ME Bank’s Online Savings Account has no account-keeping fees or withdrawals fees. Customers earn a low base rate, but can claim bonus interest if they have an ME Everyday Transaction Account and make at least one tap-and-go purchase per week with an Everyday Transaction Account Debit Mastercard which is processed in the same calendar month. ME also offers term deposits, home loans, personal loans, credit cards, car loans and insurance. ME Bank was founded in 1994 and is completely owned by industry superannuation funds.
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Members Equity (ME) Bank was created by a group of industry super funds in 1994. This means that all profits are distributed back to the super funds that own the bank. ME offers its customers savings and transaction accounts, term deposits, home loans, personal loans, credit cards, car loans and insurance. With no ‘bricks and mortar’ branches, ME is an online-only bank.
ME has won various awards, including for Best Customer Experience at the Australian Lending Awards.
What savings accounts does ME have?
The ME Online Savings Account has no account-keeping or withdrawal fees. No minimum balance is required to open the account. You can earn a low base rate, but can also claim bonus interest. In order to qualify for the Online Savings Account’s bonus interest rate, you need to two things:
- Have an ME Everyday Transaction Account
- Use your Everyday Transaction Account card to make at least one ‘tap and go’ payment every seven days (processed in the same calendar month)
The bonus interest is calculated at the end of the month. Purchases made in a calendar month which are processed in the next calendar month (for reasons beyond ME's control) are not eligible purchases for bonus interest. If, at the end of the month, you have qualified for the bonus, you will see two interest payments for your Online Savings Account: one for the base interest rate and one for the bonus rate.
There are no monthly fees charged to your ME online savings account, nor any ATM or monthly fees.
What should I look for when choosing a bank account?
Before you begin comparing bank accounts to find the one that best suits your needs, it’s helpful to make a list of the features you want from your day-to-day banking.
You might want to consider things like:
- How many transactions do you make each week/month?
- Do you need extras like a cheque book?
- Do you want internet banking?
- Do you want a bank with branches and tellers?
If you make a lot of ATM and/or EFTPOS transactions each month, you might want to look at accounts that give you unlimited electronic transactions for a low (or even no) monthly fee. If you also want to make online purchases, then you might want to consider an account that comes with a debit card.
Do you think it’s likely that you’ll keep a high account balance from month to month? Then think about an account that pays good interest on your money, but still gives you the convenience of a regular everyday transaction account.
Also consider setting up a weekly or monthly direct deposit into your account – perhaps from your employer – especially when you’re first starting to save. It means you don’t have to think about it; you can just let your savings grow each week from your pay.
A few words on interest
When you’re ready to open a savings account, watch out for ‘bonus’ interest rates. These rates may be very competitive or better than average, but may only last for a limited time, or if you meet certain conditions (see below). There’s nothing wrong with opening an account to get a bonus interest rate, but make sure that when the bonus rate ends, the interest rate is still competitive.
Naturally, you’ll want to earn the best interest possible on your money. However, interest rates will depend on what kind of saver you are. Some accounts have bonus interest rates that offer higher-than-standard interest rates, but will likely come with set conditions you have to meet in order to qualify, such as making minimum deposits or not making withdrawals. If you don’t meet the requirements, then your interest rate drops, sometimes to zero. So it\'s a good idea to work out how much you can save each month so you know whether you will be eligible for the higher interest.
Or you might prefer to keep it simple by choosing a ‘no-strings-attached’ account. In that case, look for a good standard interest rate that will keep your savings growing without you needing to meet any extra requirements.
Remember, too, your savings account needs to return interest (after tax) at an annual rate that is higher than the annual inflation rate, in order for you to see a benefit in real terms on your savings. This is because interest earned on your savings accounts is treated as income, and so you will need to pay income tax on any interest that your account earns.
It can also be a good idea to review your interest rates every six to 12 months, and make sure they’re still competitive. You may find that there is a better account, with a higher interest rate, available somewhere else.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Who has the highest interest rates for savings accounts?
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
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.