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Learn more about savings accounts

If you’re a couple looking to combine your savings, business partners wanting to pool your resources, or even flatmates chipping in to make a major purchase, a joint savings account may be just what you need. Essentially functioning as a standard savings account that two or more people can access, a joint savings account can help teams or groups of people to combine and grow their wealth together.

What types of joint savings accounts are there?

There are two main types of joint savings accounts:

All parties must sign

The first type of joint savings account requires all parties named on the account to sign their approval before making transactions.

While this can make accessing the savings less convenient, the extra security it provides can be helpful for business relationships and other partnerships where not everybody knows each other well.

Plus, because these savings accounts require additional communication between account holders, they can help encourage all parties to stay on track towards reaching their shared financial goal.

Any party can sign

The other type of joint savings account is more flexible, allowing any of the parties signed to the account free rein to make deposits or withdrawals as they see fit.

Because these types of accounts rely greatly on all parties sharing a strong level of trust, they tend to be more suited to spouses, siblings, and other family members.

The greatest risk involved with these joint savings accounts is that one party could withdraw money independently of the other, irresponsibly or even maliciously. Make sure you’re confident that you’re opening your joint savings account with someone trustworthy!

How to compare joint savings accounts

Once you’ve worked out who you’re opening a joint savings account with, and how you plan to use the account, it’s time to start comparing the available options.

One of the first comparisons to make is to look at the base interest rates of different joint savings accounts. This rate is used to determine the minimum interest you will earn on your combined savings per month, regardless of how you use the account.

The maximum interest rate shows each savings account’s full interest-earning potential, but it’s important to remember that you may not always be able to benefit from these higher interest rates.

Some savings accounts use high introductory interest rates to attract new customers before reverting to the base rate after a pre-set number of months. Other accounts may let you benefit from higher bonus interest rates indefinitely, as long as you continue to fulfil certain criteria, such as making regular deposits, or minimising your withdrawals.

It’s also important to consider whether you’ll be charged fees for your joint savings account, and whether the interest you expect to earn on your savings will ultimately make these fees worthwhile.

It’s always important to compare several joint savings account options before making your final decision, as the best account for one household may not be the best option for your unique budget. Consider whether the features and benefits of each joint savings account will help you all meet your shared financial goals, and if you’re not certain, consult a qualified financial adviser.

Frequently asked questions

Can you have a joint savings account?

Yes. Joint savings accounts can be useful for two or more people wanting to combine their savings to meet shared financial goals, including spouses, flatmates and business partners.

Some joint savings accounts require all parties to sign before they can access the money. While less convenient, this extra security can help encourage all parties to meet their shared financial goals.

Other joint savings accounts allow any of the account holders to access the money. These accounts can be convenient for financially responsible couples that trust one another implicitly. 

How to make money with a savings account?

Savings accounts make you money by earning interest on your savings. The more money you deposit, the longer you leave it in the account, and the higher the account’s interest rate, the more interest you’ll be paid by the bank or financial institution, and the more your wealth will grow.

To make sure your savings account makes money and doesn’t lose money, it’s important to maintain a large enough minimum balance that the annual interest earned exceeds any annual fees charged on the account.

How to open a savings account for my child?

Some banks and financial institutions allow parents to open a bank account for their child as soon as it is born, and start depositing funds to go towards the child’s future.

Children’s savings accounts generally don’t have fees, and are structured to help develop positive financial habits by limiting withdrawals, encouraging regular deposits, and earning interest on the savings, similarly to standard savings accounts.

How much money should I have in my savings account?

A good rule of thumb when working out a minimum balance for your savings account is to make sure that you’ll earn more in annual interest on your savings than what you’ll be charged in annual fees.

If you’re saving with a specific goal in mind, prepare a budget so the interest you earn on your deposits will help you efficiently reach this goal. Online financial calculators may be helpful here.

Can you set up direct debits from a savings account?

It’s not usually possible to set up a direct debit from your savings account to cover ongoing expenses or bills, as savings accounts are structured around growing your wealth by earning interest on regular deposits, and discouraging withdrawals.

Some transaction accounts allow you to set up direct debits and also earn interest, though you may not enjoy as much flexibility as a dedicated transaction account, or get as high an interest rate as a dedicated savings account.

What is a savings account?

A savings account is a type of bank account in which you earn interest on the money you deposit. This makes it one of the easiest and safest investment tools.

What is the interest rate on savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to look at interest rates on savings accounts is to use a savings accounts comparison tool. When you look at the savings rate check what the maximum and minimum rates are. Often banks will offer you a promotional rate for the first few months which is competitive, but then revert back to a base rate which can sometimes be less than inflation. Ongoing bonus rates are often a safer bet as they will keep rewarding you with the maximum rate, provided you meet their criteria

Can you set up a savings account online?

Yes. Several large and small banks offer online applications for savings accounts, and there are also online-only financial institutions to consider.

Online-only savings accounts are often less expensive than other savings accounts, though they may not offer the same flexibility, features, or face-to-face service as more traditional savings accounts.

Who has the highest interest rates for savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to know who currently has the highest interest rate is to use a savings account comparison tool.

How do I open a savings account?

Opening a savings account is a relatively simple process. If you’ve found an account with a suitable interest rate, you’ll just need to get in contact with your chosen lender via a branch, phone call or hop online to begin the process. 

You may be required to provide:

  • Personal details, including identification (driver’s license, passport etc.)
  • Tax file number
  • Employment details

Can I overdraft my savings account?

A lot of savings accounts won’t let you overdraw. Some will allow this feature but you’ll need to apply first. It’s best to read the fine print and check with your lender whether this is a feature they offer. It can be a helpful addition, but as your lender can charge you a fee as well as interest for going into negative numbers, it’s best to avoid overdrafting when possible.

How does interest work on savings accounts?

The type of interest savings accounts accrues is called compound interest. Compound interest is interest paid on the initial deposit amount, as well as the accumulated interest on money you have. This is different from simple interest where interest is paid at the end of a specified term. Compound interest allows you to earn interest on interest at a higher frequency. 

Example: John deposits $10,000 into a savings account with an interest rate of 5 per cent that he leaves untouched for 10 years. At the end of the first year he will have $10,512 in savings. After ten years, he will have saved $16,470.

What is a good interest rate for a savings account?

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind with savings accounts is to look for a rate that is higher than the CPI inflation rate. This number is constantly changing, so check the Reserve Bank of Australia’s page. If you aren’t earning interest above this then the value of your money will go backwards over time.

Can you direct deposit to a savings account?

Yes. You can make one off payments or set up regular direct deposits into a savings account. This can be organised easily through online banking or by making deposits in a branch. Talk to your lender to find out the easiest way for you to set up direct deposits.

How can I get a $4000 loan approved?

While personal loans and medium amount loans don’t offer guaranteed approval, there are steps you can take to help increase the likelihood of your application being approved, including:

  • Fulfilling the eligibility criteria (providing ID, proof of residency, proof of income etc.)
  • Checking your credit history (you can order one free copy of your credit file per year, and make sure that there aren’t any errors that may be bringing down your credit score)
  • Comparing carefully before applying (making multiple loan applications can mean having your credit checked multiple times, which can look bad to some lenders and reduce your chances of being approved by them)