Save, make, understand money


Check bank accounts as first Help to Save bonuses paid out

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

More than 60,000 low earners have bagged an average £378 bonus from the government in time for Christmas, under its flagship Help to Save scheme.

Just over 60,400 people across the UK have received the first bonus payment from the Help to Save scheme after starting to put money away two years ago.

Savers received an average bonus of £378 with a total of £22.8m paid out by the government. It is paid directly into the account holder’s chosen bank account.

The North West has the highest number of savers who have paid into their accounts and received their first bonus payment (8,660).

Savers in Greater London received the highest average bonus payment (£385), closely followed by savers in the East Midlands (£382).

Karl Khan, HMRC’s interim director general for customer services, said: “Help to Save rewards regular savers and the bonus payments can make a big difference to individuals and families.

“We’ve tried to make it as easy as we can for people to check if they qualify. It only takes a few minutes online – just search ‘help to save’ on GOV.UK.”

The Help to Save scheme launched in September 2018, allowing low earners to gain 50p for every £1 saved.

The government savings account – aimed at the millions of people in receipt of Tax Credits and Universal Credit – allows people to save a maximum of £2,400 over a four-year period.

People can open a Help to Save account if any of the following applies:

• they are receiving Working Tax Credit
• they are entitled to Working Tax Credit and receiving Child Tax Credit
• they are claiming Universal Credit and they (with their partner if it’s a joint claim) earned £604.56 or more from paid work in their last monthly assessment period.

As savings gain 50p for every £1 saved, this could result in a bonus of £1,200. A maximum bonus of £600 is paid after two years, with a further maximum of £600 paid after four years.

For those who’ve received their bonus payment after two years of saving, they can continue to use it to gain the bonus after the fourth year. Savers can close their savings account at any time and withdraw any remaining funds. However, if they close their account early, they’ll miss their next bonus and will not be able to open a new account.