First, what are the different kinds of ISA?There are four main kinds of ISA:
• Cash ISAs: These are similar to a regular savings account, but you don’t pay tax on any interest earned
• Stocks & Shares ISAs: These allow you to invest your money in funds and other types of investments. One of the main benefits of a Stocks & Shares ISA is that you don’t pay tax on any investment growth
• Lifetime ISAs: These are specifically for those saving for a first home or life after retirement. The government pays in an extra £1 for every £4 you save. You can save up to £4,000 a year into a Lifetime ISA (£5,000 if you include the government contributions). To invest in a Lifetime ISA, you must be under 40, and can make contributions up to your 50th birthday
• Junior ISA: This is a long-term savings account set up by a parent or guardian, specifically for their child's future. Only the child can access the money, and only once they turn 18
Next, you need to know how much you can save into an ISAYou can only put a set amount into ISAs each tax year – for the 2020/21 tax year it’s £20,000. You can split that amount across Cash or Stocks & Shares ISAs any way you choose.
If you’re able to invest into a Lifetime ISA, this has a £4,000 annual investment limit, which counts towards your £20,000 total. So you can split your allowance in a way that makes most sense for you and your financial goals.
Any money invested in a Junior ISA has its own limit of £9,000 (2020/21). It doesn't count towards the £20,000 limit for your own ISA.
So how many can you have?You can only open one of each ISA type in the same tax year. For example, you can’t open two Stocks & Shares ISAs in a tax year, but you could open one Stocks & Shares ISA and one Cash ISA.
If you do open more than one ISA, keep in mind that you can’t put in more than £20,000 across all of them in one tax year.
How do you know which one is right for you?It ultimately depends on what your goal is. It’s also a good idea to consider what your attitude to risk is and what timeframe you’re looking to save over.
For example, if your goal is to grow the value of your money over a longer period of time, then you might want to consider a Stocks & Shares ISA. This is because investing will give your money a greater chance of growing over time than, say, a Cash ISA. However, the value of investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than was paid in, which isn't the case in a Cash ISA.
You can find out more about which kind of ISA could be right for you by reading our guide to different types of ISAs.
Looking for more information about ISAs?Our guide to ISA rules can help answer more of your ISA questions, or take a look at our MoneyPlus site where we regularly post articles about ISAs.
Tax and legislation may change and your own individual circumstances, including where you live in the UK, will have an impact on your tax treatment.
The information here is based on our understanding in November 2020.