Compare popular savings accounts

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Product
Maximum rate
Base rate
Company
Maximum monthly interest
Total interest earned
Real Time Rating™
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0.85%*

0.01%

ANZ

$3.5

$81

3.11

/ 5
Go to site
More details

0.80%

Intro 3 months then 0.05%

0.05%

ANZ

$3.3

$76.2

2.50

/ 5
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More details

3.00%

0.40%

Westpac

$12.5

$288

4.86

/ 5
More details

0.50%*

0.05%

Endeavour Mutual Bank

$2.1

$47.6

3.01

/ 5
More details

0.50%

0.50%

Pulse Credit Union

$2.1

$47.6

3.01

/ 5
More details

2.09%

2.09%

Northern Inland CU

$8.7

$200

4.36

/ 5
More details

1.00%

1.00%

MyLife MyFinance

$4.2

$95.3

3.37

/ 5
More details

0.40%

0.40%

Heritage Bank

$1.7

$38.1

2.82

/ 5
More details

0.20%

0.20%

P&N Bank

$0.8

$19

2.59

/ 5
More details

0.05%

0.05%

Community First Credit Union

$0.2

$4.8

2.54

/ 5
More details

0.01%

0.01%

ANZ

$0

$1

2.33

/ 5
More details

0.25%

0.25%

Australian Military Bank

$1

$23.8

2.80

/ 5
More details

0.15%

0.15%

Auswide Bank

$0.6

$14.3

2.47

/ 5
More details

0.05%

0.05%

Bank of Melbourne

$0.2

$4.8

2.55

/ 5
More details

0.05%

0.05%

BankSA

$0.2

$4.8

2.55

/ 5
More details

0.10%

0.10%

Geelong Bank

$0.4

$9.5

2.63

/ 5
More details

0.01%

0.01%

Horizon Bank

$0

$1

2.50

/ 5
More details

Learn more about savings accounts

Savings accounts are such a straightforward product that people sometimes take them for granted. Sometimes, the assumption is that if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

The reality, though, is very different. Here are a few ways savings accounts can have different ratings:

  • Higher interest rate v lower interest rate
  • No monthly fees v monthly fees
  • Maximum interest rate guaranteed v subject to conditions
  • Branch access v no branch access
  • ATM access v no ATM access
  • EFTPOS facility v no EFTPOS facility
  • Available to under-18s v not available

Another point to bear in mind is that there are dozens of different lenders offering hundreds of different savings accounts.

With so many different products on the market, and with so many different criteria to consider, there can be a big difference in savings account ratings.

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What to look for when choosing a savings account

If you’re like most people, the first thing you’ll look at when weighing up savings accounts is the different interest rates being offered.

That’s fine, but it’s important to realise that the interest rate being advertised may not be the interest rate you receive.

“How is that possible?” you may ask.

Well, some lenders offer a short-term bonus rate to new customers – for example, an extra 1.50 percentage points for the first three months. In this hypothetical scenario, you’d earn the advertised interest rate for the first three months, but would then be paid the standard interest rate (which would be 1.50 percentage points lower). So you get baited with one interest rate and then switched to another.

Some lenders use another version of this bait-and-switch tactic. Again, there are two interest rates – the (lower) base rate and the (higher) maximum rate. The maximum rate is the one that gets advertised, but you only earn this rate if you meet certain conditions during each calendar month. Otherwise, you get switched to the base rate.

What are those conditions? They differ from savings account to savings account, but one typical example is that you have to deposit a minimum amount each month – say, $1,000. Another example is that you have to minimise your withdrawals each month – this might be one or even zero. You might also be expected to use a linked product – a transaction account, say, or a credit card.

Most people pay close attention to interest rates when choosing between savings accounts, but a surprising number of people don’t show much interest in fees. That’s a mistake, because fees can be surprisingly high, and can therefore eat up a surprising share of whatever interest you earn.

Some products charge monthly account-keeping fees. Others impose withdrawal fees and minimum balance fees. You might also be charged fees if you bank cheques or request paper statements.

Although interest rates and fees are the two main criteria when it comes to rating savings accounts, features are also important. These can include things like access to branches, ATMs, BPAY and EFTPOS.

How to research savings accounts

If you’re wondering how to research savings accounts, a good place to start is by using RateCity’s online comparison search (above). This will allow you to compare interest rates, fees and features for several hundred different accounts, and rate them accordingly.

You might also want to spend a few minutes playing around with RateCity’s savings accounts calculator. This will show you how much money you can earn under different interest rate, deposit size and deposit length scenarios. It will also provide a helpful graph so you can get a quick snapshot of how much you’d earn under each scenario.

Frequently asked questions

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 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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 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)