ING shakes up its popular Savings Maximiser account

ING shakes up its popular Savings Maximiser account

One of the most popular savings accounts in Australia, ING’s Savings Maximiser, will change conditions for savers to earn its bonus interest rate.

These changes, which now require savers to increase their balance each month, are to incentivise customers to grow their savings. However, it may mean some customers are unable to qualify for the bonus rate if they're not careful.

The ING Savings Maximiser, made popular by the Barefoot Investor, has one of the highest bonus interest rates for a conditional savings account in the country. The current maximum rate on this savings account is 1.35 per cent, having been slashed from 1.50 per cent in November.

As of 1 March 2021, Aussie savers will now need to meet the following conditions to earn bonus interest:

  • Hold an Orange Everyday account
  • Make 5+ card purchases that are settled (not pending)
  • Deposit $1,000 into your ING personal account
  • Ensure your balance is higher each month

 

Customers unable to meet all conditions may only earn a base rate of 0.05 per cent.

An ING Spokesperson commented to RateCity on the updated Savings Maximiser conditions: “This change, that will come into effect in March, is about encouraging customers to grow their savings each month, by whatever amount they can afford.”

“We appreciate not everyone may be in a position to save when the changes start so we encourage customers that are on payment pause to reach out and speak to us about how we could potentially help them.”

Aussie savers feeling the pinch in 2020

Savings accounts have taken a beating this year. The Reserve Bank of Australia cutting the cash rate to a new low of 0.10 per cent has allowed for a record-breaking low interest rate environment for savings accounts.

In fact, RateCity research shows that from 1 January to today, the average conditional savings account rate fell from 1.49 per cent to 0.73 per cent.

Date Average conditional rates
1 January 2020 1.49%
2 December 2020 0.73%
Difference -0.76%

Source: RateCity.com.au

With most savings rates sitting below 1 per cent, meeting bonus rate criteria is more important than ever for customers with conditional savings accounts.

And while rates of return are not quite what they used to be, it’s still the difference between account growth and almost nothing. RateCity research found that the majority of conditional savings accounts in the marketplace have base rates under 0.10 per cent.

Strict savings account conditons are not new

Meeting conditions on some savings accounts is not a new or unique requirement.

Some of the most competitive accounts in the market are designed so that customers must meet some conditions to earn bonus interest. This is, as mentioned above, to encourage savers to grow their nest eggs.

Westpac’s Life savings account (for those aged 18-30) asks customers to grow their savings each month to earn its generous 3 per cent bonus interest rate.

Australia’s biggest bank, CommBank, also includes this condition in its popular Goal Saver account. However, it also offers an alternative ongoing savings account – the NetSaver – that does not have this condition.

This added condition may come to shock for customers who use the Savings Maximiser for short-term savings goals, or occasionally dip into their savings.

RateCity conditional savings account tips

  1. Set a budget. If you have a conditional savings account that requires you to grow your balance each month, ensure you’re setting aside enough in your budget to earn that bonus interest rate.
  2. Make good habits. If you’re prone to dipping into your savings, you may want to work on your own financial habits or reassess your budget to prevent this. Even consider creating separate savings accounts for funds that you can touch, and one you only use for long-term goals.
  3. Use financial tools. There are a raft of helpful financial tools, such as ING’s Round Up tool, that can help you to grow your savings account balance each month. If your savings account includes this feature -- that rounds up each purchase you make to the nearest $1 or $5 and deposits the ‘spare change’ into your savings account -- then consider turning it on to help meet bonus rate conditions.
  4. Keep an eye out for fees. Some savings accounts can charge a raft of fees, such as account keeping fees and foreign transaction fees. Just because you’re meeting conditions doesn’t mean your balance is not being stung in other ways. Check out your savings account product disclosure statement for a breakdown on any potential fees and try to avoid them, if possible.
  5. Compare your options. As interest rates continue to fluctuate in this low-cash rate environment, it’s more important than ever to ensure your account is staying competitive. Do your research around what your savings provider is offering you, and what other options are out there.

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Learn more about savings accounts

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.

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.

Should I open multiple savings accounts with UBank?

UBank offers customers an opportunity to make the most of their savings by opening multiple savings accounts. Having multiple savings accounts with UBank may be ideal for savers tracking different goals in separate accounts. 

It’s important to note that to earn bonus interest, you will still need to meet the conditions of the UBank savings account every month. If you don’t make these deposits, you will receive the standard interest rate, which is typically lower. 

Keep in mind that you won’t earn bonus interest on your UBank savings account in the month an account is opened and if you open multiple savings accounts with UBank, you'll start earning any bonus interest the following month. 

It's also not yet known how long the special interest rate will hang around for, so please check with your bank for more information. 

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. 

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.

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.

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 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

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.

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 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.