We have put together 18 things you need to know about a Junior ISA.
1. The Junior ISA is a member of the ISA family
There are six types of ISAs, for adults there are Stocks and Shares ISAs, Cash ISAs, Innovative Finance ISAs, Lifetime ISAs and Help to Buy ISAs. The 6th ISA is for a child, called the Junior ISA and sometimes referred to as a children’s ISA or child ISA.
Read our Guide to ISAs for more information.
2. When were Junior ISAs introduced?
Junior ISAs were introduced by the Government on 1st November 2011 to allow parents, family and friends to save on behalf of a child tax-efficiently.
Junior ISAs are available as both Cash ISAs and Stocks and Shares ISAs.
3. When can you open a Junior ISA?
A Junior ISA can be opened after the birth of your child. A child’s parent or legal guardian must open the Junior ISA on their behalf. This year's tax year limit is £9,000.
Any money contributed into the Junior ISA belongs to the child, which, they are not able to access this money until they turn 18, but they are able to manage the Junior ISA when they turn 16.
4. Who is eligible for a Junior ISA?
Any child under the age of 18 and a resident of the UK can have a Junior ISA. Before the age of 16, this must be opened by a parent or legal guardian, however, once they reach 16, a child is able to open their own Junior ISA savings account. If the child already has a Child Trust Fund, they are able to transfer this to a Junior ISA, however they cannot have both a Child Trust Fund and a Junior ISA.
5. Who looks after the Junior ISA?
Before the age of 16 a parent or legal guardian must look after the Junior ISA. When the child turns 16, they are then eligible to look after their own account if they wish to do so, although the money is still not accessible to them until age 18.
6. Can the child manage their own Junior ISA?
A child can manage and open their own Junior ISA once they turn 16 and become the Registered Contact for the Junior ISA/Plan.
If a Junior ISA was setup for a child before the age of 16, then they can choose to become the Registered Contact of the Junior ISA when they turn 16 and manage the Plan themselves.
7. What are the two types of Junior ISAs?
The two types of Junior ISA are a Stocks and Shares ISA and a Cash ISA. Much like standard ISAs, you can choose to open both types.
Stocks and Shares Junior ISAs have the aim of providing better growth than cash in the long-term. The main difference between Stocks and Shares Junior ISAs and Cash ISAs is that the value of investment can decrease as well as increase.
Cash Junior ISAs provide you a guaranteed return on the advertised interest rate. The investment risk in a Junior Cash ISA is that the growth of the account may not keep up with inflation leaving your child with less spending power in the future. Especially if there are periods of low interest.
Learn more about the differences between a Cash and Stocks and Shares Junior ISA >
8. Can my child have a Stocks and Shares Junior ISA and a Cash Junior ISA?
Your child can have a Stocks and Shares Junior ISA, a Cash Junior ISA, or they can choose to have both. If you choose to have both for a child, the combined amount contributed to both Junior ISAs cannot exceed the limit for the tax year. This tax year limit is £9,000.
9. What are Stakeholder and Non Stakeholder Junior ISA’s?
A Stakeholder Junior ISA is where the Government set rules on the product. This aims to make it affordable for families to save, so it has a minimum contribution of £20, charges capped at 1.5% and ensure the investment is risk-controlled.
Check out our Stakeholder Junior ISA
A Non-Stakeholder Junior ISA does not have to comply with these rules, which means they can have higher minimum contribution limits, for example £500 for a single payment – and there may even be less flexible payment options, but remember this is all dependant on the provider. They also do not have to follow a risk-controlled approach to investing nor are the charges capped.
10. What is the Junior ISA limit?
£9,000 is the current Junior ISA limit for this tax year.
11. Does the Junior ISA limit increase?
The Junior ISA limit is planned to increase with the Consumer Price Index each tax year. Historically we have seen increases to the limit since the 2013/14 tax year up until the most recent year where the limit more than doubled from £4,368 in the 2019/2020 tax year, to £9,000 in the 2020/21 tax year.
12. Who can contribute to a Junior ISA?
Anyone can contribute to a Junior ISA, including grandparents, as long as you do not exceed the £9,000 tax year limit, whether this is in a Stocks and Shares Junior ISA or a Cash Junior ISA or both. If you know they want to make a difference to a child’s future, learn how grandparents can contribute to a Junior ISA >
13. Can any encashments (withdrawals) be made from a Junior ISA?
Only the child may encash (withdraw) money from a Junior ISA, however, they may only do this when they reach age 18.
14. How do I add money to a Junior ISA?
You can make payments into a Junior ISA on a monthly basis by Direct Debit, or make single contributions by debit card, cheque or directly from your bank. Family and friends can make contributions too.
Find out more about contributing to a child’s Plan.
15. What if my child already has a Junior ISA?
If you already have a Stocks & Shares Junior ISA, you may be able to open a Junior Cash ISA, or, if you have a Junior Cash ISA, you may still be able to open a Stocks & Shares Junior ISA so long as the current tax year limit of £9,000 has not been used.
This can be done by a parent or guardian of the child, or by the child themselves when they reach age 16.
16. Transferring from a Child Trust Fund to a Junior ISA
Child Trust Funds were given to children born between 1st September 2002 and 2nd January 2011. In 2015 the Government allowed a Child Trust Fund to be transferred to a Junior ISA if the Registered Contact wished to do this.
Read our article ‘What is the difference between a Child Trust Fund and a Junior ISA?’ for more information.
You can also transfer your child’s CTF to a Forester Life Junior ISA.
17. Transferring from a Junior ISA provider to another
You are able to transfer your Junior ISA to another provider.
Regardless of if you have a Stocks & Shares Junior ISA or Junior Cash ISA, you can move money between these two as well as move either to another provider. Moving to another provider does not count as opening a new Junior ISA.
You can also transfer your child’s Junior ISA to Forester Life.
18. What happens when a Junior ISA matures?
When the Planholder, the child entitled to the money, turns 18 the Junior ISA will automatically roll over into an Adult ISA, where the Planholder can access the money that has been saved by their parents, guardians, family members and friends. They can then choose what do to with the money, where this is to continue to save towards their future, make encashments and add a Lifetime ISA to their Plan.
Find out more about what happens to the Junior ISA on their 18th birthday >