Don't throw away your tax-free ISA allowance

This Sunday is not only Easter Sunday but also the end of the tax year. “Savers could still make the most of this year’s tax-free savings options before April 5," says Kevin Mountford at MoneySuperMarket. "Changes introduced last July mean that you can now invest £15,000 tax free in either a cash ISA or through stocks and shares, and any savers who have this amount stashed away but haven’t fully used this year’s allowance are just throwing money away to the tax man."

Average fixed-rate ISA is 2.2 per cent  

The average rate on the top five fixed-rate ISAs is currently 2.2 per cent, 0.7 percentage points higher than the average rate on the top five easy-access ISAs, according to research by comparison website, MoneySuperMarket. However, you will have to lock your money away to take advantage.

The top fixed-rate ISA currently on offer is from United Trust Bank at 2.75 per cent, although you must put your money away for five years and start with a minimum deposit of £5,000.

Four of the five top ISAs have application restrictions

Furthermore, out of the top five easy-access ISAs, four hold restrictions as to who can apply for them with the market leading HSBC Loyalty Cash ISA, which pays a rate of 1.60 per cent, available to Premier banking customers only. This is the only easy access ISA in the top five that allows transfers in from previous ISA accounts, meaning options are limited for anyone looking to maximise their existing ISA returns.

Those looking to transfer an existing balance over will need to look to the Post Office Online ISA which pays a lower rate of 1.50 per cent. You can compare the best ISA rates here.

Don't leave it too late

Savers must ensure that they leave enough time for their application to be processed. "Those considering a postal account, for example, may find providers close their doors a few days ahead of the April 5 deadline. Remember too, that if you want to make a branch-based application, because the end of the tax year falls on Easter Sunday, all banks and building societies will be closed," says Kevin.

"For those planning to pop in on  Saturday, remember that there will be shorter opening hours on that day, so you'll need to check timings before leaving home,” he adds.

  • Like this? Read our quick and easy ways to save cash here. Plus 5 reasons to have an ISA here.