Compare savings accounts to find the cheapest and most convenient way to make your money work for you.
When you’re searching for the best savings account to help you boost your bank balance for a strong financial future, finding the account with the best interest rate is only half the battle. Ongoing fees and hidden charges can quickly eat away at the money you save no matter how high the interest rate is, so it’s essential to consider fees and charges when searching for the cheapest savings account.
Let’s take a look at what you need to do to find the cheapest savings account that has all the features you need.
Find the cheapest savings accounts in Australia using the table below
What fees apply to savings accounts?
The main type of fee you need to keep an eye out for with savings account is an ongoing service fee. Usually applied monthly, this regular account-keeping fee might seem like a reasonably small amount on its own but it can quickly add up to a sizeable chunk of your savings balance over the course of a year. Even a monthly fee of $5 equates to $60 over the course of a year, so look for a savings account that charges no ongoing fees - there are plenty of suitable accounts available.
In some cases, savings accounts may come with ongoing service fees attached, but those fees can be waived if you satisfy certain conditions. For example, you may need to deposit a certain minimum amount into your account each month, or you may need to maintain a minimum balance in your account.
In other cases, you may need to link the savings account to a bank account from the same bank. This linked bank account could charge a monthly fee, which indirectly means your savings account has a monthly fee.
However, you should also read all the fine print attached to any savings account you are considering to ensure there are no other fees or charges attached. These may include:
An annual fee
In very rare cases, your bank may charge a service fee annually rather than monthly.
Paper statement fee
If you opt to receive paper account statements rather than electronic statements, you may need to pay a small fee.
Branch and staff-assisted fees
If you make a deposit or withdrawal at a branch, you may have to pay an additional fee.
Once you’re aware of all the fees and charges that apply to different savings accounts, you’ll be able to make an informed choice about which one is the cheapest.
How can I find the cheapest savings account?
As well as all the fees and charges that apply to an account, you should also consider the following features when comparing cheap savings accounts.
The standard variable interest rate
The interest rate you earn on your savings balance will obviously determine how quickly your balance will grow. Compare the standard variable interest rate on offer from different accounts to see which one comes out on top.
Introductory or bonus interest
Many savings accounts offer two types of interest: a standard interest rate and a bonus interest rate. In order to access the bonus interest rate you will usually need to satisfy certain conditions, such as depositing a certain amount each month or not making any withdrawals.
Other accounts will offer a special higher interest rate for an introductory period, usually up to 4 months, before reverting to the standard variable rate. Read the fine print closely to make sure you’re aware of the maximum interest rate available, as well as what you have to do to receive it.
Minimum and maximum account balances
It’s worth checking whether your cheap savings account has any limits on the minimum or maximum balance allowed. For example, if your balance exceeds a certain level you may not be able to access the high interest rate on offer.
Does the account require you to make a certain number of deposits or deposit a minimum amount each month, or are you free to add money to the account at your own pace? If one of the former applies, can you easily set up a regular transfer to ensure the account requirements are met?
Access to funds
Before you commit your funds to a savings account, check to see whether you will be able to access your funds quickly and without penalty once they have been deposited into your account. In some cases, not being able to easily access your funds is a good thing as it will force you to save; in other cases, however, the security of knowing that you can quickly access the money in case of an emergency provides peace of mind.
Can you visit a branch to make deposits and withdrawals, or is the account managed only via internet, phone and mobile banking?
Linked account requirements
Some accounts will require you to open a linked transaction account with the same financial institution in order to take advantage of the high interest rate on offer. If you don’t want to do this, look for an account that doesn’t require you to hold a linked account with the same bank.
The type of savings account
There are savings accounts available to suit those who want to make regular deposits, people who want easy access to their funds, and even accounts designed for children. Make sure you’re comparing apples with apples when looking for the cheapest savings account.
Savings accounts are designed to help you build your bank balance faster. The money you hold in a savings account earns a higher rate of interest than it would in an everyday transaction account, allowing your savings to grow rapidly.
However, unlike everyday transaction accounts, some savings accounts make it a little more difficult for you to access your money. While this can be a positive in that you can’t easily dip into your savings and watch your balance dwindle, it can also be inconvenient if you ever need quick access to funds.
Banks, building societies and credit unions across Australia offer high-interest savings accounts. Some of these financial institutions even offer online savings accounts, which can be managed entirely over the internet and regularly come with superior interest rates and minimal fees.
However, if you want to find the cheapest savings account to help you build your bank balance as quickly as possible, you’ll need to consider the fees and charges that apply.
Considering these features in conjunction with the fees and charges that apply will help you find the best cheap savings account and start building a sizable savings balance.