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Michelle Monck

Michelle Monck

Consumer Finance Expert
Published: 02/01/2020

Statistics by the taxman have revealed that 2.85m people are eligible for over millions of pounds of free Government money. The Government backed savings scheme called ‘Help to Save’ pays a 50p bonus for every £1 saved, allowing savers to earn up to £1,200 in bonuses over four years. Despite this, the scheme has attracted little interest with only 132,150 sign ups, less than 5% of the total 2.85m people eligible for the scheme.

The scheme launched in September 2018 and remains open to applications until September 2023. Its aim is to help those with low incomes to start an emergency savings fund. Savers can deposit from £1 to £50 each calendar month, with no penalties for missing a monthly payment and with the option to make withdrawals if needed. The account lasts for four years, with a bonus paid at the end of years two and four. The maximum Government bonus that can be earned is £1,200.  As the scheme is backed by the Government any funds saved are all completely secure and protected.


Opening a Help to Save account

The scheme is available to those:

  • Receiving Working Tax Credit
  • Entitled to Working Tax Credit and receiving Child Tax Credit
  • Claiming Universal Credit and your household earned at least £569.22 from paid work during your last monthly assessment

However, those looking to start a savings habit, will need to make sure the timing is right for them because a Help to Save account can only be opened once in a lifetime. For example, anyone who is struggling to meet their monthly bills or where saving a set amount could reduce their standard of living should hold-off from opening an account until they are in a more stable position.

The Help to Save scheme is administered by National Savings & Investments and can be opened online at the UK Government website. Those wanting to open an account will need to have their Government ID and password and bank details to hand when applying online.

How to earn a bonus with Help to Save

The Help to save account pays a bonus in years two and four. The first bonus is half of the maximum balance held at any time in the account from opening until the end of the second year. The second bonus is calculated by taking the highest balance from years three and four less the highest balance from years one and two. This is then halved to form your second bonus payment.

More information is available in our guide about Help to Save.


Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time. Links to third parties on this page are paid for by the third party. You can find out more about the individual products by visiting their site. will receive a small payment if you use their services after you click through to their site. All information is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before making any decisions. This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

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