Post offices across the country offer banking services which enable you to open several types of accounts that offer attractive interest rates. Five post office savings schemes that are meant for general public, i.e, people below 60 years of age, fetch interest rates of more than 7 per cent. Post office fixed deposits (FDs), monthly income scheme account, public provident fund accounts, national savings certificates (NSCs) and kisan vikas patra (KVP) are meant for general public and offer interest rates over 7 per cent, according to India Post's website, indiapost.gov.in.
Given below are details of five post office saving schemes - post office fixed deposits (FDs), monthly income scheme (MIS) account, public provident fund (PPF) accounts, national savings certificates (NSCs) and kisan vikas patra (KVP):
Post office fixed deposits:
Post office fixed deposit accounts, also known as time deposit accounts, require a minimum contribution of Rs 200. There is no maximum limit on the amount that you can invest in this scheme. A post office fixed deposit account can be opened by an individual via cheque/cash. The account can also be transferred from one post office to another. A nomination facility is available with post office fixed deposit accounts.
Interest rates on post office fixed deposits
If you invest in a post office fixed deposit that has a tenure of five years, the deposit will fetch an interest rate of 7.4 per cent. The interest on post office fixed deposits is payable annually but calculated quarterly. The five-year fixed deposit account also enables the depositor to become eligible for tax benefits under Section 80C of the Income Tax (IT) Act.
Post office monthly income scheme account (MIS)
Post office monthly income scheme (MIS) account can be opened by an individual via cheque/ cash. Any number of MIS accounts can be opened in any post office subject to the maximum investment limit by adding balance in all accounts. MIS accounts require a maturity period of five years. MIS accounts can be prematurely encashed after one year but before three years at a discount of 2 per cent of the deposit and after three years at a discount of 1 per cent of the deposit. (Discount means deduction from the deposit.)
Interest rate on post office monthly income scheme account
MIS accounts fetch an interest rate of 7.3 per cent per annum payable on a monthly basis. The maximum investment limit of MIS accounts is Rs 4.5 lakh in single account and Rs 9 lakh in joint accounts.
Post office 15-year public provident fund (PPF) account
Public Provident Fund (PPF) accounts require a minimum investment of Rs 500 and a maximum of Rs 1,50,000 in a financial year. An individual can open this account and it can also be operated jointly. PPF accounts allow for a nomination facility. Maturity period of PPF accounts is 15 years but the same can be extended within one year of maturity for further five years and so on. The maturity value of PPF accounts can be retained without extension and without further deposits also. Withdrawal from PPF accounts is permissible every year from the seventh financial year from the year of opening account. A loan facility is available from third financial year onwards. PPF deposits can be made in lump-sum or in 12 instalments.
Interest rates on PPF accounts are decided every quarter by the government, Currently, PPF accounts offer an interest rate of 7.6 per cent per annum (compounded yearly), according to indiapost.gov.in. PPF deposits are completely tax-free which means that the invested amount is eligible for tax deduction, the income that you earn is exempt from tax, and proceeds are not considered as income.
National savings certificates (NSCs)
National Savings Certificates or NSCs are certificates that can be bought from post offices. You need to buy a certificate worth a minimum of Rs 100. There is no maximum limit on the amount of investment.
Interest rate on national savings certificates (NSC)
An NSC investment will fetch you an interest rate of 7.6 per cent, which is compounded annually but payable at maturity. An investment of Rs 100 grows into Rs 144.23 after five years. NSC deposits qualify for tax rebate under Section 80C of IT Act. The interest accrues annually but is deemed to be reinvested under Section 80C of IT Act.
Kisan Vikas Patra (KVPs)
Kisan Vikas Patra (KVPs) requires a minimum investment of Rs 1,000. There is no maximum limit on the investment that can be made in KVPs. KVP certificates can be purchased by an adult for himself or on behalf of a minor or by two adults from any post office. The certificate can be encashed after two-and-a-half years from the date of issue.
Interest rate on KVPs
KVPs fetch an interest rate of 7.3 per cent, which is compounded annually. The amount invested doubles in 118 months (nine years & 10 months).