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Oct 2020

Interest & ISAs: How It All Works

Interest & ISAs: How It All Works

ISAs are known for being a particularly tax-efficient way of gaining returns from interest or investment, depending on the ISA type. But, having said that – what exactly does that mean? And how does it all work? We’ve got the information you need to know. 

What is an ISA?

An ISA (Individual Savings Account) is an account where the returns or interest you gain from the money within that account is protected from the taxman – specifically, this applies to capital gains tax and income tax.

This means that these types of accounts are an excellent way to ensure that your savings are tax-efficient. There is a yearly allowance that is put on

The ISA allowance for this year is £20,000 – this means that you are able to invest up to £20,000 each tax year into either an ISA or a variety of ISAs.

How do these gain returns?

The returns on ISA accounts depends on the type of account you have opened.

For example…

Cash ISAs:

Cash ISAs function like a savings account – the interest rate is offered by the provider and the money you put into this account will gain interest according to that interest rate.

Interest rates for Cash ISAs are at a historical low at the moment – which isn’t ideal – but that shouldn’t stop you from considering a Cash ISA; it isn’t all about interest rates, and there are some great upsides to Cash ISAs such as having instant access to your cash (which isn’t possible with most of the other types of ISAs).

You can also achieve slightly higher interest rates on Cash ISAs if you choose a longer term for a fixed term Cash ISA, so there is potential for slightly higher rates.

Investment ISAs:

An Investment ISA is a way to invest which keeps your investment returns within the ISA wrapper.

Depending on the ISA you choose, you could have access to higher returns or lower returns – this does tend to be linked to risk, but not necessarily. Different accounts will offer different returns – so you will select your predicted return rates when you select your account.

Lifetime ISAs:

The returns gained on a Lifetime ISA are through a government ‘boost’ – that is to say, the government will give a 25% boost to the amount of money you have put into the account, up to a ceiling of £4000.

That means that each year, you have the potential to receive a bonus of £1000 each year – which is very much not to be sniffed at.

You can choose between having a Cash LISA or an Investment LISA; so the money within your account may either be invested and gain further returns, or simply sit gaining interest like a savings account.


You can either open a Cash JISA or an Investment JISA; so, while your pennies are locked away for the long-term (they can only be accessed by the child in question once they turn 18) they will earn interest in the same way that Cash or Investment ISAs do – depending on which kind of ISA type you have opted for.

Why are Some Interest rates Higher than Others?

Interest rates will vary between account type and provider.

You can get some really attractive interest rates on certain accounts; however they do tend to come with a higher risk profile. So, since a Peer to Peer ISA (for example) is more suited to an investor who has more experience and a higher risk profile – but it does offer very attractive returns.

Read more about ISAs.

Read more about Cash ISAs.

Read more about Investment ISAs.

Read more about Lifetime ISAs.

Read more about Junior ISAs.

Important Risk Information:

The value of investments can go down in value as well as up, so you could get back less than you invest. It is therefore important that you understand the risks and commitments. This website aims to provide information to help you make your own informed decisions. It does not provide personal advice based on your circumstances. If you are unsure of how suitable an investment is for you, please seek personal advice.

Lifetime ISAs

Save for your first home and retirement

Compare Lifetime ISAs

Junior ISAs

Invest for your child’s future

Compare Junior ISAs: 

Stocks & Shares ISAs

Invest tax-free in stocks and shares 

Compare Stocks and Shares ISAs:

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You've decided to invest your savings into a Stocks and Shares ISA. You'll be using your tax-free ISA allowance for this year before the deadline, while also investing your money for your future. But what do you need to consider before opening an account? We've put together a list of our top five considerations for you to think about before you click "apply". 

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