This will probably be one of the shortest reviews I will ever post, but if any one else, like myself, has a cash ISA with Abbey - now Santander and have until now, just let the interest accumulate without bothering too much about the actual rate of interest accrued each year, as long as it didn't drop through the floor. Check your statement very carefully. This apparently applies to all bank ISA accounts not just those of Santander's
I expect a bank to let me know if and when they make large changes in their interest rates - even on ISAs, but this is certainly not the case with Santander, or any other bank, it seems.
I received my annual ISA statement this morning and to my utter astonishment, discovered that the interest credited to my account was less than that of an ordinary savings account. In fact the rate had gone down from 3.5% to a mere 0.1% yes - 0.1%. but Santander had not informed me of this drastic drop in interest rate.
So I assumed that they had gotten the decimal point in the wrong place, and immediately phoned them. After listening to a selection of services Santander provide and a list of numbers to press, I eventually got through to speak to a very polite chap.
I voiced my grievance - politely, and it was then that he told me, (politely) that there was a recession on and it was up to account holders to check on the current interest rates for that particular ISA because the information is available at the Santander banks and on the internet and that I should have requested an upgrade from 0.1% interest rate to 2.75%
I was not best pleased with information, but got it upgraded all the same.
My advice to any one holding an ISA is to keep completely up to date with the changes. Do not take for granted that you will be warned of any enormous changes in interest rates on your ISA.
I cannot quite get to grips with the fact that I had to request an upgrade in rate, or why it was not done automatically!
The frightening aspect of this whole saga, is that my cash ISA would have continued accruing interest at the rate of 0.1%, had I not upgraded it today:-(
My impression of Santander cash ISA has dropped, along with its interest rates.
And yes, I am still miffed.
May 2011: Well, I am so pleased to be able to report, that since I grumbled to Santander about not giving me proper notice when their interest rates drop, they have, this year given me plenty of notice, so that I was able to arrange to transfer monies to an account of a higher rate of interest, without losing out. So now I feel it only right to increase the star rating for their overall service.
Feb 2013: The staff at our local branch of Santander have been exceptionally helpful in arranging appointments for me so that I never miss out now on the better ISA deals.
Santander, unlike some banks, do listen and act accordingly.
Abbey National have been out for some time marketing their very attractive Isa rates. An Isa, for those who do not know it, is an investment vehicle which is free of tax. Starting from the financial year 2008-9 it is possible to invest up to 3,600 Pounds in a Cash Isa.
With an interest rate of 6.255 Abbey's promise was surely more attractive than my current Isa provider.
I called Abbey National more or less one month before my Isa was due for renewal and although I was transferred between few departments, in the end I managed to speak to a very nice lady who opened the account for me.
5 Days later I received the application to be filled in via post. I must say that I had also applied for their saving account, which I will review separately, however, on the Isa application I noted that the address they had on the letter is different from the one they ask you to return the papers on the separate application form for the transfer from your provider. I called their support centre and was told than in fact both are correct.
I then filled in the form and noticed that there was not enough information to put the details of my current 2 Isas. I sent them a letter with his information and the copy of the identification forms. I then went away for 10 days and by the time I came back there was a letter form Isa with a different form which I had to be filled.
I called them and found out that they could not take my instructions on the letter and I had to fill in the form. I did so, and resent the whole thing out. My money were transferred after more or less 2 extra weeks.
I cannot say I am not happy, but I find that surely they could do better with their forms. I still do not understand why they did not send me the correct form in the first place.
Well what can you say about an ISA that the government hasnt already told us? Alot. The Abbey National offer an ISA to any one over the age of 16, but an account can be opened in the parents/guardians name(s) for those younger than this. Also when the person reaches 16 the account can be change over very easly. The minimum opening amount is £1, and then after thismoney can be added whenever you wish, as long as you do not reach the maximum deposit limit of £3000 PER YEAR. Withdrawels can be made whenever you require , but obviously you lose interest on the amount debited. Talking about interest ! This is payed annually at the begginging of the financial year ( about april 6th i think, correct me if i'm wrong and i shall alter it). Abbey National have a "tiered" interest system where the bigger your balance the higher interest rate you recieve. Rates are guaranteed to be above inflation and normally are about 6% with £3000, and 4.5% with as less as £1. You can choose whether you want the intereat payed into the ISA account or you may have it payed into another account of your choice. (even an account from another bank / building society). The main reason why people opt for these accounts is that they are TAX-FREE :-). A welcome relief in a world where TAX is everywhere! The governent introduced ISA's about 2-3 years aand guarentee to keep them running for another 7-8 years. This means that if you start now , in 8 years time you could have £24,000 earning TAX FREE interest at about 6%......if you've got the money to put in obviously! I switched to a Abbey National ISA because i relised that i had disposable income that was effectively going to pot on boozing and stuff. However now i have a direct debit that puts so much in every month, and still leaves me some to go down the pub. Any questions please post a comment, and i will answer them ASAP