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Does it cost money to open a savings account?

Jodie Humphries avatar
Jodie Humphries
- 3 min read
Does it cost money to open a savings account?

Opening a savings account is a fairly standard first step towards learning to manage your money and understanding how to create a growing fund. For most people, this exercise involves comparing the interest rates on savings accounts offered by different institutions and going with one offering the most beneficial rate.  

However, it’s also crucial that you compare the different kinds of fees charged by the institution, as these could be significant enough to counteract any savings growth in the form of interest.

What are the various costs associated with a savings account?

Some of the most common savings account fees include:

  • Monthly account-keeping fees
  • Currency conversion fees
  • ATM withdrawal fees
  • Overdraft fees

 You may not need to pay any fee when you sign up for a savings account with a bank or another financial institution, but you could be charged a monthly account-keeping fee. Nowadays these are relatively rare, so if a provider advertises it charges this fee, consider comparing fee-free options. Some institutions may waive this fee as part of a promotion or if you fulfil certain conditions. 

 For instance, a bank may offer you a monthly account fee waiver if you are a student under 25 years of age, perhaps to incentivise your plan to save with a student bank account. On the other hand, some banks might not charge you the account fee if you make a large enough deposit and maintain the account balance above a certain threshold. 

Depending on the kind of savings account you open, you may be charged overseas spending fees, such as currency conversion fees or foreign transaction fees. This isn’t just limited to your next holiday, but may be charged when you shop on an overseas-based website. 

 Further, if you withdraw money from an ATM owned by another bank, you may have to pay charges levied by the ATM operator. In some cases, your bank may also charge for ATM withdrawals if your savings account product only offers a limited number of withdrawals.  

You could also face penalties if you overdraw from an account - also called an overdraft fee -  if it does not offer overdraft protection. You may also be stung with a fee if a direct debit transaction is declined due to lack of funds.

How do I find a savings account that doesn’t cost me anything?

If ditching bank fees is a priority for you, it’s worth comparing your savings accounts options to find one that charges the least in terms of account fees. You can do so using helpful comparison tools, like RateCity’s comparison tables.  

RateCity’s savings account comparison tables may help you to compare apples with apples, as you can view a range of savings accounts side by side, based on key factors like maximum interest rate and base ongoing rate. When you find an account you like, you’ll then be able to click on the product to view which fees the provider may charge, if any. If they do not charge any ongoing account fees, we will mark this down as a benefit.  

You may need to look up the institution’s product disclosure statement to find a full list of fees associated with their savings account. Checking different provider’s schedules of fees can also tell you if you can get a higher interest rate if you agree to certain conditions. More significantly, you could learn about the institution’s policies regarding, for instance, whether they refund any fees charged if the transaction doesn’t succeed.

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Product database updated 22 Jun, 2024

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Alex Ritchie before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.