Help to Save scheme extended - get 50p for every £1 you save

The government has extended the Help to Save scheme that can help you make the most of savings with an added bonus - we explain how it works and who is eligible.

Person putting a coin in a white piggy bank
(Image credit: Getty images)

The government has extended the Help to Save scheme that gives savers a boost of 50p for every £1 they pump into savings. While the interest in the best savings accounts have crept up, this scheme pays a generous bonus to those who are eligible. 

The scheme was rumoured to close in September, but will now run for another 18 months.

This is good news for those who want to save but are struggling to build a meaningful pot.

Few people know about this scheme - we look at who is eligible to benefit from the cash boost via the Help to Save scheme and how it works.

What is the Help Save Scheme?

The scheme is a government run savings account. It is there to help low income earners save more and also gives you a 50p cash bonus for every £1 you save.

Because the savings account is backed by the government, your cash is 100% secure.

Who is eligible for the Help to Save scheme?

The savings scheme is open to certain people on low income. You may be entitled to open the account if you are on: 

  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (and are entitled to Working Tax Credit)
  • Universal Credit and you had take-home pay of at least £658.64 or more in your last monthly assessment period

The aim of the scheme is to encourage those on lower income to save more and get a lift up from the government when they do manage to save.

How much can I save in the Help to Save scheme?

You can save between £1 and £50 each month - but you do not have to commit to paying something each month and you can pay in multiple times each month, as long as you do not exceed the maximum allowance.

The scheme runs for 4 years. If you were to maximise the allowance over four years, you’d save £600, but this becomes £900 with the £300 added bonus. 

The bonus is paid on the second and fourth year of opening the account. 

Payments to the account have to be made from your bank account via a debit card, standing order or bank transfer. And when you withdraw the money, it has to be put back into your bank account.

After four years, the account closes and you can not open another one.

It is important to note that the account may affect your eligibility for other benefits -so make sure you check it is right for you. 

You can find more details on the government’s website (opens in new tab).

Kalpana Fitzpatrick
Digital Editor, MoneyWeek

Kalpana is the Digital Editor of sister site MoneyWeek.

She’s an award-winning journalist and author of Invest Now: The Simple Guide to Boosting Your Finances  and a children's book Get to Know Money  - with extensive experience in financial journalism. Her work includes writing for a number of media outlets,  including national papers and well-known women’s lifestyle and luxury titles, where she was finance editor for Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Red and Prima.

She started her career at the Financial Times group, covering pensions and investments.

As a money expert, Kalpana is a regular guest on TV and radio; appearances include BBC One’s Morning Live,  ITV’s Eat Well, Save Well, Sky News and Channel 5's 30 money saving tips series.

She was also the resident money expert for the BBC Money 101 podcast.

A well-known money and consumer journalist, Kalpana also often speaks at events.

She is passionate about helping people be better with their money, save more and be smarter spenders.

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @KalpanaFitz.