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Get help with savings if you're on a low income - Help to Save

1st March 2019

Photograph of Get help with savings if you're on a low income - Help to Save

How it works
Help to Save is a type of savings account. It allows certain people entitled to Working Tax Credit or receiving Universal Credit to get a bonus of 50p for every £1 they save over 4 years.

Help to Save is backed by the government so all savings in the scheme are secure.

How payments work
You can save between £1 and £50 each calendar month. You do not have to pay money in every month.

You can pay money into your Help to Save account by debit card, standing order or bank transfer.

You can pay in as many times as you like, but the most you can pay in each calendar month is £50. For example, if you have saved £50 by 8 January you will not be able to pay in again until 1 February.

You can only withdraw money from your Help to Save account to your bank account.

How bonuses work
You get bonuses at the end of the second and fourth years. They're based on how much you've saved.

What happens after 4 years
Your Help to Save account will close 4 years after you open it. You will not be able to reopen it or open another Help to Save account. You'll be able to keep the money from your account.

You can close your account at any time. If you close your account early you'll miss your next bonus and you will not be able to open another one.

Separate research published by HMRC today (28 February 2019) shows that Help to Save makes saving achievable, affordable and worthwhile, with some participants now seeing themselves as ‘savers’ rather than ‘spenders’.

John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said:

Savings are an essential part of planning for the future, so it’s good to see thousands of people getting into the habit with Help to Save. Anyone who is eligible should take a look and sign up. It’s flexible, secure and easy to use.

Even if you can only save a small amount each month, it will help you prepare for whatever the future brings, and you’ll get a 50% boost on your savings from the government, too.

Having taken advantage of Help to Save, Janice Graham, from Barnsley, said:

It is so easy to use and I don’t have to think about it as it’s automatic because money goes in using a standing order. I save for my grandkids and nothing like this has been seen before.

Good to encourage people to save, and the bonus is one of the best features as it’s an incentive to put money in and not touch it. It really helps those with impulse spending.

Help to Save helps those on lower incomes build up a ‘rainy day’ fund, and encourages a long-term savings habit. How much is saved, and when, is up to the account holder, and they don’t need to pay in every month to get a bonus.

Help to Save is available to working people on Tax Credits, or Universal Credit claimants with a minimum earned income equivalent to 16 hours per week at the National Living Wage in their last assessment period.

Account holders can save between £1 and £50 every calendar month and accounts last for 4 years from the date the account is opened. After 2 years, savers get a 50% tax-free bonus on the highest balance they’ve achieved. If they continue saving, they could receive another 50% tax-free bonus after a further 2 years.

On maximum savings of £2,400 over 4 years, the overall bonus would be £1,200.

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