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What are the Different Post Office Schemes in India?

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What are the Different Post Office Schemes in India?

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A simple investment process, long-term benefits, assured returns and risk-free interest. These are just some of the advantages that a post office scheme can give your investment portfolio. Interestingly, there are about 9 different post office schemes in India that you can choose from.

First, a quick list of the schemes offered by the Departments of Post:

List of schemes offered by the Department of Post:

  1. Post Office Savings Account (SB)
  2. National Savings Recurring Deposit Account(RD)​​
  3. National Savings Time Deposit Account(TD)
  4. National Savings Monthly Income Account(MIS)
  5. Senior Citizens Savings Scheme Account(SCSS)​
  6. Public Provident Fund Account (PPF)
  7. Sukanya Samriddhi Account(SSA)​
  8. National Savings Certificates (VIIIth Issue) (NSC)
  9. Kisan Vikas Patra(KVP)

Now, let’s take a closer look at what each of these post office schemes has to offer.

Post Office Savings Account (SB)

The post office savings account acts like a regular bank savings account. You can transfer your post office (PO) savings account from one PO to another. Check out the key details of this post office scheme below.

Eligibility 

Any resident Indian, including minors above 10 years, can open a post office savings account. In case of joint accounts, the maximum number of account holders is limited to 2 adults. A guardian can also open an account on behalf of a minor or a person of unsound mind.

Deposit limits

You need to deposit at least ₹500 at the time of account opening. There is no maximum limit on the amount you can deposit.

Tenure

There’s no specific tenure since this is merely a savings account. You can withdraw your funds as and when needed.

Interest 

Interest is calculated at 4% on the minimum balance between 10th of the month and end of the month. This interest is credited at the end of each financial year.

Tax implications

The interest you earn from your post office savings account is taxable as per your income tax slab rate. But under section 80TTA of the Income Tax Act, 1961, you can claim interest up to ₹10,000 as a deduction from your total income.

Other points to note

  • Nomination is mandatory when you open your account.
  • The minimum withdrawal amount is ₹50.
  • You can avail various facilities like a cheque book, ATM card, e-banking and mobile banking services and more by submitting a form at the post office.

National Savings Recurring Deposit Account (RD)​​

In this scheme, you can deposit small sums of money periodically into your account, and earn interest on the same. It works pretty much like a regular bank recurring deposit. Check out the key details of this post office scheme below.

Eligibility 

Any resident Indian, including minors above 10 years, can open a post office RD account. In case of joint accounts, the maximum number of account holders is limited to 3 adults. A guardian can also open an account on behalf of a minor or a person of unsound mind.

Deposit limits

The minimum deposit amount is ₹100 per month, or any higher amount in multiples of ₹10. There is no maximum limit on the monthly deposit amount.

Tenure

The post office RD account matures 5 years or 60 months from the date of opening. Premature closure is permitted only 3 years after the date of opening. You can also choose to extend your RD by another 5 years if you want to. In this case, you can close your account at any time during the extended period.

Interest 

You earn interest on post office recurring deposits is 5.80% per annum. This interest is compounded on a quarterly basis. In case of an extended RD account, you will continue to earn interest at the same rate that was prevailing when you originally opened your account.

Tax implications

The interest you earn on your post office RD is subject to tax at the slab rate applicable to you.

Other points to note

  • There is no limit on the number of accounts you can open.
  • After you deposit 12 instalments, you can avail a loan against your RD up to 50% of the balance in the account. 
  • The loan interest rate will be 2% higher than the RD interest rate applicable to your account.

National Savings Time Deposit Account (TD)

The post office time deposit scheme is essentially a fixed deposit that you can opt for to save a lump sum amount for short term or medium term goals. Check out the key details of this post office scheme below.

Eligibility 

Any resident Indian, including minors above 10 years, can open a post office time deposit account. In the case of joint accounts, the maximum number of account holders is limited to 3 adults. A guardian can also open an account on behalf of a minor or a person of unsound mind.

Deposit limits

The minimum amount of deposit needed is ₹1000. You can increase the deposit amount in multiples of ₹100. There’s no maximum limit on the amount you can deposit in this post office scheme.

Tenure

Time deposits can be opened for different tenures, as follows: 

  • 1 year
  • 2 years
  • 3 years
  • 5 years

Interest 

The rate of interest applicable on term deposits with tenures of 1, 2 or 3 years is 5.50% per annum. For deposits with a tenure of 5 years, the rate of interest is 6.70% per annum. 

The interest on your post office term deposit is calculated quarterly but payable annually. You can submit an application to have the interest credited directly to your savings account. 

Tax implications

The interest earned on your term deposit is subject to tax as per your income tax slab rate. However, in case of 5-year deposits, the investment you make qualifies for deduction under section 80C of the Income Tax Act. 1961. 

Other points to note

  • There is no limit on the number of time deposit accounts you can open with a post office.
  • Premature closure is allowed after the expiry of 6 months from the date of deposit. 
  • You can also extend your term deposit by the same number of years as the original tenure.

National Savings Monthly Income Account (MIS)

Also known commonly as the post office monthly income scheme, this is an investment avenue that gives you regular monthly payouts over the tenure of investment. Check out the key details of this post office scheme below.

Eligibility 

Any resident Indian, including minors above 10 years, can open an account with the post office monthly income scheme. In case of joint accounts, the maximum number of account holders is limited to 3 adults. A guardian can also open an account on behalf of a minor or a person of unsound mind. 

Deposit limits

You need to deposit at least ₹1,000 to open an account with the post office monthly income scheme. The deposit amount can be higher by multiples of ₹1,000. The maximum investment permitted is ₹4.5 lakhs for single accounts and ₹9 lakhs for joint accounts. 

Tenure

The investment tenure for the post office monthly income scheme is 5 years from the date of account opening. However, you can close it prematurely after 1 year from the date of opening if you need to. In that case, a certain sum may be deducted from your benefits, as follows:

Interest 

Interest on your post office monthly income scheme is calculated at 6​.6​ % per annum. The interest is payable on a monthly basis.

Tax implications

The interest earned from your post office monthly income scheme account is taxable at the income tax slab rate applicable to you.

Other points to note

  • Every individual is permitted to have a maximum investment of ₹4.5 lakhs (including their single and joint accounts, if any).
  • In joint accounts, each account holder will have an equal share.
  • In case of the account holder’s demise before maturity, the account will be closed and the account balance will be paid out to the nominee or the legal heir. 

Senior Citizens Savings Scheme Account (SCSS)​

This is a post office savings scheme that has been launched exclusively for senior citizens, as the name indicates. Check out the key details of the SCSS below.

Eligibility 

Any individual over the age of 60 can open an SCSS account. Joint accounts can only be opened with the primary account holder’s spouse. Apart from this, the following relaxations are available to retired individuals —

  • Retired civilian employees between 55 and 60 years of age can open an account, provided the first investment is made within a month of receiving the retirement benefits 
  • Retired defence employees between 50 and 60 years of age can open an account, provided the first investment is made within a month of receiving the retirement benefits 

Deposit limits

The minimum deposit amount is ₹1,000, and it can be increased in multiples of ₹1,000 up to a maximum amount of ₹1.5 lakhs. 

Tenure

You can close your account 5 years from the date of opening it. You can also choose to extend your account for a period of 3 years from the date of maturity. In case of premature closure, deductions will be made from your balance, as shown below.

Interest 

Interest on your SCSS deposit is calculated at 7.4 ​% per annum. This interest is payable on a quarterly basis, on the following dates —

  • March 31
  • June 30
  • September 30
  • December 31

Tax implications

The interest earned from this post office scheme is taxable as per your slab rate if it exceeds ₹50,000 per financial year. But the investments made in SCSS are eligible for deduction under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961, up to ₹1.5 lakhs during the financial year.

Other points to note

  • You can make only one deposit in your account, which is at the time of opening your account.
  • If you do not claim the interest paid out into your account, you will not earn any additional interest on such amounts.
  • You can opt to have your interest auto credited to your savings account. 

Public Provident Fund Account (PPF)

The Public Provident Fund Scheme is a long-term investment option provided by the government of India. You can choose this scheme if you want to invest over the long term and also enjoy tax benefits at different stages. Check out the key details of this post office scheme below.

Eligibility 

Any single adult who is a resident of India, and any guardian on behalf of a minor or a person of unsound mind, can open a post office PPF account. 

Deposit limits

You need to make at least one deposit every financial year (FY) to keep your PPF account active. The minimum amount you can deposit in an FY is ₹500, and the maximum amount permitted every FY is ₹1.5 lakhs. You can make your annual deposits in as many instalments as you want.

Tenure

Your PPF account will mature after 15 financial years, excluding the FY in which you open your account. At maturity, you have three options to choose from, as follows —

  1. You can take close your account and take home the entire maturity payout
  2. You can keep your account open and retain the maturity value in your account, without making any additional deposits. The PPF interest rate will be applicable on the account balance. You can withdraw your funds at any time thereafter, or you can make 1 withdrawal each financial year.
  3. You can extend your PPF investment for another block of 5 years.

Interest 

The rate of interest applicable on your PPF account is 7.1% per annum. It is compounded annually and paid out at the end of each financial year. But it is calculated for each calendar month on the lowest balance in your account between the fifth day and the end of the month.

Tax implications

The deposits you make are eligible for deductions under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The interest earned on your PPF account balance is tax free. 

Other points to note

  • You can open a PPF account with the post office or with any bank. But you can have only one PPF account — either in a post office or in any bank.
  • If you do not make a minimum deposit of ₹500 during any financial year, your account will be discontinued . You can revive your discontinued account before maturity by making a payment of ₹500 plus a default fee of ₹50 per year of default.
  • Premature closure is allowed after 5 years from the date of account opening, only in case of the following scenarios —
  • The account holder, their spouse or dependent children is diagnosed with a life threatening disease
  • The funds are needed for the higher education of the account holder or their dependent children
  • The account holder’s residential status changes and they become an NRI

Sukanya Samriddhi Account (SSA)​

The SSA is opened under the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY), which is an initiative by the government of India to promote financial betterment of girl children in the country. Check out the key details of this post office scheme below.

Eligibility 

Any parent or guardian of a girl child below the age of 10 years can open a Sukanya Samriddhi account in the child’s name. This scheme can be availed for a maximum of 2 girl children in a family. But in case the first child is a girl, followed by twin or triplet girls, 3 or 4 accounts can be opened for such families respectively.

Deposit limits

You can open this account with a minimum deposit of ₹250. The minimum deposit permitted in a year is ₹250, and the maximum deposit allowed is ₹1.5 lakhs. 

Tenure

You can close your SSY account at maturity, which is after 21 years from the date of opening. However, closure will be permitted before 21 years, in case of the marriage of the girl child (provided she has attained 18 years of age).

Furthermore, premature closure after 5 years from the date of account opening is permitted in the following situations —

  • On the death of the account holder
  • In case the account holder is diagnosed with a life threatening disease
  • In case of the guardian’s demise

Interest 

Interest on your SSY account balance is calculated at 7.60% per annum. This interest is calculated and compounded on a yearly basis, and credited to the account at the end of each financial year. However, it is calculated for each calendar month on the lowest balance in your account between the fifth day and the end of the month.

Tax implications

The deposits made into the SSY account for deductions under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The interest earned on the SSY account is also tax free. 

Other points to note

  • You can open a Sukanya Samriddhi account with the post office or with any bank. But you can have only one account — either in a post office or in any bank.
  • If you do not make a minimum deposit of ₹500 during any financial year, your account will be discontinued . You can revive your discontinued account before maturity by making a payment of ₹500 plus a default fee of ₹50 per year of default.
  • Premature withdrawal up to 50% of the account balance is permitted in case the girl child attains 18 years of age or has passed the 10th grade. 

National Savings Certificates (VIIIth Issue) (NSC)

This post office scheme offers fixed returns to the investor. In addition to tax benefits, it also helps investors in the middle income group save up for their future conveniently. Check out the key details of this post office scheme below.

Eligibility 

Any resident Indian, including minors above 10 years, can open a post office NSC account. In case of joint accounts, the maximum number of account holders is limited to 3 adults. A guardian can also open an account on behalf of a minor or a person of unsound mind.

Deposit limits

The minimum amount you can invest in this scheme is ₹1,000. There is no upper limit on the investment amount permitted. 

Tenure

Your investment will mature 5 years from the date of the deposit. Premature closure is allowed in the following cases only —

  • In case of the account holder’s demise in single accounts, or the demise of all account holders in joint accounts
  • In case of a court order 

Interest 

Your deposit will earn interest at the rate of 6.80% per annum, compounded annually but payable at maturity. 

Tax implications

The amount of investment made in this scheme is eligible for deduction under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. However, at maturity, the interest that you earn will be taxable as per your slab rate.

Other points to note

  • There is no limit on the number of accounts you can open under this scheme. 
  • In case of the account holder’s demise, the NSC can be transferred to the nominee, legal heir or joint account holders.
  • You can also pledge your NSC to specified authorities like the President of India, any state’s governor, the RBI, any scheduled bank, or any housing finance company.

Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP)

Another lucrative investment scheme from the post office, the KVP option helps you double your investment in 124 months. Check out the key details of this post office scheme below.

Eligibility 

Any resident Indian, including minors above 10 years, can invest in a Kisan Vikas Patra. In case of joint accounts, the maximum number of account holders is limited to 3 adults. A guardian can also open an account on behalf of a minor or a person of unsound mind.

Deposit limits

You need to deposit a minimum amount of ₹1,000, or any higher amount in multiples of ₹100. There is no maximum limit of investment in this post office scheme. 

Tenure

The maturity period will be prescribed by the Ministry of Finance, as applicable on the date of your deposit. 

Interest 

Currently, the interest rate on KVPs is 6.90%, compounded annually. 

Tax implications

The interest you earn on your Kisan Vikas Patra investment is subject to tax according to your income tax slab rates. 

Other points to note

  • You can pledge your KVP as a security to specified authorities like the President of India, any state governor, the RBI, any scheduled or cooperative bank, or any housing finance company.
  • There is no limit on the number of accounts you can open under this scheme. 
  • You can prematurely close your account or transfer it to another person under certain special circumstances.

Comparison of different post office schemes

Before we wrap up, here’s a table that summarises the key details of every post office scheme available for investors. This will help you compare your options at a glance. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Which post office scheme has the highest interest rate?

As of July 2022, the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana is the post office scheme offering the highest interest rate. The rate of interest on your Sukanya Samriddhi Account (SSA)​ balance is calculated at 7.60% per annum. ​

  • What is the post office monthly income scheme?

The post office monthly income scheme is an investment scheme wherein you can deposit a lump sum amount at the time of account opening. Thereafter, you will earn monthly income from this scheme, at the rate of 6.60% per annum.

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