Junior ISA Saving Accounts

Are you thinking about opening a Junior ISA account for your child? Here's what you need to know.

The summary

  • Junior ISAs operate in the same way as regular ISAs for adults
  • They offer tax free saving vehicle for your children (from personal tax)
  • The child needs to be under 18 and live in the UK
  • Children can save up to £4,260 a year (2018/19)
  • Anyone can contribute up to the annual limit (grandparents, uncles etc)
  • Like regular ISAs, JISAs can now be split between CASH ISA and SHARE ISA
  • However a child can only have 1 of each at any time
  • The money can’t be touched until they’re 18
  • At 18 it is rolled over into an adult ISA, however it is their money to do with as they wish
  • 16-18 years olds can open a cash NISA and a JISA in the same year (up to a total value of £19,000


The Junior ISA (JISA) is a long term, tax efficient savings or investment product to encourage parents to save for their child’s future. 

ISA’s were introduced in 1999 as a replacement for the Personal Equity Plan (PEP) and Tax Exempt Special Savings Accounts (TESSA). The Junior ISA was launched in November 2011 with an initial annual limit of £3,600. The Junior ISA replaced the Childrens Tust Fund (CTF), which was scrapped on 3 January 2011.   


1. Cash ISA

The Cash ISA is very similar to an ordinary bank account, except that there is no tax on any interest income generated and the money is not accessible until the child turns 18.

Junior Cash ISAs are available at many banks and building societies. We recommend looking at one of the comparison sites such as thisismoney.co.uk to compare rates.

2. Stocks and Shares ISA

The Stock ISA allows you to invest in what are termed “Qualified Investments”. These are essentially share or fund dealing accounts with a legal wrapper to protect all income and capital gains from being taxed. Allowable investments include:

  • Cash
  • UCITS Funds
  • investment Trusts
  • Stock Market Shares
  • Public Debt Securities
  • Other qualifying investments such as Core Capital Deferred Shares and Insurance Policies

Stocks and Shares JISA are offered by a number of stockbrokers and insurance companies. We draw your attention to our section on Charges to make sure you are aware of all the costs. Further different providers will have different offerings, so again it pays to do some homework in determining which is best suited.


There are no government related fees for the JISA product.

Cash JISA will normally have no fees attached to them. The provider will make their money from the difference between where they can invest the money and the rate that they pay JISA holders.

Stocks and Shares JISA do attract account fees and dealing fees. It is important to shop around for the best deals and it is important to consider all the fees, which include:

  • Annual Management Charges of the JISA provider
  • Transaction Fees
  • Annual reregistering of the ISA may attract additional fees
  • Annual Management Charges of the fund (if investing in a fund)
  • Entry and Exit Charges of the fund (if investing in a fund)

All of these can considerably eat into the performance of a stocks and share JISA, so it is important to understand everything that will or can be charged. Further if you are unsatisfied with the charges, many providers will charge an additional amount for transferring to another provider. 


The benefit of the ISA and JISA is that it is protected from taxation of income and capital gains taxes. They are classified as “Tax efficient” and not “Tax Free”  as some investment may be taxed at the fund level.

See HMRC Guidance for more information. 

Historic Allowances

Junior Individual Savings Accounts

CTF Transfer

Until recently, CTF holders were stuck and unable to switch to Junior ISAs. Fortunately the government has made a decision and from April 2015, holders of CTF can transfer their funds into a JISA account. The transfer will operate in the same way as moving from one ISA provider to another.

 See here for more detail.

Account Closure

Unlike an adult ISA, the JISA cannot be closed upon request. Instead the holder must wait until the 18th birthday at which point it will typically transfer into an adult ISA, unless the money is withdrawn.

Only in exceptional circumstances can a JISA be accessed such as a terminal illness or death.

Further Information

Check out the governments website on Junior ISAs

Last updated: August 2018

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