You can open multiple savings accounts with one bank, but read the fine print before you do.
If you’re saving towards several financial goals, sometimes it can be a little difficult to organise your finances in just one savings account. To make things easier, you may find that the best option is to open multiple savings accounts - one for each of your savings goals.
But can you open more than one savings account with the same bank, or will you need to open accounts at separate financial institutions? You can open multiple savings accounts at the one bank, but you should be aware that there are important terms and conditions attached.
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Can I have multiple savings accounts with the same bank?
It’s entirely possible for you to open several savings accounts with the same financial institution as part of a plan to achieve your savings goals. Not only does this provide a more effective way for you to manage your finances, but most banks will offer easy access with all your account balances on the one page so that you can keep track of your funds.
Bonus interest rates are typically awarded on one savings account only
However, you should be aware that this approach does have its drawbacks. The biggest disadvantage is that it limits the amount of interest you are able to earn. If your savings account pays bonus interest whenever you meet certain requirements, such as depositing a certain amount each month or making minimal withdrawals, you may not realise that this bonus interest rate is typically only payable on one account per customer.
If you open more than one account, only the first account will be able to earn the highest rate of interest - all other accounts will only earn a standard variable rate of interest, which could be as low as 0.01% p.a.
It’s also worth pointing out that many financial institutions place a limit on the number of specific accounts you can open up. For example, a bank may only allow one high-interest savings account per customer.
Does the government guarantee still apply to all my savings accounts?
The government guarantee insures your deposits of up to $250,000 per person, per institution as long as the funds are held in an Authorised Deposit-Taking Institution (ADI). If the total balance of your savings accounts with the same bank doesn't exceed $250,000 then it's usually covered.
However, if your total balance is over $250,000 then you may want to consider putting the funds away in another ADI.
What are the benefits of having multiple savings accounts?
One of the biggest benefits of opening multiple savings accounts is that it makes it easy to save towards more than one goal. By setting up a regular transfer to each individual account, you can gradually work towards each savings goal. You could have one savings account for large bills, one for your next overseas holiday, one for a new car and one to help pay for your kids’ education.
When you only have one savings account, you can tend to prioritise just one of your savings goals. All your hard-earned cash goes into one account for one goal, which means you aren’t putting any money aside to achieve your other financial goals.
You can also benefit from having more than one savings account if you need to keep some of your savings separate from the rest. For example, if you want to create a rainy day fund so that you can access money in an emergency, creating a separate account may be the best way to stop you dipping into your emergency fund.
There’s also a chance that you may need to make regular withdrawals from your savings, and if your account limits the number of withdrawals you can make each month, this may not be possible. If you have multiple savings accounts in your name, you can withdraw money from each account without exceeding any limits, which is a much more effective way to manage your finances.
Finally, having multiple savings accounts allows you to take advantage of different account features. For example, in addition to a high-interest savings account that doesn’t allow regular withdrawals, you may wish to open a separate savings account that still allows you to earn interest while also offering easier access to your funds.
Are there any other disadvantages to having multiple savings accounts?
Regardless of whether you open multiple savings accounts across several financial institutions or with the same bank, there are several other potential disadvantages you should consider. These include:
- It can get confusing. Although the aim of opening multiple accounts is to simplify your savings, the opposite can end up occurring. Keeping track of several accounts can be time-consuming and confusing, so make sure you can handle it before you adopt this approach. The last thing you want to do is lose track of any of your money.
- Minimum balance requirements. If you spread your funds around across multiple accounts, you may struggle to meet the minimum balance requirements of some savings accounts. Similarly, if you open an account that offers tiered interest - a higher interest rate on higher balances - you could miss out on the maximum available rate by moving some of your funds into other accounts.
- Extra fees. Opening more bank accounts means you are exposing yourself to the risk of paying extra fees. From ongoing fees to withdrawal fees and even charges that may apply if you fail to meet minimum balance requirements, these costs can quickly add up and eat into your savings.
How many savings accounts do I need?
The amount of savings accounts you need varies depending on your financial circumstances and goals. If you have several short-term and long-term savings goals and you’re having trouble managing them all with just one account, opening extra accounts can make it a whole lot easier. Similarly, if you receive income from multiple sources, you may find it easier to transfer the income from each source into a separate savings account and save towards specific goals.
On the flipside, having one savings account may not be a problem for you. If you’re organised, able to prioritise your goals and can efficiently keep track of your savings progress, one account could be all you need.
But as long as you’re earning interest, building a savings balance and making progress towards your financial goals, it doesn’t matter how many accounts you have. Just remember to compare the interest rates, fees and features of several savings accounts before you open a new one.