Investing in a term deposit is a safe and simple way of making your money earn money. It’s a less risky option than trading on the stock market, and more accessible (for most) than real estate.
There’s no shortage of term deposits to choose from either. Which is why the best place to start looking for one is on an online comparison site like RateCity.
One of the first things to consider when shopping around for a term deposit is how much you have to invest. Some term deposits have minimum (and maximum) deposit requirements.
The next item on your checklist could be the term (or duration) you want for your deposit. To get the maximum benefit from a term deposit, you need to lock your money away and not touch it. Any withdrawals from a term deposit during the term may result in a penalty such as a reduction in the interest paid. This defeats the purpose of having a term deposit.
Another factor that will determine the interest rate you lock in is the frequency you want to be paid interest. At first glance, a term deposit might advertise a rate of 2.50 per cent for example. However, this might be the rate for interest paid at maturity. If you opt to have your interest paid quarterly, the actual fixed interest rate for that particular term deposit might be 2.30 per cent.
Once you’ve settled on the size of your deposit and the length of time you’re prepared to invest it, you can compare fixed interest rates on offer.
It’s a good idea to use an online term deposit calculator to forecast your approximate cash return. Seeing how much you could potentially earn might inspire you to invest extra money.
The calculator will also give you a ball-park figure to work with when comparing term deposits online. You could then apply this figure to your chosen term deposit.
Another benefit of online comparison – via a comparison site – is that bank deals will often be included in the line-up. These are special offers run for a limited time only.
What’s the alternative to an online comparison site?
How much spare time do you have? Multiply the number of banks, building societies and credit unions in Australia by the number of term deposit products each of them has to offer.
That’s a lot of information to analyse yourself, whereas an online comparison site does that for you. Comparing term deposits online via a comparison tool saves time and helps you make better choices.
How long should my term deposit be?
The duration of your term deposit will depend on how long you can afford to keep your money off-limits. A general rule for term deposits is: the longer the investment, the higher the rate of return.
A term deposit can be anywhere from one month up to five years or more in duration. The fixed rate of interest offered on the different terms can vary considerably.
Use the online term deposit calculator to work out the payoff for your chosen investment term.
How do I sign up for a term deposit?
A convenient feature of an online comparison site like RateCity is that it provides a direct link to each of the term deposits listed. Once you’ve compared online and made your choice, it’s very easy to sign-up.
You can apply for most term deposits online, or within the branch. To do this you would need the following information to complete the process:
- The required minimum deposit
- An Australian residential address
- Identification (passport, birth certificate, driver’s licence, etc)
- Your tax file number (TFN) or TFN exemption
How do I manage my term deposit?
A term deposit doesn’t need managing; your bank, credit union or building society will do this for you. However, there are a couple of housekeeping items to keep in mind:
- Early withdrawals: If you want to withdraw funds within the term, you might need to provide advance notice. Interest rate adjustments and/or administration fees may apply where funds are withdrawn prior to maturity.
- Automatic rollover at maturity: Most financial institutions will automatically renew your term deposit for the same fixed term as before at whatever interest rate happens to apply on the day of renewal.
It’s wise to pay close attention to the maturity date of your term deposit. Some providers send text or email alerts ahead of this time so that you’re prepared.
You can always update your preferred method for notifications via online access to your term deposit, over the phone or in a branch.
Once your term deposit matures, you have a few options including:
- Withdraw your money and close the term deposit
- Invest the term deposit for a new term with or without additional funds
- Shop around and open a new term deposit with another financial institution