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A simples guide

Compare Nationwide ISAs

Nationwide is the world’s largest building society and has been in business for about 160 years. And being around for so long means it has lots to offer – including a wide range of ISAs.

Why have an ISA?

An ISA is an ‘individual savings account’. You can open one if you’re over 16 (18 for some products, including stocks and shares ISAs) and live in the UK. Any interest you earn on money you put in an ISA is tax-free, so it’s a worthwhile investment to make.

If you’re eligible to open an ISA, there’s a limit to how much money you can put in. This limit changes every financial year; for 2017/2018 the limit is £20,000. You can have more than one ISA, but you can’t go over your allowance in any one financial year.

Standard savings accounts, on the other hand, are liable to tax. If you’re a lower-rate taxpayer, you can earn up to £1,000 interest tax free; any interest you earn after that is subject to tax. For higher-rate taxpayers, the allowance is £500. If you earn £17,000 or less each year, you won’t pay any tax on your savings interest at all.

A range of ISAs are available. Cash ISAs are like savings accounts, where you deposit cash and earn interest on what you put in. A stocks and shares ISA, on the other hand, tracks a range of stock market businesses and your return is based on how they perform. Junior and help-to-buy ISAs are also available. 

What ISAs does Nationwide offer?

As you’d expect from a big building society, there’s a lot to choose from and you only need £1 to open one.

  • Instant ISA saver: You can put money in and take money out of this account whenever you like, so if you want immediate access to your funds, this might be worth a look.
  • Flexclusive ISA: You can only apply for this ISA if you’re 18 or over and already have a main current account with Nationwide, but it does give you a better rate of interest. Like the Instant ISA saver, you can put money in and take it out as and when you want, and you can manage it online or in branch.
  • Fixed-rate ISA: Nationwide currently offers no less than four fixed-rate ISAs. If you’re happy to put your money away and not touch it for at least a year, then this could be a good way to invest it.

With fixed-rate ISAs, the interest rate stays the same throughout the agreed period. With Nationwide, you can get a fixed-rate ISA for one, two, three, or five years. The amount of interest you get depends on the length of the fixed period.

  • Help-to-buy ISA: This is a government-backed scheme aimed at giving first-time house buyers a helping hand to buy their property. You can open one with a deposit of up to £1,200, then you can save up to £200 per month after that. When you’re ready to buy your house, the conveyancer claims your bonus, which is paid by the government. For every £200 you save, the government adds £50. The maximum bonus that can be paid is £3,000, and that’s on a savings balance of £12,000. You can continue putting money into the ISA after you’ve reached £12,000, until you’re ready to buy your first home. You can use a help-to-buy ISA to buy a house costing up to £250,000 outside London and up to £450,000 in some areas of London.
  • Smart junior ISA: If you have parental responsibility for a child under 16, you can open a junior ISA for them. If your child is 16 or 17, they can open the ISA themselves.

Junior ISAs offer the same tax-free savings opportunity as a grown-up ISA, but the allowance is smaller. For the 2017/2018 financial year, the most you can put into a junior ISA is £4,128.

It’s important to realise that the funds can only be accessed by the child whose name the account is in, when they turn 18.

You can only have one junior ISA per child at any time, so if you have one already but like the look of this more, then you can transfer over the ISA. But don’t take money out of an existing junior ISA, ask Nationwide to arrange the changeover – any money taken out of an ISA loses all its tax-free status (the same applies to all ISAs).

Comparing ISAs

Before you commit to a Nationwide ISA, take the time to compare other cash ISAs. After all, it’s a tax-free way of saving, so you’ll want to get as much interest as you can.

All information correct as of 31 March 2017.
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