AMP, Macquarie target introductory rates, savers suffer

AMP, Macquarie target introductory rates, savers suffer

AMP and Macquarie have put the squeeze on savers this week, as banks zero in on introductory rates. 

While borrowers are generally benefitting under the low interest rate environment, Australian savers continue to suffer, with the official cash rate at a record low of 0.25 per cent.

AMP has removed its introductory rate of 1.5 per cent, which previously reverted to 1 per cent after six months. This means new customers will no longer access a higher interest rate when joining, and the standard rate of 1 per cent will now apply on the entire balance.

It is the first bank to remove its honeymoon rate altogether in the past two months, according to a RateCity analysis.

AMP’s changes have already come into effect – as of August 28.

Meanwhile, Macquarie Bank has reduced its four-month introductory savings rate by 50 basis points to 1.50 per cent on balances of up to $250,000. 

The introductory rate reverts to the ongoing rate of 1.35 per cent, which has not changed, after customers stay with the bank for four months.

The changes come after CBA trimmed its savings rates by as much as 10 basis points on certain accounts last week. 

   

New customers miss out as introductory rates cut

As banks continue to cut interest rates on savings accounts, honeymoon rates are also being shaved, with 19 banks on the RateCity database reducing introductory rates in the past two months.

All of the big four banks have slashed their introductory rates in the past year. NAB took the lead, bringing its honeymoon rate down from the 2 per cent range to below 1 per cent, representing a drop of 1.16 per cent during this period.

ANZ came a close second, slashing its introductory rate by 1.15 per cent in the past year.

The cuts brought the average introductory rate among the big four down by 1.09 per cent to 0.93 per cent in the year to August 2020. In comparison, the Reserve Bank of Australia lowered the cash rate by three quarters of a per cent in the same period.

The average big four honeymoon rate is now 1.27 per cent lower than the highest introductory rate on the RateCity database – a 2.2 per cent rate from Heritage Bank, which reverts to 0.80 per cent after four months.

Big four banks – introductory and ongoing rates (August 2019 and August 2020)

Bank Product Aug 2019 Intro rate Aug 2020 Intro rate Intro term Intro rate difference – Aug 19 vs Aug 20 Aug 2019 Ongoing rate Aug 2020 Ongoing rate
CBA NetBank Saver

2.00%

0.95%

5 mths

-1.05%

0.15%

0.05%

Westpac eSaver

2.01%

1.00%

5 mths

-1.01%

0.15%

0.05%

NAB iSaver

2.11%

0.95%

4 mths

-1.16%

0.11%

0.05%

ANZ Online Saver

1.95%

0.80%

3 mths

-1.15%

0.15%

0.05%

Average  

2.02%

0.93%

 

 

0.14%

0.05%

Source: RateCity. Note: Accurate as of August 28, 2020.

Australians focus on saving

As Australians financially adjust themselves to a recession, households across the country are stashing more cash in the bank. Bank deposits jumped by 8.5 per cent to more than $1 trillion in the 12 months to June 2020, according to the latest banking figures from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). 

A RateCity survey of 1,009 people revealed that about 27 per cent of those who withdrew money from their superannuation due to COVID-19 deposited the funds into a bank account as an emergency fund. 

And an increasing number of Australians are considering starting an emergency fund, thanks to the pandemic, with a third planning to cut back and save, according to a recent St. George bank survey. 

Highest introductory savings rates on RateCity.com.au

Bank Product Intro rate Ongoing rate Intro term
Heritage Bank Online Saver 2.20% 0.80% 4 mths
Rabobank Australia High Interest Savings Account 2.00% 0.55% 4 mths
HSBC Serious Saver Account 1.75% 0.15% 4 mths
P&N Bank Hi Saver 1.70% 0.30% 4 mths

Source: RateCity. Note: Accurate as of August 28, 2020.

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Fact Checked -

This article was reviewed by Senior Journalist Tony Ibrahim before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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Learn more about savings accounts

What are the two types of NAB locked savings accounts?

With a locked savings account in NAB, you can earn bonus interest and learn financial discipline. NAB offers two types of locked savings accounts, each with their own terms and conditions.

The NAB Reward Saver account pays a variable base interest rate of 0.05 per cent per annum and a bonus interest of 0.55 per cent. You’re eligible for the bonus if you make a minimum of one deposit on or before the second last banking day and have no withdrawals in the month.

Meanwhile, the NAB iSaver account provides 0.05 per cent as the standard base interest rate and a fixed bonus margin of 0.55 per cent during the first four months from the date of opening the account. You can park your cash in the account and enjoy unlimited monthly transfers between linked daily bank accounts without impacting the interest rate.

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 Westpac locked savings account?

The Westpac locked savings account (also known as "Westpac Life") can help customers reach savings goals faster through bonus interest. Customers receive 0.2 per cent standard base interest with a variable bonus rate of 0.35 per cent when the closing balance at the end of the month is higher than the opening balance.

There are some conditions to earn the bonus interest on Westpac's locked savings account, though. First, you’ll need to increase the balance each month either through a deposit or not making any withdrawals, and then link it to a Westpac Choice account and make at least five eligible payments using your debit card. Please consult your bank as to what an eligible payment is. 

Can you have multiple ING savings accounts?

Yes, you can open up to nine accounts with ING at any particular time. If you’re saving money for various goals, such as buying a car or taking a holiday, you can name each of your multiple ING savings accounts differently.

To get a Savings Maximiser account, you’ll need to deposit more than $1000 every month and make at least five additional purchases. If you also want to grow your savings, from 1st March 2021, you can earn up to 1.35 per cent per annum variable interest on one account with a balance of up to $100,000 when you also maintain an Orange Everyday account.

With ING, multiple savings accounts can help keep track of all your savings goals. All the accounts offer flexible withdrawals where you can withdraw as low or as high as you want without impacting your earning interest rate. However, you can only earn the bonus interest on one account. To apply for a Savings Maximiser account, you can visit ingdirect.com.au.

What is an ANZ locked savings account?

An ANZ locked savings account locks your money and prevents you from spending. You may use a standard savings account as the account where your salary is deposited. You can then withdraw funds when needed, but aren’t able to make purchases with it. However, this account may not grow much as the continual withdrawing of funds will limit the interest you can earn.

With a locked savings account in ANZ, you know your savings will grow because you can’t access the money. You can also qualify for a bonus when you deposit at least $10 per month and don’t make any withdrawals. To help you with this further you can set up an automatic transfer from your regular ANZ savings or transaction account so you don’t forget to make a monthly deposit.

Your ANZ locked savings account offers you a base interest rate of 0.1 per cent per annum plus an additional bonus interest of 0.49 per cent per year. The interest is calculated daily and credited to your account on the last working day of the month.

Should I open a Commonwealth locked savings account?

If you have trouble saving money, a Commbank locked savings account could be a potential solution. A locked savings account won’t let you make withdrawals and as such, it can help you grow your savings balance if you keep topping it up. 

The Commonwealth locked savings account advertises high-interest rates and minimal maintenance fees, along with a host of other incentives that will encourage you not to touch the money. 

The account offers a higher interest rate for each month that you make limited or no withdrawals, as well as regular deposits. 

To qualify for a Commonwealth locked savings account with the advertised features, you will need to fulfil specific criteria such as:

  • Depositing a fixed minimum amount into the account every month.
  • Making a fixed number of deposits each month.
  • Making a minimum or no withdrawals each month.
  • Maintaining a minimum account balance.

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.

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 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 are the requirements for opening Commbank multiple savings accounts?

Existing Commbank account holders can open additional accounts online You can open multiple savings accounts with Commbank to meet various goals like a down payment for a home or buying a car. 

To open an account, you’ll need the following:

  • An Australian residential address
  • To be 14 years or older
  • A Tax File Number (TFN) or TFN exemption.
  • Tax residency details

If you’re not a current Commbank account holder, you’ll need an Australian driving licence, birth certificate or passport and Medicare card. You may also have to visit a branch if your identity cannot be confirmed online. 

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.

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 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)

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.