ISA openings half in a year

The total number of ISA openings in the UK has halved this year, according to new figures from Paragon Bank.

The banking group urged savers to ensure they are making the most of tax-free savings.

Data analysed by Paragon showed that UK savers opened a total of 932,000 new ISAs between February and May 2019. During the same period in 2020, however, only 490,997 ISA applications were processed – a 47% decrease year-on-year.

Paragon also suggested the slump in ISA activity doesn’t stop at account openings, as the total growth of ISA account balances is down 32% on last year.

This trend is despite savers saving more money during lockdown – with £22.6bn stashed into non-ISA easy access saving accounts between February and May 2020 – an increase of £15.8bn compared with the same period in 2019.

Paragon savings director, Derek Sprawling, said: “We know that the current savings landscape is driving up levels of inertia, and there is less of an incentive for savers to look for the best deal and move their money around.

“Even in the current market, receiving tax-free interest on savings is invaluable now and in the future. We would urge savers to look at ways they can maximise the return on their ISA allowance.

“It’s also the responsibility of financial providers to support people by making sure ISAs are as straightforward and flexible as possible. Introducing features on accounts that will allow people to find a way round some of the traditional limitations on ISAs, for example the limit on account openings per tax year, is one of the ways providers can support their customers.”

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