ISA guide

ISA accounts explained

What is an ISA?

ISA stands for individual savings account. ISAs are a tax-efficient way to save and invest your money. That means you’ll pay no tax on any interest, gains or returns you make. 

What is an ISA allowance?

Your ISA allowance is the maximum amount you can save tax free during the current tax year. You get a new ISA allowance every year, which is set by the UK Government. The ISA allowance for the current tax year is £20,000.

The tax year runs from 6th April to 5th April. ISA allowances can't be carried over from one tax year to the next, so if you don't pay in your full allowance before 5th April, you'll lose the rest of that years allowance. Anything you save into an ISA after the 5th April will be counted as part of  your ISA allowance for the new tax year.

What are the benefits of an ISA?

The main benefit of saving with an ISA is that you don’t have to pay tax on any interest you earn. Another key benefit is their flexibility. You can open and fund more than one of the same kind of ISA in the same tax year with different providers, but only one with us per tax year. You just have to make sure you don't save more than your annual ISA allowance of £20,000 across all your ISAs. 

You can also combine multiple ISAs into one new ISA by completing an ISA transfer. Find out more about ISA transfers here.


What are the main types of ISAs?

There are four different types of ISAs to choose from, but not all providers will offer all of them. At NatWest, we offer Cash ISAs and Stocks and Shares ISAs.

Cash ISA. These are simple, tax-free savings accounts. Some Cash ISAs give you instant access to your money and are a flexible way to save and plan short-term. Fixed Rate ISAs give you a guaranteed interest rate for one or two years.

Stocks and shares ISA. A tax-efficient investment account that could include shares, bonds or funds. Any investment gains or income should be tax-free and you could access a variety of investments. These ISAs are meant to be a medium to long-term investment, meaning they should be held for at least five years.

Innovative finance ISA. This type of ISA lets you put money into peer-to-peer lending.

Lifetime ISA. These can help you to save or invest for a first home or later life.   

Cash ISAs that we offer

 Cash ISA

Our Cash ISA is an instant access savings account with variable interest rates. This means the interest rate can go up or down. But you can access your savings pot whenever you want. You'll need to be a UK resident aged 18 or over to apply and you can only subscribe to one Cash ISA with NatWest in any tax year up to £20,000.

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Fixed Rate ISA

Our 1 year or 2 year Fixed Rate ISAs give you a fixed rate of interest so you know how much interest you'll earn. You can’t pay in or take money out once the term has started or an Early Closure Charge may apply. You'll need to be 18 or over and a UK resident to apply. Minimum deposit required.

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How many ISAs can I have?

You can have more than one ISA open at the same time. Mixing and matching could help you to work towards different goals. 

You can now open and fund more than one of the same type of ISA in the same tax year with different providers. You can only open and subscribe to one Cash ISA with NatWest, but you could open other Cash ISAs with different providers as long as you don't save more than your annual ISA allowance of £20,000 across all your ISAs.


ISA payments and withdrawals explained

How much can you pay into an ISA?

Paying into an ISA is known as subscribing. You can't subscribe to more than one Cash ISA with us each tax year, or subscribe more than your annual ISA subscription in a Cash ISA, stocks and shares ISA, or any other type of ISAs in the same tax year.

The ISA allowance in the UK is currently £20,000. It applies from 6th April to 5th April. Anything you pay into an ISA after 5th April will count as part of your ISA allowance for the next tax year. 

Got a Help to Buy: ISA? Although this is a type of Cash ISA, you can pay into a Help to Buy: ISA and a Cash ISA in the same tax year if both accounts are with NatWest. Your ISA allowance will be spread across both. With a Help to Buy: ISA, you can pay in up to £200 per calendar month.

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What are the withdrawal rules for ISAs?

If you've got a Cash ISA, you can’t withdraw money and then save it again in the same tax year if it means the total amount you paid in would be more than your ISA allowance of £20,000.

So for example if you pay £16,000 into a Cash ISA and then take out £500, you'd still only have £4,000 of your ISA allowance left.

Got a Fixed Rate ISA instead? You can’t take money out during your one or two-year term. To access your money, you’d have to ask to close your Fixed Rate ISA and an Early Closure Charge might apply. Your old Fixed Rate ISA will be converted to a Cash ISA so you don't lose out on any of your ISA allowance.

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Ways to manage your ISA

Top up your ISA

If you've got a Cash ISA, you can top it up as often as you like so long as you don’t go over your yearly ISA allowance. You can top up in the mobile app, online banking and in a branch too. If you don’t pay into your ISA for a full tax year, you’ll need to reactivate your ISA account before you can top up again. Remember, you'll need to top up your ISA before 5th April if you want to make the most of your ISA allowance for the current tax year. 

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Reactivate your Cash ISA

You can reactivate your  NatWest ISA in the mobile app or online banking. Just click the ‘Help’ button and ask to ‘Reactivate my ISA‘.  Your ISA will be reactivated the next working day.

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Transfer your ISA

An ISA transfer lets you transfer your ISA from one provider to another at any time. You can transfer your ISA into the same kind of ISA or a different ISA type. You can use the ISA transfer process to combine multiple ISA’s into one new ISA, using this transfer process.

If you want to transfer an ISA balance that's been subscribed in the current tax year, you have to transfer the full amount.​ If you want to transfer an ISA balance from a previous tax year, you can choose a partial transfer instead.​

If you want to transfer your ISA, it's really important to go through a proper ISA transfer process so you don't lose out on any of the tax benefits of your ISA account. Cash ISA transfers can take up to 14 working days. You'll need to allow 5 business days for an ISA transfer ​with the same provider,  14 business days for a transfer to a different provider, or 30 calendar days for transfers to or from a stocks and shares ISA​.

Visit our ISA transfer page to find out more.  

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Transfer your Stocks & Shares ISA to a Cash ISA

It’s easy to switch between these types of ISA accounts. Your stocks and shares ISA provider will sell your investments and send the cash to your new provider. The new provider will put the cash into your account. Going through this official transfer process keeps your tax-efficient entitlement safe. It can take up to 30 days to complete the transfer of a stocks and shares ISA to a Cash ISA.

Head to the ISA transfer page to get started on your transfer.

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Next steps

Now you're familiar with our range of ISAs and how they work, here's what you can do next.

I've already got a Cash ISA

If you already subscribe to a Cash ISA, you can carry on saving into this account as long as you don’t go over your annual ISA allowance. 

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I want to open a Cash ISA

To make the most of your ISA allowance, try and make sure your new ISA has been opened before 5th April.

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I want to look at other savings options

If you’re not sure an ISA is the right option for you, there are lots of other ways to save with us.

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Want to reach your savings goals quicker?

How to start saving

Ready to start saving and take control of your financial future? Check out our guide to discover the benefits of using a savings account, how to save regularly, and how your savings can earn you interest.

Work towards your savings goals today

Got specific financial goals but don't know where to start? We're here to help. Discover the best strategies for saving towards your goals, and get tips for staying motivated along the way. Plus, explore tools and resources that could help track your progress and achieve your savings goals faster. 

Discover our savings accounts

Stash the cash for your future with one of our many savings accounts. Whether you're saving for the long term, or for a certain goal, we could have an account for you. Specific account eligibility criteria apply.

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