skip to main content
Feb 2020

What is a Cash ISA?

What is a Cash ISA?

An ISA does exactly what it says on the wrapper – in fact, it is the wrapper. ISA stands for “individual savings account”, designed to help you maximise your savings by keeping your money in a “tax-free wrapper”

A Cash ISA is perhaps simplest to understand because it’s basically a cash savings account – similar to a bank savings account you might have alongside your current account.

There are lots of different kinds of ISAs for various purposes, such as Lifetime ISAs designed to maximise long-term savings or Junior ISAs for children.

The advantage to saving your cash in an ISA account is that the interest you earn won’t be taxed.

This means that the interest you gain on your savings will not be taxed. These are limited, as there is a ceiling on what a saver can put in an ISA each year.

How much can I save in a Cash ISA each year?

Every UK taxpayer has an annual “ISA allowance”: a cap on how much money they can put into one or more ISA accounts each year.

The maximum allowance for this current tax year 2019-2020 is £20,000 per person.

You can choose whether you put all of that £20,000 into a Cash ISA account or spread it across different types of ISA accounts.

Some key facts:

  • You can only open one Cash ISA each year
  • There are lots of different Cash ISAs on offer from banks, eg. instant access, fixed-rate deals and regular savers
  • Your ISAs will either be Flexible or Non-flexible You can choose either a Flexible or Non-Flexible Cash ISA
  • Flexible accounts allow you to take your money out of the ISA account and put it back in within the same tax year. This won’t impact your allowance. Some banks won’t offer a flexible ISA.
  • Non-Flexible accounts mean that you cannot take any of the funds in your ISA out of the account and return it in the same tax year.

Can I access my money in a Cash ISA?

It depends on what kind of account you choose.

The more notice you have to give the higher the interest you get. So on a one-year fixed rate ISA you will get a higher interest rate than an instant access. Different options include:

  • instant access Cash ISAs, where you can access your money whenever you want to.
  • fixed-term options which will lock your money away without access to your cash for a set amount of time (eg. one year, two years, five years).
  • Flexible ISAs will allow you to withdraw your money at any time, and return the money within the same tax year. Flexible ISAs will generally have lower interest rates, so the returns will be lower – but the benefit of that might be outweighed by the ability to withdraw your funds.

Are Cash ISAs worth it?

It’s always a good idea to shop around for the best interest rate before opening an ISA – but don’t become complacent once you have opened an account. You can transfer your ISA to another provider if you find a better interest rate with a different bank, assuming the new bank accepts transfers.

There can be a large difference between the worst and the best performing ISAs which means you need to shop around to get the best possible interest rate.

Is a Cash ISA safe?

You can get a Cash ISA through a bank, which are Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approved and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protects your savings up to £85,000.

How do I open a Cash ISA?

In order to open a Cash ISA:

  • You will need to be over the age of 16
  • You need to be a UK resident.
  • You need to have a national insurance number.
  • You have not opened another Cash ISA this tax year.
  • You have not already reached the limit in savings in ISAs this tax year.

Click here for a selection of Cash ISAs so you can find the best rate for you.

Important Risk Information:

This website contains information only and does not constitute advice or a personal recommendation in any way whatsoever. The value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the full amount invested. The tax efficiency of ISAs is based on current tax law and there is no guarantee that tax rules will stay the same in the future.

Different types of investment carry different levels of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. Please ensure that you read the Important Risk Information for further details. Prior to making any decision to invest, you should ensure that you are familiar with the risks associated with a particular investment and should read the product literature. If you are in any doubt as to the suitability of a particular investment, both in respect of its objectives and its risk profile, you should seek independent financial advice.

High Income ISAs

High income ISA ideas:

ISAs Products

Cash ISAs

Fixed Rate & Instant Access ISAs:

Cash ISAs: 

Stocks & Shares ISAs

Types of Stocks and Shares ISA include: 

Stocks and Shares ISAs

Latest News

Our Top Picks for Technology Stocks and Shares ISAs

19th January 2021

The tech industry has been booming for the past fifteen years; and it seems to be a rollercoaster that only goes up. The tech bubble has yet to burst, with companies coming out with more and more technological developments and consumer demand is certainly not slowing down. So, for the tech-savvy investor who wants to put their pennies behind this strong growing industry, we’ve put together our top three picks for Technology Stocks and Shares ISAs. 

Newsletter Signup

Sign up to our Newsletter to get exclusive news and offers direct to your inbox.

About us is a trading style of Fair Investment Company.

We've been comparing and recommending ISAs for many years so you can trust you're in good hands.

About us

4.74 Average

23 Reviews


I found the way the different options are presented very clear - much more useful than some other comparison sites. I sent it to my daughter as well.


Very informative, find myself a good ISA account with best return in terms of interest.


Easy to use website and up to date. Saved the link on my tablet.

Rob Holden

The website was very useful and informative.

Andrew Johnson

ISA can be confusing at first and this site includes a useful and helpful introduction into the world of ISAs


Excellent website - clear and helpful information about different products - and a trustworthy partner.


Easy to use website and up to date. Saved the link on my tablet.


Really simple to use and all the information was clear with lots of products available. The interest calculator was really handy too. Have bookmarked and will definitely use again.

Hannah Gordon

This was a really user-friendly site, and was very helpful when it came to comparing accounts and choosing my 2016 ISA.


Easy to use website and up to date. Saved the link on my tablet.


If you wish to invest in an ISA this site has it all. A super comprehensive range of simply explained products from all the major companies.

Cristina Iacob

Very knowledgeble company with an extensive range of services, a great website with loads of useful information.


Nice graphics and easy to navigate

Dr Alan Rogan BSc PhD FCIOB FCABE Eur Ing

Good advice and professional approach


Very helpful for getting my annual ISA

Jonny Doulton

Clear, concise and very professional outfit with an excellent choice of market leading deals.

Paul Tissington not only helped narrow down my choices for a Junior ISA but also provided additional practical information that helped demystify the whole process.

Sunil Karadia

Just the site I needed, I have been looking for a suitable ISA for a while, but as there are so many to choose from, find it difficult to find the right one for me.

James Weatheritt

I found the information on very helpful and easy to understand. The site is easy to navigate and find what you're looking for.

Lisa Holden

I found very insightful and easy to navigate through. The content was useful and helped me make my ISA decision.

Neta Pourhosseini

I thought the information provided was easy to understand and very informative, I would recommend to friends for deffinite.

Robert Murray

Great selection of Isa products, useful information and a very user friendly site