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Learn more about term deposits

How do term deposits work?

Whether you’re a saver with one of the big four banks, or with a credit union, building society or alternative bank (an Authorised Deposit-taking Institution, or ADI), term deposits still work in the same general way. 

It starts with an agreement to invest a sum of money with the bank (the deposit) for a certain period of time (the term). The bank will then pay you interest on this amount at a predetermined fixed interest rate over time. Generally, the more money you deposit, and the longer the term length you choose, the higher the potential rate of return you may be able to enjoy on your investment - a short term deposit may not offer as high an interest rate as a longer term deposit. 

You won’t be able to easily access the money in your term deposit until it “reaches maturity” at the end of the fixed term. You then have the option to withdraw your money along with the interest you’ve earned, or you could reinvest the money for another new term to further grow your wealth (a rollover). If you want to access your money early, you may need to provide a number of days notice, and may also need to pay a fee.

The interest earned on your term deposit may be paid at maturity. Alternatively, it may be paid monthly, quarterly, or annually into another bank account to help support your household budget. Sometimes the interest can be added onto your term deposit to earn compound interest, though these term deposits may have lower interest rates.

Before you apply for a term deposit, it’s important to compare options from the big four banks as well as other banks, to make sure you choose an option with a competitive interest rate and features that should suit your financial situation.

It’s also important to compare the options when your term deposit reaches maturity, so you can decide whether it would be better for you to roll your deposit over for another term, switch to another bank, or withdraw your money and interest earnings.

Term deposits are relatively low-risk when compared to many other investments. They're also guaranteed by the Australian Government as part of the Financial Claims Scheme for up to $250,000 per account holder per ADI.

What to look for in a term deposit

Whether you’re comparing term deposits from the big four banks or other financial institutions, the features and benefits to consider include:

  • Interest rate: Indicates the potential return on your investment. Longer term deposits often have higher interest rates than shorter term deposits, meaning you can potentially earn more interest on your savings.
  • Minimum deposit: The smallest amount of money you’ll need to open a term deposit.
  • Term: How long you agree to deposit your money with the bank until your deposit reaches maturity. The longer you deposit your money with the bank, the more interest you can potentially earn.
  • Features: Extra benefits offered with some term deposits, including:
    • Automatic maturity rollover: At the end of the term, your money can be automatically deposited again for the same term.
    • Early withdrawal: Most term deposits don’t let you access your money until the term is up. However, some term deposits will let you withdraw your money early, though you’ll often need to provide advance notice, pay a fee and/or accept a lower interest rate.
    • Joint application: Open a term deposit with a partner.
    • Interest payment frequency: How often interest will be calculated and paid on your deposit. Options may include annually, semi-annually, quarterly, monthly, fortnightly, weekly or at maturity.

Why choose a term deposit from the big four banks?

If you already have an account with one of the big four banks, one of their term deposits could offer a convenient way to grow your savings. Because your bank will already have many of your details, opening a term deposit should be relatively simple. You may be able to transfer money straight from your existing savings or transaction accounts into your term deposit. Once it reaches maturity, you may be able to transfer your interest earnings straight back.

Because the big four banks offer a wide range of financial services, you may be able to not only apply for a term deposit, but any other loans and financial products you require. Plus, because these banks have branches located throughout Australia, it should be relatively simple to meet someone in person (or on the phone, or online) to manage your term deposit, no matter where you are in Australia.

How to compare bank interest rates in Australia

One quick and simple way to compare term deposit interest rates from Australia’s leading banks and other ADIs is to use a comparison website like RateCity. Enter your minimum deposit and minimum term length, and look at which term deposit products may suit your needs.

While a lot of people look for term deposits with high interest rates, there are other term deposit features to also consider. Consider checking the benefits, terms and conditions of different term deposits before choosing a term deposit account.

A quick and simple way to compare the options at RateCity without reading too much fine print is to check out the Real Time Ratings™ of different term deposits. These ratings combine the interest you could earn from a term deposit with the flexibility offered by its features and benefits, and are automatically updated if an ADI makes changes to the term deposits it offers.

If a term deposit’s Real Time Rating™ stays near the top of the RateCity Leaderboards for six months or longer, it may become eligible for one of the coveted RateCity Awards. If you see a term deposit offer with one of these badges, you can be confident it’s one of the top-rated term deposits on the market.

Frequently asked questions

What are Bendigo Bank’s business term deposit rates?

Bendigo Bank offers businesses two types of term deposits - Standard and Gold. You can open a Standard term deposit by investing at least the specified minimum amount for a flexible investment period ranging up to five years. A Gold term deposit requires a larger minimum investment over a fixed term, which is currently one year.

However, you can’t add funds to a Standard term deposit after the first seven days, and any withdrawals before the review date need to be done on request. If you’ve opened a Gold term deposit, you can add more funds over the year, but withdrawals may be restricted just as with a standard term deposit.

A Standard term deposit’s interest rate depends on the amount deposited, the frequency of compounding interest, and the deposit term. Further, this interest rate may apply irrespective of how often interest is compounded. On the other hand, Gold term deposits usually offer a flat interest rate no matter how large or small the deposit, with the interest likely compounded every quarter. 

To find out about Bendigo Bank’s current business term deposit rates, visit the banks’ website.

What are ME Bank’s term deposit interest rates for businesses?

ME Bank offers a variety of rates for business term deposits, depending on the amount of time you choose. You won’t have to pay any set-up or account-keeping fees for your business deposit. You can invest as little as $5,000 or as much as $2 million with a term duration between one and 60 months. 

The ME business term deposit rate is determined based on the term and when you wish to receive interest payments. 

While rates are set by the lender, you should always check with ME Bank to find out what the term deposit rates are, and which are applicable to your situation. 

What are the deposit rates offered by St. George?

If you’re looking to invest your spare business cash, St. George Bank has a variety of term deposit options. You can choose from terms between one month and five years. St. George Bank business term deposit rates vary depending on the duration. 

You can open an account for $1000 to a maximum amount of $2,000,000. You can also opt to receive the interest amount either in your St. George Bank account or another bank account, either by cheque or direct credit.

On maturity, you can automatically rollover the term deposit or close the account. You also can close the account before maturity, however, you’ll need to give 31 days’ notice to the bank.

What are the current AMP Bank business term deposit rates?

Term deposit interest rates are subject to frequent market change. To view the most current AMP Bank business term deposit rates, it’s best to view the provider’s website directly

If you want to earn competitive rates on your fixed deposits for an amount between $100,000 and $500,000, AMP Bank deposit may worth considering. Term deposits with AMP Bank allow you to earn reliable returns for different tenures between one month and five years.

You can also choose when you want to receive the interest; monthly, quarterly, or half-yearly. If you wait until maturity, you’ll earn the full interest.

AMP Bank term deposits do not charge monthly maintenance fees. If you’re at least 13 years and an Australian citizen with a local address, you’re eligible for AMP Bank term deposit.

Can I open a NAB foreign currency term deposit?

If you are looking to bank some funds in a foreign currency and earn interest, you could consider a NAB foreign currency term deposit. The NAB foreign currency term deposit gives you a fixed interest rate for your chosen term but is only available for amounts equivalent to $100,000 (in your chosen currency) or more. 

NAB accepts deposits in a range of foreign currencies and interest is calculated daily. The maximum term of the deposit is 365 days and NAB does not charge a monthly fee for foreign currency term deposits. 

If you live in Australia, you can get more details by calling 1800 865 155. If you are outside the country, you can email investorFX@nab.com.au for more information. 

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.

What are Suncorp Bank's term deposit rates for businesses?

A term deposit with Suncorp Bank allows you to lock away a specific amount of money at a fixed interest rate for a nominated period. You will need to make a minimum investment of $5,000 and up to $2,000,000, and can select a period from one month to 36 for your investment. Term deposit investments ranging from one to 12 months are based on interest paid at maturity, while investments from 12 to 36 months are based on interest paid annually. 

While the interest rate will differ based on your investment amount and term duration, here are some of the most popular Suncorp Bank business term deposit rates as of January 2021: 

Term $5,000-$99,999 $100,000-$999,999 $1,000,000-$2,000,000
4 Months  0.50% p.a. 0.55% p.a. 0.60% p.a. 
7 Months  0.55% p.a.  0.60% p.a.  0.65% p.a.
12 Months  0.50% p.a.  0.55% p.a.  0.60% p.a. 
24 Months  0.65% p.a.  0.70% p.a.  0.75% p.a.

Please note that these interest rates are effective from 13th November 2020 and are subject to change without notice. Moreover, if you choose from an early withdrawal, the interest rate will be adjusted, and other charges are likely to be applied. 

 

What are Bankwest business term deposit rates?

Looking to invest some of your business funds with a fixed interest rate? You could consider a business term deposit with Bankwest. Bankwest calls these accounts Business TD Direct, and accepts deposits of amounts between $10,000 and $2,000,000. 

When it comes to Bankwest term deposit rates for business, you can find information here. If you choose a term of over a year, you can ask for interest to be paid monthly, quarterly, biannually or annually. The Bankwest business term deposit rates do, however, vary based on the term length you choose. 

If you need the funds before your term deposit’s maturity date, you need to give 31 days notice. Also withdrawing the funds will impact the interest you earn.  

You can contact a Bankwest business banking specialist by calling on 13 7000 and get more details about business term deposits. 

How long is a term deposit?

A term deposit refers to when you lock your money in an account for a certain period of time and at a specified interest rate. You will not be able to access your money for the length of the agreed term without incurring a penalty fee.

A long term deposit generally refers to a term deposit that lasts for more than 12 months – which in some cases may be as long as 10 years.

Usually, the longer you store your money, the better the interest rate you’ll get, so a long term deposit will tend to pay higher interest than a short term deposit.

At the end of the term, you can roll over the money (plus the interest you’ve made during the term), or you can withdraw it all.

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.

Which bank has the best term deposit rates?

If you’ve been shopping around for a term deposit, you might be wondering which bank has the best term deposit rates.

Term deposit rates will generally be affected by the amount you choose to deposit and whether you opt for a short or long term deposit.

Longer term deposits tend to have higher interest rates than shorter terms. The trade-off for earning a higher interest rate on your term deposit is that you can’t access your funds for the duration of the term deposit.

When comparing which bank has the best term deposit rates, it pays to do your research and compare how your funds will fare over the short and long term.

Unlike home loans or savings accounts which give you the option of fixed or variable rates, term deposits are always fixed, which means you get a guaranteed amount of interest over the term of the deposit.

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.

What is a term deposit?

A term deposit is an investment savings account. A term deposit usually pays a higher rate of interest than a regular savings account, with the interest rate fixed for the term (or duration) of the deposit.

You can open a term deposit account for one month or up to five years depending on your investment goal, and invest as little as $500 to start earning a profit.

With a term deposit, you get to decide how much you want to invest (the principal or deposit), for how long (the term or duration) and the frequency of interest payments.

A term deposit represents a secure form of investment, unlike trading in shares or purchasing real estate. And a term deposit up to $250,000 is protected by the government guarantee.

Can you add money to a term deposit?

When you open a term deposit, you agree to lock your money away for a set period and earn a fixed amount of interest during that period.

Where everyday transaction accounts give you the flexibility to deposit and withdraw funds as frequently as you like, term deposits trade flexibility for higher interest rates.

Once your funds are deposited in a term deposit, they’re fixed for the length of the term, meaning you can’t add additional funds midway through the term.

When the term deposit matures, you may have the option to add additional funds and roll the funds over for another term, or you may choose to withdraw the money at that point.

If you have extra funds to invest, you could consider opening an additional short term deposit account or a high-interest savings account.

It’s worth noting that you can withdraw the funds midway through the term, but a penalty is likely to apply.

What is a term deposit rate?

The term deposit rate is the agreed interest rate for your term deposit. It remains fixed for the term of the deposit.

For example, if you deposit $5,000 for 12 months at a 2.5 per cent term deposit rate, that 2.5 per cent term deposit rate will be fixed for the entire 12 months and won’t change until the term matures.

The term deposit rate is one of the most important factors to consider when comparing your term deposit options. The general rule of thumb is that the longer the term, the higher the term deposit rate.

Term deposits are a popular type of investment because they’re safe and provide reliable returns.

The return you get on your term deposit will be determined by the amount you initially invest, the amount of time you choose to invest it for, and the term deposit rate.

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 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 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.

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 term deposit account in a bank?

A term deposit account in a bank is a type of investment where you lock away a portion of your savings for a fixed period in return for earning a set amount of interest.

Opening a term deposit account in a bank is a safe way to earn a stable return on your investment of cash.

Term deposit accounts can be a good way to give your savings an extra boost without the need to actively watch or manage your funds during the term of the deposit.

Term deposit accounts in a bank are a popular type of investment because they’re safe and there’s very little risk that you could lose your money.

If you make a term deposit of up to $250,000 with an authorised deposit-taking institution, it’s guaranteed by the Australian government, which means there’s virtually no risk of losing your money and you’re guaranteed return.

Interest rates vary depending on the length of the term, the amount you deposit and the bank you choose.