Savings and ISA's

Transfer your ISA

Transferring your ISA to an account with a higher rate of interest has now become far easier. uSwitch explains how to transfer your ISA and why it could be a good move to switch.

Why should I transfer my ISA?

With the low base rate, many people may find that the interest rate on their cash ISA has fallen way below what it was when they took out their account.

In these difficult financial times, it is more important than ever to make the most of your tax-free cash ISA allowance by making sure you get the best interest rate.

For example, if you had £3,600 in a cash ISA paying the average rate of 2.05% APR, you would earn £73.80 in tax free interest. However, if you were to switch to one of the better accounts on the market, paying 4.25% APR, this would more than double to £153.

Check to see what rate your ISA is paying, if it doesn’t match up to the best interest rates available, then it’s time to switch.

How do I transfer my ISA?

It is far easier to transfer your ISA than you might think.

The most important thing to remember is that should never just withdraw your money from your ISA – or you will lose all your tax free benefits.

To transfer your ISA, when you have opened your new ISA account, ask your old ISA provider for an ISA transfer form and give them your new account details – this will ensure that your bank treats it as an ISA transfer, not an account closure. Alternatively, when you open your new account, your new provider may be able to arrange to transfer your old ISA for you.

Be aware that not all new ISA accounts allow you to transfer your existing ISA savings. The best rates tend to be for ISA accounts where you cannot transfer, so check this before you apply.

How long does it take to transfer my cash ISA?

The transfer times for ISAs have been getting lots of publicity recently, when the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) ruled that cash ISA transfers were to take no more than 15 days. This new ruling comes into effect on 31st December 2010.

This is a great improvement on the old system where your money may have disappeared for up to two months before resurfacing in your new ISA. The ruling has also asked banks to continue paying the interest throughout the transfer time.

How do I find the best cash ISA?

Always make sure you compare the different savings accounts on offer before you transfer your ISA. You can compare cash ISAs with uSwitch and compare them by a range of factors, including the interest rate and minimum investment, to find the cash ISA that’s right for you.