Help To Save is a new savings initiative launched by the Government to help those on low incomes. Savers are rewarded with 50p for every £1 saved with this initiative.
How does it work?
Help To Save is a savings account that provides tax-free bonuses at the end of the second and fourth years from the date of opening the account.
After the first two years, the government reviews the two years and pays you back 50% of the highest balance you’ve had at any one time (regardless of withdrawals).
After four years, the government reviews the third and fourth year. The highest balance over the first two years is subtracted from the highest balance over the third and fourth years. You are then paid 50% of this amount. If your highest balance from year 2 doesn’t increase, you won’t get the second bonus.
You save £1000 and withdrew £250 before 2 years was up. The government will pay 50% of the £1000 as this was your highest balance. Your bonus is £500.
The highest balance you end up having after 4 years is £2200. The government will pay you 50% of the difference of highest balances. So £2200 – £1000 is £1200. 50% of £1200 is £600.
Total bonus gained over the four years becomes £1100. The bonus is paid into your personal bank account.
Can anyone get a Help To Save account?
You can open a Help To Save account if you:
- are entitled to Working Tax Credits;
- have a nil award for Working Tax Credits but you are receiving Child Tax Credits;
- are receiving Universal Credit and earned at least £542.88 in the last assessment period.
You must also:
- Be a UK resident
- Have a bank account
You only need to be eligible on the day you apply for the Help To Save account. If you stop being eligible and stop claiming benefits, your Help To Save account remains open.
How do I pay money in?
You can pay money in by standing order, bank transfer or debit card. The maximum you can pay each calendar month (from 1st to the end of the month) is £50, the minimum is £1. You don’t have to save every month, but we recommend saving what you can to increase that “highest balance” figure.
Can I take money out?
Money taken out will be withdrawn to your bank account. It will take around 3 days for the transfer to be completed.
Can I close it early?
You can close your account at any time. If you close it before the second year (for your first bonus) or before the fourth year (for your second bonus), you may miss the next bonus.
How many years can I hold the account for?
Your Help To Save account will be closed after 4 years. You’ll keep all the money and will not be able to reopen another Help To Save account.
Lastly what do we at RC think?
If you can afford regular payments, the account may be right for you. However, if you have outstanding important debts such as rent, council tax or payday loans, it may be best to prioritise those first. If you do end up opening the account and don’t end up paying monthly into it, it’s worth keeping it open to receive a bonus for the first two years.
If you’re eligible, you can apply for an account online here at Gov.uk or through the HMRC app available on iOS and Android. Your eligibility will be assessed online and the good news is, you don’t need to submit any paperwork.
This post was written by Joy