$13 billion up for grabs

$13 billion up for grabs

How do you lose $13 billion? Quite easily it would seem, if Australia’s “lost” superannuation is anything to go by.

That tidy sum is the amount languishing in unclaimed superannuation, awaiting collection by forgetful employees. It’s almost 20 years since the Keating government introduced the Superannuation Guarantee scheme, under which employers must make compulsory superannuation contributions on behalf of their employees, and now one in two Australians has lost or unclaimed superannuation.

Losing track of some of your super is surprisingly easy – it may happen when you change jobs, have more than one job at a time, change names or simply forget how many super accounts you have.

The Australian Tax Office makes a distinction between “lost” and “unclaimed” super. You may lose some of your super if you change your name, address or job. A super fund is considered “lost” if your account is inactive for five years, if the balance drops below $200 or if your super fund can’t find you.

Unclaimed super, on the other hand, is money belonging to a member who is over retirement age but has not been claimed and the super fund cannot contact them.

Thankfully, tracking down and laying claim to your lost super isn’t as hard as you might think. In the case of lost super, your name would have been reported by your super fund to the ATO, and listed on the lost members register (LMR). A member is recorded as “lost” when their account has been inactive for two or more years and at least two letters addressed to that member are returned undelivered. You can search for your lost super online using the ATO’s SuperSeeker tool or by calling 13 28 65.

If you have reached retirement age and your super remains unclaimed, your name would be listed on the ATO’s unclaimed super money register, and can also be tracked down on the SuperSeeker website.

If the amount in your lost super account is less than $200, you can withdraw it without paying any cash. A good idea may be to put that amount into a term deposit and add to it over time for extra income stream. At RateCity, you can search, compare and apply from over 8000 term deposit accounts.

Under new legislation introduced into the House of Representatives last month, you can now transfer any lost superannuation electronically, without having to fill out numerous paper forms. This can save you time and effort, so claiming your share of lost super has never been easier.

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Based on your details, you can compare the following Term Deposits

Max rate

0.35%

p.a for 6 months

Min. deposit

$50,000

Company
Delphi Bank
Interest rate

0.35%

p.a for 6 months

Next rate increased

Features
Automatic Maturity Rollover
Early Withdrawal Available
Is Covered By Government Gurantee
Joint Application Available
Maturity Alert By Email
Maturity Alert By Phone
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1.60

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Max rate

0.60%

p.a for 24 months

Min. deposit

$5,000

Company
Horizon Bank
Interest rate

0.40%

p.a for 6 months

Next rate increased

0.50%

p.a for 12 months

Features
Automatic Maturity Rollover
Early Withdrawal Available
Is Covered By Government Gurantee
Joint Application Available
Maturity Alert By Email
Maturity Alert By Phone
Real Time Rating™

1.78

/ 5
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Learn more about term deposits

Can you take a term deposit out early?

If you are considering a term deposit, you may be wondering if you can take out your money early. It is possible to break a term deposit, but it will cost you both time and money.

Many banks require 31 days’ notice if you wish to break a term deposit. This means that if you need money urgently for an unexpected expense, it may not be worth breaking your term deposit. Make sure to read the fine print to see if this wait period applies to the term deposit you are considering.

You will also most likely need to pay a breakage fee in order to access your funds, and you may also incur a reduced amount of interest. All of this information – including the fee amounts – should be available in the term deposit product disclosure statement (PDS), so ensure that you read the fine print before committing.

How safe is a term deposit?

You may have heard that a term deposit is a type of investment, different to a traditional savings account. All investment comes with inherent risk, so it’s important to know how safe a term deposit is before committing.

Term deposits offer a fixed interest rate which is guaranteed, so you do not have to worry about rising or falling interest rates when investing. You can add up how much interest you will earn over your fixed term, and this will be paid into your account per the conditions of your term deposit.

Term deposits with authorised deposit-taking institutions are also guaranteed for up to $250,000 by the Financial Claims Scheme, so you don’t have to worry about the bank collapsing either.

The only inherent risk of a term deposit is if you may need to break it early. If this happens, you will need to pay a breakage fee and possibly sacrifice some of your interest as a penalty. But if you know you can invest a certain amount of money for a fixed period of time, you can rest assured that a term deposit is a safe investment option.

How often do term deposit rates change?

One of the advantages of a term deposit is that this type of investment enjoys a fixed interest rate. This means that the interest rate that you have signed up for will not change during the period of your term deposit, regardless of rising or falling market interest rates.

However, it is important to be aware of the end of your term deposit. Once your term ends, whether this is in three months or three years, many banks will default to rolling over your deposit into a new term, sometimes with a lower interest rate. Once your term deposit rolls over, you will then be locked into this new fixed interest rate for another term.

Make sure to use the grace period at the end of your term to your advantage. Shop around for a competitive interest rate and reinvest your money accordingly.

Can I break a term deposit?

One of the main components of a term deposit is your agreement that you won’t access your money until your term has expired. However, life can hand us unexpected expenses, and you might be asking yourself, “Can I break a term deposit?”

In most cases, you are able to withdraw money early from your term deposit, but it will usually come with a penalty. The penalty amount will vary from bank to bank, which is why it’s important to understand your deposit’s early withdrawal policy.

You should also be aware that some financial institutions enforce a waiting period for early withdrawals. This waiting period is typically up to 31 days and commences after you submit a request to withdraw your funds.

Is a term deposit an asset?

The short answer is yes – a term deposit is, indeed, an asset.

Regardless that the funds are locked away for a fixed period, when it comes to the balance sheet, it’s considered an asset.

Aside from being an asset, term deposits are also cash investments which are held at financial institutions like banks or credit unions.

Term deposits work by investing a set amount of cash in a bank account for a fixed period at a fixed interest rate.

When you deposit your money in a term deposit, you’re agreeing to lock it away for a predetermined period, ranging from short-term periods of one month all the way to long-term periods of up to 10 years.

Term deposits are a popular way to boost your bottom line by investing your money and increasing the value of your asset.

Can children have term deposit accounts?

It’s many parents’ wish to invest money for their child early, so you might be asking the question, “Can children have term deposit accounts?”

The short answer is yes. You can open a term deposit with funds that will be used to support your child. There are two options when it comes to opening a term deposit for your child. The first is that you open the term deposit in your name rather than theirs. Opening the deposit in your name means that you have full control over the deposit and can withdraw money by signing a request.

You can also open a deposit in your child’s name, but you should consider waiting until your child can sign his or her name, as well as understand their term deposit account. If your child isn’t old enough to sign a request for withdrawal, you won’t have access to withdraw the funds if you need to.

How do term deposits work?

Term deposits are flexible, low-risk, and earn you interest over time. But before you apply to open a term deposit, you might be wondering: how do term deposits work?

A term deposit is an agreement you make with a financial institution. This agreement will specify a certain amount of money that you will give the bank for a certain amount of time. In return, you’ll earn a fixed amount of interest on your deposit throughout your term.

Term deposits work as an exchange between a financial institution and an individual. You can think of your term deposit as a loan to the bank. Because you’ve loaned the bank your money, they’re willing to pay you interest on your deposit.

Are term deposits safe?

Term deposits can be a great way to build your savings, but before you invest, you might have one important question. Are term deposits safe?

When it comes to investing your money, you can choose between high-risk and low-risk options. High-risk options tend to have a better potential payout, but you also risk earning no profit at all or even losing your original investment.

Low-risk options tend to earn less profit than high-risk options, but they’re also safer, with little to no risk of losing money. Term deposits fall into the low-risk category.

Term deposits are safe because they’re low-risk, but they’re also protected by the Australian government’s Financial Claims Scheme. This government guarantee will insure your deposit for up to $250,000 per person, per institution, meaning that even if the bank collapses, the government will reimburse you for your deposit.

Are term deposits worth it?

Ultimately, whether term deposits will work for you will depend on your particular financial needs.

Term deposits can be a great way to get your money working for you. By locking it away and forgetting about it for a period of time, it can earn interest for you. If you have the interest paid on a regular basis, rather than at maturity, you can either have some extra spending money or you can reinvest it into the term deposit to compound.

Of course, locking your money in a term deposit means you cannot access it for the length of the term, without paying a penalty for early withdrawal. This can remove the temptation to spend the money, while it also earns interest.

What is a fixed term deposit?

A fixed term deposit is a safe and stable way to earn a fixed return on your cash investment.

Fixed term deposits are essentially bank accounts where you lock your money away for a fixed period and earn a fixed interest rate on those funds.

Fixed term deposits can be both short term, which is usually anything under 12 months, or long term, which can be up to 10 years.

Once the fixed term has ended, the bank or financial institution will give you back your initial deposit plus any interest you earn during the fixed term period.

Depending on the type of fixed term deposit account you open, when the term matures, you may have the option of rolling the funds over for a new term or withdrawing the funds.

Unlike other savings or transaction accounts which offer variable interest rates and flexible features, fixed term deposits offer fixed interest rates, which means the amount of interest you earn will remain the same during the term of the deposit.

What can a Westpac business term deposit offer me?

If you have a business registered in Australia, you can earn fixed returns on your funds with a Westpac business term deposit. These accounts are offered for a minimum investment amount of $50,000.

Westpac business term deposit interest rates vary based on the term and interest payment frequency that you select.

If you are a Westpac customer and use online banking, you can apply for a Westpac business term deposit online. If you don't have a Westpac account currently, you need to speak with a business banker to discuss your term and repayment options. You can find details on this webpage and can ‘request a callback’ from someone in the business team.

If you are an existing customer you may be eligible for a bonus rate on top of the standard Westpac bank business term deposit rates. You can log in to your bank account to check whether your banking records qualify you for extra interest.

If you open a deposit and need to access your locked funds before the maturity of your term deposit, you must provide 31 days of notice, except in cases of hardship.

Are term deposit accounts subject to capital gains tax?

The tax you pay on a profit generated by a term deposit is not classified as capital gains tax (CGT). CGT applies to an asset (or investment), such as real estate or shares, where you either make a capital gain or a capital loss.

Interest earned on a term deposit is considered income though, and would need to be included in your annual income tax return.

The interest can be declared in the year the investment matures, or for the financial year it was credited to your account.

This also applies if you roll over your investment into a new term; you are still required to declare the interest earned at the rollover date (whatever financial year that falls in).

Can I negotiate a fixed term deposit rate with the bank?

“Can I negotiate a fixed term deposit rate with the bank?” you may be wondering.

Many banks welcome negotiation when it comes to term deposit rates, especially with deposits of over $100,000. Even if your deposit is lower than $100,000, it may be worth a discussion with your bank.

Negotiating with your bank could secure you a higher fixed rate, which will earn you extra interest over your term. You may also discover bonuses or special offers you can acquire through your bank.

Securing the highest interest rate possible is the key to making the most of your term deposit. You may have compared deposits online or discussed your options with a financial adviser, but you also might be wondering about negotiation in order to get a better rate.

How do you calculate term deposit interest?

If you’re ready to open a term deposit, there’s a lot you’ve already figured out. You’ve decided on the length of your term and found the best interest rate, but there’s something you still might be wondering. How do you calculate term deposit interest?

One of the easiest ways to calculate term deposit interest is by using a term deposits calculator. However, you can also estimate your total earnings on your own.

A fixed interest rate signifies what percentage of your original balance your term deposit will earn annually. For example, a deposit of $1,000 at an interest rate of 3 per cent will earn three per cent of $1,000 annually – meaning you’ll earn $30 of interest each year.

You can estimate your interest using three variables. Multiply together your deposit amount, interest rate, and term length and you’ll approximate the interest a deposit will earn. For example, if you invest in a term deposit for $5,000 at an interest rate of 3 per cent for two years, your interest would total $300.