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Guide to transferring an ISA

Guide to transferring an ISA

Wondering how to transfer an ISA? Transferring an ISA is straightforward, but it’s important you follow the right steps to avoid losing your tax-free benefits. Read on to find out how to transfer an ISA with Sainsbury’s Bank.

What is an ISA transfer?

Moving your savings from one ISA account to another without losing the tax-free savings is known as an ISA transfer. People can transfer ISAs to:

  • Benefit from higher interest rates
  • Save their money with their preferred bank
  • Consolidate multiple ISAs in one place 

How to transfer an ISA

If you want to transfer money from one ISA to another, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Research and compare ISA deals to find the right one for you
  2. Check whether you’ll face any transfer charges with your current ISA provider
  3. Ask your new provider to arrange the transfer

You may need to contact your current provider and fill out an ISA transfer form. You must also contact your new ISA provider to help you with the transfer.

If you want to keep your tax-free savings, don’t physically remove the funds from one ISA into a separate account to invest them in a new ISA. If the money moves into a current account or similar, you will lose the tax-free status.

Not all ISA providers will accept transfers. Some of the top paying ISA accounts are only open to new ISA funds in the current tax year. Always check that the bank you want to transfer your funds to accepts ISA transfers before starting the ISA transfer process.

How long does it take to transfer an ISA? 

ISA transfers should take no longer than 15 days between cash ISAs and 30 days for other types of ISA. If it takes longer than this to complete the transfer, you can contact your ISA provider or complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Some banks let you start earning interest from the day they receive your completed transfer request, even while the ISA transfer process takes place.

Why transfer your ISA?

The main benefits of transferring an ISA are:

  • Gaining better interest rates. It’s common for ISA interest rates to fall after an introductory period, so transferring ISAs can give better returns on your money. 
  • Consolidating ISAs. If you have several ISAs, it can be easier to manage your savings by combining them into one account. 
  • It’s easy to do. Transferring ISAs is simple and straightforward, so there’s no reason customers should feel they are unable to transfer ISAs. 

The ISA transfer rules explained

Different ISA providers will have different rules, but many of the rules below generally apply to most ISAs:

  • If you’ve opened your ISA in the current tax year, then you’ll need to transfer the whole amount to the new ISA. You’ll still be able to top it up to the maximum ISA allowance with the new provider

  • Cash ISA transfer in rules may mean you can only transfer part of the previous tax year’s Cash ISA or Stocks and Shares ISA

  • Transferring ISAs from previous tax years will not impact your current tax year’s ISA allowance

  • You can transfer cash from an innovative finance ISA to another ISA, but you may not be able to transfer other investments from it

  • Some ISA accounts carry penalties for transferring, particularly fixed rate ISAs if you transfer before the end of the fixed term period

  • ISA providers must allow you to transfer your ISA out, but there’s no obligation for banks to allow you to transfer in

Frequently asked questions

Can I transfer my ISA to a new one?

Yes, you can transfer money from one ISA to another, this is known as an ISA transfer. To transfer ISA, you will need to ask the new provider to arrange a transfer. Don’t move the money into a current account and make the transfer yourself, or you will lose the tax-free status.

Can I transfer an ISA without a penalty?

Some providers may carry penalties for transferring your money. Fixed-term ISAs often have penalties for closing the account early, so always check with your provider before making a transfer.