FAQs about fixed deposits

TomorrowMakers ™

FAQs about fixed deposits

23 October 2017
Need a crash course on opening a Fixed Deposit account? Here are some of the most asked questions regarding FDs.
 
 

When it comes to financial instruments, Fixed Deposits (FDs) are quite a popular investment. They can help save for the future while offering tax benefits as well. Whether you plan to invest for the short or long term, you can certainly consider FDs. Listed below are frequently asked questions regarding FDs that can help you make a more informed decision the next time you plan an investment. 

How does a Fixed Deposit account work?
You deposit a certain amount of money with a bank /non-banking institution for a fixed tenure and at a fixed rate of interest. You then receive interest on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis for this tenure. Once the tenure ends, the principal amount, along with the interest earned on it is returned to you.
What kinds of FDs are available?

There are two kinds of FDs: 

Cumulative FD

  • Interest is compounded annually
  • You receive the interest at the time of maturity, along with your principal amount 
  • The interest earned here is taxable. (10% if the interest amount is more than 10,000 in a year). Your tax liability also depends on the tax slab in which you fall. 

Non-cumulative

  • You receive the interest on a monthly/quarterly/half-yearly/yearly basis, depending on your preference

How to calculate tax on interest income?
Any interest income you receive is added to your total income while filing Income Tax Returns. It is calculated yearly, regardless of when it is paid out. The TDS will depend on your bank’s term and the tax slab which is applicable to you. Additionally, any TDS that has been deducted, will be adjusted against your final tax liability.

Related: Banks to cut interest rates on savings accounts. What does that mean for you?

What is the tenure of Fixed Deposit accounts?
The tenure range depends on the type of investment; ranging from seven days to 10 years.

What is the minimum and maximum amounts you can invest in an FD?

The minimum amount can be as low as Rs. 10,000 or as high as Rs. 1 crore. 

What is the approximate range of interest rate in India on FD accounts

In India, banks offer interest rates that can range from 5% to 9%. Interest rates and extra facilities vary from bank to bank. 

How is the interest amount paid?

Interest is paid on a monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, yearly or maturity basis. It can be paid by two methods – either by cheque or through the Electronic Clearing System (ECS). 

Related: Understanding your savings account

Can I withdraw FD money before maturity?

Yes. Either some part of the amount or the entire amount can be withdrawn by breaking the FD. However, if you close your FD in this situation, your bank may pay you 0.5% or 1% less, as a penalty for taking the money out before maturity.

What are the tax benefits associated with FD?

The interest that you receive on FDs are taxable. However, you can submit Form 15G (or 15H for senior citizens) to your bank to avoid paying tax on FDs. This condition only applies if you meet certain conditions such as:

  • Total taxable income is below zero
  • You are an HUF or individual 
  • You must be an Indian national
  • Your total, annual interest income is lower than the minimum exemption limit for the year (Rs. 2.5 lakh, currently)

 

Can I take a loan against my FD?

Yes. You can apply for a loan against your FD for up to 70% to 90% (may vary) of the principal amount. The interest on this loan is usually 2% to 2.5% more than the interest paid on your FD.

What documents are required for opening an FD Account?

Identity proof, Address proof, and passport size photographs are all you need to open an FD account. 

Related: 10 things you can do with your savings

What eligibility criteria do I have to meet to apply for an FD?

Any resident individual, irrespective of age is eligible to invest in a Fixed Deposit. Hindu Unified Family (HUF), private or public limited companies, societies, and partnership firms can also open FD accounts. 

Deposits for minors are accepted under the name of his/her parent or legal guardian. In these cases, the parent or guardian signs the application form on behalf of the minor. 

Do I get any extra facilities if I’m above 60? 

Many banks offer special rates for senior citizens, which tend to be slightly higher. An additional markup for Senior Citizen is 0.5% for deposits from 1 year and above. It also helps in tax deduction, which can be claimed under 80C of the IT Act. 

Along with resident Indians, NRIs can also open FDs, through NRE (Non-Resident External) or NRO (Non-Resident Ordinary) accounts. The limits for this scheme can start from 1 crore and above, and may vary from bank to bank. 

Related: Words of wisdom from famous financial experts

Are there any tax deductions available on FD under section 80C?

Fixed deposits are a great investment option for risk averse investors. But they can also help in saving taxes. Particularly known as tax saving fixed deposits, they usually come with a 5-year maturity period.

Regardless of your tax bracket, you can get tax deductions of up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs per year under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. You can also open an individual or joint account for tax saving FDs. In case of a joint account, only the primary holder receives tax benefits.

However, it is important to note that interest earned on FDs is tax free, albeit, up to a certain limit. When it crosses this limit specified by the Income Tax Act, taxes become applicable because the amount is considered as financial income. 

What is the procedure of investing in FDs? 

Offline procedure to apply for FD :

  • Visit your bank and get the FD application form
  • Fill in the necessary details carefully
  • Sign the form wherever required
  • Arrange the documents required by the bank
  • Attach the required documents to your application form
  • Submit the form along with the FD amount cheque in the bank

Related: Stop thinking you don’t have enough money and start investing

You can also apply for an FD account online: 

  • Visit your bank''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s website and click on "Create Fixed Deposit"
  • Fill the online application form carefully
  • Submit the form online
  • Upon submission, the FD amount filled by you will be debited from your savings account, and your FD account will be opened instantly
  • You will receive the details on your registered Email ID
  • In case the bank does not have your Email ID, the details will be mailed to your communication address

Note that the online procedure may vary from one bank to another.

What is sweep-in facility? 

The sweep-in facility links your savings/current account to your FD account, also known as savings cum fixed deposit. It gives you the liberty to decide the minimum balance for your savings account. 

 
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