If you have good financial discipline, a conditional savings account provides an easy way to save for your future.
If you’ve got good money management skills and regularly put aside a portion of your pay packet each pay cycle, you may want to consider opening a conditional savings account. By opening a conditional savings account, you can boost your savings by earning interest on the money you already put away. Also known as bonus savings accounts, reward savings accounts or forced savings accounts, these types of accounts pay a high rate of interest on your savings balance — as long as you meet a range of ongoing conditions.
If you can satisfy the requirements imposed by your bank, for example depositing a certain amount each month, you can quickly turn a small deposit into a large nest egg. But if you fail to meet the relevant conditions, your money won’t earn any interest at all.
Who offers conditional savings accounts?
Conditional savings accounts or forced savings accounts are available from just about every bank, credit union and building society across Australia. There’s a huge range of account options available, so let’s take a look at a few popular account examples and the conditions you will need to satisfy in order to receive the maximum interest rate:
How do conditional savings accounts work?
Conditional savings accounts are designed to reward regular savers by offering higher interest rates than everyday transaction accounts. They typically also charge minimal account-keeping fees and are designed to help you increase your savings balance as quickly as possible. However, as the name suggests, there are conditions attached to the high interest rates these accounts offer.
Most conditional savings accounts offer two types of interest: a standard or base interest rate and a bonus interest rate. The base rate applies to your account balance each and every month and is typically quite low, in some cases as low as 0.01% p.a. The bonus interest rate is applied on top of this base rate and is usually a much higher amount, allowing you to enjoy much better returns on your savings balance.
The catch is that you can only achieve this higher rate if you satisfy a range of conditions. These conditions vary between banks and individual accounts, but may include:
- A requirement to deposit a minimum amount each month, for example $500.
- A requirement not to exceed a monthly deposit limit.
- A limit on the number of withdrawals you can make per month. In some cases, your bank may not permit any withdrawals at all.
- A requirement to maintain a minimum balance in the account.
- A requirement to open a linked transaction account with the same financial institution.
If you fail to meet just one of the conditions that applies to your account, you will not receive the bonus interest rate for that particular month — only the account’s standard interest rate will apply.Back to top
Weighing it up: Is a conditional savings account right for me?
- Earn rewards for regularly saving. Conditional savings accounts are designed to reward regular savers for their financial discipline.
- Offers some of the highest interest rates on the market. Reward savings accounts offer some of the highest interest rates on the market.
- Set and forget, easy to manage savings. Many conditional savings accounts are simple to apply for and manage online.
- Save more with minimal fees. Most conditional savings accounts do not charge any ongoing fees.
- To make the most of the account, you must meet some conditions. If you fail to meet one of the bonus interest conditions in any given month, you will earn a much lower rate of interest for that month.
Some key things to help you compare
Consider the following features when deciding which conditional savings account is right for you:
- What's the interest rate? The interest rate is vital to determine how much your savings balance will grow. Study the base rate, bonus interest rate and maximum interest rate you can receive from each account, but remember to consider the conditions you will need to satisfy in order to achieve the highest possible rate.
- Are there any extra or hidden fees? While many conditional savings accounts do not charge any ongoing fees, it’s important to check for any charges that may be associated with your account. These could include monthly or annual fees, deposit fees, withdrawal fees and more.
- Minimum deposit requirements. Check to see whether there is a minimum deposit required to open an account, and whether or not this is achievable for you. Also remember to check whether you need to deposit a certain amount each month in order to access the maximum interest rate.
- Withdrawal requirements. Are there any limits on the amount you can withdraw or the number of withdrawals you can make from your account each month? If so, what’s the maximum interest rate you can receive if you breach this condition?
- Linked account requirements. Some banks will require you to open a linked transaction account with them at the same time you open your conditional savings account. Make sure you’re aware of the fees and features of this linked account before you decide to open one.
- How easy or complicated is it to access your funds? Can the funds in your account be managed online only, or are phone and branch transactions also allowed? If you can only access the funds online, check to see whether the bank’s internet banking portal and mobile banking app are easy to use.
Applying for a conditional savings account: what to look out for
If you’re a regular saver and you think a conditional savings account could be right for you, start comparing the features of a wide range of accounts at finder.com.au. Once you find the right account, in most cases it’s quick and easy to apply online. You will typically need to:
- Be an Australian resident;
- Be at least 18 years of age; and
- You may need to have an existing account with the same bank.
During the application process you will need to provide:
- Your full name and contact details
- Proof of ID
- Your linked bank account details
So if you’re a disciplined saver and you want to earn the maximum interest possible on your money, consider the benefits of a conditional savings account.
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