Stop. Where’s your ISA?

Stop. Where’s your ISA?
What you need to know about ISA transfers.
Dan Lane
October 19, 2021

If you’re anything like me you love a good checklist. 

I run my life by them and nothing ever really eclipses the pure ecstasy of ticking off that final job for the day. *chef’s kiss*

Thinking about going back over that list to see what I could have done better is a prospect I can’t quite fathom though. And, when it comes to getting the most out of our ISAs, that’s the part a lot of us could really benefit from.

Set & forget?

The one-and-done approach of setting and forgetting isn’t a bad one by any means, especially when it comes to investing. We’re our own worst enemies when we meddle too much.

But things change, both in our lives and what we need from our investments so it’s wise to check in every so often to make sure the very ISA you’re saving into is still a good fit for you.

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What’s the difference, they’re all ISAs aren’t they? Well yes, but in the same way all dogs are dogs and all restaurants serve food. It’s the variation below the surface that can mean one is right for you and another just doesn’t taste quite right (takeaways, not pooches).

Some of the main ways ISAs differ are:

  • Cost. Are you paying a fee to hold your investments on a certain platform? Is it a monthly fee or a percentage (which will almost certainly rise in real money terms if your account grows)?
  • Trading fees. Do you have to pay a fee every time you buy and sell an asset? How does that fare against other providers out there?
  • Investment universe. What can you invest in? Is there a good range of UK and US stocks, ETFs and investment trusts? 
  • The platform itself. Is it easy to use or does it feel outdated and clunky? Does it feel confusing and intimidating or is it set up to make things truly accessible?
  • Expertise. Once you’re set up does the platform wish you well and wave you on your way or are they there to help you navigate the markets (à la Honey)?
  • Customer service. When you just need someone to chat to, are they there? And in the way you need them? Humming the hold music is not indicative of tremendous response times.

All of these factors will mean different things to different people. Whether you want the white glove service and are willing to pay up for it, or you want an accessible app on the go, will be up to you.

It may even be that you have a cash ISA and you want to take on a bit more risk and move into the stock market with a stocks and shares ISA

As we’ve said, it’s all about what works for you now… and then what works for you if your circumstances change. And this is where we become the obstacle most of the time.

Don’t be your own worst enemy

The thought of getting a transfer going feels like a faff and even if there’s a better option out there, it might feel like too much effort. We’re a lazy species after all.

It’s a myth though. There may have been a time that an ISA transfer meant reams of paperwork and endless phone calls between providers. Thankfully that’s a thing of the past and all you really have to do these days is tell your new provider where to find your ISAs.

They go and get them for you and you just need to explore the new platform. 

It’s not a decision to make rashly - have a look here for a run down of our most commonly asked questions. But making sure the platform you’re working with is important, before you even decide what to invest in. 

Do yourself a favour and take a second to make sure your provider is still the right one for you.

Get to grips with how to build your wealth using an ISA account or a SIPP pension account. Our jargon-free guides are a great place to start learning how a stocks and shares ISA works and how to build a pension pot with a SIPP. Download our iOS trading app or if you’re an Android user, download our Android trading app to get started investing.

Important Information

This should not be read as personal investment advice and individual investors should make their own decisions or seek independent advice.

When you invest, your capital is at risk. The value of your portfolio, and any income you receive, can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

Eligibility to invest into an ISA and the value of tax savings depends on personal circumstances and all tax rules may change.

Freetrade is a trading name of Freetrade Limited, which is a member firm of the London Stock Exchange and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales (no. 09797821).

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