The scheme allows a buyer to save up to £1,200 in the first month and £200 per month thereafter, to a maximum of £12,000. The government will top this sum up by 25%, or £50 to every £200, to a maximum of £3,000 when a person buys their first home.
NatWest will not offer products with ‘introductory bonus rates’, meaning that existing savers will not be given lower rates than new savings customers.
Research conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found new accounts generate higher interest rates than long-term accounts.
The regulator plans to publish information on the lowest interest rates paid by a large number of firms on easy access cash savings accounts and easy access cash ISAs, by the end of the year.
Angela Byrne, head of savings at NatWest, said: “We are very aware of the strains young people in particular put themselves under to save for their first home. With eight out of 10 our customers relying on help from their parents this scheme couldn’t be timelier.
“We also hope it will get our customers in the important habit of saving as research has shown that one in three British people have no savings at all.”
In July, the Chancellor said the introduction of the scheme was a way to tackle two of the biggest challenges facing first-time buyers; the low interest rates when building up for savings, and the high deposits required by the banks.
He also announced several banks and building societies, including Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, Santander and Virgin Money have signed up to offer the Help to Buy: ISA.