How to transfer an ISA
Last updated on 6 April 2016
Why you might want to transfer an ISA
There are several reasons why you might want to transfer to a different ISA. If you have a cash ISA it could be that other cash ISAs are paying a better rate of interest or that you want to transfer this money into a stocks and shares ISA. If you have a stocks and shares ISA you might want to transfer your money into another stocks and shares ISA because that fund is performing better than the one you are invested in or you may want to transfer this money into a cash ISA.
You can invest up to £15,240 in ISAs this tax year (2016/17) and there are no longer restrictions on how much of this money can be in a cash ISA. So if you want you can put the whole of your ISA allowance in cash, stocks and shares, or any combination of the two.
New rules have also been introduced which mean that if you withdraw any money from your ISA you can now put it back in without losing any of your annual tax-free entitlement, providing your ISA provider allows it.
The transfer rules
You can transfer your ISA from one provider to another whenever you want. This could be all this tax-year's ISA (you can't just transfer part of it) or all or part of your previous years' ISAs. Not all providers accept part transfers so check first.
You used to be only able to transfer a stocks and shares ISA to another stocks and shares ISA. But you can now transfer a stocks and shares ISA into either another stocks and shares ISA or into a cash ISA. Likewise, you can transfer money in a cash ISA into either another cash ISA or a stocks and shares ISA.
How to transfer an ISA
Transferring an ISA should be pretty straightforward but it's important to do it in the right order so as not to lose the tax-free benefits.
Start by choosing the ISA savings or investment account you want to transfer your money to and open the new account. Check that the new provider will accept your transfer into its account (not all do) and then ask it to arrange the transfer for you.
It's important you open the new account first so that your money is transferred into it. This way you keep the tax-free ISA status. If you close your old ISA account before transferring to the new account, your savings will lose their ISA tax benefits.
If you transfer savings from one cash ISA to another cash ISA the transfer should take no more than 15 working days. Any other type of transfer, such as transferring savings from a cash ISA to a stocks and shares ISA, should usually take no more than 30 working days.