A fixed deposit (FD) is a financial instrument provided by banks which provides investors with a higher rate of interest than a regular savings account, until the given maturity date. It may or may not require the creation of a separate account. It is known as a term deposit or time deposit in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the US, and as a bond in the United Kingdom. They are considered to be very safe investments. Term deposits in India is used to denote a larger class of investments with varying levels of liquidity. The defining criteria for a fixed deposit is that the money cannot be withdrawn for the FD as compared to a recurring deposit or a demand deposit before maturity. Some banks may a offer additional services to FD holders such as loans against FD certificates at competitive interest rates. It’s important to note that banks may offer lesser interest rates under uncertain economic conditions. The interest rate varies between 4 and 11 percent.
Fixed deposits are a high-interest-yielding Term deposit and offered by banks in India. The most popular form of Term deposits are Fixed Deposits, while other forms of term Deposits are Recurring Deposit and Flexi Fixed Deposits (the latter is actually a combination of Demand deposit and Fixed deposit).
To compensate for the low liquidity, FDs offer higher rates of interest than saving accounts. The longest permissible term for FDs is 10 years. Generally, the longer the term of deposit, higher is the rate of interest but a bank may offer lower rate of interest for a longer period if it expects interest rates, at which the Central Bank of a nation lends to banks (“repo rates”), will dip in the future.
Usually in India the interest on FDs is paid every three months from the date of the deposit. (e.g. if FD a/c was opened on 15th Feb., first interest instalment would be paid on 15 May). The interest is credited to the customers’ Savings bank account or sent to them by cheque. This is a Simple FD. The customer may choose to have the interest reinvested in the FD account. In this case, the deposit is called the Cumulative FD or compound interest FD. For such deposits, the interest is paid with the invested amount on maturity of the deposit at the end of the term.
Although banks can refuse to repay FDs before the expiry of the deposit, they generally don’t. This is known as a premature withdrawal. In such cases, interest is paid at the rate applicable at the time of withdrawal. For example, a deposit is made for 5 years at 8%, but is withdrawn after 2 years. If the rate applicable on the date of deposit for 2 years is 5 per cent, the interest will be paid at 5 per cent. Banks can charge a penalty for premature withdrawal.
Banks issue a separate receipt for every FD because each deposit is treated as a distinct contract. This receipt is known as the Fixed Deposit Receipt (FDR), that has to be surrendered to the bank at the time of renewal or encashment.
Many banks offer the facility of automatic renewal of FDs where the customers do give new instructions for the matured deposit. On the date of maturity, such deposits are renewed for a similar term as that of the original deposit at the rate prevailing on the date of renewal.
Income tax regulations require that FD maturity proceeds exceeding Rs 20,000 not to be paid in cash. Repayment of such and larger deposits has to be either by ” A/c payee ” crossed cheque in the name of the customer or by credit to the saving bank a/c or current a/c of the customer.
Benefits of FD
- Customers can avail loans against FDs up to 80 to 90 per cent of the value of deposits. The rate of interest on the loan could be 1 to 2 per cent over the rate offered on the deposit and.
- Resident of India can open these accounts for a minimum 3 months.