Help to Save

Empowering people on low incomes to develop a savings habit

Help to Save

Help to Save is a multiple award-winning government-backed UK-wide savings scheme designed to empower working people on low incomes to build their savings and encourage an ongoing savings habit. It is the easy, safe and secure way for Working Tax Credit and Universal Credit customers to receive government support to start saving.

The scheme is available to an eligible population of approximately 3.5 million people and customers can save between £1 and £50 a month in their Help to Save account and get a bonus of up to 50p for every £1 put in. At the end of July 2020 more than 222,000 people had opened accounts with Help to Save and deposited over £85 million.

NS&I Government Payment Services (NS&I GPS) work with HMRC, HMT and DWP to deliver the scheme.

“We have a close collaborative relationship with the NS&I GPS Help to Save team, this is a really positive example of cross-departmental programme delivery. Excellent customer experience is our priority and we have worked together to deliver high levels of customer satisfaction.”

Victor PalomboDigital Service Manager, HMRC

The challenge

  • Wide range and complexity
  • Early policy engagement
  • Real time eligibility verification
  • Digital first service design


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The results

The Help to Save scheme has achieved its key objectives:

Seamless customer experience

NS&I GPS worked collaboratively with HMRC, HMT and DWP to develop the service that leveraged new and existing IT systems and data. Diverse department teams worked across government to ensure the end-to-end service was successfully designed, developed and tested as one programme to enable a seamless customer experience.

Policy objectives delivered on time and budget

The Help to Save service was a significant achievement for HMRC and HMT supporting their objective to effectively deliver government policy. This was achieved through service innovation, high levels of customer satisfaction, delivered on time and within budget.

Cost savings

The overall initial cost to the taxpayer of delivering the Help to Save scheme has been reduced by 23%. Cost savings have been achieved through ongoing effective collaboration.

Encourages an ongoing savings habit

Eligible applicants can save up to £50 a month through Help to Save and receive a maximum bonus of £600 after two years. Savers can continue Help to Save for a further two years and earn up to another £600 i.e. save up to £2,400 and get bonuses worth up to £1,200 (tax-free). Withdrawals can be made at any time without penalty.

Smartphone App supports developing a savings habit

Developed as digital first service, Help to Save has been integrated with HMRC’s Personal Tax Account app through an API link between NS&I GPS and HMRC IT systems. Customers can check their account balance and transactions on the app with their smart phone. The result is more regular checking of their account which supports the policy objective of encouraging a savings habit.

Delivering government strategy

The innovative Help to Save scheme helps government implement its commitments and deliver high quality services for the public. It supports the civil service strategy ‘A brilliant civil service’; and also NS&I’s ‘Inspire & Invest’ strategy, which aims to ‘Provide services to government’ and ‘Help government deliver policy objectives’.

Highly collaborative approach across all four organisations

A connected solution

We successfully connected IT systems and processes across multiple government departments to deliver an enhanced user experience for customers using secure Application Programme Interfaces (APIs). Individuals can apply for Help to Save online at GOV.UK

Real time eligibility checks

Once eligibility is confirmed via real time eligibility checks against multiple government databases through APIs in the HMRC and DWP IT systems; a secure API request is made to the NS&I GPS IT systems to automatically create the Help to Save account. NS&I GPS provide the payment account technology services.

Successful ‘test and learn’ strategy

By successfully working together, we adopted an agile ‘test and learn’ strategy with a carefully managed, insight driven, introduction to the target market. The Help to Save programme demonstrated a strong collaborative approach across departments and is a positive example of programme delivery.

Seamless customer journey

We worked with our CX lab and conducted user testing to design a seamless customer journey and create a service which delivers the objective of helping people on low incomes develop a savings habit.

Customer focussed service

Excellent customer experience has been a priority and we have worked together across four government departments to enable Help to Save to deliver high levels of customer satisfaction.

Accessible service for all

The Help to Save scheme was required to deliver for customers a ‘Simple to understand and access’ service, which is ‘Accessible: regardless of UK location or personal circumstances’.