The National Savings Certificate (NSC) is a fixed-income investment scheme that you can open with any post office branch. This is an initiative by the Government of India and encourages subscribers – mainly small to mid-income investors – to invest while saving also saving on income tax.
|NSC – Key Information|
|Interest Rate||7.7% per annum|
|Lock-in Period||5 years|
|Tax Benefit ||Up to Rs.1.5 lakh under Section 80C|
You can invest in NSC from the nearest post office in your name, for a minor or with another adult as a joint account. NSC comes with a fixed maturity period of five years. There is no maximum limit on the purchase of NSCs.
Anyone looking for a safe investment avenue to earn a steady interest while saving on taxes can choose to invest in NSC. NSC offers guaranteed interest and complete capital protection. However, like most fixed income schemes, they cannot deliver inflation-beating returns like tax-saving mutual funds and the National Pension System.
The government has promoted the National Savings Certificate as a savings scheme for individuals. Hence, Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs) and trusts cannot invest in it. Furthermore, even non-resident Indians (NRI) cannot purchase NSC certificates. The scheme is open only for individual Indian residents.
The following are the NSC eligibility conditions that must be met in order to invest in NSCs.-
1. Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), Trusts, Private and Public Limited Companies (PLCs) are not permitted to invest in NSC.
2. The person must be an Indian citizen. Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are not permitted to invest in NSC.
3. There is no minimum or maximum age for purchasing a certificate.
While there is no upper limit on the amount that can be invested in NSC, only investments of up to Rs.1.5 lakh a year can earn a subscriber a tax rebate under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act of 1961. Furthermore, the interest earned on the certificates is also added back to the initial investment and qualify for a tax break as well.
Furthermore, for the first four years, the interest gained on NSC is assumed to be reinvested (i.e. put back to the initial investment) and so eligible for a tax credit, subject to the overall annual limit of 1.5 lakh. The interest earned in the fifth year, however, is not re-invested and is thus taxed at the investor's applicable slab rate.
Previously, banks or post offices issued physical NSC certificates . This has been discontinued since 2016. At the moment, certificates can be bought either by electronic mode (e-mode) or Passbook mode.
While the passbook method is unpopular and comparatively more tedious, you can effortlessly buy an NSC scheme with a savings account at an authorised bank or post office. It is important to note, however, that you would require to activate your internet banking to do the same.
Investors are required to submit:
NSC is one of the tax-saving investment options available under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The other popular options are Equity Linked Savings Schemes (ELSS), National Pension System (NPS), Public Provident Fund (PPF) and Tax-Saving Fixed Deposits (FD). The table below compares NSC with other tax-saving investments:
|Investment||Interest||Lock-in Period||Risk Profile|
|NSC||7.7% p.a.||5 years||Low-risk|
|ELSS funds||Market-linked, historical returns show 12% to 15% p.a.||3 years||Market-related risks|
|PPF||7.1% p.a.||15 years||Low-risk|
|NPS||Market-linked, historical returns show 8% to 10% p.a.||Till retirement||Market-related risks|
|FD||4% to 7% p.a.||5 years||Low-risk|
Now that you have some knowledge of NSC, is this scheme for you? If you are looking for capital protection and tax deductions under Section 80C, you can consider investing in NSC.
You can seek a duplicate if your original NSC certificate is lost, stolen, destroyed, damaged, or mutilated.
Simply complete and return the Duplicate Savings Certificates form to the post office that issued the NSC that needs to be replaced.
The following are the form's key fields:
NSC or National Savings Certificate is a fixed-income investment scheme backed by the Government of India. The savings bond is suitable for small and medium-income investors to save tax while earning returns. This is a secure and low-risk product.
As of today, you cannot subscribe to NSC online. You will be required to visit the nearest Post Office to fill out the NSC application form and submit it to the executive in order to open an NSC account.
Step 1: Visit the nearest Post Office branch and submit the duly filled NSC application form.
Step 2: Attach self-attested copies of the documents and proofs as required by the Post Office. Carry the original documents as well for verification.
Step 3: Make the payment of your investment in the form of cash, cheque, or demand draft.
Step 4: Upon processing your application, an acknowledgement of the same will be provided marking the initiation of your NSC account.
You can show the NSC interest earned under the ‘Income from Other Sources’ head in your Income Tax Return (ITR). However, NSC interest is reinvested in the first four years, and therefore, it can be claimed as a deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. The final year’s, i.e. 5th year’s interest, is taxable as per your income tax slab.
The money you invest into NSC gets income tax deductions under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
There are a lot of differences in the working and objectives of the two schemes—the National Savings Certificate (NSC) and Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP). To make this difference evident, here is a comparison table.
|Eligibility||Resident Indians only||Only Resident Indians and Trusts|
|Minimum Deposit Amount||Rs.100||Rs.1,000|
|Maximum Deposit Amount||No limit||No limit|
|Interest Rate (Q1 of FY 2023-43)||7.7% p.a.||7.5% p.a.|
|Investment Tenure||5 years||120 months|
|Premature Withdrawal||Not allowed||Only after 30 months from the date of investment|
|Tax Benefits||Available||Not Available|
|How to Subscribe||At Post Office branches||At Post Office and participating bank branches|
If you have a bank or post office savings account, you can invest in the NSC electronically (e-mode). Moreover, you will require an internet banking facility for your savings bank account to invest in the NSC.
You must know that the interest on NSC is compounded on a yearly basis. That is the interest you calculate on the principal amount invested in NSC should be added to the principal amount to get the principal amount for the second year.
You can calculate interest using our simple and compound interest calculator.
Upon maturity, the NSC can be encashed at any Post Office branch and not necessarily at the branch where the account is held. If you want to withdraw the money from a branch that is not your account’s home branch, you will have to submit an application with details, such as serial number, issue date, full name, registered and current address.
When you want to encash the maturity amount, you have to carry the following documents with you:
Both these government-backed schemes are famous for years now. Though both these options come with minimal risk, they both have their own benefits and drawbacks. You can choose between the two based on your investment objectives.
|Account Type||Single or Joint||Single only|
|Tenure||5 years||15 years|
|Interest Rate||7.7% p.a.||7.1% p.a.|
|Number of Accounts||Multiple accounts can be opened with a maximum deposit of Rs.10,000 per certificate||Only one PPF account per person. |
Exception: You can open an account for your child and be a joint account holder for it.
|Contributor||Self, joint account holder, or guardian in the case of a minor||Self or parent of the minor|
|Tax Benefits||Principal is tax-free up to Rs.1.5 lakh per financial year u/s 80C; the interest is taxable||Principal is tax-free up to Rs.1.5 lakh per financial year u/s 80C; the interest and maturity amount is tax-free as well|
|Withdrawal||Visit the Post Office branch to withdraw or encash the NSC account balance. In case you are sending a representative, provide a signed letter to authorise the representative to withdraw the money.||Visit the bank or Post Office branch to withdraw. Or, visit the NSI India website to download Form C or its equivalent to apply for withdrawal.|
NSC will take about 10 years and 4 months (approx.) to double your investment at the current interest rate of 7.7% p.a.
When you submit the application form to open the NSC account along with the KYC documents, you will have to make the payment towards the same. Once this is processed, the Post Office branch will provide you with the NSC certificate.
You have to opt for the online passbook service for the NSC account by informing the Post Office branch regarding the same. The executives will give you the internet banking credentials to be used. Then, you can log into the account to view all the transaction details on your NSC account. This facility is available only at the select branches of the Post Office.
Both ULIP and NSC provide income tax deductions on the principal invested in them under Section 80C.
In order to transfer the NSC account from one Post Office branch to another, you have to submit an application at the old branch or the new branch. Further, the application must have the signatures of all the account holders in the case of Joint A or B account type.
Step 1: Fill up the application form with the relevant information, such as the Post Office branch name, your savings account number held with Post Office, and the applicant’s name.
Step 2: Paste the applicants’ photograph, and select the account you would like to open, i.e. ‘NSC VIIIth issue’ from the options.
Step 3: Select the account holder type and account type from the available options.
Step 4: In the case of ‘Minor through Guardian’, fill up the details of the minor in table 1.
Step 5: Specify the amount you would like to deposit to open the account in figures and words. IF providing a cheque or DD, please write the serial number and date on it.
Step 6: Now, provide all the personal and contact details of the applicants in table 2.
Step 7: All the applicants must add their signatures at the end of the page along with their names.
Step 8: Next, skip to the ‘Nomination’ section and enter the applicants’ names and the nominee’s name. In the table provided, provide details, such as the applicant’s relationship with the nominee, the nominee’s full address, Aadhaar number, and others.
Step 9: In the case of illiterate applicants, add the signatures of two witnesses for the same along with the applicants’ signatures. That’s it!
The NSC certificate number will be provided right on the certificate. It is recommended that you note this certificate number somewhere so that you can apply for a duplicate certificate by quoting this number in case your original certificate is lost/stolen.
NSC comes with a lock-in period of 5 years, i.e. it cannot be withdrawn before maturity. As an exemption, NSC can be prematurely withdrawn only in the following circumstances:
Though both NSC and 5-year FDs have a tenure of five years and offer income tax deduction u/s 80C, there are quite a few things that are different. If you are confused on which product to choose to save taxes, refer to the below table before deciding:
|TDS deduction||No deduction upon maturity||TDS deducted upon maturity|
|Collateral facility||Can be used||Cannot be used|
|Interest Compounding Frequency||Once a year||Once every quarter|
|Interest Rate||7.7% p.a. (Q1 of FY 2023-24)||5% – 7.25% p.a. (varies from bank to bank)|
The minimum amount required to open an NSC account is Rs.1,000. If you want to deposit a higher amount, you can do so in multiples of Rs.100. There is no maximum limit for the amount you deposit.
Request your bank or Post Office to provide the login credentials such that you can access your NSC account details online.
You can link Aadhaar to any Post Office Saving Schemes either online or offline. Here is how you can do it online:
Earlier, NSC came in two variants—NSC VIII and NSC XI. The former came with a tenure of 5 years and the latter with that of 10 years. However, the latter variant is discontinued. Therefore, it is only an NSC VIII issue with a 5-year tenure that is available for subscription currently.
Step 1: Fill in your details on Form NC41, get the signatures of the pledger and pledgee, and submit it to the Post Office branch.
Step 2: Attach the original certificate with the application form while submitting it to the Post Office branch.
Step 3: You can pledge the NSC certificate only to:
Step 4: The PostMaster will endorse ‘Transferred Security to’ written on the certificate in red with date and signature upon processing your application. Fees may be charged for the same.
NSC VIII issue that is currently available for subscription comes with a tenure of five years.
Step 1: Apply for internet banking at your Post Office or bank. Once it is approved, you can access your NSC account online.
Step 2: There will not be any serial numbers anymore. Instead, an account number will be issued.
Since everything has been upgraded to online banking since 2016, there are fewer possibilities of you getting scammed over NSC investment.
|Objective||Small savings with returns||Life cover with sum assured|
|Payment Frequency||One-time lump sum payment||Premiums can be paid in monthly, quarterly, or yearly intervals|
|Tax Benefits||Capital invested gets income tax deduction u/s 80C||Capital, interest earned, and maturity amount are exempt from tax|
|Sub-categories||None as of now||Many different life insurance schemes are available|