Before you choose a savings account, ask yourself:
1. How often will I need to make withdrawals?
Do you want instant access to your savings or would you be prepared to lock your money away for a fixed period of time? This could be anywhere between 30 days and three years. Usually the longer you have to wait before you can access your cash, the better the rate of interest you’ll receive.
2. How do I want to manage my savings?
Typically savings accounts that are managed exclusively online offer the highest interest rates as the savings made through reduced running costs can be passed onto you. We offer savings accounts that can be managed online and accounts that can be managed by phone, post or in our branches.
3. How much do I want to save?
We have savings accounts you can open with as little as £1 or as much as £500. Some Post Office Money accounts allow you to save flexibly and regularly, others only allow you to deposit a lump sum upon account opening.
4. Do I pay tax on the interest I receive?
Since 6 April 2016, UK taxpayers have a new Personal Savings Allowance. In addition to this, Banks and Building Societies will no longer deduct Basic Rate Tax from savings interest. This means all interest is paid gross without the deduction of income tax. For more details log onto: www.gov.uk/hmrc/savingsallowance
5. Have I used my cash ISA allowance?
Each tax year you’re given a tax-free cash Individual Savings Account (ISA) allowance from the government to encourage you to save. All the interest is completely tax-free which means you keep all of the interest your savings earn. Because of this, a cash ISA is often a great place to start saving.
6. Does income from ISAs count towards my Personal Savings Allowance?
No, income from ISAs does not count towards your Personal Savings Allowance.
Which savings account is right for you?
There are lots of different options when it comes to savings accounts. Here are some of the most common ones:
Fixed rate bonds
These have a fixed interest rate over a set period of time. They often offer a higher interest rate but you have to be confident you won’t need access to your money during the set time period. Post Office Money fixed rate bonds are called Online Bond and Growth Bond.
Online Bond and Growth Bond are provided by Bank of Ireland UK.
Instant access and easy access savings accounts
Ideal if you want to put some emergency funds away for example, but also want to be able to withdraw your cash whenever you need it, without paying a penalty. The easy access savings account is called Online Saver whilst the instant access savings account is Instant Saver.
Online Saver and Instant Saver are provided by Bank of Ireland UK.
Regular savings accounts
With these accounts you have to commit to saving a regular amount each month for a year. However, there is no restriction on frequency of deposit. In return you’ll get either a fixed or variable rate of interest and you’ll be able to access your money should you need to. We don’t currently offer these types of accounts but if you want to save regularly, try the Online Saver, Reward Saver and Instant Saver accounts.
Reward Saver is provided by Bank of Ireland UK.
If you don’t need to make frequent withdrawals and can wait a fixed period of time before accessing your savings, a notice account could be right for you. In return for more limited access to your cash, you will often get a higher rate of interest. The Post Office Money notice account is called Reward Saver.
Individual Savings Accounts (ISA)
There are four types of adult ISA - cash ISAs (which can have a fixed or a variable interest rate), stocks and shares ISAs, innovative finance ISAs and Lifetime ISAs. You can only subscribe to one of each type of ISA each tax year. The limit for the 2017/18 tax year is £20,000.
With a cash ISA you won’t pay tax on the interest you earn, so it’s a great place to start as you’re guaranteed returns on the money you put away. Cash ISAs are available as variable rate accounts or fixed rate accounts.
The interest rate on a variable rate cash ISA can go up and down over time whilst fixed rate cash ISA interest rates are guaranteed not to change for a fixed period. Post Office Money offers fixed rate and variable rate cash ISAs both in branch and online. These are called Fixed Rate Cash ISA, Premier Cash ISA and Online ISA.
Post Office Money cash ISAs are provided by OneFamily. Savings in Post Office Money cash ISAs are deposited with Bank of Ireland UK.
With a stocks and shares ISA you won’t pay UK Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax on any gains you may make. But it’s important to remember you may also not get all your money back, as you’ll be investing in stocks and shares and the value of these can go up or down.
With an innovative finance ISA you earn tax-free interest on peer-to-peer lending platforms. Although the growth potential could be higher than a cash ISA, the risks are also higher as the same protection does not apply.
The lifetime ISA is a tax-free savings or investments account to help 18 to 39 year olds buy their first home or save for retirement. Save up to £4,000 each year, and receive a government bonus of 25% – that’s a bonus of up to £1,000 a year. Conditions apply when withdrawing funds from a lifetime ISA.
There is also an ISA available for children called a Junior ISA. These are a long term investment which can only be accessed by the child when they reach the age of 18. They can be funded by a lump sum, regular direct debit, transferring an existing JISA or by transferring in an existing Child Trust Fund. You can invest up to £4,128 into a Junior ISA in the 2017/18 tax year (6th April to 5th April).
Junior ISA is provided by OneFamily.
The tax advantages of ISAs depend on your individual circumstances and you should remember that the tax treatment may change in the future.