Image of Rhiannon Philps

Rhiannon Philps

Content Writer
Published: 27/02/2024
Stocks and shares on a mobile screen

Average cash ISA returns beat the average stocks & shares ISA performance over the past two years.

With savings rates rising significantly in 2023, the average cash ISA offered a better return than the average stocks & shares ISA, Moneyfacts analysis reveals.

While the average cash ISA, including fixed and variable accounts, paid 3.73% between February 2023 and February 2024, the average stocks & shares ISA offered a smaller 2.80% growth.

However, both types of ISA performed better on average than in the previous year, when stocks and shares ISAs fell by 3.27% and cash ISAs paid just 1.71%.

Fluctuating returns

Cash ISAs haven’t always offered a better average return than stocks & shares ISAs. Between February 2021 and February 2022, the average stocks and shares ISA grew by 6.92%, compared to an average cash ISA rate of 0.51%.

What is a stocks & shares ISA?

A stocks and shares ISA is an account that allows you to invest in different types of funds and shares. You can choose to invest in a ready-made portfolio or select individual shares yourself. As with other ISAs, any returns you make are tax-free.

“Traditionally, stocks & shares ISAs would be chosen by investors who are prepared to invest for better returns over the longer-term on the basis that performance might fluctuate over shorter timescales, but it is essential they regularly check the performance of their pot and seek advice if they need to review their risk profile,” commented Rachel Springall, Finance Expert at

Unlike cash ISAs, the performance of stocks and shares ISAs can vary significantly. It’s possible for your money to grow more in one of these accounts than in a standard cash ISA, but there’s always the risk that you could lose money.

For example, while the best-performing stocks & shares ISA fund sector between February 2023 and February 2024 offered a return of 34.14%, the worst-performing fund sector fell by 32.46%.

And it can be difficult to predict which funds are going to perform well, as sectors that return growth one year could fall in the next year.

“Indeed between 2022 and 2023, the Commodities and Natural Resources sector was the best performing (returning more than 24%), but over the past 12 months it fell by almost 13%,” Springall pointed out.

Choosing the right ISA

All ISAs have their own pros and cons, so only you can decide which type of account is right for your situation.

Stocks and shares ISAs have the potential to offer higher returns than cash ISAs, especially if you invest for the long-term. But, as we’ve seen, there is always a risk that your investments will fall in value.

Cash ISAs are likely to be more suitable if you’re not prepared to risk your money.

Easy access cash ISAs could be an option if you want to be able to dip into your savings but, if you’re willing to lock away your money for a set period, fixed cash ISAs often pay a higher rate. These accounts pay a fixed rate of interest, which means the return you could get on your money is guaranteed, unlike variable easy access accounts that could change the interest rate at short notice.

You can use our ISA charts to compare different ISAs and help you find the right account for you.

Compare ISAs

Our ISA charts are regularly updated so you can see the best rates available, whether you’re looking for an easy access ISA, a fixed-rate ISA or a notice ISA. You can also look at other types of ISAs, including stocks and shares ISAs and Lifetime ISAs.


Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time. Links to third parties on this page are paid for by the third party. You can find out more about the individual products by visiting their site. will receive a small payment if you use their services after you click through to their site. All information is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before making any decisions. This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice. will never contact you by phone to sell you any financial product. Any calls like this are not from Moneyfacts. Emails sent by will always be from Be ScamSmart. will never contact you by phone to sell you any financial product. Any calls like this are not from Moneyfacts. Emails sent by will always be from Be ScamSmart.