Post Office Saving Schemes: Types, Plans, Benefits, Who Should Invest

Post Office Saving Schemes – Overview, Types, Plans & Benefits

Post Office Saving Schemes by IndiaPost- a government-backed organization, are amongst the most popular savings and investment schemes in the country. These schemes are available across all the post offices in the country i.e more than 1.5 lacs, making it accessible to the urban as well as rural populations. These schemes provide high-interest rates on deposits and carry zero risk as they are guaranteed by the Indian Government. Some of the schemes by IndiaPost also provide tax benefits under Section 80C of Income Tax Act,1961.

Types of Post Office Saving Schemes

Post Offices provide 9 types of saving schemes for investments to the general public. These are discussed below:

1. Post Office Savings Account​​​

A Post Office Savings Account is similar to a savings account with Bank. Just like in the case of a bank savings account, the Post Office savings account is also highly liquid as one can withdraw any time as per his needs.

These accounts are ideal for parking savings that may be required on short notice just like we do with the bank saving account.

Features of Post Office Savings Account

Some of the features of Post office savings account are:

·   Account may be opened by

(i) a single adult

(ii) Joint Account (Maximum 2 adults)

(iii) Minor above 10 years of age

(iv) A guardian on behalf of a minor

  • The interest rate on deposits is 4.00% p.a.
  • The interest earned is tax-free up to Rs.10,000 under section 80TTA of IT Act.
  • The minimum amount required to be deposited is Rs.20 and there is no upper limit.
  • Post office savings account requires to maintain mandatory minimum balance of Rs.50 in non-cheque account and Rs.500 in account with cheque facility.
  • Post office account can be transferred from one branch to the other.
  • For keeping the account active, at least 1 transaction of deposit/withdrawal is mandatory in 3 Financial years.

2. Post Office Recurring Deposit (RD) Account​​

This is the 5 Year Recurring Deposit Account which lets you make deposits with small fixed monthly installments. It is one of the best ways to create a corpus by developing the habit of saving every month.

Features of 5-year RD

Some of the features of Post Office Recurring Deposit account are:

  • The interest rate is 5.8​ % per annum (quarterly compounded).
  • Eligibility of Account opening is same as Savings account.
  • Deposits can be made up to the 15th day of next month if the account is opened up to 15th of a calendar month and up to the last working day of next month if the account is opened between 16th day and last working day of a calendar month.
  • The maturity period is 5 years and can be extended for another 5 years.
  • The minimum account required to be deposited every month is Rs.100 and there is no upper limit.
  • Pre-mature withdrawal is allowed after 3 years and the interest on the amount will be paid as per the savings account rate.
  • Loan of up to 50% balance is allowed after one year and needs to be paid back through one-shot payment with the applicable interest rates.

Also Read: What are Shariah Compliant Mutual Funds?

3. Post Office Time Deposit Account

Post Office Time deposits are the Fixed deposits which are offered for the tenures of 1,2,3 & 5 years. These deposits provide higher interest rates than the other savings accounts and are ideal for parking idle savings for the time as per needs.

Features of Post Office Time Deposit

Some of the features of the post office fixed deposits are:

  • Account opening eligibility is the same as for savings account except for joint account where it can have max. 3 holders.
  • The interest rates for time deposits are as follows for the quarter April 2020 to June 2020.
Tenure(in years)Interest Rates
15.5%
25.5%
35.5​%
56.7%

 

  • The interest rates are payable annually but are calculated quarterly.
  • The minimum amount required for opening a post office time deposit is Rs.1000 and there is no upper limit.
  • There is a tax benefit on time deposits made for 5 years, one can claim tax deductions up to Rs.1.5 lacs on the deposited amount under section 80C of Income Tax Act,1961.

4. Post Office Monthly Income Account

Post Office Monthly Income is a scheme that offers fixed monthly income or interest to the individual on a lump-sum investment. This scheme is extremely helpful for individuals who want regular & steady income. An individual (individual or including in a joint account) can invest a maximum of Rs.4.5Lac in one go.

Features of Post Office Monthly Income Scheme

Some of the features of the monthly income scheme are:

  • The interest rate is 6​.6​ % per annum payable monthly.
  • The maturity period of the deposit is 5 years, i.e. single payment made at the start will be entitled to interest every month for the next 5 years
  • Interest entitled to the amount can be automatically credited into the savings account of the individual in the Post Office.
  • Pre-mature encashment of the deposit amount can be made after one year at the discount of 2% or 1% on deposit (depends upon withdrawal time).

Also Read: Post Office Time Deposit: Scheme Interest Rate, Eligibility, Risks, Calculation

5. Senior Citizens Savings Scheme Account​

Senior Citizens Savings Scheme (SCSS) is an initiative by the government of India for ensuring the financial security of senior citizens. It can be started by anyone above the age of 60 years or a retired defence employee above the age of 50 and comes with a lock-in or maturity period of 5 years.

In this scheme, the individual must deposit a single payment at the beginning, then for the next 5 years he will receive quarterly interest payments on his deposits and deposit at the maturity.

Features of Senior Citizen Savings Scheme

Some of the features of the senior citizen savings scheme are:

  • The interest rate is 7.4 ​% per annum.
  • Under this scheme, quarterly interest payments will be paid on 1st working day of April, July, October, and January.
  • The minimum investment amount is Rs.1000 and the multiples thereafter not exceeding Rs.15 lacs.
  • Premature closures are allowed,
  • (i) If closed before 1 year, no interest will be payable and if paid already will be recovered.
  • (ii) After one year, a penalty of 1.5% of the deposit will be charged
  • (iii) After 2 years, a penalty of 1% of the deposit will be charged.
  • There is a tax benefit on investing in Senior Citizen Savings Scheme, one can claim tax deductions up to Rs.1.5 lacs on the deposited amount under section 80C of Income Tax Act,1961.

6. ​Public Provident Fund Account ​

Public Provident Funds are long tenure investment products, i.e. they come with a lock-in period of 15 years which can be extended further for 5 years. These are one of the best investment products for creating a desired corpus over a long period. One can choose to pay in a single payment every year or can make monthly instalment deposits.

Features of Public Provident Fund Account

Some of the features of the Post Office Public Provident Fund account are:

  • The interest rate is 7.1 % per annum (compounded yearly)
  • Interests on deposits are tax-free.
  • The minimum amount that can be invested every year is Rs.500 and not exceeding Rs.1.5 lacs in a year.
  • Pre-mature withdrawals are allowed after 5 years and a penalty charge of 1% of the interest from the date of opening will be deducted.
  • There are tax benefits on investing in Public Provident Funds, an individual can claim tax deductions up to Rs.1.5 lacs on the deposited amount under section 80C of Income Tax Act,1961.

Must Read: NPS Vs PPF: Comparison, Tenure, Risks, Returns, Tax Benefits & Which is Better

7. National Savings Certificates ​(NSC) Account​

National Savings Certificates is a scheme backed by the government to incentivize individuals with lower incomes to make investments. The NSC can be availed from post offices across the country.

It is ideal for small savings & investments.

Features of National Savings Certificates Account

Some of the features of the Post Office NSC are:

  • The interest rate is 6.8 % compounded annually but payable at maturity.
  • The NSC can be purchase by an adult, jointly (max.3 holders), minor above 10 or by a guardian of a minor, individual with unsound mind.
  • The minimum amount required to invest in NSC is Rs.1000 and there is no limit on maximum.
  • National Savings Certificates can be transferable from one person to another.
  • Investments or Deposits in National Savings Certificates are eligible for claiming tax deductions on the deposited amount up to Rs.1.5 lacs as per Section 80c of IT Act,1961.

8. Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) Account

Kisan Vikas Patra is a small savings scheme that doubles your investment amount in specific months, currently i.e 124 months. This scheme is ideal for making long term investments for meeting your financial goals along with zero risks associated.

Features of Kisan Vikas Patra Account

Some of the features of the Post Office Kisan Vikas Patra account are:

  • The interest rate applicable to Kisan Vikas Account is 6.9% compounded annually.
  • The minimum amount required for investment is Rs.1000 and in multiples of 100 thereafter. There is no upper limit on investments.
  • These accounts can be transferred from one person to another.
  • Account deposits can be encashed after 2.5 years from the purchase date.

9.  ​Sukanya Samriddhi Account

Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana is the scheme specially made for girl child. This scheme has been made for encouraging savings by parents/guardians to meet their girl child’s education and marriage expenses.  Parents can open an account before their girl turns 10. The scheme is applicable for 21 years after the opening of the account or until she gets married after turning 18.

Features of Sukanya Samriddhi Account

Some of the features of the Sukanya Samriddhi Account are:

  • The interest rates are 7.6​​% p.a. calculated on a Yearly basis, compounded annually.
  • The interest rate earned on the account is tax-free.
  • There is no limit on the number of deposits either per month or per year.
  • The minimum deposit required to be made is Rs.250 and a maximum of Rs.1.5lacs in a financial year.
  • Account can be closed after 21 years from the date of first deposit and premature withdrawal is only allowed at the age of 18 for marriage purposes.
  • Only one account can be opened in the name of one child and a maximum of two accounts for two girl children.
  • Investments made in the Sukanya Samriddhi Schemes are eligible for claiming a tax deduction of up to Rs.1.5 lacs as per Section 80C of Income Tax Act,1961.

Benefits of Investing in Post Office Saving Schemes

  • Tax exemption

Some of the post office saving schemes like the 5-year Time Deposits, National Saving Certificates, and Senior Citizen Savings Schemes offer tax benefits or exemptions to the investors on the deposit amounts under section 80C of the Income Tax Act,1961. Investing in these schemes can generate tax savings for individuals.

  • Risk-Free

All the schemes offered by the Post offices are completely risk-free/have zero risk as they are backed by the government. This makes the post office savings schemes one of the safest options for investments or parking their savings.

  • Minimum documentation

These post office schemes involve minimal documentation requirements & quick process which makes it very easy for the investors to enter into these investments.

  • Ideal for Long term Goals

Post office schemes like PPF which are long term investments for up to 15 years are ideal for long term goals such as Retirement, Pension requirements or meeting any other financial goals. These schemes can help build a large corpus over a period of time.

  • Accessibility

With a large network of more than 1.5 lacs post offices in the country, these schemes are accessible to the urban as well as rural public with ease.  

  • Variety of Schemes

Post office savings schemes have 9 schemes from which individuals can choose according to their requirements. They can opt for different schemes for different financial or investment needs.

Who Should Invest in Post Office Saving Schemes?

Post Office Saving Schemes are backed by the Indian Government and therefore are one of the safest investment avenues available to the investors. The investment schemes offered by the Post Office being risk-free, provide lower returns as compared to other investment options like equity or equity mutual funds. So, this makes it suitable for investors who want to earn risk-free returns and prioritize the safety of capital. Also, investors planning for long term goals can look into enrolling in post office schemes like PPF, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana & Senior Citizens Savings Scheme offering high risk-free returns and carrying long investment horizons.

FAQs

Q. What are the Post Office Saving Schemes?

A. Post Office saving schemes are the investment schemes offered by the IndiaPost, a government-backed postal services entity. The POS schemes are popular among investors because of the sovereign guarantee provided on the investments by the central government.

These schemes are offered through a large network of more than 1.55 lakh branches across the country. Also, some of the schemes can be availed through the authorized bank’s branches.

Q. How to apply for a post office saving scheme?

A. For enrolling in the Post office schemes, the investors can visit their nearest post office or authorized bank’s branch and fill the required forms for opening the account along with submitting the documents proof required for making the investment.

Q. Is it safe to Invest in Post Office Savings Schemes?

A. Investing in Post Office Saving Schemes is one of the safest forms of Investments. IndiaPost or Post Offices in India are backed by the Government, so this makes it a risk-free investment. 

Q. What are the tax benefits in Post Office Saving Schemes?

A. There are some Post Office saving schemes which provide the benefits like claiming a tax deduction on the deposited amount, making interests earned tax-free and in few schemes tax exemptions on both can be claimed, or are tax-free.

Q. How much can I withdraw from my Post Office Savings Account?

A.  You can withdraw a maximum of Rs.10,000 from a post office savings account in a single transaction. However, the limit of withdrawal is a maximum of Rs.25,000 per day.

Q. Can I withdraw from any Post Office branch?

A.  Yes, one can withdraw money out of his post office savings account from any post office branch across the country.

Q. Is the nomination facility available to the depositor?

A.  Yes, the depositor can nominate one or more persons as the nominee along with their shares at the start of schemes and he can also add the name of the nominee during the scheme too.

Q. What is the eligibility for the Post Office’s Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana scheme? 

A. There are several requirements of eligibility for investing in Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, some of them are:

The account for the girl child can only be opened by her parents or the legal guardian of the girl.

The account needs to be opened by parents before their girl turns 10.

Only one account can be opened in the name of one girl child and a maximum of 2 are allowed for the 2 girl child. In exceptional cases like triplets, the authority may allow 1 more account.

Q. What is the maturity period of the Post Office Monthly Income Scheme?

A. The maturity period of the post office monthly income scheme is 5 years. Upon a single lumpsum investment, the investor will receive interest payouts every month for the 5 years from the date of issue at the interest rate of 6.6% p.a.

Q. What are the interest rates on Post Office Time Deposits?

A. Post Office time deposits are offered for the investment tenures of 1,2,3 & 5 years with the interest rates in the range of 5.5%-6.6% p.a. The 5-year Fixed deposit with the post office provides the advantage of claiming tax deductions on the amount of investment.

Q. Can I make pre-mature withdrawals from Post Office Recurring Deposit Scheme?

A. Pre-mature withdrawals or encashments are allowed in the post office RD scheme after the completion of 3 years subject to interest rates applicable being lowered to the rates offered on savings account. However, loan up to 50% of the deposit amount is allowed after one year that needs to be paid back with the applicable interest rate.

Q. What are the investment limits in the Public Provident Fund Scheme?

A. In the Public Provident Fund Account, the minimum amount required to make investments is Rs.500 and there is an upper limit (maximum deposit) of Rs.1.5 lacs on the investment in a financial year.

Q. Is the post office savings account similar to the bank’s savings account?

A. Yes,Post Office Savings Account is similar to the savings account offered by the banks. This account is highly liquid and allows withdrawals at any time just like with the banks as per the requirements of the depositor.

Q. What are the tax benefits on Kisan Vikas Patra Account?

A. The investments made in Kisan Vikas Patra does not provide any tax advantage to the investors and are not eligible for claiming any deductions under section 80c. For tax saving purposes, one can look into investing in other post office saving schemes like PPF, Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme, Senior Citizens Savings Scheme, National Savings Certificate, or 5-year Fixed Deposit.

Q. What is the minimum requirement for investing in the National Savings Certificate?

A. The minimum amount required to make investments in the National Savings Certificate is Rs.1,000 and there is no upper limit on investments.

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