What is a Help to Buy: ISA?

A Help to Buy: ISA is a type of ISA (Individual Savings Account) for prospective first-time buyers.

A bonus of up to £3,000 is available from the Government for individual account holders. Once £1,600 has been deposited into your Help to Buy: ISA and you are close to buying your first home, you will need to instruct your solicitor or conveyancer to apply for your Government bonus. Once they receive the Government bonus, it will be added to the money you are putting towards your first home. The bonus must be included with the funds consolidated at the completion of the property transaction. The bonus cannot be used for the deposit due at the exchange of contracts, to pay for solicitor’s, estate agent’s fees or any other indirect costs associated with buying a home.

This scheme will provide a bonus from the Government provided you have savings of at least £1,600. The bonus will be 25% of your savings up to a maximum bonus of £3,000.

Are you eligible for a Help to Buy: ISA?

If you're a UK resident aged 16 or over and a first-time buyer, you will be eligible for a Help to Buy: ISA.

You will need a valid National Insurance number and you must not have another active cash ISA in the same tax year. Get in touch with our team at The Nottingham if you need help determining your eligibility. 

Is a Help to Buy: ISA right for me?

If you're a first-time buyer, a Help to Buy: ISA could give you a boost to help you move into your first home. You can view more about the Help to Buy: ISA here or speak to an adviser in branch today for further information.

What if I need easy access to the money in my Help to Buy: ISA?

You can withdraw money from your Help to Buy: ISA at any time. However, you must leave a minimum of £1 in your account and withdrawals are limited to £500 per day.

When will the Help to Buy: ISA become unavailable? 

The Help to Buy: ISA scheme will no longer be available after the 30th November 2019. If you'd like to take advantage of the 25% bonus you will need to open an account before the deadline passes.

What other options are available if I discover a Help to Buy: ISA isn't for me?

If you miss the Help to Buy: ISA deadline or discover that this isn't the right account for your individual needs, there are other options available to help you save up for your first home. Another choice for first-time buyers wishing to gain a bonus on their savings is the Lifetime ISA which also offers a 25% Government bonus. 

Applying for a Help to Buy: ISA

How do I apply for a Help to Buy: ISA?
To apply for a Help to Buy: ISA with The Nottingham, which has a annual interest rate set at 2.25% p.a./AER* and is tax-free, you need to nip in to your local branch and speak to one of our advisers.


Make sure you bring your ID, National Insurance number and an initial cash deposit (£1) with you to your appointment. 

What is the Help to Buy: ISA bonus? 
You can save as much as you like in your Help to Buy: ISA, but the Government-funded 25% bonus will only apply to savings between £1,600 to £12,000. This means the maximum bonus you can receive is £3,000 and the minimum is £400. You'll need to be a UK resident, aged 16 or above and be a first-time buyer to qualify for the Help to Buy: ISA bonus. A first-time buyer is defined as someone who has never owned a property before including properties outside of the UK. If you've inherited a property or even owned a share of a property before, you won't be eligible for this account either.

Can I have multiple Help to Buy: ISA accounts?
No. You can only have one Help to Buy: ISA account open at once. 

Can I transfer money from an existing Help to Buy: ISA?
Yes, you can transfer money from an existing Help to Buy: ISA into your new account. The process is straightforward, just fill in this form and we'll do the rest. 

Can I apply for a Help to Buy: ISA online?
You can only apply for a Help to Buy: ISA account in person at one of our branches.

Saving with a Help to Buy: ISA

How much can I save with a Help to Buy: ISA?
There's no limit to how much money you can deposit in your Help to Buy: ISA, however the 25% bonus from the Government provided you have savings of at least £1,600. The bonus will be 25% of your savings up to a maximum bonus of £3,000. 

Can two Help to Buy: ISA accounts be used to buy one home?
If you're buying your first home with another first-time buyer, you can combine your individual Help to Buy: ISA accounts to use on one home. This means that, combined, you could receive up to £6,000 from the Government.

How much can I deposit into my Help to Buy: ISA every month? 
You can deposit a lump sum of £1,200 into your Help to Buy: ISA within the first month. After this, you can deposit £200 into your account per calendar month. 

When can I withdraw money from my Help to Buy: ISA?
You can withdraw money from your Help to Buy: ISA at any time. There's no required notice period and no penalties. You need to leave at least £1 in your account to keep it open and you cannot withdraw more than £500 a day. 

What's the interest on a Help to Buy: ISA?
Annual interest on a Help to Buy: ISA is set to 2.25% and is tax-free p.a/AER. You can discover more about our Help to Buy: ISA rates and key product information here. 

Buying a home with a Help to Buy: ISA

What exactly is a first-time buyer?

A first-time buyer is defined as someone who has never owned a property before including properties outside of the UK. If you've inherited a property or even owned a share of a property before, you won't be eligible for this account either.

Can I buy any home using a Help to Buy: ISA?
A Help to Buy: ISA can be used to purchase a UK home valued at £250,000 or less (or £450,000 or less in London). 
It must be a home that you intend on living in and be purchased with a mortgage.

I'm ready to buy a home - what next? 

Your conveyancer will be able to claim your 25% bonus from the Government when you are in the final stages of purchasing your first home - as long as you have a minimum of £1,600 in your account.

This usually occurs between the exchange of contracts and completion of purchase and you'll need to instruct your conveyancer to apply for the bonus and your provider to close your Help to Buy: ISA account so that they can provide the Government with a final balance.

Which provider should I choose to open my Help to Buy: ISA with? 

There are many providers that offer Help to Buy: ISAs, including The Nottingham. We're incredibly proud of our customer satisfaction score and our Member Rewards programme too so why not pop into your local branch and open an account today.

There are plenty of reasons to open a Help to Buy: ISA with The Nottingham - simply get in touch to discuss your options today. 

Last updated on:
Next review:
Originally published on:

Help to Buy: ISA vs Lifetime ISA

Both accounts are Government initiatives to help savers reach their first home savings target sooner by awarding them with a bonus of 25%. Find out which account might suit you better.

Tax-free savings

Saving is even more rewarding when you don't pay tax on the interest you earn. Most people can already earn some interest from their savings without paying tax.

What is a Lifetime ISA?

Our Lifetime ISA is an account that gives you a 25% Government bonus on payments into the account each month, up to a maximum balance of £4,000 annually and you don’t pay tax on your interest.

Glossary of savings terms

Ever wondered what AER actually is? Or what CHAPS stands for? We're busting the jargon in our savings terms glossary.

Cash ISA or Stocks & Shares ISA?

Broadly speaking Cash ISAs come with less risk, easier access and are better for short-term saving than a Stocks & Shares ISA. Check out the differences between these two types of ISA.

ISA guide

Our ISA guide will explain what a cash ISA is, how much money you can deposit each year and which types of ISA are available to you plus much more.