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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.

DateAverage conditional rates
1 January 20201.49%
2 December 20200.73%
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.

Company
Product

Future Saver Account (Under 35)

Real Time Rating™

4.94

/ 5
Maximum rate

3.00%*

% p.a

Base rate

0.05

% p.a

Maximum monthly interest

$39

Real Time Rating™

4.94

/ 5
Go to site

Deposit $1000 minimum monthly deposit into your linked Everyday Account and make 5 or more eligible transactions.

Company
Product

Smart Saver Account

Real Time Rating™

4.30

/ 5
Maximum rate

2.00%*

% p.a

Base rate

0.05

% p.a

Maximum monthly interest

$26

Real Time Rating™

4.30

/ 5
Go to site

Deposit $1000 minimum monthly deposit into your linked Everyday Account and make 5 or more eligible transactions.

Company
Product

Online Saver

Real Time Rating™

3.17

/ 5
Maximum rate

0.70

% p.a

intro 4 months then 0.70%

Base rate

0.60

% p.a

Maximum monthly interest

$8

Real Time Rating™

3.17

/ 5
Go to site
Company
Product

AMP Saver Account

Real Time Rating™

3.72

/ 5

Winner of Best Savings Account Young Adults, Best Savings Account Regular Savers, RateCity Gold Awards 2022

Maximum rate

1.35%*

% p.a

Base rate

0.10

% p.a

Maximum monthly interest

$17

Real Time Rating™

3.72

/ 5
Go to site

Earn an ongoing total bonus variable rate of up to 1.35% per annum which will apply each month if you deposit $250 in the previous month. Available only on balances up to $250,000.

Winner of Best Savings Account Young Adults, Best Savings Account Regular Savers, RateCity Gold Awards 2022

Company
Product

Growth Saver Account

Real Time Rating™

3.55

/ 5
Maximum rate

1.10%*

% p.a

Base rate

0.10

% p.a

Maximum monthly interest

$14

Real Time Rating™

3.55

/ 5
Go to site

Bonus interest rate applied on balances up to $25,000 when the account holder makes a minimum deposit of $200 and no withdrawals within a calendar month. Otherwise base interest rate will apply

Company
Product

Virgin Money Boost Saver

Real Time Rating™

4.22

/ 5

Winner of Best Savings Account Regular Savers, RateCity Gold Awards 2022

Maximum rate

2.00%*

% p.a

Base rate

0.05

% p.a

Maximum monthly interest

$26

Real Time Rating™

4.22

/ 5
Go to site

special

Deposit $2,000 or more into your Virgin Money Go Account from an external account and make at least 5 debit card purchases, direct debit or BPAY payments in the previous month.

The maximum rate is made up of the variable Base rate of 0.05%p.a., Bonus rate of 1.45%p.a. and the Notice Interest Rate of 0.50%p.a. To receive bonus interest of 1.45%, deposit $2,000 or more into your Virgin Money Go Account from an external account, and make at least 5 debit card purchases, direct debit or BPAY payments in the previous month. To receive additional interest rate of 0.5%, the optional Lock Saver Feature must be enabled on your App. Provide 32 days’ advance notice to unlock your account or withdraw your money.

Winner of Best Savings Account Regular Savers, RateCity Gold Awards 2022

Company
Product

Savings Maximiser

Real Time Rating™

4.23

/ 5

Winner of Best Savings Account Young Adults, Best Savings Account Regular Savers, RateCity Gold Awards 2022

Maximum rate

2.10%*

% p.a

Base rate

0.05

% p.a

Maximum monthly interest

$27

Real Time Rating™

4.23

/ 5
Go to site

Customers must complete the following each month: 1. Deposit at least $1,000 from an external source; 2. Make 5+ settled card purchases; and 3. Grow the balance on the nominated Savings Maximiser account – i.e. make sure there’s more in the account at the end of the month (excluding interest) than there was at the end of the previous month.

Winner of Best Savings Account Young Adults, Best Savings Account Regular Savers, RateCity Gold Awards 2022

Company
Product

Virgin Money Boost Saver (18-24 years)

Real Time Rating™

4.22

/ 5

Winner of Best Savings Account Young Adults, RateCity Gold Awards 2022

Maximum rate

2.00%*

% p.a

Base rate

0.05

% p.a

Maximum monthly interest

$26

Real Time Rating™

4.22

/ 5
Go to site

special

Deposit $2,000 or more into your Virgin Money Go Account from an external account and make at least 5 debit card purchases, direct debit or BPAY payments in the previous month.

To receive bonus interest of 1.45%, deposit $1,000 or more into your Virgin Money Go Account from an external account, and make at least 5 debit card purchases, direct debit or BPAY payments in the previous month. To receive additional interest rate of 0.5%, the optional Lock Saver Feature must be enabled on your App. Provide 32 days’ advance notice to unlock your account or withdraw your money.

Winner of Best Savings Account Young Adults, RateCity Gold Awards 2022

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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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