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RSA Retail Bonds: attractive interest rates for monthly investments

Apr 5, 2022

Last month National Treasury announced a welcome new addition to its range of RSA Retail Bonds.

RSA Retail Bonds: attractive interest rates for monthly investmentsRSA Retail Bonds are interest-linked investment products issued by National Treasury that provide attractive, above-market interest rates for those who want to save for up to ten years.

The Fixed Rate Retail Savings Bond series consists of bonds with 2-year, 3-year and 5-year terms. Fixed Rate Retail Savings Bonds earn a market-related fixed interest rate, which is priced off the current government bond yield curve, and not the repo rate.

Previously, investors under the age of 60 could only have the full capital and interest paid out on maturity, whereas individuals 60 and older could receive their interest monthly. This changed on 1 February this year, so that now, every investor, regardless of their age, can opt to receive their interest monthly if they prefer.

Currently, the rate for a 2-year fixed deposit is 8%, 3-year RSA Retail Bonds are paying 8.75% and investors who are prepared to lock their money away for five years can earn 10%.

Until now, investors had to invest a minimum of R1 000 and there was no option to add to the existing investment. Each new deposit required opening a new account.

However, as from 1 April 2022, investors can select the RSA Retail Savings Top Up Bond and start saving from as little as R500 with the option to top up their investment as often as they like with at least R100 at any time over the investment term.

RSA Retail Bonds offer a re-start option

Unlike traditional bank fixed deposits, RSA Retail Bonds offer a re-start option which allows you to restart your investment after 12 months if rates have changed.

For example, if you are invested in the 5-year retail bond and the rate increases from 10% to 10.25%, once you have been invested for 12 months, you can select to restart your investment at the higher rate.

This is an attractive option for people who are worried that if they fix their deposit for a longer period they may miss out on higher rates, especially in an environment of rising interest rates.

Inflation Linked Bonds: 3.5% – 4.5% above inflation

Unlike the RSA Fixed Rate bond, total returns from inflation linked bonds are linked to inflation. This ensures that even if inflation rates increase, you will still receive a net real return.

The Inflation Linked Retail Savings Bond series consists of bonds with either a 3-year, 5-year or 10-year maturity. Capital amounts invested in Inflation Linked Retail Savings Bonds are inflation adjusted over the term, and a floating interest rate is payable every six months on the interest payment dates.

Currently the rates are 3.5% for a 3-year bond and 3.75% for the 5-year bond and 4.5% for the 10-year bond. That means you are guaranteed a real return after inflation.

For example, if you invested R100 000 over five years and inflation was 5%, your capital amount would be adjusted to R105 000 over the year in addition to the interest earned. Interest is paid on the adjusted capital, so 3.75% would then be paid on the new capital amount of R105 000 which is R3 937. The capital adjustments are made twice a year, in May and November.

This product is specifically aimed at individuals who want to receive an income, and payments are made to investors on the semi-annual payment dates, which are 31 May and 30 November of each fiscal year.

Please note the update to the article: Tax shall be paid in the tax year, as and when interest is payable, to the capital investment.
Capital gains tax is not applicable to the Inflation Linked RSA Retail Savings Bonds. For the Inflation Linked Bonds, all interest earned, (the Capital
adjustment and interest payable), will be treated as normal interest for South African tax purposes.

Who can invest in RSA Retail Bonds?

Any individual with a valid South African ID number and a bank account within South Africa is eligible to invest in RSA Retail Bonds.

Informal groups, such as social clubs and stokvels, who operate on monthly pooled savings, are eligible to invest if they provide their constitution and proof of banking details in the name of the informal group.

More information regarding RSA Retail Bonds may be obtained from queries@rsaretailbonds.gov.za or on the helpline 012 315 5888.

This article first appeared in City Press.

16 Comments

  1. please advise if the interest rate of 10% is still applicable on a 5 year term invest, if you want to withdraw your interest either monthly or bi-annually

    Reply
  2. How safe are retail bond

    Reply
    • As safe as government bonds – a lot would have to go wrong..

      Reply
  3. Hi Maya. If I were to invest for 5 years and want to take interest payment either monthly or quarterly can I choose the % of the interest or I have to take everything. My understanding in the past was that on has no choice but to take all the interest. If it is so then my investment is almost eaten away by inflation. I will be depriving myself of compound interest. Is this right?

    Reply
    • based on what you want to do, the inflation-linked bond would be the better option. The capital grows by inflation and then you only draw down the real interest rate eg: on a 5 year bond that would be 3%.

      Reply
  4. What about negative inflation?

    If you look at the CPI rate on May 2022, it is 103.1, but the previous rate on Nov 2021 is 123.5
    How does that work? Say I invested R100 000 in May 22, then 6 months later, the calculation would be. 103.1/123.5 * 100 000 = R83482
    So my interest is R83482 x 2.75%/2 = R1148.
    where is my inflationary guaranteed growth?

    Reply
    • Where did you get the rates from? Sounds very strange the Nov 2021 rate would be 123.5

      Reply
  5. Hi Maya. For the inflation linked bonds, are you 100% sure that the growth portion is treated as capital gain. From what I understand both the growth and interest paid must be treated as interest received for tax purposed. Tom

    Reply
    • Thank you for the correction, you are quite correct. Article has been updated

      Reply
  6. I love the inflation linked option. I was totally unaware that RSA bonds actually makes your capital grow AND pay you interest and you pay less tax. This is terrific

    Reply
  7. This is very interesting. We hear of governments in some African countries simply taking money from peoples accounts. What are the guarantees regarding bonds? I’m 77 and would be destitute if I lost an investment

    Reply
    • We do have a constitution and the banks will adhere to that. The only time government can take money from your account other than on a court order (like money laundering charges etc) is if you owe SARS money.

      Reply
      • In terms of the actual RSA Retail Bond – this would be as safe as government bonds which are issued to institutions both locally and abroad.

        Reply
  8. Advice about retail bonds because have a tax free investment with FNB and nothing from there, please advice.

    Reply
    • The RSA Retail Bond website has all the information – but they do not off a tax-free savings account at this stage

      Reply

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Maya Fisher-French author of Money Questions Answered

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