opened and operated online. The biggest drawback is the account only allows three withdrawals per year - it has one which is solely easy-access, but this comes with a lower 1.25 per cent rate. 

Shawbrook Bank One-Year Fixed Isa - 1.65% [Full details]

- Facts: Can be opened with £5,000

- Transfers in: Yes

- This is Money says: This account offers tax-free savers the highest current available rate for 12 months and accepts transfers in. The Isa has to be opened and maintained online, while it offers options for monthly or yearly interest. 

Nationwide BS Regular Saver Isa - 2% [Full details]

- Facts: Save a maximum of £1,270 a month

- Transfers in: No

- This is Money says: This account offers a headline rate of two per cent, but the catch is you can only save a maximum of £1,270 a month. It's ideal for those who want to build a tax-free nest egg gradually over the course of the year. This is Money crunched the numbers to see what interest savers would earn in the account.  

Yorkshire BS Three-Year Fixed Isa - 2% [Full details]

- Facts: Can be opened with £100

- Transfers in: Yes

- This is Money says: This three-year fixed-rate Isa is now the default top deal after a raft of cuts. It allows transfers in and is also offered under its Barnsley, Chelsea and Norwich and Peterborough BS brands. 

NS&I Direct Isa - 1.5% [Full details]

- Facts: £100 to open

- Transfers in: No

- This is Money says: This easy-access cash Isa from National Savings and Investments offers the highest complete 'easy access' tax free deal, as the West Brom offering above only allows access three times. It doesn't accept transfers in and the account is managed online or via the post. 


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