Compare some of the cheapest savings accounts in Australia
Make sure you're not paying unnecessary fees on your savings account. Here's what to look out for.
When you’re searching for the right savings account to help you boost your bank balance, 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 important to consider fees and charges.
When you're searching for the cheapest savings account, it's important to also look at the linked transaction 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.
Compare savings accounts in Australia using the table below
What fees apply to savings accounts?
Most savings account charge no fees at all, the linked transaction account that comes with the savings account might charge a few fees. Before you open a new savings account, check to see if the linked everyday transaction account has the following fees.
Account keeping fee
The main type of fee you need to keep an eye out for with savings accounts is an ongoing account fee. Even a monthly fee of $5 a month equates to $60 over the course of a year, so look for a savings account that charges no ongoing fees. The good news is that the high majority of savings accounts don't charge any ongoing monthly account fees.
Fees attached to deposit conditions
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.
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 in the mail 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.
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 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 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 money 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? If there's no bank branches, does the bank offer smart ATMs that allow you to deposit cash?
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