Guide to ISAs

ISAs can be confusing. Use our guide to ISAs to find out how ISAs work.

What is an ISA?

  • An Individual Savings Account is an account that allows you to save and invest tax efficiently.
  • There are four types of ISA: cash ISA, a stocks and shares ISA, a Lifetime ISA, an innovative finance ISA.
  • You can contribute to all of the four types of ISA in lots of combinations, You just need to make sure the annual ISA limit, currently £20,000, is not exceeded. 
  • Cash ISAs are open to 18 year olds and over, you must be a resident in the UK for tax purposes.

The ISA allowance

  • The ISA allowance is currently £20,000. This gets reviewed at the start of every new tax year by the government.
  • You can pay into more than one cash ISA or stocks and shares ISA subject to the annual limit.
  • You can invest in any of the following each tax year as long as your contributions across the four types of ISA do not exceed £20,000

- Cash ISA up to £20,000 (including existing Help to Buy: ISA contributions of up to £200 per month)

- Stocks and shares ISA up to £20,000

- Innovative finance ISA up to £20,000

- Lifetime ISA up to £4,000 

Transferring to one of our ISAs is simple, find out how to transfer your cash ISA or stocks and shares ISA

  • Some ISAs can be flexible, this means any withdrawals that are made can be paid back in to the account in the same tax year without affecting your ISA allowance. This only applies to our easy access cash ISA.

Cash ISA

A cash ISA is a savings account where you do not pay tax on interest you may earn.

  • You can choose to have easy access to your money and withdraw free of charge, the rate you receive on this account will be variable. 
  • You can also decide to lock your money away in a fixed Cash ISA. This means you will usually get a higher fixed interest rate. You may be charged for any early withdrawal.

Please remember

You can only put money into one cash ISA with Bank of Scotland in a tax year, but you can also pay into any other ISA for which you are eligible in each tax year, as long as you don’t exceed the total ISA allowance for the tax year.

You may lose money if you close a fixed cash ISA before the end of its term. You can make unlimited withdrawals from your Help to Buy: ISA but you cannot claim the Government bonus on any funds you withdraw.

View our Cash ISAs

Stocks and Shares ISA

A stocks and shares ISA allows you to hold a range of investments tax efficiently.

  • Choose from a wide range of investments with a stocks and shares ISA and build your own portfolio.
  • If you are new to investing you can choose to invest hassle-free in our three ready-made funds with our investment ISA.

Keep in mind

You can only invest using one of these two options in the tax year. This does include stocks and shares ISAs held outside of the Bank of Scotland

Please remember that the value of an investment and the income from it can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invested. Charges apply.

View our stocks and shares ISAs

Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may change. If you're unsure about investing, please seek independent advice.

Common enquiries

If you still have questions about ISAs we have put together a list of some of the most frequently asked questions to help you.

Bank of Scotland plc, Registered in Scotland No. SC327000. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Bank of Scotland plc is Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 169628.

Eligible deposits with us are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). For further information about the compensation provided by the FSCS, refer to the FSCS website at You can also visit our Financial Services Compensation Scheme page for more details.