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Help to Buy ISA Providers

What to look for in a Help to Buy provider

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By Pete Mugleston  | Mortgage Advisor Pete has been a mortgage advisor for over 10 years, and is regularly cited in both trade and national press.

Updated: 4th July 2019 *

If you’re a first-time buyer interested in buying a home in the next few years, you’ve probably heard about Help to Buy ISAs and are interested to know which of the many providers is the right one for you. We get a lot of enquiries about Help to Buy ISAs, partly due to the number of banks and lenders who provide them!

Even if you are years away from buying your first home, it could be worth opening a Help to Buy ISA account now and saving for the next 5-10 years to benefit from the government bonus these ISAs offer.

The Help to Buy ISA first time buyer bonus provision will end in 2030 and to take advantage of that, you’ll need to open your account by 30 November 2019. That’s the same no matter which provider you choose.  

In this article we’ll cover:

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Are all Help to Buy ISA providers the same?

There are a wide variety of Help to Buy ISA accounts available from many different providers. While the main benefit of the account - to save in a tax free way in the right account to secure a 25% government bonus for a deposit to buy your first home - is the same across all of them, there are some differences in other benefits. They include:

  • Some Help to Buy ISA providers don’t allow the full initial £1,200 lump sum deposit.
  • Other providers give existing customers with a particular bank account a higher interest rate.
  • Some providers of the Help to Buy ISA bank account will allow you to make a withdrawal and keep your tax free and interest benefits with future deposits.
  • Not all providers have split ISA accounts, which allow you to save and utilise the tax free benefits of a cash ISA and a Help to Buy ISA.
  • How and when you can withdraw funds from your account can differ between providers.
  • Some providers will only allow you to open a Help to Buy ISA account with them if you live in a certain area or post codes.
  • Not all Help to Buy ISA providers will allow you to transfer into or out of their account.

Where can I get a Help to Buy ISA?

You can open a Help to Buy ISA account with most of the well-known high street banks and lenders. Other providers of Help to Buy ISAs include regional building societies and even some credit unions.

However, as detailed above, the rules and benefits vary between providers, so it’s important to do your homework and find out which Help to Buy ISA account is best for you.

The easiest way to find this out is to speak with a Help to Buy ISA expert, who knows the benefits and interest rates of all the different accounts out there - like the ones we work with.

They may also be able to secure a Help to Buy ISA with a provider you’ve never even heard of before, but which gives you a better rate of interest and other, helpful benefits to suit your situation.

How to find the best Help to Buy ISA bank accounts?

Finding the best Help to Buy ISA provider can be time consuming and also confusing. As a first-time buyer, you may find some of the terms used by banks and lenders a little confusing.

Also, while Help to Buy ISA providers might advertise a particular rate of interest or range of benefits, they may only be available if you fit a certain criteria - something that might not be clear from the information you’ve found.

In addition, while you might be happy to put aside some time to investigate the different Help to Buy ISA providers and assess which ones offer the best account for you, as a consumer you won’t have access to the whole market. That means you could be missing out on the very best Help to Buy ISA account available to you. Indeed, some deals are only available when a broker makes the application on your behalf.

The quickest and easiest way to find the best Help to Buy ISA bank account is to speak with a Help to Buy ISA advisor, like the ones we work with. They’re experienced and have access to the whole Help to Buy ISA market, which means you won’t miss out on the best account for your needs, situation and location.

Which are the best Help to Buy ISA providers?

The answer to which banks offer the best Help to Buy ISA depends on a few details, such as which accounts you’re eligible for, what you want and need and even where you live. For a brief overview, though, it can be useful to look at details such as the rate of interest you can earn and how flexible the Help to Buy ISA is.

At the time of writing (April 2019) Help to Buy ISA accounts can generate interest at a rate of between 2.5% and 3%, although this could change at any time. Banks offering a Help to Buy ISA with that kind of rate are:

  • Barclays Help to Buy ISA
  • Nationwide Help to Buy ISA
  • NatWest Help to Buy ISA
  • Virgin Money Help to ISA

It may be possible to secure a more favourable interest rate through a Building Society that offers deals to first-time buyers who live in certain areas and postcodes.

They include:

  • Darlington Building Society Help to Buy ISA
  • Penrith Building Society Help to Buy ISA
  • Newcastle Building Society Help to Buy ISA
  • Vernon Building Society Help to Buy ISA
  • Buckinghamshire Help to Buy ISA

As we’ve already touched on, the interest rates available on Help to Buy ISA accounts can fluctuate. That makes it important to check with each provider individually, or through one of the expert  advisors we work with, who can find out what rates are on offer from all providers, not just a select few.

But, the interest rates on offer aren’t the only details you should check through when you’re considering opening a Help to Buy ISA. We’ll share some other useful elements of currently available Help to Buy ISA accounts.

However, it’s always beneficial to speak with one of the expert Help to Buy ISA advisors we work with to find out if everything on offer is available to you.

Halifax Help to Buy ISA

Halifax offers a Help to Buy ISA to new and existing first-time buyer customers, with no preferential treatment available for those who already have another account with them. The interest rate isn’t the highest available when compared to other providers, although this can change and the maximum initial deposit they allow is £1,000.

However, first-time buyers saving with a Halifax Help to Buy ISA can make withdrawals. It’s also flexible and you can open and manage your account in a variety of ways and the bank’s and government rules allow you to transfer from another Help to Buy ISA, into the Halifax account.

Barclays Help to Buy ISA

Barclays Bank’s Help to Buy ISA for first-time buyers currently comes with a good rate of interest, although this is subject to change. Existing Barclays account holders can open a Help to Buy ISA online, while those who don’t bank with them will need to make a phone call or pop in branch.

It’s flexible with withdrawals and can be opened with a minimum of £1.Transfers into a Barclays Help to Buy ISA to benefit from the government bonus scheme are permitted by the bank, however, it likely won’t be instant and is subject to other rules.

To find out more, including how Barclays account  compares with other Help to Buy ISAs, we can put you in touch with an experienced advisor to help you find the right one for your first time buyer saving needs - make an enquiry here.

Nationwide Help to Buy ISA

Nationwide also offers a Help to Buy ISA account, allowing first-time buyers access to tax free savings, with a good interest rate, although this is subject to change and access to the government bonus when you buy a home. It can be opened with a minimum of £1 or a maximum deposit of £1200. You can also transfer from another Help to Buy ISA, but the whole balance must be transferred.

Withdrawals are permitted but there are rules to be aware of. Nationwide also allows a split ISA, although this is subject to certain rules with regards to tax free savings limits and how much you can deposit in both the cash Help to Buy ISA and your other ISA account.

Santander Help to Buy ISA

The Santander Help to Buy ISA account for first-time buyers is another option for saving towards buying a first home on the government bonus scheme. Existing Santander 123 account holders will receive a higher interest rate than non-account holders, although the rate of interest is subject to change.

You can transfer your existing Help to Buy ISAs or other cash ISAs into the Santander account. It’s also subject to the usual minimum and maximum opening deposits of £1 and £1,200. Other details are listed within the rules of the account, but to be sure its the right account for you, an experienced Help to Buy ISA advisor could help you compare it with other accounts quickly and easily.

NatWest Help to Buy ISA

A Natwest Help to Buy ISA offers similar benefits to the others we’ve mentioned. The current rate of interest on the account is considered good, but remember this is subject to change. NatWest’s Help to Buy ISA account will allow first-time buyers to access the Government bonus but there may be restrictions that mean it’s not the right option for your needs.

NatWest also offers a split ISA, which means you can save into a cash ISA and a Help to Buy ISA. But again, the specific rules may mean a different account could prove more suitable.

An experienced advisor will help make sure you apply for the right Help to Buy ISA first time, this will ensure you don’t have too many hard searches on your credit file, which can be detrimental to your credit rating.

Virgin Money Help to Buy ISA

The Virgin Money Help to Buy ISA currently pays a competitive interest rate to help first-time buyers save towards their first home. Of course, this is subject to change and the bank will notify if that is the case.

On a comparable basis with other open-to-all Help to Buy ISAs, there isn’t anything obviously striking about the benefits on offer from Virgin Money.

However, a Help to Buy ISA expert would be able to help show you why this account might be the right one for you, or if you could find one that’s more flexible or could help you save to buy a home more quickly.

They may also be able to negotiate broker only deals that unlock benefits more suited to your situation.

Ulster Bank Help to Buy ISA

The Ulster Bank provides a Help to Buy ISA for first-time buyers that currently offers a competitive interest rate, at the time of writing. The bank also offers a split ISA, allowing you to benefit from your entire ISA savings limit. Other details of the account appear pretty standard, including the minimum and maximum opening deposits and withdrawal rules.

HSBC Help to Buy ISA

HSBC’s Help to Buy ISA gives first-time buyers the opportunity to save to buy a home and benefit from the government’s 25% bonus up to a maximum of £3,000. At the time of writing, the interest rate isn’t the best on the market. But other features of the account relating to flexibility and it being open to everyone, could make it work for you.

A split ISA may be possible, while a transfer in or out are also subject to HSBC’s Help to Buy ISA scheme rules.

Lloyds Help to Buy ISA

Lloyds’ Help to Buy ISA account for first-time buyers offer pretty standard benefits as they save to buy a home. At the time of writing, the rate of interest isn’t the highest on the market, nor are the obvious levels of flexibility. It may be possible to transfer into and out of the Lloyds account and while you are able to make a withdrawal from the Help to Buy ISA, you’ll lose that portion of tax free savings for the year.

If you’re already a Lloyds bank customer, and are keen to open your Help to Buy ISA with them, it could be worthwhile speaking with an experienced Help to Buy ISA advisor. They can help you compare the benefits of this account with others and ensure you open the best one for your needs.

Bank of Scotland Help to Buy ISA

Similar to the above accounts for first-time buyers, is the Help to Buy ISA on offer from the Bank of Scotland (BOS). At the time of writing, the interest rate isn’t the highest and the obvious benefits you would look for, such as withdrawal, transfer and deposit rules, don’t really differ from other accounts you might compare it to.

Yorkshire Building Society Help to Buy ISA

If you’re a first-time buyer interested in opening a Help to Buy ISA with the Yorkshire Building Society, their account could suit your needs. At the time of writing, the interest rate isn’t too bad - but remember it’s subject to change. The benefits are as you’d expect, too. However, there is the chance to gain from a good mortgage when you’re ready to cash in your Help to Buy ISA, claim your government bonus and buy your first home.

Of course, the Yorkshire bank’s rules and regulations will be specific and a good Help to Buy ISA and first-time buyer mortgage advisor, may be aware of other options that could be even more beneficial with regards to what you’re looking for.

Other lenders who offer a Help to Buy ISA account include:

  • Clydesdale Bank Help to Buy ISA
  • Cumberland Building Society Help to Buy ISA
  • Aldermore Help to Buy ISA
  • Newcastle Building Society Help to Buy ISA
  • Progressive Help to Buy ISA
  • Penrith Building Society Help to Buy ISA
  • Darlington Building Society Help to Buy ISA
  • Buckinghamshire Building Society Help to Buy ISA
  • Tipton and Coseley Building Society Help to Buy ISA
  • Chelsea Building society Help to Buy ISA
  • Cumberland Building Society Help to Buy ISA
  • Monmouthshire Building Society Help to Buy ISA

Banks who currently don’t offer a Help to Buy ISA include:

  • TSB
  • Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
  • First Direct
  • Co-operative Bank
  • Britannia Building Society
  • Post Office
  • Tesco Bank
  • Coventry Building Society
  • First Trust Bank
  • Bank of Ireland
  • Metro Bank
  • Skipton
  • Danske Bank
  • Principality Building Society

However, if you bank with a sister bank of those listed above, you may be able to secure a first-time buyer Help to Buy ISA account, with the rate of interest, transfer and withdrawal flexibility you’re looking for. They may also offer a Lifetime ISA account instead, that can also be used towards saving towards buying a first time

Speak to a Help to Buy ISA provider expert today!

If you’re a first-time buyer searching for the best possible Help to Buy ISA to help you save towards buying a home, an advisor with the right experience can assist you and ensure you find the best provider and products for your specific situation.

The Online Mortgage Advisor team can put you in touch with the Help to Buy ISA advisor from the specialist experts we work with. They will then give you more details on the right way forward for your remortgage needs. Call Online Mortgage Advisor today on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry here.

Then sit back and let us do all the hard work in finding the advisor with the right expertise for your circumstances. We don’t charge a fee and there’s absolutely no obligation.

Updated: 4th July 2019
OnlineMortgageAdvisor 2019 ©

FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The info on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs. Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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