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What Can Cash ISAs Include?

What can you put into a cash ISA?

Before you commit to a cash ISA, check that there aren't any restrictions operating on your intended source of cash. The current HMRC rules on what can be included within a cash ISA are as follows:

  • Cash deposited in bank or building society accounts - this includes structured deposit plans.
  • National Savings and Investments products that are specially designed for ISAs - these may vary, so it's sensible to check with NS&I before you take any action.
  • Alternative finance arrangements, such as Sharia-compliant finance products.
  • Shares in companies and collective investment schemes that fail to meet the qualifying conditions for stocks and shares ISAs - if they do meet these conditions, you are free to use them as part of your stocks and shares ISA allowance instead.
  • Life insurance policies that fail to meet the qualifying conditions for the stocks and shares ISAs - again, if they do meet these conditions, you are free to use them as part of your stocks and shares ISA allowance.
  • Stakeholder cash products.
  • Stakeholder medium-term products that fail to meet the qualifying conditions for stocks and shares ISAs - those that meet the required conditions can be used as part of your stocks and shares ISA allowance. 

Who is entitled to open a cash ISA?

To be eligible for a cash ISA:

  • You must be aged 16 or over - for stocks and shares ISAs, this age limit rises to 18.
  • You must be a resident or ordinarily resident in the UK. In certain circumstances exceptions may apply - for example, if you are a Crown employee working overseas - so check with your intended cash ISA provider.
  • You must not hold more than one cash ISA in a single tax year, which runs from 6th April in one year to 5th April the next year. However, you are permitted to transfer from one cash ISA provider to another.
  • You must be the sole owner of the ISA - there's no option for joint ownership with a cash ISA because every individual has their own personal ISA allowance.

Am I permitted to transfer my cash ISA to another provider?

Generally speaking, you can transfer your cash ISA between providers without incurring any charges or penalties. If you're considering transferring your cash ISA from one provider to another, bear in mind that:

  • While there's nothing to stop you withdrawing your cash from the ISA and putting in another account, you will lose all the tax-free benefits. So, if you want to transfer your cash ISA, speak to your new ISA provider who will arrange it for you.
  • You will be asked to fill in an ISA transfer form that will allow your old ISA provider to transfer your cash to your new ISA provider.
  • If you want to transfer money that you've put into your ISA in the current tax year, you must transfer all of it in one go. You can also transfer all of the money you put into your ISA in earlier years - or a part of it - if you wish. Some cash ISA providers won't allow you to make partial transfers, so check the terms of the ISA before you apply.

To find out more about ISA transfers, visit our dedicated section.

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