RBS Help to buy ISA (Review)

What is the RBS Help to buy ISA?

The RBS help to buy ISA is a RBS savings product which is offered by RBS as part of the government’s first-time buyer help to buy scheme. The terms of the RBS help to buy ISA are dictated by the government and can change at any time.

You should check the help to buy ISA website for any recent changes.

The government will pay a bonus of 25% on your closing balance when you buy a home. The maximum bonus you can earn with the RBS help to buy ISA is £3,000 as the government will only pay a bonus on a maximum savings of £12,000.

It is important to note that you cannot use your RBS help to buy ISA towards your mortgage deposit as it is only paid after you have completed on a home purchase.

With the RBS, help to buy ISA and inline with the Governments own Help to buy ISA rules you can only save a maximum of £1,200 in your first month and then a maximum of £200 per month going forward.

The interest paid on the RBS help to buy ISA may be a variable rate and this means it could change at any time.

The interest paid is separate from the government bonus you are eligible for on your help to buy ISA

Help to buy ISAs will end in November 2019 and you must claim your bonus by December 2030.

What are the eligibility requirements of the RBS help to buy ISA?

To be eligible for the RBS help to buy ISA you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must be over 16 years of age to be eligible for a RBS help to buy ISA
  • You have not and will not go over your tax year ISA allowance. It is £20k for the 2019/2020 tax year
  • You cannot have another hep to buy ISA except you are closing your current help to buy ISA and transferring it to your RBS help to buy ISA
  • You must have a national insurance number
  • You are a resident in the UK or can prove established residency via your tax obligations or through marriage or civil partnership with a UK resident
  • You cannot have another cash ISA in the same tax year except it is held with RBS. For tax purposes, the RBS will present all your ISAs as one. This is known as a portfolio ISA.
  • You don’t own any land or house anywhere in the world
  • You have not already received a help to buy ISA bonus except you have and it has been paid back to the relevant body due to your home purchase falling through and not being completed.
  • You cannot use the help to buy ISA if you intend to rent out the property
  • The maximum property price you can use the help to buy ISA on is £450,000 within London and £250,000 outside London
  • The RBS help to buy account can only have one holder

What can you do with your RBS Help to buy ISA?

Once your savings have reached the minimum amount of £1600 you can then withdraw your RBS help to buy ISA savings.

The interest paid on your RBS help to buy ISA counts towards your savings balance and you will be able to withdraw this too.

You may be able to make withdrawals from your RBS help to buy ISA but you will only be able to pay back in your monthly maximum of £200.

You can use the RBS help to buy ISA for shared ownership and joint ownership properties.

It will take over four and a half years to qualify for the maximum bonus of £3,000 if you save the maximum £12,000 to reach there

Can I transfer an existing ISA to a RBS help to buy ISA?

Yes, you can transfer an existing help to buy ISA to a RBS help to buy ISA but your previous ISA will have to be transferred in full and closed.

If you hold a cash ISA with RBS you can only transfer up to your monthly allowance into your RBS help to buy ISA.

If you have a cash ISA with another provider with a balance bigger than your monthly RBS help to buy ISA allowance then you will only be allowed to transfer the maximum opening amount of £1,200 and then £200 per month.

You will need to close your current cash ISA and transfer it to a RBS cash ISA if any balance still remains which is bigger than your monthly RBS help to buy ISA contribution allowance.

You can transfer a cash ISA from a previous tax year into your help to buy ISA but the monthly maximum contributions still count and as this ISA is from a previous tax year it will not affect your personal allowance for the current tax year.

You will have to submit a help to buy transfer request form to your existing provider and RBS

How to cancel your RBS Help to buy ISA?

You have 14 days from when you opened( or received your contractual documents for) your RBS help to buy ISA to close it.

This is known as the cooling off period. If you cancel your RBS help to buy ISA within this period you will be repaid any deposit plus interest earned in full.

You must make your ISA cancellation request in writing to the specific branch you got your ISA in or via email.

If you don’t cancel your RBS help to buy ISA within 14 days you will be bound by their terms and conditions.

If you have a complaint about the RBS help to buy ISA, please find the appropriate complaints channel and make a complaint.

Remember the ISA is a savings product and is covered by the financial services compensation scheme

How do you close your RBS Help to buy ISA and claim your bonus?

Below are the steps you will need to take to close your RBS help to buy ISA and claim your government bonus.

  1. Once you are ready to buy your home, simply let RBS know and they will close your Help to buy ISA account. Your RBS help to buy ISA account must be closed before you make a claim for the government’s bonus.
  2. Once you have closed your account RBS will transfer your account to a none help to buy ISA account and then provide you with a closure document as well as a closure statement. Your conveyancer will need the closure document to claim your help to buy government bonus.
  3. Your conveyancer will then submit documents to claim the bonus from the Government
  4. Your help to buy ISA bonus will be paid on the last balance on your RBS help to buy ISA account before it became a £0 balance account. You should avoid making any withdrawals prior to this point to avoid reducing the balance on which you are eligible for the government bonus.
  5. The government bonus is paid towards your home purchase completion costs and not your mortgage deposit.
  6. The closure process can take up to 2 weeks and you have 12 months from when you closed your RBS help to buy ISA account to claim the government bonus.

Is a help to buy ISA the right answer for you? Will a lifetime ISA be of better value considering it offers a £1,000 government bonus per year if you save the maximum £4,000 per year? These are things you should consider.

Help to buy ISA calculator

You can use our help to buy ISA calculator to work out what your estimated earnings could look like based on your monthly contributions.

RBS Help to buy ISA product features

Headline interest rate1.5% AER
Headline interest balance£1
Minimum initial deposit£1
Minimum withdrawal£1
Notice and penalty chargeThere is no notice required and there is no penalty or charge is made for withdrawals.
Free withdrawal conditionsThere are no withdrawal conditions
Availability restrictionsThis product is only available for first-time home buyers
Interest payment frequencymonthly
Minimum balance£1
Maximum balanceunlimited
Statement frequencyannually
Standing orderNot available or allowed
Additional depositsNot available or allowed

Disclaimer: please check for up to date information as this data may now be out of date.

Other government schemes you may be eligible for:

You may also be able to use a host of government schemes to increase your mortgage deposit or reduce your total cost of purchasing a home.

The government schemes you may be able to use include:

  • Lifetime ISA– gives you a government bonus of £1,000 if you save the maximum £4,000 a year.
  • Help to buy ISA– gives a maximum bonus us £3,000 if you save the maximum allowed of £12,000. Before you get either you should consider which is better. Lifetime ISA vs Help to buy ISA.
  • Help to buy equity loan- gives you up to 40% as a 5-year interest-free equity loan. You begin to pay interest at 1.75 % after the fifth year and 1% plus RPI for every year thereafter.
  • Shared ownership- You can buy between 25% to 75% of the property initially with a shared ownership mortgage and then buy more using a staircasing mortgage.
  • Armed forces help to buy- similar to the help to buy equity loan but specific for the armed forces personnel giving them an increased chance of acceptance.
  • Rent to buy- This is the right to buy scheme on which this guide is currently discussing. A different marketing name is just used. Watch out for this when shopping to avoid missing out on eligible properties due to confusion.
  • Right to buy- allows you to buy your home at a discount price.
  • Preserved right to buy– same as above.
  • Right to acquire- same as above.
  • Rent to buy- This allows you to rent at up to 20% under market value. You have the option to purchase the home within 5 years.

You may also be able to use a host of mortgages with the help of your family.

They are a certain type of mortgage known as a family springboard mortgage, they include mortgages from lenders such as the Barclays family springboard mortgage, the lloyds lend a hand mortgage or the post office family link mortgage.

Your property ladder plan:

It seems you are in the early stages of planning your property ladder journey.

About Huuti: Huuti builds personalised plans for your money goals.

Our property ladder plan will:

  • Show you your complete mortgage affordability from a lenders point of view
  • Show you which private market and government schemes you are eligible for (which save time and money)
  • Show you how much you need to put away each month and help you build your mortgage deposit
  • Help build your credit score to improve your mortgage affordability
  • Match you with potential co-buyers to shorten your timeline on to the property ladder
  • Show you what mortgages you are eligible for, how much they will cost and help you get a mortgage.

If you need financial advice and you live in the UK then you could contact the Money Advice service over the phone or via chat for impartial advice.

You can also contact the debt charity “Step Change” if you are in debt and need help.