Hundreds of thousands of people have signed up to Help to Save but what is it?
The Government-backed saving scheme 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.
The scheme originally launched as an 8-month trial with 45,000 signing up, depositing over £3 million pounds. Now the scheme has over 100,000 people signed up who have deposited well over £13 million.
How does the account work?
You can save between £1 and £50 each calendar month. You do not have to pay money into the account every month.
You can pay money into your Help to Save account by debit card, standing order or a 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 do the bonuses work?
You can earn 2 tax-free bonuses over 4 years. You’ll get any bonuses you’ve earned even if you withdraw money.
After your first 2 years, you’ll get the first bonus if you’ve been using your account to save. This bonus will be 50% of the highest balance you’ve saved.
After 4 years, you’ll get a final bonus if you continue to save. This bonus will be 50% of the difference between 2 amounts:
- the highest balance saved in the first 2 years (years 1 and 2)
- the highest balance saved in the last 2 years (years 3 and 4)
If your highest balance does not increase, you will not earn a final bonus.
The most you can pay into your account each calendar month is £50, which is £2,400 over 4 years. The most you can earn from your savings in 4 years is £1,200 in bonus money.
Your bonus is paid into your bank account, not your Help to Save account.
You can open a Help to Save account if you’re any of the following:
- receiving Working Tax Credit
- entitled to Working Tax Credit and receiving Child Tax Credit
- claiming Universal Credit and your household earned £569.22 or more from paid work in your last monthly assessment period
If you get payments as a couple, you and your partner can apply for your own Help to Save accounts. You need to apply separately. You also need to be living in the UK. If you live overseas, you can apply for an account if you’re either a:
- Crown servant or their spouse or civil partner
- member of the British armed forces or their spouse or civil partner
If you stop claiming benefits, you can keep using your Help to Save account as normal.
To apply and find out more visit www.gov.uk/get-help-savings-low-income