9 post office savings schemes with risk-free returns

Post office savings schemes, which are linked to a central government-run savings portfolio, are reliable and provide risk-free return on investment. The amount invested and returns generated are backed by sovereign guarantee. Besides, they are ideal for tax-savings. As investors, it is very easy to get access to these schemes, which are made available through a network of 1.54 lakh post offices across India. Here's a list of schemes that you may want to invest in:

15-year Public Provident Fund

Return: 7.6% per annum, compounded annually

In a given financial year, you are allowed to deposit a maximum amount of Rs 1.5 lakh. The amount can be deposited in lump-sum or in twelve instalments. Moreover, a joint account is also allowed. Nomination and transfer facility are available. Your investment will qualify for deduction under Section 80C of the I-T Act. The interest is completely tax-free. On maturity (15 years) it can be extended by one or more blocks of 5 years. Premature closure is not allowed before 15 years. You can operate a PPF account via 8,200 public sector bank branches, bsides post offices.

Post Office Time Deposit Account

Return- 6.6% for one year a/c
6.7% for two years a/c,
6.9% for three years a/c
7.4% for five years a/c
A time deposit account can be opened in the name of a minor, while children of 10 years and above are also allowed to operate the account. You need only Rs 200 to open an account. The investment qualifies for Section 80C benefits. Nomination and transfer facilities are available.

Post Office Monthly Income Scheme (MIS) Account

Return- 7.3% per annum payable monthly to individual/joint
Both individual and joint accounts can be opened under this scheme. The minimum deposit amount for opening the account is Rs 1,500 and maximum limit is Rs 4.5 lakh. For a joint account, it can go up to Rs 9 lakh. Nomination and transfer facilities are available. The maturity period is 5 years.
You can withdraw the amount prematurely after one year but before 3 years at a deduction of 2% of the deposit. You will get 5% as bonus if you can wait till the maturity.

Kisan Vikas Patra

Return - 7.3% compounded annually
These certificates can be purchased by an adult for himself or on behalf of a minor. The minimum investment is Rs 1,000, but there is no cap on the upper limit. The maturity period is 9 years and 10 months. The lock-in period is 2.5 years.

Sukanya Samriddhi Account

Return - 8.1% per annum compounded yearly
All parents of girl children can open this account. The minimum contribution is Rs 250 and a maximum amount is Rs 150,000 in a financial year. There is no limit on the number of deposits in a financial year. The account can be closed after the attainment of 21 years of age by a girl child. Partial withdrawal is available after the child turns 18. The account can be opened up to age of 10 years only from the date of birth. One can have maximum two accounts for two girl children.

National Saving Certificate

Return- 7.6%, compounded annually and payable at maturity

These certificates can be bought with a minimum investment of Rs 100 and in multiples of Rs 100. There is no maximum limit. By investing in this scheme, you get tax benefits under section 80C of the I-T Act. The interest accrued annually.

5-year Recurring Deposit Account

Return- 6.9% per annum, compounded quarterly on individual/joint account
You can invest in these accounts for 5 years and an account can be opened by cash or cheque. You can nominate a minor and transfer facilities are also available. An account can be opened in the name of a minor too. One withdrawal up to 50% is allowed after one year or you can withdraw the amount prematurely after 3 years.
Senior Citizen Savings Scheme

Return- 8.3% per annum

All senior citizens (individuals of age 60 years or more) can open the account. One can either open an account below Rs 1 lakh by cash and for Rs 1 lakh and above by cheque only. The maximum limit is Rs 15 lakh. The interest is payable at the end of every quarter, i.e. March 31, June 30, Sept 30 and December 31 in individual or joint capacity. The tax will be deducted at source if the interest amount is more than Rs 10,000. This investment will get you the tax benefit under section 80C.

Post office savings accounts

Return- 4% interest rate per annum
The saving accounts can be opened for individuals, minors or jointly with a minimum investment of Rs 20. The accounts can be opened in any post office and later transferred. To keep the account active, at least one transaction of deposit or withdrawal is mandatory in three financial years.