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The best Junior ISAs

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Last updated on

09 July 2014

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Take a look at these Junior ISA options, one of which offers a 4% return.

 

Junior ISAs (JISAs) are a great way to usher your kids into the savings habit early in their lives. Launched in November 2011, they allow funds to be paid into a tax-free savings account held in the name of an under-18 by a family member.

Like regular adult accounts, JISAs come in cash as well as stocks and shares varieties. Up to £4,000 can be invested in one or both types of JISAs (although the combined amount can't be over that limit) in the current tax year and the funds cannot be withdrawn until the child turns 18 – when the account turns into a regular adult ISA.

However, one downside with these ISAs is that they aren’t available to any child who holds or is eligible for a Child Trust Fund, the Government-backed scheme that closed to new business in 2011. Thankfully, from April 2015 this bizarre restriction will be lifted.

So what are the best JISAs around at the moment? First up, the cash variety…

Halifax’s 4% Junior ISA

Halifax has the top-paying Cash JISA with a variable rate of 4% – but you will have to jump through a hoop to get hold of it.

The person with ‘parental responsibility’ for the JISA will also need to open up a regular Halifax ISA, although you only need to deposit £1. If a parent doesn't have a Halifax ISA, the interest rate is currently 3%.

So how do Halifax's regular adult rates stack up?

If you’re after an easy access account, Halifax’s ISA Saver Online offers 1.50% for 12 months on a minimum balance of £1 (transfers from other ISAs are also allowed). After the first year, the rate drops to a paltry 0.25%.

But even with the temporary bonus, this account is still fairly middle-of-the-road for easy access ISAs. 

If you’re definitely after a Halifax account you’ll get a better rate if you’re prepared to lock your cash away for a set period. Here’s how the bank’s Fixed ISAs stack up:

Term

Rate

One year

1.55%

18 months

1.70%

Two years

1.80%

Three years

2.00%

Four years

2.10%

Five years

2.20%

Transfers in are allowed from other ISAs.

At the moment, none of the Halifax cash ISA deals are market leading. So you will need to be willing to make a trade-off on your own savings in order to access the best rate for your child.

Other cash options

But if you’re not up for taking a worse rate on your savings to secure the best rate for your child, here are some other leading Junior Cash ISA accounts you could go for instead:

Account

Interest Rate (AER)

Minimum Deposit

Transfers in allowed?

Transfer out notice period

Access

Nationwide BS Smart JISA

3.25%

£1

Yes

No notice

Branch or online

Coventry BS Junior Cash ISA

3.25%

£1

Yes

No notice

Branch, phone or post

Mansfield BS Cash Junior ISA

3.05%

 £1

Yes

No notice

Branch or post

Skipton BS Junior Cash ISA

3.02%

£1

Yes

No notice

Branch or online

Stocks and shares Junior ISAs

Stocks and shares Junior ISAs will usually offer a better return than Cash JISAs, but they are riskier. There is obviously the potential that you could lose money – a threat that is not there with the Cash ISA.

Picking a stocks and shares JISA is slightly trickier than choosing a cash account.

Think about your attitude to risk although bear in mind that this investment could be for up to 18 years so you should have time to ride out any rough patches.

Make sure you shop around on management charges and fees. And beware of companies offering incentives such as free shopping vouchers in an attempt to blind you to high charges and poor performance. Although, of course, past performance is no indicator of what might happen in the future.

Take a look at our Beginner's guide to stocks & shares ISAs and don’t be afraid to ask a question on our Q&A board to get some advice from other more seasoned savers.

But remember, if you don’t use your or your child's annual ISA allowance by the end of the financial year – 5th April – you’ll lose it!

Have you got one?

Have you – or more accurately, your kids – got a Junior ISA? Let us know about your experiences in the Comments box below.

This article is regularly updated to reflect changes in rates

Compare Junior ISAs

More on ISAs

The best Cash ISAs

Top Cash ISAs for transfers

New ISA top-up deadlines 2014/15

Beginner's guide to stocks & shares ISAs

 

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