Find and compare top Australian super funds

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Product
Past 5-year return
6.38%
Admin fee

$78

Company
MTAA Super
Calc fees on 50k

$513

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
MyChoice Platinum
Go to site
More details
Past 5-year return
New
Admin fee

$78

Company
Tasplan
Calc fees on 50k

$518

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
MySuper Platinum
Go to site
More details
Past 5-year return
6.34%
Admin fee

$92

Company
smartMonday
Calc fees on 50k

$512

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
MySuper Platinum
Go to site
More details
Past 5-year return
New
Admin fee

$58

Company
Virgin Money
Calc fees on 50k

$358

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
MyChoice Platinum
Go to site
More details
Past 5-year return
6.73%
Admin fee

$65

Company
Media Super
Calc fees on 50k

$505

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
MySuper Platinum
Go to site
More details
Past 5-year return
5.58%
Admin fee

$78

Company
MLC
Calc fees on 50k

$913

Features
Advisory services
Death insurance
Income protection
Online access
Term deposits
Variety of options
SuperRatings awards
MyChoice Platinum
Go to site
More details
More Features

Learn more about superannuation

Superannuation is the money set aside for your retirement. Your employer directly pays this money into your superannuation account out of your pre-tax salary. By Australian law, your employer is required to contribute a certain percentage of your ordinary-time earnings (OTE) into your superannuation account. This is known as the super guarantee.

For many Australian workers, their superannuation is their biggest asset, and one that is meant to provide long-term financial security. That’s why picking the most suitable super fund for your needs is so important. 

If you don't pick a super fund, your employer will choose one for you from a selection of products listed under the MySuper government initiative. MySuper products are generally basic funds without extra features and fees, but they may not offer the top Australian rates. So, it's worth comparing your options to find the best super fund for you.

What it means to have a top superannuation rate

A super fund with a top superannuation rate means that it is one of the best-performing super funds in the market in terms of investment return over a five-year period, having provided its members with past returns that are significantly above the average.

Since superannuation is a long-term investment for Australians, this is a very important factor to consider before signing up with a super fund. A super fund’s annual returns can make a huge impact to your retirement plans in the long run.

While some super funds regularly appear in the annual “Top Performing Super Funds” ranking, past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Also, the superannuation market is large and very competitive, so a super fund that is at the top of the list today may be well down the list in the future.

The following table shows an example of how an investment return difference of just 1% could potentially affect your retirement savings over the life of your career:

Age  25 years  25 years 
Income   $60,000  $60,000
 Super contribution  9.5% of salary 9.5% of salary
 Investment return  5% 6%
 Fees  1.5% of balance 1.5% of balance
 Super balance at age 65  $221,776 $268,664

Source: RateCity.com.au, MoneySmart Superannuation Calculator. Notes: Assumes a starting super balance of $0. Assumes no changes to income during working life for the sake of calculation.

How does the ratings system work?

RateCity shares product ratings awarded by superannuation research firm SuperRatings, which aims to recognise the achievements of individual super funds across a range of categories. SuperRatings ranks the top performers in some of the key comparison metrics for superannuation funds, including strong returns, low fees and low insurance premiums.

According to SuperRatings, the ratings are designed to reflect the value for money offered by each superannuation fund, with the best funds being the ones that "provide the greatest potential to maximise retirement savings in a well serviced, secure environment".

The ratings can be a helpful tool to assist with your super comparison, but it's important to also look at other performance measures in order to make a well informed decision and choose the super fund that's right for you.

For more information, read the ratings methodology on the SuperRatings website.

How do I make sure I'm getting the top Australian rates?

When you're looking for a super fund with a top Australian rate, you might be tempted to look at past performance returns alone. However, there are a few steps you can take to get a clearer understanding of a fund's overall rate of return.

  1. Use a comparison table like the one on this page to compare super funds by their past five-year return. You can use the 'sort' function to make this easier.
  2. Consider any fees that may be charged. Fees detract from the fund's overall return, so even if your fund has one of the highest rates of past performance, high fees could potentially make it less competitive.
  3. Check to see if the fund has received any SuperRatings awards in order to get an idea of what its strengths may be.

Remember, past performance isn't necessarily a reliable indicator of future performance. So, considering other factors in your decision making can give you a better chance of securing a fund that offers a top Australian rate.

What to consider when getting a top super rate fund

It’s easy to be drawn to a superannuation fund that has had an impressive, high-performing track record over the last year or so.

However, take note that a super fund’s high investment performance in the past does not guarantee that it will still be just as high-performing in the future. Fluctuations in the market are always expected and the superannuation rates are always subject to change. Even just 1 or 2 per cent can make a huge difference to your retirement plan.

Before signing up for a super fund, consider these other factors:

Fees

Generally, superannuation funds have administration fees and fund management fees that go along with them. Super fees can also differ from one investment option to another.

There are also:

  • switching fees;
  • exit fees;
  • advice fees;
  • investment fees;
  • insurance premium fees, and;
  • activity-based fees, among others.

However, if you research enough and compare different super funds, you will see that some products may have much lower fees than others. Although a cheaper super product is not necessarily a better super product, fees are one of the main factors to weigh up when researching super options.

Investment options

Super funds offer a variety of investment options for you to consider. This can be in the form of:

  • bonds;
  • cash;
  • local and international shares;
  • property;
  • and much more, or a combination of these assets.

Decide which investment option – or options – you want to prioritise first before signing up for a super fund.

Like any financial product, you can also seek professional financial advice on superannuation to get an expert opinion on which investment options may be most suitable for your situation.

Insurance options

Superannuation funds also offer a range of insurance cover options. These insurance options include:

  • Life insurance - Paid to your beneficiaries upon your death
  • Total and permanent disability insurance - Paid if you encounter an accident and become permanently disabled
  • Income protection insurance - Paid if you have to stop work (permanently or temporarily) due to a physical or mental medical condition

Other services

One factor to consider when joining a super fund is its accessibility. Can you access your account details online? How easy is it to get customer service?

Other services to consider include:

  • Financial planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Member education

How to compare super funds with top superannuation rates

There are websites that can help you compare hundreds of super funds in Australia to find those that might interest you and suit your financial situation.

To compare super funds at RateCity, you can narrow down your search by applying relevant filters, entering your current super balance and sorting by fees or returns.

There are several different types of super fund to compare at RateCity, including:

  • industry funds;
  • retail super funds;
  • pension funds;
  • self-managed super funds;
  • low fee super funds;
  • employer specific super funds, and;
  • government super funds.

Before making the switch to a different super fund, consider reading the product disclosure statement (PDS) for more information, including any significant benefits and risks.

Frequently asked questions

How do you create a superannuation account?

Before you create a superannuation account, you’ll need to check if you’re allowed to choose your own fund. Most Australians can, but this option doesn’t apply to some workers who are covered by industrial agreements or who are members of defined benefits funds.

Assuming you are able to choose your own fund, the next step should be research, because there are more than 200 different superannuation funds in Australia.

Once you’ve decided on your preferred superannuation fund, head to that provider’s website, where you should be able to fill in an online application or download the appropriate forms. You’ll need your tax file number (assuming you don’t want to be charged a higher tax rate), your contact details and your employer’s details (if you’re employed).

What fees do superannuation funds charge?

Superannuation funds can charge a range of fees, including:

  • Activity-based fees – for specific, irregular services, such as splitting an account after a divorce
  • Administration fees – to cover the cost of managing your account
  • Advice fees – for personal investment advice
  • Buy/sell spread fees – when you make contributions, switches and withdrawals
  • Exit fees – when you close your account
  • Investment fees – to cover the cost of managing your investments
  • Switching fees – when you choose a new investment option within the same fund

Can I take money out of my superannuation fund?

Superannuation is designed to provide Australians with money in their retirement. The government has strict rules around when people can take that money out of their fund because it wants to prevent people eroding their savings before they reach retirement.

As a general rule, you can only take money out of your superannuation fund when you reach:

  • Age 65
  • Your ‘preservation age’ and retire
  • Your preservation age and begin a ‘transition to retirement’ while still working

That said, you can take money out of your superannuation fund early based on one of these seven special conditions:

  • Compassionate grounds
  • Severe financial hardship
  • Temporary incapacity
  • Permanent incapacity
  • Superannuation inheritance
  • Superannuation balance under $200
  • Temporary resident departing Australia

What is a superannuation fund?

A superannuation fund is an institution that is legally allowed to hold and invest your superannuation. There are more than 200 different superannuation funds in Australia. They come in five different types:

  • Retail funds
  • Industry funds
  • Public sector funds
  • Corporate funds
  • Self-managed super funds

Retail funds are usually run by banks or investment companies.

Industry funds were originally designed for workers from a particular industry, but are now open to anyone.

Public sector funds were originally designed for people working for federal or state government departments. Most are still reserved for government employees.

Corporate funds are arranged by employers for their employees.

Self-managed super funds are private superannuation funds that allow people to directly invest their money.

How do I change my superannuation fund?

Changing superannuation funds is a common and straightforward process. You can do it through your MyGov account or by filling out a rollover form and sending it to your new fund. You’ll also have to provide proof of identity.

Can I choose a superannuation fund or does my employer choose one for me?

Most people can choose their own superannuation fund. However, you might not have this option if you are a member of certain defined benefit funds or covered by certain industrial agreements. If you don’t choose a superannuation fund, your employer will choose one for you.

What should I know before getting an SMSF?

Four questions to ask yourself before taking out an SMSF include:

  1. Do I have enough superannuation to justify the higher set-up and running costs?
  2. Am I able to handle complicated compliance obligations?
  3. Am I willing to spend lots of time researching investment options?
  4. Do I have the skill to make big financial decisions?

It’s also worth remembering that ordinary superannuation funds usually offer discounted life insurance and disability insurance. These discounts would no longer be available if you decided to manage your own super.

How do I set up an SMSF?

Setting up an SMSF takes more work than registering with an ordinary superannuation fund. 

An SMSF is a type of trust, so if you want to create an SMSF, you first have to create a trust.

To create a trust, you will need trustees, who must sign a trustee declaration. You will also need identifiable beneficiaries and assets for the fund – although these can be as little as a few dollars.

You will also need to create a trust deed, which is a document that lays out the rules of your SMSF. The trust deed must be prepared by a qualified professional and signed by all trustees.

To qualify as an Australian superannuation fund, the SMSF must meet these three criteria:

  • The fund must be established in Australia – or at least one of its assets must be located in Australia
  • The central management and control of the fund must ordinarily be in Australia
  • The fund must have active members who are Australian residents and who hold at least 50 per cent of the fund’s assets – or it must have no active members

Once your SMSF is established and all trustees have signed a trustee declaration, you have 60 days to apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN).

When completing the ABN application, you should ask for a tax file number for your fund. You should also ask for the fund to be regulated by the Australian Taxation Office – otherwise it won’t receive tax concessions.

Your next step is to open a bank account in your fund’s name. This account must be kept separated from the accounts held by the trustees and any related employers.

Your SMSF will also need an electronic service address, so it can receive contributions.

Finally, you will need to create an investment strategy, which explains how your fund will invest its money, and an exit strategy, which explains how and why it would ever close.

Please note that you can pay an adviser to set up your SMSF. You might also want to take the Self-Managed Superannuation Fund Trustee Education Program, which is a free program that has been created by CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand.

What are ethical investment superannuation funds?

Ethical investment funds limit themselves to making ‘ethical’ investments (which each fund defines according to its own principles). For example, ethical funds might avoid investing in companies or industries that are linked to human suffering or environmental damage.

How long after divorce can you claim superannuation?

You or your partner could be forced to surrender part of your superannuation if you divorce, just like with other assets.

You can file a claim for division of property – including superannuation – as soon as you divorce. However, the claim has to be filed within one year of the divorce.

Your superannuation could be affected even if you’re in a de facto relationship – that is, living together as a couple without being officially married.

In that case, the claim has to be filed within two years of the date of separation.

Either way, the first thing to consider is whether you’re a member of a standard, APRA-regulated superannuation fund or if you’re a member of a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF), because different rules apply.

Standard superannuation funds

If your relationship breaks down, your superannuation savings might be divided by court order or by agreement.

The rules of the superannuation fund will dictate whether this transfer happens immediately, or in the future when the person who has to make the transfer is allowed to access the rest of their superannuation (i.e. at or near retirement).

Click here for more information.

SMSFs

If your relationship breaks down, you must continue to observe the trust deed of your SMSF.

So if you and your partner are both members of the same SMSF, neither party is allowed to use the fund to inflict ‘punishment’ – such as by excluding the other party from the decision-making process or refusing their request to roll their money into another superannuation fund.

This no-punishment rule applies even if the two parties are involved in legal proceedings.

Click here for more information.

Financial consequences

Superannuation funds often charge a fee for splitting accounts after a relationship breakdown.

Splitting superannuation can also impact the size of your total super balance and how your super is taxed.

Click here for more information.

Is superannuation included in taxable income?

Superannuation is not included when calculating your income tax. So if you have a salary of $50,000, your assessable income would be $50,000, not $50,000 plus superannuation.

That said, superannuation itself is taxed. It is generally taxed at 15 per cent, although if you earn less than $37,000, you will be reimbursed up to $500 of the tax you paid.

How can I keep track of my superannuation?

Most funds will allow you to access your superannuation account online. Another option is to manage your superannuation through myGov, which is a government portal through which you can access a range of services, including Medicare, Centrelink, aged care and child support.

When did superannuation start in Australia?

Australia’s modern superannuation system – in which employers make compulsory contributions to their employees – started in 1992. However, before that, there were various restricted superannuation schemes applying to certain employees in certain industries. The very first superannuation scheme was introduced in the 19th century.

Is superannuation paid on overtime?

As the Australian Taxation Office explains, there are times when superannuation is paid on overtime and times when it isn’t.

Here is the ATO’s summary:

Payment type Is superannuation paid?
Overtime hours – award stipulates ordinary hours to be worked and employee works additional hours for which they are paid overtime rates No
Overtime hours – agreement prevails over award No
Agreement supplanting award removes distinction between ordinary hours and other hours Yes – all hours worked
No ordinary hours of work stipulated Yes – all hours worked
Casual employee: shift loadings Yes
Casual employee: overtime payments No
Casual employee whose hours are paid at overtime rates due to a ‘bandwidth’ clause No
Piece-rates – no ordinary hours of work stipulated Yes
Overtime component of earnings based on hourly-driving-rate method stipulated in award No

Can my employer use money from my superannuation account?

No, your employer can’t touch the money that is paid into your superannuation account.

What will the superannuation fund do with my money?

Your money will be invested in an investment option of your choosing.

What is lost superannuation?

Lost superannuation refers to savings in an account that you’ve forgotten about. This can happen if you’ve opened several different accounts over the years while moving from job to job.

What are personal contributions?

A personal contribution is when you make an extra payment into your superannuation account. The difference between personal contributions and salary sacrifices is that the former comes out of your after-tax income, while the latter comes out of your pre-tax income.

How do you get superannuation?

You’re automatically entitled to superannuation if:

  • You’re over 18 and earn more than $450 before tax in a calendar month
  • You’re under 18, you work more than 30 hours per week and you earn more than $450 before tax in a calendar month

Is superannuation compulsory?

Superannuation is compulsory. Generally speaking, it can’t be touched until you’re at least 55 years old.