Lifetime ISA
How Tos

How to Open a Lifetime ISA Account

A lifetime ISA (LISA) is a special type of savings account designed to help you save for your first home or retirement. The UK government offers a 25% bonus on contributions made to a LISA, up to a maximum of £1,000 per year. If you’re considering opening a lifetime ISA, this guide will walk you through the process step by step.

How to Open a Lifetime ISA Account

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

To open and contribute to a Lifetime ISA, you must:

  • Be aged between 18 and 39
  • Be a UK resident
  • Have a valid National Insurance number

If you meet these criteria, you can proceed with opening a LISA. Keep in mind that you can only contribute to a LISA until you turn 50, and funds can only be withdrawn penalty-free for a first home purchase or after you turn 60.

Step 2: Choose a LISA Provider

Several financial institutions offer Lifetime ISAs, including banks, building societies, and investment platforms. Some popular LISA providers include:

  • AJ Bell
  • Hargreaves Lansdown
  • Moneybox
  • Nutmeg
  • Skipton Building Society

When choosing a LISA provider, consider factors such as:

  • Interest rates (for cash LISAs)
  • Investment options and fees (for stocks and shares LISAs)
  • Minimum and maximum contribution limits
  • Ease of use and online/mobile access
  • Customer support and service

Compare different providers and read reviews to find the best LISA for your needs.

Step 3: Decide Between a Cash LISA and a Stocks and Shares LISA

There are two main types of Lifetime ISAs: cash LISAs and stocks and shares LISAs. Cash LISAs work like traditional savings accounts, with interest paid on your contributions. Stocks and shares LISAs invest your money in financial markets, with the potential for higher returns but also greater risk.

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Consider your risk tolerance, investment knowledge, and time horizon when deciding between a cash LISA and a stocks and shares LISA. If you’re saving for a short-term goal like a home purchase, a cash LISA may be more appropriate. If you’re saving for retirement and have a longer time horizon, a stocks and shares LISA could offer better growth potential.

Step 4: Apply for Your Chosen LISA

Once you’ve selected a LISA provider and typed it, you can apply for your account. Most providers allow you to apply online, although some may require a paper application or an in-person visit.

To apply, you’ll typically need to provide:

  • Personal details (name, address, date of birth, National Insurance number)
  • Contact information (email address, phone number)
  • Employment details and income information
  • Proof of identity and address (e.g., passport, driving license, utility bills)

Follow the provider’s instructions to complete the application process, which may include setting up online banking or agreeing to the account’s terms and conditions.

Step 5: Make Your First Contribution

After your Lifetime ISA is opened, you can make your first contribution. The minimum and maximum contribution amounts may vary by provider, but you can contribute up to £4,000 per tax year. Remember that the government will add a 25% bonus on top of your contributions, up to a maximum of £1,000 per year.

You can make contributions to your LISA by:

  • Setting up a regular payment from your bank account
  • Making a one-off payment from your bank account or debit card
  • Transferring funds from another ISA (subject to transfer rules and limitations)

Keep track of your contributions and the government bonus to ensure you’re maximizing your LISA benefits.

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Step 6: Monitor and Manage Your LISA

Once your Lifetime ISA is up and running, it’s important to monitor and manage your account regularly. This includes:

  • Checking your balance and transaction history
  • Reviewing your investment performance (for stocks and shares LISAs)
  • Making additional contributions as your budget allows
  • Updating your contact and personal details as needed
  • Planning for withdrawals (for a first home purchase or retirement)

Remember that withdrawing funds from your LISA for any reason other than a first home purchase or after age 60 will incur a 25% penalty, effectively erasing the government bonus and some of your own contributions.


Opening a Lifetime ISA is a great way to save for your first home or retirement, with the added benefit of a generous government bonus. By following these steps and choosing the right provider and type of LISA for your needs, you can make the most of this valuable savings opportunity.

Remember to contribute regularly, monitor your account, and stay focused on your long-term savings goals. With a Lifetime ISA, you can build a brighter financial future and achieve your dreams of homeownership or a comfortable retirement.

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