Fixed deposits are loan arrangements where a specific amount of funds is placed on deposit under the name of the account holder. The money placed on deposit earns a fixed rate of interest, according to the terms and conditions that govern the account. The actual amount of the fixed rate can be influenced by such factors at the type of currency involved in the deposit, the duration set in place for the deposit, and the location where the deposit is made.
The most unusual characteristic of a fixed deposit is that the funds cannot be withdrawn for a specified period of time. In most cases, fixed deposits carry a duration of five years. During that time, the money remains in the account and cannot be withdrawn for any reason. Individuals, corporate entities, and even non-profit organizations that wish to set aside funds and limit their access to the funds for a period of time often find that fixed deposits are a simple way to accomplish this goal. As an added benefit, the monies in the account will earn a fixed rate of interest regardless of any fluctuations in interest rates that apply to other types of accounts.
However, both these benefits can also turn into disadvantages under certain circumstances. Because the money cannot be withdrawn until the duration is complete, the funds cannot be used even in emergency situations. Changes in the going interest rate may also rise to a point above and beyond the interest rate applied to existing deposits. This means account holders are actually earning less interest with fixed deposits than with other types of loans and accounts.
While the interest rate on fixed deposits cannot be changed, there is sometimes a way to work around the issue of obtaining use of funds in an emergency situation. At times, the lending institution where the fixed deposit is placed may be willing to extend a separate loan to the account holder, using the fixed account as collateral. While not ideal, this can at least make it possible to deal with the current financial crunch.
Fixed deposits are a credible way to make a return on investment that is somewhat higher than a standard savings account. The use of fixed deposits can also be helpful when working with various types of currency. By establishing what is known as a Foreign Currency Fixed Deposit or FCFD, it is possible to choose the type of currency involved in the deposit and lock in a rate of interest. If the choice of currency is a good one, this means the investor can enjoy a healthy fixed deposit currency rate for the duration of the deposit and earn more than with a standard fixed deposit strategy. However, going with an FCFD does contain a slightly higher amount of risk, since the funds deposited must be converted to the currency of choice and then converted back when the deposit is fulfilled. If the currency did not fare well in the interim, there is some chance of obtaining a loss, due to the changes in the rate of exchange from the time the fixed deposit was activated until the time the deposit is considered complete.