FD Vs Mutual Funds

Fixed deposits (FDs) and mutual funds are common investment options with different risk and reward profiles. FDs, offered by banks, provide a fixed interest rate for a set period. They are considered low-risk with guaranteed returns on your initial investment.

Mutual funds, on the other hand, pool money from multiple investors and invest it in a variety of assets like stocks, bonds, or commodities. The returns in mutual funds fluctuate based on how these investments perform in the market. The direct link to the market makes them riskier but also offers the potential for higher returns compared to FDs. Choosing between FDs and mutual funds depends on your investment goals and risk tolerance.

Difference Between FD & Mutual Funds

Fixed deposits, offered by banks and financial institutions, provide a secure and predictable avenue for investors to earn interest on their deposited funds over a predetermined period. On the other hand, mutual funds are collective investment schemes that pool money from multiple investors and invest in a diversified portfolio of securities, such as stocks, bonds, and other assets.

Refer to the table below to find the differences between the popular investment options: FDs vs. mutual Funds.

Feature Fixed Deposit (FDs) Mutual Funds
Type of Investment Debt Investment Portfolio of Various Assets
Returns Fixed Interest Rate Market-Linked (Potential for Higher Returns & Losses)
Risk Low Risk Subject to Market Risk
Investment Provider Banks & NBFCs Asset Management Companies (AMCs)
Liquidity Low Liquidity (Early Withdrawal Penalty may apply) Varies by Mutual Fund Type

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Fixed Deposit

A Fixed Deposit (FD) is a type of investment account offered by banks and similar financial institutions. FDs have a locked-in period, typically ranging from 7 days to 10 years. The deposit cannot be withdrawn before maturity without incurring a penalty.

Interest on fixed deposits is calculated based on the principal amount, rate of interest, and tenure. The interest can be paid at maturity or periodically (monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or annually), depending on the scheme chosen. The interest earned on fixed deposits is eligible for tax deductions or exemptions up to a certain limit, making them a tax-efficient investment option.

Fixed deposits are popular among investors who prioritize safety, stable returns, and have a low-risk appetite. They are often used for short-term or medium-term investment goals, such as saving for a down payment, education fees, or retirement planning.

Key Features of Fixed Deposit

The table below provides a quick overview of the key features associated with Fixed Deposits (FDs). It shows the benefits and limitations of FDs to help you decide if they align with your investment goals.

Feature Typical Range Purpose
Minimum Deposit ₹1,000 - ₹25,000 Varies significantly by bank.
Tenure Options 7 days - 10 years May differ based on bank and specific FD scheme.
Interest Rates 2.50% to 9.00% p.a This range applies to tenures ranging from 7 days to 10 years
Early Withdrawal Penalty 0.5% - 2.0% Penalty may increase for shorter withdrawals before maturity.
Tax Implications TDS - Typically 10% Only if your total interest income for the financial year exceeds Rs. 40,000.

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Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are essentially a pooled investment vehicle that allows you to participate in a professionally managed basket of assets like stocks, bonds, or a combination of both. Mutual funds are usually managed by experienced fund managers. They make decisions regarding the investments on behalf of the investors. The performance of a mutual fund is measured by its Net Asset Value (NAV), which represents the total value of the fund's assets minus its liabilities, divided by the number of outstanding shares.

Mutual funds offer investors the benefits of professional management, diversification, and convenience, as they can invest in a broad range of securities with a relatively small initial investment.

Key Features of Mutual Funds

The table presented below summarizes the main characteristics of Mutual Funds. It gives you an overview of how Mutual Funds work when you are considering one for your investment goals.

Feature Typical Range Purpose
Minimum Investment ₹500 - ₹5,000 Can vary significantly by fund house and scheme.
Investment Frequency Lump sum or SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) SIP allows periodic investments (monthly, quarterly) with lower minimums (₹100+).
Expense Ratio 0.5% - 2.0% Lower ratio indicates lower fees.
Investment Returns 5%-15% But can vary significantly
Load Fees Typically a percentage of your investment Upfront sales charges that can apply to certain mutual funds

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Which is Better: FD or Mutual Funds

The choice between fixed deposits and mutual funds depends on an individual's investment objectives, risk tolerance, and financial circumstances. Investors seeking stability and capital preservation may prefer FDs, while those aiming for potentially higher returns and willing to take on moderate to higher risks may find mutual funds more suitable.

Tax Saving Schemes in FD vs Mutual Funds

Tax-saving FDs, come with a lock-in period of 5 years and offer tax deductions on the invested amount under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act.

Equity Linked Saving Schemes (ELSS) are a type of mutual fund that qualifies for a tax deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. You can deduct up to ₹1.5 lakh of your investment in ELSS funds from your taxable income each year.

Who Should Invest in FDs?

Fixed Deposits (FDs) are a good investment option for several types of investors, but here are some key profiles that particularly benefit.

  • Risk-averse investors seeking capital preservation.
  • Retirees and senior citizens who require a steady income.
  • Individuals with short-term goals (1-5 years).
  • Individuals with surplus funds that are not needed immediately.
  • Conservative investors who prioritize safety over higher returns may find FDs suitable.
  • Individuals looking for guaranteed returns.

Note: FD interest rates may not always keep pace with inflation, so returns may be eroded over time. Other investment options that offer potentially higher returns may come with greater risk.

Who Should Invest in Mutual Funds?

Here are the key categories of people who should consider investing in mutual funds:

  • Long-term investors (5+ years horizon).
  • Those seeking portfolio diversification.
  • Investors with limited time/expertise.
  • Those with specific goals (growth, income, etc.).
  • Risk-takers looking for higher potential returns.
  • Salaried individuals, working professionals.
  • Investors looking to benefit from rupee-cost averaging via SIPs.

Note: Mutual fund investments are subject to market risks, and past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future returns. Investors should carefully evaluate their investment objectives, risk tolerance, and investment horizon before investing in mutual funds.

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Frequently Asked Questions

FDs are safer and offer guaranteed returns, but may not beat inflation. Mutual funds offer potentially higher returns but carry market risk. The choice depends on your risk tolerance and investment goals.

Fixed deposits (FDs) offer low returns compared to other investments and lock your money in for a set period. You can't access your money easily and may miss out on better interest rates if they go up.

The best FD for you depends on your needs. If you need access to your money occasionally, consider a Flexi FD. If you want a steady stream of income, choose a regular income FD.

Fixed deposits (FDs) insured by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are considered the safest in India. This deposit insurance covers up to Rs 5 lakh per bank account in case of a bank failure.

Yes, you can open a fixed deposit (FD) for 3 months. This is considered a short-term FD and many banks offer terms ranging from 7 days to 12 months.

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