ISA allowance maxing is on the rise according to new poll

21 April 2016

  • New research shows number of savers using the full ISA allowance has increased
  • But there is a lack of knowledge amongst savers about the new ISA flexibility rules
  • Men more likely to use their full ISA allowance than women
  • Nearly a third of ISA savers are more inclined to use an ISA due to flexibility.

ISAs clearly remain a key way to save for Brits, as new research, conducted at the start of the tax year1 by Nationwide Savings, suggests the number of people using their full ISA allowance has increased over the last couple of tax-years. In 2014/15, 18 per cent of savers used their full ISA allowance, but that rose to 21 per cent last year (2015/16).

The survey of 2,000 UK ISA savers also uncovered that men, on average, are far more likely to take full advantage of their ISA allowance than women. The increase in the numbers using their full ISA allowance over the two-year period is also more pronounced for men than women, as outlined in the table below:

Max ISA usage Male Female
Last tax year (2015/16) 26% 17%
2014/2015 22% 16%

ISA flexibility: still a mystery?

Despite being one of the Government’s flagship changes to the savings market, the research from Nationwide Savings indicates that people remain in the dark about ISA flexibility. More than three in five (61 per cent) ISA savers admitted they are unaware of the new rules, which allow savers to withdraw from an ISA and replace it within the same tax year, without impacting their annual ISA allowance (2016/17: £15,240).

However, the survey also found that, despite an initial lack of awareness of the ISA flexibility rules, nearly a third (32 per cent) said they would be more likely to use an ISA as a result.

The research also uncovered a difference between men and women when it came to knowledge of the new rules. Nearly half (46 per cent) of women were unaware of the new rules compared to just 32 per cent of men. Yet, asked if these new rules would make them more likely to use an ISA, 31 per cent of both men and women agreed they’d be more inclined to use an ISA.

Savers to benefit from ISA flexibility

It’s clear that the new flexibility will help those savers who use their full annual ISA allowance, which increases to £20,000 from April 2017, and with the survey showing that this group is growing, more and more savers are set to benefit. 

After previously having taken money out of their ISAs, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of ISA savers admitted they did not have enough allowance left to return the same amount back.

Nationwide’s ISA flexibility

All of the Society’s cash ISAs (fixed and variable rate) offer ISA flexibility, with the exception of Help to Buy: ISA and the Smart Junior ISA.

Tom Riley, Nationwide’s Head of Savings, advocated the continued benefit of ISAs in a recent blog, he goes on to say: “ISAs remain an option savers should consider in the new world of the Personal Savings Allowance and it’s good to see from these new figures that not only are ISAs front of mind, but also that many savers are making the most of their annual ISA allowance. 

“We welcomed ISA flexibility when it was announced and that is why we moved to ensure that not only did we offer our ISA savers flexibility, we did so at the earliest possible opportunity. 

“While we are encouraged that nearly a third of savers are more likely to use an ISA as a result of the new flexibility, it’s a shame that so many people remain unaware of the new rules. As a mutual, we always try to educate our members about things that can potentially benefit them and will therefore keep a focus on this particular issue.”

Notes to Editors

The poll of 2,000 UK adults with an ISA was carried out by online market researchers,, and tool place between 7 and 12 April 2016.

Full details of all Nationwide’s cash ISAs can be found at:

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

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