11 min Read
25 Apr 2019

Written by Damien

Damien is one of the most widely quoted money and investment experts in the national press and has made numerous radio & TV appearances. He created MoneytotheMasses.com while working in the City when he became disillusioned with the way the public were left to fend for themselves because they could not afford financial advice.

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Compare the best and cheapest Lifetime ISA

Which is the best and cheapest Cash Lifetime ISA?

A lifetime ISA (also known as the LISA) is a long term Independent Savings Account (ISA) introduced in 2016. A lifetime ISA offers all the attractive tax benefits of a standard ISA, but with the additional bonus of a 25% boost provided by the government. The LISA was introduced to help first-time buyers and those looking to save for retirement.

In this article, we take a look at the providers currently offering a Lifetime ISA and compare the best and cheapest stocks and shares and cash Lifetime ISA's.

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List of Lifetime ISA providers

Below I have listed all Lifetime ISA providers including Stocks and Shares Lifetime ISAs and Cash Lifetime ISAs. I have also created comparison tables to compare the charges between the providers of the Stocks & Shares LISAs and the Cash LISAs.

AJ Bell

AJ Bell offers a Stocks & Shares Lifetime ISA that allows deals in funds from £1.50 per deal and shares from £9.95 per deal. It offers an easy to manage account accessible 24/7 through the app or online with the ability to ask for help from its investment experts. AJ Bell does however charge an annual fee of 0.25%. There is a high minimum investment of £500 if paid by a lump sum, or alternatively a direct debit can be set up for £25 a month.

To invest in a cash only LISA with AJ Bell you can expect no interest on the first £10,000 which then rises to 0.1% up to £50,000 and 0.15% above £50,000. It is probably not the best provider if you are looking to only invest cash as there are better rates with other providers.

Forester

Forester boasts that its funds are managed by the 'experienced fund-management team at Schroders' which means you can leave the experts to manage the account for you. Schroder however invests money with the aim of steady investment growth over a medium-long term; so you may want to consider this if you are planning to purchase a home within the next 5 years and especially after the 12-month limit. It has a minimum investment of £20 (or £10 if you have any other ISA product with them) and charges an annual fee of 1.6%.

Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves Lansdown charges 0.45% for holding DIY investments in a Lifetime ISA and additionally charges for dealing in ETFs, investment trusts (but not unit trusts) and shares on top of this. Via Hargreaves Lansdown you can invest in both shares in the UK and Internationally or invest in over 2,500 funds. However if stocks and shares investing is not for you, Hargreaves Lansdown offers a cash Lifetime ISA with interest rates of 0.1% up to £5,000 and 0.15% for anything over £5,000. Hargreaves Lansdown has a minimum investment payment of £100 or £25 per month.

Hargreaves Lansdown also provide a handy Lifetime ISA guide and calculator which will work out your potential bonus for you.

Moneybox

Moneybox Lifetime ISA can be opened for as little as £1 and it charges a £1 monthly fee (free for the first 3 months of account opening). It manages the funds on your behalf with fund provider costs between 0.12% and 0.3% and an additional platform fee of 0.45 %. The fund provider fees are incorporated within the daily fund valuation, so you will not see this charge leave your account.

Newcastle Building Society

With Newcastle Building Society you manage your account online, by post or on the telephone and can open an account for as little as £1. It has a competitive interest rate; actually the highest of the LISAs in this article at 1.10%.

Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a robo-adviser that offers two types of investing portfolios; fully managed and fixed allocation. The fully managed portfolios are charged at 0.75% and fixed allocation portfolios are charged at 0.45%. These reduce to 0.35% and 0.25% respectively on investment values over £100k.  To invest, Nutmeg requires a minimum of £100 to open an account.

OneFamily

OneFamily offers two simple funds to invest in as they want to make 'investing in your future as simple as possible.' OneFamily has designed a short (5 year) lower risk level fund and a longer (10 year) higher risk level fund similar to that of Foresters. It allows you to switch funds at any time free of charge but they charge an annual account fee of 1%, which does not include the 0.3% fund expenses charge. OneFamily has a minimum investment of £250. Similarly to Foresters it is worth considering the purpose of your Lifetime ISA before opening with OneFamily as its LISA is designed for the long term so would be better suited to retirement, unless you were looking to buy a property in 5 years time.

Skipton Building Society

Skipton Building Society offers an interest rate of 1% that can be earned daily but is not paid until the anniversary of the account opening date. They advise that due to interest rates being variable they will notify you if the interest rate is due to drop and you have less than £100 in your account. Skipton Building Society allows a Lifetime Savings Account to be opened with just £1. Skipton Lifetime ISA customers that are saving to buy their first home are also offered £250 cashback upon mortgage completion if they buy with a Skipton mortgage.

The Nottingham Building Society

The Nottingham Building Society has an interest rate of 1% paid annually on 5th April but unlike Newcastle Building Society who have a minimum investment of £1, The Nottingham Building Society requires a minimum investment of £10 to open a Lifetime ISA.

The Share Centre

The Share centre gives investors the choice between (or the option to mix) 3 portfolios; cautious, balanced or adventurous, based on attitude to risk or aim of investment. There is a minimum investment of £25 and a 1.75% admin fee. Dealing fund charges are based on frequent traders (£7.50) or standard traders (1% of trade value, minimum of £7.50).

Below is a comparison table of the charges for a Stocks & Shares Lifetime ISA and a Cash Lifetime ISA.

Stocks & Shares Lifetime ISA comparison table

Stocks & Shares LISA Provider Minimum payment Annual Charge
AJ Bell * £500 / £25 per month 0.25%
Forester £20 (£10 if you hold more than one ISA with Forester) 1.6% of fund value
Hargreaves Lansdown * £100 / £25 per month 0.45%
Nutmeg £100 0.75% fully managed (reduces to 0.35% for investments over £100k)

0.45% fixed allocation (reduces to 0.35% for investments over £100k)

plus there is an underlying investment fund and market spread fee of 0.19% + 0.08% for fully managed and 0.18% + 0.08% for fixed allocation

One family £25 per month / £250 lump sum 1.06% annual management charge

0.3% fund expenses charge

The Share Centre £25 1.75% Admin fee
Moneybox £1 £1 monthly charge (first 3 months free)

0.45% platform fee

Fund provider fees cost 0.12-0.30%

* Does not include fund costs

Top Cash Lifetime ISA comparison table

Interest rates
Cash LISA Provider Minimum payment Up to £10k £10k - £50k Above £50k
AJ Bell £500/£25 per month 0% 0.1% 0.15%
Hargreaves Lansdown £100 / £25 per month £0-£5k 0.1%

£5-£10k 0.15%

0.15% 0.15%
Skipton Building Society £1 1% 1% 1%
The Nottingham Building Society £10 1% 1% 1%
The Newcastle Building Society £1 1.10% 1.10% 1.10%

Cheapest Lifetime ISA

At present the choice is between seven Lifetime ISA providers; although this does not seem a lot, this has increased by 4 since 2017. AJ Bell is the cheapest Lifetime ISA if you want to manage your own investments, with an annual management charge (on top of any fund charges) of 0.25%. However they do have a high initial investment cost of £500 lump sum or £25 monthly. Therefore, for investors with a smaller sum of money, investing in Hargreaves Lansdown may be the better choice as it has a minimum investment of £100 to get started. Hargreaves Lansdown annual management charge before any additional fund charges is 0.45% and it offers the best investment fund choice; negotiating fund charge discounts on a range of funds.

By contrast, Nutmeg offers a fully managed service where they run a portfolio for you with an annual charge of 0.75%.  A cheaper alternative is to choose a fixed allocation portfolio with a fee of 0.45%. With both options there are additional underlying investment fund and market spread fees as shown in the table above. For further information on Nutmeg and whether they are the right investment for you, read our Nutmeg Review.

Best Lifetime ISA

At present the best value for money when it comes to charges and investment options for a stocks and shares LISA is the AJ Bell Lifetime ISA or if you want someone to manage your LISA for you then the Nutmeg Lifetime ISA (fully managed option) is the best value.

The best cash Lifetime ISA boils down to the provider with the best interest rate. At present Newcastle Building society has the best interest rate of 1.10% with a minimum investment of £1 compared to Skipton Building society that has an interest rate of 1% and a minimum investment of £1.

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