Primarily, banks offer two kinds of deposit accounts. These are demand deposits like current/saving account and term deposits like fixed or recurring deposits. When you open a deposit account in a bank, you become an account holder or a depositor.
Saving accounts are used to meet daily on-demand requirements of cash. For example, you hold a saving bank account with the bank having cheque book facility. The bank asks you to maintain a minimum balance of Rs 1000. In return, the bank pays you an interest at the rate of 4% per annum.
You may operate the saving account using an ATM card also. Banks impose limits on the frequency and amount of withdrawal using ATMs.
The deposit rates on saving account keeps changing based on RBI’s revision of policy rates. Banks offer lower interest rates on saving account as compared to term deposits. It is because of this reason, investors opt for term deposit accounts.
A term deposit account is used to hold money for a fixed period of time. In return for this, the bank pays interest on the term deposits. However, you are not allowed to withdraw your money before expiry of the fixed duration.
For example, you hold a fixed deposit (FD) of Rs 10,000 for a period of five years with the bank. In return, the bank pays you an interest at the rate of 10% per annum.
Why do I need to maintain deposits at the bank?
Nowadays, maintaining a bank account has become a norm. You need to provide your bank account number on various occasions; like receiving the salary from employer or subsidy from the government under a scheme.
There are various other reasons to maintain a deposit account:
Easy access to money
Keeping your money in a bank account is wiser than stacking it under your mattress. It is a much more secure way and you can withdraw your money whenever you need it. In fact, you may even transfer it to another account using a secure gateway.
Earn returns on bank account
Storing money in safe deposit vault at home doesn’t attract any interest. If you will, instead, deposit in a bank account your money will earn interest. However, that amount of interest is ineffective to counter inflationary pressures in the economy.
Inculcates habit of saving
Maintaining a bank account like a recurring deposit (RD) can help in inculcating savings habit. RDs are basically an investment tool which allows investors to make regular monthly payments and save money for the long term.
Fixed Deposits (FDs): How they work
Fixed Deposits have been a tried-and-tested savings method for a long time. Almost all banks in India have Fixed Deposits schemes available for their customers. You can read more about the rules and processes of obtaining FDs here.
While FDs have been the conventional investment tools, you need to keep some things in mind before going for one:
Spread your investments
If you want to invest in an FD, do not park all your investments in a single bank. You need to know that bank FDs aren’t as secure as you think. In case of bank default, you will be eligible for a maximum compensation of Rs 5 lakh from Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) with effect from 4 February 2020. This happens even though you held deposits of amount higher than Rs 1 lakh.
If you have Rs 5 Lakh to invest, then hold FDs of Rs 1 lakh in five banks rather than Rs 5 lakh in a single bank.
Premature withdrawals attracts penalty
You need to know that FD involves a lock-in period equal to duration of the investment. Before going for an FD, review your income needs for the horizon. If you institute an FD for a 5-year term, then the bank won’t allow for withdrawals before completion of 5 years.
In case you need your money before maturity, bank will impose a penalty. If the penalty is 1%, then you may lose more than you earned during the tenure.
Thus, it’s advisable not to break your FDs before maturity.
Interest earned is clubbed in your income
FDs aren’t as tax-efficient as mutual funds and equities. The interest earned on FDs will be clubbed in your total income and taxed as per your income slab. Suppose you create an FD in the name of your spouse. The money deployed to create FD won’t attract tax but the interest earned will form part of your income and be taxed.
Equity-Linked Saving Scheme (ELSS) can be a tax-efficient way to invest and grow wealth. It has the shortest lock-in period. Moreover, it offers higher returns than FD.
Recurring Deposits (RDs): Are they for you?
RD or Recurring Deposits are an investment tool which allows investors to make regular monthly payments and save money for the long term. Investors can choose the tenure of the deposit and the minimum monthly payment they wish to make according to their convenience. RD schemes are generally more flexible than FD schemes and are generally preferred by those who want to start an account for the purpose of saving money and building a rainy-day fund.
Here are some things you should keep in mind while opting for a Recurring Deposit:
Use RDs for short-term goals
Recurring deposits are the ideal products to opt for when planning short-term goals you wish to realize in the next 1-3 yrs. These may include saving up for a downpayment of your new home, paying for your children’s education, renovating your home, saving up for a degree abroad and so on.
Be aware of the rules and penalties
Recurring deposits are very easy to open. Most banks in the country have this facility. But, they do come with some hidden charges. For instance, if you were to withdraw the amount in the RD account before the tenure finishes, you may have to pay certain charges. It is important to know these rules before you start an RD account so you can be better prepared for the future.
Apart from these, there are other types of accounts in which you can deposit your money:
A current account is a type of bank account which allows the user to carry out a significantly high number of transactions. The money in this account is always available for immediate access and is usually operated by business individuals, proprietary concerns, public and private companies, associations, trusts, etc. who have reasons to make frequent and high-volume transactions with their banks.
A savings account is a like a bank vault in which you store your hard-earned money. Unlike a current account, a savings account does not allow unlimited transactions and has no overdraft facility. There are different types of savings account that can be opened depending on the customer’s need:
- Regular Savings Account: These are the easiest to open. Such accounts do not see huge transactions and are mostly a virtual safe for storing excess cash.
- Salary Based Savings Account: Many corporations tie up with banks to help their employees open a salaried account. This helps the company as the task of disbursing the monthly salaries becomes easier.
- Savings Accounts for Senior Citizens: These accounts are created exclusively for senior citizens with added privileges and benefits.
- Savings Accounts for Children and Minors: These accounts are created exclusively for children and minors under the guardianship of their parents.
- Exclusive Benefits Accounts for Women: As the name suggests, this is an account exclusively for female customers and entrepreneurs. It is a relatively new offering from some banks and comes with added benefits.
- Zero Balance Savings Account: A savings account where the customer need not maintain a minimum balance for the account to remain functional.
- Linked Savings Account: A linked account is one which is linked to either a given Checking Account or a NOW Account (Negotiable Order of Withdrawal).
- Post Office Savings Account: These are savings accounts which can be opened in a Post Office.