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If you’re looking to give your savings an extra push without making a complicated investment, a short term deposit might be the answer.

Short term deposits can be an effective way to give your savings a short-term boost without the need to lock your funds away for years on end.

Short term deposits are a low-risk way to make your money work for you and get a stable return on your investment.

What is a short term deposit

Short term deposits are a safe way to grow your savings. If you’re looking to invest and grow your savings for a period of up to 12 months, then a short term deposit may be worth exploring.

A short term deposit is essentially a sum of you money you invest for a short period of time at an agreed interest rate. At the end of the short term deposit period, the bank or lender will return the original amount you invested plus any interest you’ve earned on that money. Depending on the account, when the short term deposit finishes, you may have the option of rolling the funds over for another term.

Short term deposits vary in time, including 30 days (one month), 60 days (two months), 90 days (three months), 120 days (four months), 180 days (six months) and 12 months (one year). From time to time, lenders offer special terms like five-month special term deposits. When comparing short term deposits, you may notice that each term has a different interest rate. The general rule of thumb is that the longer the term, the higher the interest rate.

A short term deposit can be an appealing investment because they’re considered low-risk and provide a stable return. It’s worth noting that most short term deposits charge penalties if you choose to withdraw the funds before the short term deposit matures. To avoid any unnecessary penalties, consider both your short- and long-term needs before you lock away your savings for a fixed period of time.

Short term deposits appeal to some savers for a whole range of reasons, including:

  • If you’re unsure whether you’ll need your money at some point in the near future
  • You have a short-term savings goal to spend on a holiday or a house deposit
  • You’re unsure if interest rates will rise
  • You’ve never invested in a term deposit before and want to try it out
  • You’ve inherited a large amount of money and want to lock it away until you need it
  • You’d like to invest in several short term deposits with many different time terms

Whatever your reasons, find a term that suits your needs and an interest rate that gives you the greatest return. It always pays to do your research, so before you stash away your savings, compare your options.

How to compare short term deposits

If you’ve managed to amass some savings and you’re looking for an easy way to get a guaranteed return, short term deposits may be the answer. When comparing short term deposits, you’ll ideally want to find an offer that gives you the biggest bang for your buck and helps you grow your savings by paying the most interest.

Here’s what to look out for when comparing short term deposits.

The interest rate you earn on your short term deposit is essentially your return on investment. The percentage advertised is the amount of interest you’ll earn over the life of the short term deposit. When comparing short term deposits, look out for the ‘next interest rate’, which is the rate you can earn by depositing your savings for a longer term. If you don’t need access to your funds, investing for a longer period may earn you more interest.

When it comes to comparing interest, it’s not just about the rate. Take notice of whether the interest compounds monthly or at the end of the term. Short term deposits that compound interest monthly will usually earn you more interest over the term of the deposit. Of course, this varies depending on the lender and the amount you invest.

Some short term deposits usually have a minimum and maximum deposit amount. In most cases, the minimum deposit is $1,000 and the maximum differs between accounts. The interest rate may differ depending on the amount you invest, so compare your options to ensure you get the best rate of return.

If you open a short term deposit with another bank, check that you don’t need to open any additional accounts and that you can easily deposit and withdraw funds between banks.

When you invest in short term deposits, you’re agreeing to lock away your savings for a fixed period. If you need to access your funds before the maturity date, you’ll most likely be penalised. While it’s not ideal to prematurely withdraw your funds from short-term deposits, take notice of the charges so you know where you stand.

Savers looking for a more flexible way to stash away their cash might also want to consider high-interest savings accounts or savings accounts that offer bonus interest.

Frequently asked questions

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.

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.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 is the best interest rate for a fixed term deposit?

The best interest rate for a fixed term deposit changes all the time, as interest rates move up and down and banks compete with each other to win market share.

To find the best interest rate for a fixed term deposit, it’s helpful to understand how interest rates are applied to term deposits.

There are three factors that determine the fixed interest of term deposits:

  1. The size of your deposit
  2. The duration of the term
  3. The frequency of interest paid

Term deposits vary in duration from one month to five years or more. Interest rates generally work on a sliding scale; shorter terms get a lower rate, longer terms get a higher rate.

Here are a couple of examples of how interest is applied to term deposits.

  • A $10,000 term deposit taken out over 12 months, with interest paid at maturity, might receive a fixed interest rate of 2.20 per cent.
  • A $10,000 fixed term deposit taken out over 12 months, with interest paid quarterly, might receive a fixed interest rate of 2.00 per cent.

Using the size of your deposit, the duration of the term and how often you want to be paid interest, you can shop around for the best interest rate for a fixed term deposit.

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.

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.

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 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 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.

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. 

Are term deposits compounded?

Term deposits can be compounded, depending on what you choose to do with the interest.

There are two ways to receive interest from a term deposit: either a lump sum at maturity; or paid on a regular basis, usually monthly. If you get your interest paid regularly, you can get it paid into a transaction account, or back into the term deposit account. By using this second option, you’re getting interest paid on your interest. In other words, it’s compounding.

Having the money paid into a transaction account means you can access it for your day-to-day spending, while compounding the interest means you get a better overall return on your investment. Both have advantages, depending on your needs, but be aware that some term deposit accounts that pay interest regularly may offer a lower interest rate to offset the effect of compounding.

What are the Commonwealth Bank business term deposit rates?

You can invest surplus funds in a Commonwealth Bank (CBA) business term deposit for between one month and five years. The minimum deposit amount required by Commonwealth Bank is $5,000. The CBA business term deposit interest rates are based on the length of time or term you set when first investing your funds. Each term attracts different interest rates.

When it comes to other fees, there are no establishment fees or ongoing account keeping fees for business term deposits. The CBA business term deposit rates are fixed, so you know the exact amount you will receive on maturity. But suppose you want to withdraw the amount before maturity. In that case, you need to give 31-days’ notice and may also have to pay an admin fee, and the interest rate may also be reduced.

You can open a CBA business term deposit if you’re over 18 years and possess a Tax File Number (TFN) and Australian Business Number (ABN) for your business.

You can find the current rates on CBA's website.