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What is NS&I?

What savings products does NS&I offer?

More than 25m people in the UK have savings invested with National Savings & Investments (NS&I). They’re one of the biggest savings organisations in the UK, with £179bn invested into their accounts…

By Lucy Hancock

Published: 21 April 2021

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NS&I are backed by the government, giving savers peace of mind that 100% of their money is protected. They offer different types of savings accounts (some are tax-free), as well as premium bonds – which give savers the chance to win tax-free monthly prizes, rather than receiving interest. NS&I is different to other savings providers. While savings accounts with other providers are generally protected up to a maximum of £85,000 by the FSCS, there is no upper limit on NS&I accounts. This is because NS&I is the government’s savings bank, so they’re backed by HM Treasury, meaning everything you invest in NS&I is safe.

What savings products does NS&I offer?

NS&I offer both taxable and tax-free accounts, with various interest rate options. We’ve put this table together so you can compare the different types of accounts by their features, to help you decide which account suits you best.

Account type Withdrawal limit? Taxable? Minimum/maximum holdings Things to note

Direct Saver

No notice needed and no penalty

Yes, on gross interest

Minimum: £1

Maximum: £2 million per person

Can be managed online or by phone. Interest rate is not as competitive as other accounts

Investment Account

No notice needed and no penalty

Yes, on gross interest

Minimum: £20

Maximum: £1 million per person

Managed by post

Income Bonds

No notice needed and no penalty

Yes, on gross interest

Minimum: £500

Maximum: £1 million per person

Pays savers a monthly income. Must be aged at least 16 to invest

Premium Bonds


No, all prizes are tax-free

Minimum: £25

Maximum: £50,000

Odds of winning: 34,500 to 1

Direct ISA

No notice needed and no penalty

No, completely tax-free

Minimum: £1

Maximum: £20,000 for 2020/21 tax year

Can be managed online or by phone. Withdraw whenever you like

Are NS&I safe?

NS&I have been described as a ‘government savings bank’, so can offer you a different level of protection when it comes to your savings. Most other banks are protected by the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme), while NS&I are backed by HM Treasury. 

Unlike the FSCS’ maximum limit of £85,000 per person, with NS&I every penny you invest is protected if something goes wrong.

For most people, the FSCS maximum limit is more than enough to cover you should your bank go bust. But if you have a larger amount of money in savings, you may worry how your cash is protected.

If you have more than £85,000 in savings, NS&I may be a good option for you to be sure your money is safe, should the unexpected happen.


Are NS&I Income Bonds a good investment?

Whether income bonds are a good investment will depend on your personal, financial circumstances. 

NS&I Income Bonds may suit you if: 

  • You want your interest paid out every month, directly to your bank account 
  • You want easy access to your money, with no penalty for withdrawals 

NS&I Income Bonds may not be for you if: 

  • You’re not looking to invest £500 or more 
  • You’re looking for a fixed interest rate 

Unsure about which savings account to choose? Our guide on choosing the best savings account for you can help you compare your options.


Compare savings accounts today 

Finding the right savings account for you is made easy with MoneySuperMarket. We know that deciding on a savings account can be a tricky decision – there’s a lot of information to get your head around. But once you’ve decided which features are important to you, you can sort the type of account by easy access, fixed rate or ISA. Then compare the interest rates, notice period and minimum and maximum deposit before you make your decision. Once you've made your choice, you'll be directed to the provider, which will help you through the rest of the process. It’s that simple.