online savings accounts

Do online savings accounts actually offer better rates?

We compare physical savings accounts to online savings accounts.

If you want to build a savings balance to put together a deposit for a home, pay for a holiday or just offer extra protection for the future, a high-interest online savings account can be a powerful tool. With the ability to earn a high rate of interest on your savings balance, these accounts also typically feature minimal fees and can be conveniently managed online. The end result of all these benefits is a quick and easy way for you to help your money grow.

But have you ever wondered whether an online savings account is any different to a regular savings account with your bank? Does an online savings account really offer a better deal? To answer this question, let’s take a closer look at the savings account offerings from some of the major banks.


Commonwealth Bank

CommBank offers the NetBank Saver, its specialist online savings account, as a product that can be linked to your CommBank transaction account and offer easy access to your money. Let’s compare its rates and fees with those of the bank’s standard savings account, the GoalSaver, which branch, phone and online access.

NetBank SaverGoalSaver
Account accessOnline, phoneIn branch, online and phone
Maximum interest rate3.10% p.a. (for three-month introductory period)After first three months: 1.80% p.a.2.70% p.a.0.01% p.a. if conditions aren’t met
Conditions needed to receive maximum interest rateBalances of between $1 and $5 millionBalances up to and including $100,000Must deposit at least $200 per month and make no more than one withdrawal per month
Ongoing feesNoneNone

*Rates correct 21 April 2016

As the table shows, comparing savings accounts can be quite confusing. While the online option (NetBank Saver) offers the higher maximum interest rate, this is only available for an introductory period of three months. After that time, the rate reverts to CommBank’s standard variable rate on savings accounts, which at the time of writing was 1.80% p.a.

This figure is significantly lower than the ongoing rate of interest (2.70% p.a.) you can achieve with the GoalSaver account. However, you’ll need to deposit at least $200 per month and not make any more than one withdrawal from your account each month – if you breach these conditions, you’ll only earn a paltry 0.01% p.a. interest for that month.

ANZ

Next, let’s compare ANZ’s online savings account offering, the Online Saver, with its Progress Saver account.

Online SaverProgress Saver
Account accessOnline, phoneIn branch, online and phone
Maximum interest rate
  • 3.15% p.a. (for three-month introductory period)
  • After first three months: 1.80% p.a.
2.50% p.a. or 0.01% p.a. if conditions aren’t met
Conditions needed to receive maximum interest rateNo minimum balanceMust deposit at least $10 or more per monthMust not make any withdrawalsMust not have any fees or charges processed to the account
Ongoing feesNoneNone

*Rates correct 21 April 2016

As the table shows, ANZ’s savings accounts tell a similar story to those from CommBank. While the online account offers a higher maximum rate, it is only available for an introductory period. The Progress Saver account allows you to access a better ongoing rate after the first three months, but you’ll need to make sure you satisfy the necessary terms and conditions to avoid your interest getting cut to just 0.01% p.a.

Other online savings accounts

It’s worth pointing out that the online savings accounts from Australia’s ‘big four’ banks represent only a small portion of the online savings accounts available to Australian consumers. Banks, credit unions and building societies across the country offer a huge range of account options to new and existing customers, so it’s definitely worth comparing a selection of online savings accounts across providers. The table below shows the details of some other popular online savings accounts.

ING Direct Savings MaximiserBankwest Hero SaverCitibank Online SaverME Bank Online Savings AccountHSBC Serious Saver
Account accessOnline, phoneOnline, phoneOnline, phoneOnline, phoneOnline, phone
Maximum interest rate3.50% p.a.(standard rate of 2.25% p.a.)3.15% p.a.(standard rate of 0.01% p.a.)3.40% p.a.(standard rate of 2.15% p.a.)3.60% p.a.(standard rate of 1.80% p.a.)2.75% p.a.(standard rate of 2.10% p.a.)
Conditions needed to receive maximum interest rateMust link to an ING Orange Everyday bank account and deposit at least $1,000 each monthAvailable on balances of up to $100,000Must deposit at least $200 each month and not make any withdrawalsAvailable on balances of up to $250,0003.40% p.a. applies for introductory four-month period, after which the account reverts to standard rate of 2.15% p.a.Available on balances of less than $500,000Must link to an ME Everyday Transaction AccountMust make a Tap&Go purchase each week with your debit MasterCardAvailable on balances of up to $250,0002,75% p.a. applies for introductory four-month period, after which the account reverts to standard rate of 2.10% p.a.Available on balances of up to $1 million
Ongoing fees$0$0$0$0$0

*Rates correct 21 April 2016

The conclusion

The above table shows that you can access significantly higher interest rates if you’re willing to shop around. However, in many cases you’ll need to make sure that you satisfy all the terms and conditions necessary to receive the maximum interest rate.

See your savings account compares to the market below

Rates last updated December 5th, 2016
$
$
months
Maximum Variable Rate p.a. Standard Variable Rate p.a. Bonus Interest p.a. Fees Min Bal / Min Deposit Interest Earned
ME Online Savings Account
Ongoing, variable 3.05% p.a. rate when you link to a ME Everyday Transaction account and make a weekly purchase with your Debit MasterCard using tap & go. Available on balances up to $250,000.
3.05% 1.30% 1.75% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
RaboDirect High Interest Savings Account
Introductory rate of 3.20% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 2.05% p.a. Available on balances below $250,000.
3.20% 2.05% 1.15% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
ING DIRECT Savings Maximiser
Ongoing, variable 2.75% p.a. when you link to an ING Orange Everyday bank account and deposit $1,000+ each month. Available on balances up to $100,000.
2.75% 1.60% 1.15% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
Bankwest Hero Saver
Ongoing, variable 2.65% p.a. rate when you deposit at least $200 each month and make no withdrawals. Available on balances up to $5,000,000.
2.65% 0.01% 2.64% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
AMP Saver Account
Introductory rate of 2.55% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 2.10% p.a. Available on balances below $5,000,000.
2.55% 2.10% 0.45% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
Australian Unity Easy Saver
Introductory rate of 2.90% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 1.70% p.a. Available on balances below $250,000.
2.90% 1.70% 1.20% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
ANZ Online Saver
Introductory rate of 2.85% p.a. for 6 months, reverting to 1.25% p.a. Available on the entire balance.
2.85% 1.25% 1.60% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
Westpac eSaver
Introductory rate of 2.71% p.a. for 5 months, reverting to a rate of 1.25% p.a. Available on the entire balance.
2.71% 1.25% 1.46% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
HSBC Serious Saver
Introductory rate of 2.25% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 1.60% p.a. Available on balances below $1,000,000.
2.25% 1.60% 0.65% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
St.George Maxi Saver
Introductory rate of 3.00% p.a. for 3 months, reverting to a rate of 1.05% p.a. Available on balances below $5,000,000.
3.00% 1.05% 1.95% $0 $1 / $1 Open More
BankSA Maxi Saver
Introductory rate of 3.00% p.a. for 3 months, reverting to a rate of 1.05% p.a. Available on the entire balance.
3.00% 1.05% 1.95% $0 $1 / $1 Open More
Bank of Melbourne Maxi Saver
Introductory rate of 3.00% p.a. for 3 months, reverting to 1.05% p.a. Available on the entire balance.
3.00% 1.05% 1.95% $0 $1 / $1 Open More
BankSA Incentive Saver Account
Ongoing, variable 1.85% p.a. when you make at least one deposit each month and no withdrawals. Available on the entire balance.
1.85% 0.01% 1.84% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
Bank of Melbourne Incentive Saver
Ongoing, variable 1.85% p.a. when you make at least one deposit and no withdrawals each month. Available on the entire balance.
1.85% 0.01% 1.84% $0 $1 / $1 Open More
ANZ Progress Saver
Ongoing, variable 1.91% p.a. when you link to any Australian everyday bank account and deposit $10+ each month. Available on the entire balance.
1.91% 0.01% 1.90% $0 $10 / $10 Open More
Westpac Reward Saver
Ongoing, variable 1.85% p.a. when you deposit at least $50 and make no withdrawals each month. Available on the entire balance.
1.85% 0.01% 1.84% $0 $0 / $0 Open More

What are the benefits of online savings accounts?

Higher interest rates

With an online savings account, you can receive a much higher interest rate than you would on an everyday transaction account. Many financial institutions also offer bonus or promotional interest rates to help you grow your balance even faster.

Minimal fees

Online savings accounts only charge minimal fees, with many even offering zero ongoing fees to customers.

Easy account management

It’s easy and convenient to manage your online savings account balance whenever and wherever you wish.

Regular savings plan

You can set up a regular deposit from your pay into your online savings account.

Easy to compare

Using a financial comparison website like finder.com.au, you can quickly and easily compare online savings accounts and find the account that offers the best deal for you.

Shirley Liu

Shirley is finder.com.au's publisher for banking and investments. She is currently studying a Masters in Commerce (Finance) and is the author of hundreds of articles. She is passionate about helping Aussies make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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Related Posts

Savings Account Offers

Learn about our information service
ME Online Savings Account

Maximum Variable Rate

3.05%

Standard Variable Rate

1.30
ING DIRECT Savings Maximiser

Maximum Variable Rate

2.75%

Standard Variable Rate

1.60
Bankwest Hero Saver

Maximum Variable Rate

2.65%

Standard Variable Rate

0.01
RaboDirect High Interest Savings Account

Maximum Variable Rate

3.20%

Standard Variable Rate

2.05

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