NSC Vs 5 Year Tax Saving FD in bank – Which is better option?

NSC Vs 5 Year Tax Saving FD in bank – Which is better optionNSC Vs 5 Year Tax Saving FD in bank


While ELSS mutual funds provide high returns, there is risk element. Low risk investors still want to go with traditional options like NSC or bank tax saver FD scheme. If you are an investor who is confused between NSC and 5 years Tax Saving FD scheme, this article is for you. Both NSC and Tax saving FD schemes in the bank have their pros and cons. Among National Saving Certificate (NSC) Vs 5 Years Tax Saver FD in the bank, which is the better option? We would provide 10 pointers which can help you to take right decision.

What is National Saving Certificate (NSC)?

National Saving Certificate, generally called as the NSC is offered by the post office and few commercial banks. NSC has fixed interest rate at the time of purchase and paid on maturity. Such interest would be reset every quarter by Ministry of Finance. Investment in NSC is eligible for income tax deduction u/s 80c.

What is Tax Saving FD scheme in bank?

Banks offer tax saving FD scheme. These FDs provide fixed interest indicated on the date of investment. Banks can change such interest at their discretion. Investment in these tax saving FD scheme in banks is eligible for income tax deduction u/s 80c to Rs 1.5 Lakhs in a financial year.

NSC Vs 5 Year Tax Saving FD in bank – Which is the better option?

Let me provide a key comparison based on which we can conclude which is better.

1) Tenure of investment

Both NSC (offered by post office and banks) and Tax saving fixed deposit scheme (offered by bank) has 5 years tenure.

2) Interest Rate

NSC offers interest rate of 6.8% per annum. Ministry of Finance can change interest rate every quarter. However, once NSC is purchased the interest rate would not change till maturity.

Bank interest rates would fluctuate and at the discretion of the bank. Current tax saving FD schemes of banks are offering interest rates up to 6.5% and up to 6.75% for Senior Citizens. Even here, once invested in FD, the interest would not change till maturity.

NSC scores high in this area considering the high interest rates.

3) Interest payment

NSC interest is compounded annually and paid on maturity along with principal investment.

On the other hand, banks pay interest either on a quarterly basis or at maturity. Investors have an option to get quarterly interest. This would be beneficial for investors, especially Senior Citizens where they can get regular quarterly income.

The Bank’s interest payment option score high compared to NSC.

4) Reinvestment of interest

In NSC, interest is not paid to investors every year. This interest is re-invested, would be accumulated and paid on maturity. An investor can show the interest as “other come” and can claim the same as deduction u/s 80c up to Rs 1.5 Lakhs in a financial year.

In bank tax saving FD scheme, we do not have this option.

5) Minimum and Maximum investment

In NSC, one need to invest a minimum of Rs 1,000 and in multiples of Rs 100 there-off. There is no maximum limit on investment in NSC.

In bank tax saving FD schemes, there are no minimum and maximum amounts while some banks restrict for a minimum of Rs 500.

6) Tax Benefits on investment

Investment in both NSC and Bank Tax Saving FD schemes qualify for income tax deductions u/s 80c up to Rs 1.5 Lakhs in a financial year.

7) Taxation of interest income

For NSC, the interest is compounded annually and paid on maturity. There are a couple of ways to treat such interest income while filing income tax returns. One can show interest income as “Other income” and also claim it u/s 80c every year. Alternatively, one can show only up on receipt i.e. at end of 5 years. How to show NSC interest in ITR, lies with the tax payer. Thought this looks some complicated process, you can check how to show NSC interest in ITR article.

Interest on bank tax saving FD scheme is received only at maturity of 5 years. On maturity, individuals can show this as “other income” and pay income tax based on the income tax slab applicable to them.

8) Growth of Rs 1.5 Lakhs

Latest NSC interest rate is 6.8%. If you invest Rs 1.5 Lakhs, the maturity amount would be Rs 2.08 lakhs after a 5 year tenure.

Banks are offering interest rates between 6.4% to 6.75% (Including senior citizens). Based on the quarterly compounding, the yield would be higher. Based on these interest rates, if you invest Rs 1.5 Lakhs, the maturity amount would be Rs 1.99 lakhs to Rs 2.09 Lakhs after a 5 year tenure.

9) Safety of investment

Investment in NSC is sovereign guarantee. Means these are guaranteed by the Government of India. If you invest Rs 1 Lakh or 1 Crore, your money is safe.

There is no guarantee in Tax Saving FD Schemes in banks. However, there is deposit insurance coverage up to Rs 5 Lakhs per bank per customer. If you would like to deposit more than 5 Lakhs and want safety, you need to spread your investments across banks (not across branches of the same bank) in the lots of Rs 5 Lakhs (Principal + interest put together).

10) Loans

NSC can be used to get collateral loans. There is no such option in tax saving FD schemes in banks.

Conclusion: The answer is not plain simple about which is better between NSC and bank tax saver FD scheme. If your objective is to invest a high sum amount and do not want to spread across banks, NSC would be better. If your objective is to invest < 5 lakhs, both options could be better. If you want to do everything online in your bank account itself, taking bank tax saving FD scheme could be a nice option.

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Suresh KP

One comment

  • Sivaraman

    Though I invest on NSC showing income as other income and getting 80 c is new to me. Nice article sir. There is a learning on the most known topic as well. Thanks much for enlightenment with your post

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