When it comes to having an account with a bank or a building society, there are a number of different types that are available.

What you want to do with your money will determine which account is best for you, but how do two of the biggest account types, current accounts and ISAs, measure up against one another?


Current accounts

A UK current account is the most popular and most widely used in the country. If you are looking for something suited to your everyday needs, it is probably the best option.

What are they?

A current account allows you to access your money as and when you need it with a debit card. Some accounts may also give you a chequebook, although the use of cheques is becoming rarer as consumers move towards electronic payment methods.

What is it used for?

Having a current account allows you to set up direct debits and standing orders, so you can pay bills in a simple, straightforward and automatic way. They are commonly used for everyday financial transactions and handle both incomings and outgoings.

ISAs

Banks and building societies also offer savings accounts alongside current accounts. These usually have some kind of restricted access to the funds, but boast a higher interest rate.

What are they?

Today one of the most popular forms of saving account in the UK is an ISA. This is because they are a tax efficient way to manage your savings. It is a scheme which has been available to all residents of the United Kingdom aged 18 or over since the introduction of the system in 1999 and comes in two elements: a cash savings side and a stocks and shares investment.

What is it used for?

The cash ISA is basically a simple savings account, with the important distinction that any interest payments derived from it, are not subject to any kind of tax deduction. Each year, the annual allowance of an ISA investment is set by the government and currently stands at £11,280. Of this, only a maximum of £5,640 can be used for a cash ISA (whilst the rest can be invested in stocks and shares).

What are the limitations?

Most ISAs cannot be accessed like a normal current account, meaning you’ll need to transfer money elsewhere before you can spend it. This is a great way to manage your money and keep your savings topped up, but can be less than convenient when it comes to access.

Additionally, the most generous interest rates may only be applicable if you do not touch the money in your ISA for a set period of time. Introductory rates often drop significantly after a year or two, making it vital that you keep moving your money to new accounts.

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