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Learn more about term deposits
Low-maintenance and low-risk, term deposits are a popular way to earn interest and grow your savings.
Term deposits offer a range of benefits, one of which is being covered by a government guarantee. This guarantee ensures that your money is safe and your savings are secure.
What is a term deposit?
A term deposit is an agreement you make with a financial institution that allows you to deposit a certain amount of money for a specified amount of time.
You can think of a term deposit as a loan to the bank. The money that you loan the bank earns interest during your term, and at the end of your term, you can collect your original deposit along with the interest it has earned.
It’s important to understand that investing in a term deposit means you’re not able to access your money during your term. For example, if you open a 12-month term deposit, you cannot withdraw or deposit and money for one year (unless you’re willing to pay a penalty fee).
What are the benefits of term deposits?
One of the most beneficial advantages of a term deposit is the flexibility it offers. With term deposits, you’re able to choose how much you invest, and for how long. This flexibility will allow you to invest only what you can afford, and to invest only for as long as you prefer.
Another benefit of term deposits is the interest your balance will earn. Term deposits tend to offer higher interest rates than other bank accounts, particularly if you’re investing a large amount of money for an extended period of time. For example, you’ll likely be able to secure a higher interest rate for a $500,000 term deposit than for a $5,000 deposit.
Term deposits can also help you manage your spending so that you can make a large purchase, like a car or house. Because you’re not able to access your deposit for a specific amount of time, it will keep you from spending that portion of your savings.
Are term deposits covered by a government guarantee?
The Australian government’s Financial Claims Scheme covers term deposits opened with authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs), but there are a few caps and restrictions that you should understand.
The first is the $250,000 cap. This cap means that up to $250,000 per person per institution is covered by the government guarantee. It’s important to note that this cap applies per institution, which means that deposits housed in separate institutions will each be covered up to $250,000.
What are the benefits of being covered by the government guarantee?
The most significant benefit of the government guarantee is stability. When the government guarantee was introduced, it sought to provide financial system stability in Australia, and the guarantee continues to promote this stability.
It’s unlikely that your deposit will ever need to be covered by the government guarantee scheme, but it gives peace of mind to customers and makes sure they feel secure in trusting financial institutions with their savings.
How do I know if my term deposit is covered by a government guarantee?
The government guarantee is designed for term deposits of up to $250,000 in designated financial institutions, but if you want to know more about how your money is covered, it’s best to talk with your bank or credit union. They’ll be able to discuss your particular deposit and what the guarantee means for your money.
Are other types of accounts covered by the government guarantee?
The government guarantee scheme covers more than just term deposits. The scheme also insures savings accounts, transaction accounts and trustee accounts, just to name a few.
How long will the government guarantee my deposit?
Your account is covered by the government guarantee for as long as your deposit remains in your account. Whether you’ve opened a term deposit for six months or six years, the government guarantee will apply throughout your entire term.
What else should I know when I open a term deposit?
It’s important to understand how your money is covered by the government guarantee, but you should also be aware of other term deposit features, such as automatic rollover and early withdrawal fees.
Automatic rollover refers to the bank’s policy of automatically rolling your money into a new term deposit if you don’t respond at the end of your term. Automatic rollover can be a problem because the term deposit your money is automatically deposited into might not be the best deal on the market. Setting yourself a reminder for when your term ends is a good idea to prevent automatic rollover.
You should also talk with your bank about their early withdrawal fees before opening a term deposit account. An early withdrawal fee usually applies if you need to access your deposit balance before your term has expired. These fees vary from institution to institution, so it’s best to discuss the early withdrawal policy with your chosen bank.
Property Personal Finance Writer
A property and personal finance writer, Nick Bendel covers property, loans, credit cards, superannuation, and other bank products. Nick has previously written for The Adviser, Mortgage Business, Lifehacker, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, and InvestorDaily, and loves getting elbow-deep in the latest ABS, APRA and RBA data.
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Frequently asked questions
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 covered by the Australian government guarantee?
Yes, term deposits are covered by the Australian government guarantee.
Under the Financial Claims Scheme, the Australian government guarantees term deposits up to $250,000, capped at one person, per financial institution.
This means that your term deposit (if it’s $250,000 or less) is protected in the unlikely event the bank, building society or credit union collapses.
If you have more than $250,000 in a term deposit with one the one bank, for example, then only up to $250,000 of your principal is covered.
If you’ve got more than $250,000 and you wish to invest in a term deposit, you could consider dividing your money between term deposits and banks (limiting each deposit to $250,000 per bank).
That way all of your deposits are protected by the Australian government guarantee and you will not suffer any financial losses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Can students make term deposits?
If you are a student who has managed to save some money and are looking for a safe investment option, you may be considering a term deposit. Most term deposits (and other bank accounts) are open to anyone who is at least 18 years old.
There are also some term deposits open to younger students, some even without an age limit. These term deposits are usually opened on the student’s behalf, by their parent or guardian.
A term deposit is generally a safe investment option, especially if you want to make sure you can’t touch your savings for a set period of time. If you are 18 or older, shop around for a competitive interest rate before committing. If you are under 18, speak to your parent or guardian to get started.
What is the best term deposit rate in Australia?
If you’re ready to add a term deposit to your financial strategy, there’s likely one question on your mind: what is the best term deposit rate in Australia?
Unfortunately, there’s no one right answer to this question.
That’s because if you want to find the best term deposit rate in Australia, you first need to understand the nature of interest rates themselves. The financial market is always moving, with interest rates moving up and down and special offers being introduced and withdrawn.
As a result, whatever the best term deposit rate in Australia is today might not be tomorrow.
So to find the best term deposit rate in Australia, it’s best to ignore the past and to instead focus on today’s market. Compare term deposits to find out the current rates and find the right term deposit for you.
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.
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.
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 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.
What is a short term deposit?
Sometimes you only want to tie up your money for a short period, maybe because you want to make a quick return on a large sum, or just to have more flexibility and access to your money. That’s where a short term deposit can come in.
Short term deposits are usually less than 12 months (e.g. 30 days, 90 days, six months or 12 months), though you will still not be able to access your money for the length of the term without incurring a penalty fee.
At the end of the term, you can roll your deposit over, or you can withdraw it. An advantage of short term deposits is that you can take advantage of higher interest rates with a different financial institution, if they are available.
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.