Pension questions and answers

Topping up your pension

How do I set up a Direct Debit?

To set up a Direct Debit for your pension - just print off the form below and post them to us or give us a call. Once your Direct Debit is up and running you can add in one-off payments whenever you want online. You can also change your monthly payments at any time.

Top up form pension

Post the completed form to us at Freepost Virgin Money, PO Box 9522, Chelmsford, CM99 2AB. There’s no need to put a stamp on the envelope.

I’ve already got a Direct Debit, can I change the amount?

If you use Online Service, sign in where you can:

  • Increase or decrease your monthly payments - select ‘Regular payments’ and pick ‘Amend Direct Debit’.
  • Make a one-off Direct Debit payment – select the ‘Top up’ link.

Not registered for Online Service? It’s easy to register.

If you'd prefer to speak to someone about amending your Direct Debit, just call us on 03456 10 20 30.*

You can also amend your Direct Debit by printing off the form below and posting it to us at Freepost Virgin Money, PO Box 9522, Chelmsford, CM99 2AB. There’s no need to put a stamp on the envelope.

Top up form pension

Are there any limits on how much I can pay in?

There is no limit to how much you can put in but there are certain limits that may trigger a tax charge.

Each year, most people can contribute, up to the lower of:

  • 100% of their salary
  • £60,000

The rules are different if:

  • You are over 55 and have flexible accessed your pension savings
  • You don’t pay income tax
  • You earn over £200k

For customers with earnings of more than £200k, your annual allowance is calculated using a sliding scale. Search for ‘tapered annual allowance’ for more details.

Changes to your circumstances

What happens if I change jobs?

Most companies automatically enrol new staff members into their pension scheme, so it's worth checking with your new employer. If they offer a company pension and they contribute to it, you should join so you don't miss out. You can still keep your Virgin Pension and continue paying into it if you wish.

If you become self-employed or your new employer doesn't offer a pension scheme, you can still keep paying into your Virgin Pension which helps your retirement savings stay on track.

What happens if I'm off work?

If you're off work, but are still being paid (e.g. paid maternity leave or sick leave), you can continue to pay into your pension as normal. If your employer is paying into your pension, you'll need to ask them if they'll continue to contribute while you're off work.

If you're not being paid, you can still make payments into your Virgin Pension however the tax benefits are reduced - you automatically get tax relief at 20% on only the first £2,880 you pay in each tax year.

What happens if I stop work altogether?

Even if you're not earning, you can still make payments into your Virgin Pension however the tax benefits are reduced - you automatically get tax relief at 20% on only the first £2,880 you pay in each tax year.

If you don't have any money to spare, you can stop paying into your pension at any time and start saving again whenever you're ready. Just remember, stopping or reducing your payments to your pension plan may reduce the amount you get back from your pension.

What happens if I die before I access my pension savings?

When you took out your Virgin Pension, you may have named one or more people who you want to receive your pension savings when you die (your 'beneficiaries'). If you need to name or change your beneficiaries, please call us.

Your beneficiaries will not pay income tax on the amounts they inherit (unless you are over 75 when you die). They can choose to receive a lump sum, or take an income from the pension savings.

Your retirement

What are my options at retirement?

Thanks to changes in pension regulations, you’ve more choice these days about how and when you access your pension. As well as being able to take a 25% tax-free lump sum, you can:

  • Take it in smaller amounts over time (25% of each withdrawal is tax-free)
  • Turn it into a regular income through ‘income drawdown’ or take a series of cash lump sums
  • Turn it into a regular income by buying an annuity that pays a guaranteed income for life

It is important you fully understand all the options available to you so you can make sure your choice gives you the best possible retirement income.

Free and impartial guidance 

If you are over 50 and have a pension based on how much you’ve paid in (a defined contribution pension), Pension Wise from MoneyHelper is a government-backed service offering free and impartial guidance.

For online guidance or to arrange phone or face-to-face guidance visit or call 0800 138 3944.

Financial advice
If you're looking for advice, you can search for an independent financial adviser at

How and when can I access my pension savings?

Once you are 55 you can access your pension savings.

Take your pension savings as a lump sum

  • You can take your whole fund as cash in one go and get up to 25% of this tax-free.
  • Or you can make several withdrawals over time and receive 25% of each withdrawal tax-free.

Any withdrawals over the tax-free amount of 25% will be taxed at your marginal rate (your individual income tax rate, based on your total income for that tax year, including money from pensions).

Take a regular income
If you'd prefer a regular income, you can:

  • Take an income directly from your pension savings fund, which remains invested (known as ‘income drawdown’). Through income drawdown, you can take up to 25% of your pension savings immediately tax-free and the rest as taxable income at a later date.
  • Take out an annuity (where you swap your pension savings pot for a secure, taxable income, either for a fixed period or for life).

What options do Virgin Money offer?

At Virgin Money we offer you the option to take your whole fund as one lump sum, with 25% tax-free.

If you'd prefer to take a regular income from your pension savings when you retire (through income drawdown, withdrawing smaller lump sums or by arranging an annuity), you'll need to transfer your pension savings to another provider offering that option.

More Information about Glidepath

I want to buy an annuity when I retire – is Glidepath right for me?

Glidepath is designed for people who want to keep their pension money invested when they retire. Pension regulation changes mean that the option to take Income Drawdown is easier and more people are now looking for flexibility in retirement.

However, if you’re planning to buy an annuity, with your pension pot, in the next few years, Glidepath may not be right for you because 36% of your pension will remain invested for growth after your 65th birthday. This means greater ups and downs in value. If you want that annuity, it might be best to:

  • Choose your own investments for your pension savings. This would allow you to invest more of your money in a lower risk, more defensive fund between now and when you plan to buy an annuity.
  • Move your pension to another provider that offers a lifestyle strategy better suited to your retirement goals

If you’re unsure, over 50 and need advice, please speak to Pension Wise (

Otherwise, please speak with an independent financial adviser (you can find one at

Why is Glidepath set to run until 65 and not the state pension age?

Glidepath is designed around age, rather than a fixed point in time to access your benefits. It aims to work for most people, and for the range of ages when most people expect to start accessing their pension pot. For many people with private pension arrangements, this date will be different to their state pension age.

Additionally, Glidepath is designed to keep some of your pension pot invested for growth throughout retirement. It’s for people looking to draw an income from their pension pot (an option we hope to add in the future), rather than buy an annuity on a fixed date.

How do I work out my total cost for Glidepath?

Glidepath invests your money in a mix of two funds: the Virgin Money Growth Fund 3 and the Virgin Money Defensive Fund.

Your total cost will depend on how much of your money is invested in each of these funds. This will depend on your age. The table below shows an example of how this cost would be worked out. If you would like to see your fund mix for your age, our Glidepath page has the information you need.

Personal pension example




Percentage in Virgin Money Growth Fund 3


Ongoing annual charge

Total amount












Percentage in Virgin Money Defensive Fund


Ongoing annual charge

Total amount








Total charge


Like to talk to us?

Speak to one of our pension experts now.

03456 10 20 30

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