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Procrastinators leap on last-minute digital ISAs

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Many savers felt the drama of the final-day ISA flurry, but don't wait until next year to do it all again, experts advise.

The investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown says that in the final hour of the final day of the UK tax year, one of its stocks and shares ISAs was opened or topped up via the website or its app every 10.3 seconds.

The hour from 9 to 10 p.m. on 5 April was the busiest – with an HL ISA being digitally opened or topped up even more frequently: every 6.6 seconds. Younger savers left it even later, with 10 to 11 p.m. being the busiest hour for them to open or add to a Lifetime ISA (LISA).

Sarah Coles, head of personal finance at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The last-minute scramble to top up by post or phone has made way for a far less stressful digital experience. The fact you can pay into an ISA quickly and easily  on your phone makes it much simpler to fit around your life, so the busiest hour of 5 April wasn’t the final one of the year, but a far more sociable 9 to 10 p.m. Cash savers were even quicker off the mark, rushing to invest just before lunchtime.”

Avoid last-dash stress

The busiest hour for the company’s Active Savings Cash ISA was between 11 a.m. and noon.

HL reported 5 million visits to the website and mobile app in the final  seven days of the tax year. But experts suggest avoiding the last-dash stress.

“If you’re still recovering from the drama of the last-minute ISA dash, don’t be tempted to put your feet up until the next race for the deadline”, Coles said. “The beginning of the tax year is by far the best time to take advantage of your new ISA allowance, whether as a lump sum, or by setting up a regular investment, through a direct debit, so you take advantage of pound/cost averaging. Getting it sorted now means your investments will be sheltered from tax straight away and positioned to take advantage of any share price rises.”

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