Money Advice Service

National Savings and Investments (NS&I) Children’s Bonds used to allow you to invest a lump sum on behalf of a child under 16. However, as of 30 September 2017 these saving bonds are no longer available. This guide explains how Children’s Bonds worked, what to do if you have one maturing soon and what the alternatives are.

How did Children’s Bonds work?

  • There was no tax to pay on the interest.
  • These were five-year bonds giving a fixed interest payment every year. (Children’s Bonds were previously known as Children’s Bonus Bonds which had an annual fixed rate of interest plus a fixed and guaranteed bonus payment if you held the bond for the full five years. There is no longer a bonus payment, hence the name change).
  • Interest payments were fixed. So when you bought the bonds, you’d know in advance exactly how much they would grow during the term.
  • Only parents, guardians and (great) grandparents could buy these bonds for anyone under 16. A parent or guardian had control until the child turned 16 (or the first five-year anniversary after the child’s 16th birthday).
  • You could invest between £25 and £3,000 per bond issue in £25 units, per child.
  • When the five-year term was up, you could either cash in or reinvest the bonds for another five years at a new interest rate. You could keep reinvesting until the child turns 16. The bonds finally mature when they reach the first five-year anniversary on or after the child’s 16th birthday. After that, the bonds stop earning interest.
  • The penalty for cashing in early is equivalent to 90 days’ interest on the amount cashed in.

What are my options if I have a bond which is due to mature soon?

The parent or guardian who looks after the bond can still renew existing bonds until the child reaches the age of 16. You have three options for your existing bonds when they mature:

  • Renew the bond, reinvesting the value of the bond plus the interest.
  • Cash in part of the bond, leaving a part of it to be reinvested.
  • Cash in all the bond.

Bonds are renewed and reinvested automatically unless you tell the NS&I otherwise.

Need to know

Withdrawing money from a bond at a time other than at renewal or maturity means you’ll get charged a penalty equivalent to 90 days’ interest.

This means you need to decide if you want to cash in all or part of the bond before the maturity date of the bond. Once the bond has been renewed there’s a penalty for withdrawing that’s currently the equivalent of 90 days’ interest.

Remember the interest rate could be higher or lower than the interest rate on your existing bond if you decide to renew.
Visit the NS&I website for more information on what to do if you have maturing bond.

If you’d like to know more about the options available for saving for children, visit our page on Saving for children.

If things go wrong

If you’re unhappy with the service you receive or you want to make a complaint about a bond you’ve bought you can find out more on the NS&I website.

You can also read our guide Sort out a money problem, make a complaint or get compensation.

Not for you?

Read our guide on Children’s savings options

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.