NAB becomes the third big bank to cut savings rates out-of-cycle

NAB becomes the third big bank to cut savings rates out-of-cycle

NAB has today cut two of its popular savings accounts by 0.15 per cent, despite no move from the RBA since November.

Analysis from RateCity.com.au shows 23 banks have cut savings rates already in 2021, including CBA and Westpac last Friday and NAB today.

These three banks and their subsidiaries hold 61.5 per cent of household deposits, according to the latest APRA statistics released today (see tables below for full details).

NAB Reward Saver cuts

  Old rate Today Difference
Max rate

0.55%

0.40%

-0.15%

Make at least 1 deposit on or before the second last day of the month and no withdrawals per mth for max rate.

NAB iSaver cuts

 

Old rate

Today

Difference

Intro rate (4 mths)

0.60%

0.45%

-0.15%

Ongoing rate

0.05%

0.05%

0%

RateCity.com.au savings database analysis:

  • 23 banks have cut at least one savings rate since January 1 this year.
  • The average ongoing savings rates is now 0.38%.
  • 1.35% is the highest ongoing savings rate for all Australians.
  • A year ago, the highest ongoing savings rate was 2.25% (0.90% change).
  • Currently 15 banks are offering ongoing savings rates of 1% or higher (excluding pensioner and youth accounts).

 

RateCity.com.au research director, Sally Tindall, said: “NAB’s decision to cut savings rates out-of-cycle comes as no surprise. It follows similar moves from rivals CBA and Westpac last week as the low rate environment continues to pressure profit margins.

“A distinct lack of competition in the market is allowing banks to quietly chip away at their rates without too much blowback,” she said.

“Despite record low rates, we’ve never had more money in the bank. The problem is the banks don’t particularly want it.

“Right now, around 60 per cent of Australians have their money with CBA, Westpac and NAB and their subsidiaries, even though some of these savers are getting rates as low as 0.05 per cent.

“NAB customers would do well to shop around, as there are 15 banks offering ongoing rates of 1 per cent or higher," she said.

Latest deposit statistics from APRA – released today

  Dec-20 Dec-19 Difference
Deposits by households

$1.1 trillion

$986.7 billion

$125.9 billion

12.8% increase

Source: Deposit data from APRA monthly banking stats released 29 Jan, 2021.

Big four banks: Market share of household deposits

Bank Deposits Dec-20 % share of market
CBA

$302.5 B

27.2%

Westpac

$232.5 B

20.9%

NAB

$149.0 B

13.4%

ANZ

$140.6 B

12.6%

Total

$824.7B

74.1%

Source: APRA Monthly Banking Statistics, December 2020, released 29 January 2021 Note: the totals above include banks' subsidiaries.

Highest ongoing savings accounts on RateCity.com.au

(excludes accounts specifically for younger Australians)

Bank Account Max rate
ING Savings Maximiser

1.35%

86 400 Save account

1.20%

MyState Bank Bonus Saver Account

1.20%

ME Bank Online Savings Account

1.20%

Source: RateCity.com.au. Conditions apply for max interest rate.

Big four banks conditional savings rates

Bank   Account   Max rate

(if conditions met)

 
CBA   GoalSaver  

0.45%

 
Westpac   Life  

0.40%

 
NAB   Reward Saver  

0.40%

 
ANZ   Progress Saver  

0.50%

 

Source: RateCity.com.au. Note rates are for balances over $50K.

Big four banks standard savings rates

Bank   Account   Max Intro rate   Ongoing rate  
CBA   NetBank Saver (5 mths)  

0.50%

 

0.05%

 
Westpac   eSaver (5 mths)  

0.40%

 

0.05%

 
NAB   iSaver (4 mths)  

0.45%

 

0.05%

 
ANZ   Online Saver (3 mths)  

0.45%

 

0.05%

 

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Fact Checked -

This article was reviewed by Senior Finance Writer Liz Seatter before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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Learn more about savings accounts

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 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.

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.

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 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.

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 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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.