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Comparing FD And PPF as Forms of Investment

11 Mins 04 May 2023 0 COMMENT

Introduction

India is a nation where people have believed in saving their hard-earned money in fixed deposits since time immemorial. In 1968, the government introduced a new retirement-cum-savings scheme – Public Provident Fund (PPF). Now, when it comes to choosing between the two investments, both can seem appealing.

PPFs give tax advantages and have a longer investment horizon, while FDs provide flexibility and tax benefits for a shorter duration. So, how do you decide which one is better? Let’s look at what both instruments offer.

What is a Fixed Deposit?

A fixed deposit (FD) is a form of financial instrument in which a person invests a lump sum of money for a set amount of time at a predetermined interest rate. Tenure can range from a few days to 10 years. When an FD matures, the depositor receives their original deposit plus any interest earned, which is typically more than the interest rate paid on savings accounts. Since these instruments are provided by the banks and insured by the government up to a certain amount, FDs are considered a secure investment option.

There is also a special kind of FD which is a tax saver. It has a lock-in period of five years, provides interest at the same rate as regular FDs and is tax deductible up to Rs 1,50,000 per year.

What is a Public Provident Fund?

Public Provident Fund, or PPF, is a long-term investment programme the Indian government offers to promote retirement planning and savings. It has a lock-in duration of 15 years with the opportunity to extend it in blocks of 5 years, a set interest rate, and tax advantages. Section 80C of the Income Tax Code also permits a deduction for PPF investments of up to Rs 1,50,000 per annum.

The interest you earn on your PPF account and the maturity amount are tax-free.

Fixed Deposit (FD) Vs Public Provident Fund (PPF): Understanding the differences

Below is a detailed comparison of the FD Vs PPF:

Investment type

  •  A fixed-term deposit (FD) is a type of investment where a person deposits a lump sum of money for a set amount of time and receives interest on the deposit.
  • The government of India sponsors PPF, a long-term investment option. For 15 years, an individual may invest up to Rs 1,50,000 per year in a single or up to 12 instalments.

Interest rates

  • The deposit’s size and the investment's length determine the FD interest rates, which vary from bank to bank. Interest rates on FDs typically vary from 3.5% to 7.5% annually.
  • The government of India determines PPF interest rates, which are often higher than FD rates. The government announces the rate every quarter. The PPF interest rate for the fiscal year 2022–2023 is 7.1% annually.

Tenure

  • The FD's tenure might range from seven days to ten years. For longer tenures, the interest rate on FDs is higher.
  • The PPF account has a 15-year lifespan. Following maturity, a person may prolong the tenure in increments of five years.

Liquidity

  • FDs have less liquidity than PPFs. If someone needs to take money out of an FD before it matures, they will be penalised.
  • PPF permits partial withdrawals upon the conclusion of five years of investment. However, after the whole 15-year period has expired, a complete withdrawal is permitted.

 

Tax benefits

  • Individuals can receive tax advantages from both FDs and PPFs under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act of 1961.
  • The amount of tax that applies to interest on FDs depends on the individual's income tax bracket. However, the Income Tax Act's Section 80TTB allows senior citizens to benefit from a higher FD interest rate and a tax exemption of up to Rs 50,000 per year.
  • PPF interest and maturity amount are tax-free for the investor.

Minimum and maximum investment

  • Banks have different minimum investment requirements for FDs. It ranges from Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000.
  • PPF investments can be as little as Rs 500 and can go up to Rs 1,50,000 per fiscal year.

Risk

  • FDs are a low-risk investment option because banks offer them, and the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) protects your money up to Rs 5 lakh per depositor per bank.
  • PPF is also a low-risk investment choice because the Indian government supports it.

How is the interest on FDs and PPFs calculated?

Regarding PPFs, the interest that needs to be accrued or compounded is carried out once a year. All PPF deposits are compatible with this. In the case of fixed deposits, either simple interest or compound interest is used to determine the interest rate.

With online FD vs PPF calculators, you might get an estimated return in a matter of seconds. You can get an estimated and indicative number by entering a few simple details about your investment.

Which is better, PPF or FD?

If you’re trying to understand which is better, PPF or FDs, it comes down to your investment goal, investment horizon and risk appetite.

For risk-averse investors, FDs and PPFs are both excellent choices. Those who want to invest for the future while also saving on taxes can invest in PPF. The protection it offers is unrivalled because of government support. Its appeal is additionally increased because the interest you earn is tax-free. Nevertheless, starting in the seventh year, it has a lengthy lock-in period and only a few restricted exit choices.

On the other hand, FDs are far more liquid and give you the freedom to choose the perfect tenure. Compared to PPF, tax-saving FDs have a much shorter lock-in period of five years. However, FDs come with a certain amount of risk, and the interest you earn is taxed.

Conclusion

FDs and PPFs are both great investment options for those seeking low-risk instruments. They both offer tax advantages as well. The question comes down to what you are saving for. If you have a short investment horizon, FDs may be the better choice. If you are saving for retirement, PPFs may be helpful because of better interest rates and the lock-in period, which will keep you disciplined.

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