Transferring ISAs

There are a number of reasons why transferring your Individual Savings Account (ISA) could stand you and your investments in good stead but you need to be aware of the disadvantages too.

Transferring your ISAs doesn’t affect their tax-efficient status. But you should make sure you don’t have to pay penalties or give up valuable benefits. Tax rules can change in future. Their effects on you will depend on your individual circumstances.

What you’ll learn:

  • Why you might want to transfer your ISA from one provider to another
  • How to make an ISA transfer
  • How long an ISA transfer can take.

The choice of who you save and invest with is entirely your decision. So if you want to switch from an existing ISA provider to a new one, you’re perfectly within your rights to do so.

However, it’s important to make sure you’re aware of both the risks and benefits of making a transfer. If you’re not sure whether transferring is right for you, seek independent advice.

Benefits of transferring

Transferring your ISAs could allow you to broaden your investment choices, as the range on offer can differ between providers. If, for example, you move to our Smart Investor service, you’ll be able to choose from thousands of funds, stocks and shares, Exchange Traded Funds and investment trusts.

Another reason to switch is that you may find you’re better off because another provider is offering lower fees and dealing commission charges.

You may also want to move because you prefer to keep all your investments in one place, where they’re easier to monitor and manage.

Risks of transferring

Before moving your ISA to a new provider, check that you won't incur any penalties or lose any benefits by doing so.

If you have to sell investments to make a transfer, you may incur a loss if you have fixed-term investments, and you’ll be ‘out of the market’ until you reinvest within your new ISA. And if the market or investment type rises in value during that time, you’ll miss out on the gains. That said, if the market falls, you shouldn’t lose out.

You also may incur dealing charges to sell an investment and then buy it back.

Remember that having sold an investment, you'll miss out on any dividends or other corporate actions and will lose access to any shareholder benefits where you need to be a holder over that period (or lose them completely if they’re no longer available to new investors). If you’re moving between two investment ISA providers, it’s often possible to transfer investments without them being sold. If you opt for this, there’ll be a period during the transfer when you won’t be able to sell existing investment holdings. 

How long this period lasts depends on the assets you hold, but it may also be affected by how quickly the broker you’re transferring from can carry out the transfer and whether it’ll accept an order to sell while making the transfer. 

There may also be delays in receiving dividends, other income and information, as well as delays to exercising shareholder concessions or receiving notification of voting rights or corporate actions, such as rights issues. These could affect your ability to respond where deadlines are shorter.

How to transfer your ISA

You can transfer your ISA from one provider to another at any time. You can also transfer from one type of ISA to a different type of ISA, for example, you can move money held in a stocks and shares ISA into a cash ISA, or from a cash ISA to a stocks and shares ISA. Similarly, money held in an innovative finance ISA can be transferred into a stocks and shares ISA or into a cash ISA. 

Transferring your ISAs won’t affect their tax-free status, as long as you follow the right process. Contact the provider you’ll be moving from and the one you’re moving to, who’ll manage the whole transfer process for you. 

To transfer an existing ISA to Barclays Smart Investor, you’ll first need to open an Investment ISA with us.

Once you have an account and are logged in, select the ‘Transfer an ISA’ option from your Online Banking menu.

You’ll need to have with you:

  • The details of your existing ISA, including the sort code and account number 
  • Your National Insurance number

Indicate where asked if you’re transferring from another provider or from another Barclays ISA. You then need to choose whether you want to transfer all or part of the balance of your existing ISA.

Once you have confirmed the details are correct you can leave the rest to us.

If you’re transferring from a cash ISA you currently have with us, the transfer should take less than two days. If the ISA you’re transferring from is one you hold with another provider, it can take up to 15 working days. For investment ISAs, the transfer can take up to 30 days.

Not all ISA providers will accept transfers, however, so check this with the provider you’re hoping to move to. Bear in mind too, that the ISA provider you’re looking to move from might charge you for the transfer, so ensure you check what costs, if any, there could be.

Remember that tax rules can change in future and their effect on you will depend on your individual circumstances.

Lifting the lid on limits

You can make an ISA transfer safe in the knowledge that your tax-free benefits remain locked in, so long as the right transfer process is followed. If you’re transferring an ISA that you’ve contributed to in the current or previous tax-year, you can decide to transfer all or just part of your savings.

If you transfer cash from an existing ISA into a lifetime ISA1 it will count towards your £4,000 lifetime ISA allowance for the year and qualify for the government bonus, but it won’t count towards your overall ISA allowance, which is £20,000 in the 2024-25 tax year. It’s not advisable to transfer from a lifetime ISA.

Waiting times for ISA transfers

Just how long you have to wait for your ISA transfer depends on the type of account being transferred. Moving from one cash ISA provider to another shouldn’t take more than 15 working days. Transferring an investment (stocks and shares) ISA may take a while longer. That’s because the assets may need to be encashed (liquidated) if you’re transferring to a cash ISA, or re-registered if you’re transferring to a stocks and shares ISA with a new provider.

Wake up your money

Enjoy up to £1,000 cashback

If you have investments or cash elsewhere, you can earn up to £1,000 cashback if you transfer them to us by 30 August. You’ll need to register your details and transfer a minimum value of £5,000. Pensions aren’t eligible. T&Cs apply.1

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