ISAs for everyone

It seems we’re offered a new ISA (Individual Savings Account) every year and for every eventuality. But which one is right for you and can you have more than one? We explain the different types here and when you might use them.  

Basic rules

  • To open an ISA you must be resident in the UK or a Crown servant (eg diplomatic or overseas civil service) or their spouse or civil partner if you don’t live in the UK.
  • You won't pay tax on any interest, income or capital gains from cash or investments held in an ISA. Bear in mind that tax on savings interest depends on your income - see Gov.uk
  • The annual savings limit runs from 6 April one year to 5 April the next (known as the tax year).
  • In 2017/2018 tax year, the maximum you can save in ISAs is £20,000.
  • The annual savings limit may change in subsequent tax years.
  • You can save up to £20,000 in one type of account or split the allowance across some or all of the other types.  
  • You can open a Junior ISA for children under 18. 
  • If you don't use your ISA allowance in any one tax year, you lose it.
ISA name Who’s it for Saving for Government bonus Savings limit  Notes
Cash  Anyone from age 16 To use as you wish No £20,000 or split across other types Check that you have the flexibility to withdraw and replace money in your Cash ISA

Stocks & Shares Anyone from age 18 To use as you wish No £20,000 or split across other types You can't put any shares you already own into an ISA unless they're from an employee share scheme. 
Help to Buy First time home-buyer from age 16 Your first home up to a set limit 25% of your savings up to £3,000. (Claim bonus by Dec 2030) £3,400 in first year, then £2,400 in subsequent years Available till November 2019
If you also save into a Lifetime ISA, you can only use the bonus from one ISA for your home purchase.
Innovative Finance Anyone To use as you wish No £20,000 or split across other types These include peer-to-peer loans and crowdfunding debentures. Your capital is at risk and peer-to-peer lending is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Lifetime Anyone from age 18 and under 40 saving for home or retirement Your first home up to a set limit or pension  25% of your savings up to a max of £1,000 a year £4,000 each year until age 50 There is a 25% penalty charge if you withdraw the money before age 60 or don't use it to buy your first home. Exemptions apply - see Gov.uk 
If you also save in a Help to Buy ISA, you can only use the bonus from one ISA for your home purchase.
Junior Children up to age 18 To use as they wish No £4,128 in 2017/18 tax year Two types - cash and stocks & shares ISAs. Your child can have one or both types.
They can take control of the account at 16 but can't withdraw the money till they turn 18.

  So, now use our GoalSaver to see how much you could save and how your savings could grow.


More information

What you need to know when considering a Lifetime ISA (FSCS)

Is the cash ISA dead? (MoneySavingExpert)

Stocks & Shares ISAs - Find the cheapest platform (MoneySavingExpert)

Help to Buy ISAs  (MoneySavingExpert)

Peer-to-peer ISA rolled out - but beware the risks (MoneySavingExpert)

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