A Christmas savings account encourages you to save for Christmas regularly throughout the year
Christmas savings accounts are designed to help you have the cash you need for your holiday shopping, without having to use your everyday money or your available credit. Typically started at the beginning of the new year, you are permitted to make deposits and earn interest on your balance, but withdrawals are restricted until right before the holidays begin. If you make regular payments into the account, you should have no trouble playing Santa when the time comes.
Take the stress out of the festive season
A Christmas savings account is a specialised product that is structured to limit your access until the holidays. The account is opened after the start of the new year, and you earn interest on your daily balance. In most cases the interest is than paid into the account at set times throughout the year so that you can earn compound interest as well.
Access is restricted until the beginning of November, and with some, if you do decide you need the funds sooner you will have to close the account and lose part or all of your already earned interest payments.Back to top
What are the features of a Christmas savings account?
While the basic structure of a Christmas saving account is consistent among the financial institutions that offer them, details in the features make each one unique. It is those features that you should look closely at before deciding which one will enable you to say ho-ho-ho the loudest:
- Interest rate. The interest rate offered should be comparable to other banks’ and help in growing your account balance.
- Interest payment frequency. How often the interest is paid into the account can help you in earning even more through compound interest.
- Deposit methods. Being able to set up automatic credits from your pay is a helpful feature to have, along with other online transfers and branch deposits.
- Fees. Look for accounts that do not charge any monthly or transaction fees.
- Early withdrawal. Some banks will allow a partial withdrawal if necessary, while others will insist that the account be closed if you are not able to meet the terms.
- Early withdrawal fees. Some financial institutions encourage you to leave your holiday pocket money alone by charging fees for withdrawals made before the account term has been reached.
- Accessibility. Once you do make it to November, you will want to make sure that it is easy to get to your Christmas shopping money either with direct access to the account or with transfers made into your linked transaction account. You will find that the allowed transaction period for most Christmas Savings Accounts begins on 1 November and ends on 31 January.
- Simplicity. With an account that accepts automatic direct credits, you won’t even have to think about saving for the holidays.
- Savings. With the cash you need there to take care of your holiday spending you won’t have to rely on interest accruing credit cards to buy presents.
- Compound interest. Accounts that make periodical interests into the balance will increase your earning potential with compound interest.
- Inflexibility. You will not be able to withdraw from these types of accounts until the specified time without facing fees, interest payments adjustments or other penalties.
- Interest rates. While interest rates for Christmas savings accounts are comparable against each other, you can find better rates with other types of savings accounts such as a bonus saver or online savings account.
Are there any risks I should be aware of?
Although your money is secure inside of a Christmas savings account, and backed by the Australian Government Deposit Guarantee when the balance is under $250,000, there are other types of risks that you should avoid in order to make the most of this type of account:
- Early access. Don’t invest more than you can afford to into this type of account in order to avoid having to pay fees and penalties for an early withdrawal to cover other expenses.
- Low rate of return. If you are able to save money without needing an incentive, you may be better off tucking away your Christmas savings into another, higher interest earning account.
Frequently asked questions
Is it possible to do a salary split and just have a portion regularly deposited into a Christmas savings account?
That will depend on the bank, but in most cases they will assist you in setting up a partial credit to the account from your salary.
How will I be able to keep track of how much money is in the account?"
Online statements are available with just about all Christmas Savings accounts, or if you prefer you will find some that also offer passbook access.
Will I be able to use the money in my Christmas savings account to pay my bills, like with BPAY or Pay Anyone?
No, these types of accounts are normally not set up to make payments although you may find some that will allow this during the withdrawal period. Make sure to check first to see what types of fees are charged, if any, for those services.