Use our savings calculator to see how much you could earn
Watch your money grow as you earn interest over time.
How do I open a savings account?
Find a savings account that meets your needs.
Submit your application. You’ll need to provide certain identification documents with proof of your residential address including your passport and/or drivers license so have those handy.
Transfer the minimum initial deposit into your new account if applicable.
Set up automatic transfer of the minimum monthly deposit required to achieve the high bonus interest rate if applicable.
Start earning interest and putting your savings to work!
Why do banks offer high interest and bonus rates?
They are rewarding you with bonus interest for letting them borrow your money to loan to others while it sits in the bank. You may be limited in how often you can transfer funds from one savings account to another to take advantage of the highest interest rate available.
The introductory bonus rate offered by some providers is an incentive to open an account with them instead of another bank. This is for new customers only, which means you can’t apply for the same account again and again and expect to get the maximum rate.
Do you want to be able to afford a house, a new car, or your children’s education not just ‘someday’ but in the next few years? If you want to reach your savings goals, you need to start putting money away in a savings account.
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the right savings account. We made this page to help you find the best account for your situation – without you having to open a dozen tabs in your browser and scour the web for answers. Just simply compare options, apples with apples.
You’ll be empowered with the information you need to make a decision that will help provide a successful financial future for you and your family.
If you have a question or want to get in touch, we offer our “ask a question” service at the bottom of the page as well as a 24/7 live chat service.
A savings account is a secure bank account that earns you interest over time. These have higher interest rates than standard transaction accounts, enabling you to save for big spending items like a car or the deposit on a house, or save money for a rainy day. You usually need to deposit a set amount of money into the account each month to earn the high interest rate.
You are usually required to deposit a set amount each month and make no or minimal withdrawals in order to receive the high bonus interest rate
Savings accounts do not come with a debit card so you’re unable to access your cash as easily as transaction accounts
Interest rates on your savings account
To encourage account holders to save and in exchange for using your money to give out loans, banks will award you an interest rate.
The interest rate on your savings account is variable, meaning it changes according to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cash rate. If the interest rates on all savings accounts are low, it usually means the RBA cash rate is low.
In some cases, the interest on your account is calculated daily and paid monthly. This means you’ll get compound interest so you earn interest on your interest. You have to read the fine print to see if your account pays interest monthly to be sure you will get compound interest. Interest that is paid annually isn’t compounded as often and thus won’t be as lucrative for you.
It is important to pay attention to the requirements set in order to achieve the high bonus interest rate - this usually requires you to deposit a certain amount of money in the account each month and limits the number of withdrawals you can make.
Some savings accounts also offer a high introductory variable interest rate which is higher than the standard variable rate for a set period, usually a few months. This is a reward for selecting their savings account. However, it’s important to be aware of how long the introductory bonus rate will apply and what the rate will convert to after this period.
To access the funds in the savings account, transfer your money from your savings to your linked everyday account. Depending on the savings account you choose, there may be stipulations as to how often you can withdraw from the account. Savings accounts offering higher interest rates may not allow you to touch your money for extended periods of time, or may penalize you for doing so.
If you know you want to lock away your funds for a longer period, you may want to consider a term deposit instead of a savings account.
How to compare savings accounts
There are certain features to keep in mind when comparing savings accounts, including fees, interest rates and your personal savings goals. Read below to find out how these factors can help you compare savings accounts and choose the right one for your needs.
Low or no fees
Most banks don’t charge a monthly fee for maintaining a savings account. Look for an account with no (or very low) monthly, annual, and transaction fees. The idea is to build wealth (not pay the bank to store your money!).
High or competitive interest rates
Getting the highest interest rate means your money can work harder for you. You’ll want to check the conditions involved in receiving the bonus or introductory rate. The bonus rate might only last the first few months so be sure to check the standard rate too.
Savings goals (short-term v long-term)
You will want a different type of savings account depending on your savings goals. If you are saving to buy something in the short term (a few months or a year), high bonus rates and a lower standard rate may be great. However, if you are saving to buy something over the long term (a few years), you might benefit more from an account with moderate but stable rates. Use our calculator to do the math and see which account will get you to your goal.
Some savings accounts allow you to withdraw money a few times each month, while some require you make no withdrawals at all. If you anticipate needing regular access to your savings, you won’t want an account that will charge you for doing so. However, being charged for accessing your account is also a great incentive for not touching your money and letting it grow. Compared to term deposits, savings accounts offer relatively easy access to your money.
Some banks require you to link your savings account with an everyday account in the same bank to qualify for their interest rate or bonus rate.
If you can consistently deposit money into your account (for example your regular salary), you should look for accounts offering bonus rates for meeting monthly minimum deposits, like a Bonus Saver account. Otherwise, an Introductory Bonus savings account might be best.
How do I get the bonus interest rate on my savings account?
For a Bonus Saver account, the bonus interest is usually awarded when you’re able to deposit a certain amount per month and make no withdrawals. It usually doesn’t matter if you’re a new customer or not, but there may be restrictions on the amount of accounts you can have.
You will also need to be within the balance your bonus rate applies to. In most cases, any balance beyond $250,000 usually earns the standard variable rate. To learn more about these restrictions, select the range that best describes your total balance to compare these types of accounts.
Whether you're studying, doing an apprenticeship or under 18, there are still a range of accounts available for you. Every dollar counts at this stage, so check if you're eligible for a low-cost student account.
Setting a goal and developing a savings plan is easier than you think. There are a few ideas that can help, including taking advantage of a sweep facility or locking it away in a term deposit. Also, take note of the interest rate and understand the features you can use.
Whether you've moved to Australia for work or study, Australian banks have a wide range of options for you. You'll need an everyday bank account for your everyday banking and most likely a savings account to store any surplus cash.
The process involves filling in an online application, verifying 100 points of identification if you’re a new customer and depositing funds into the account to get your savings plan started. Items such as a passport or birth certificate are worth 70 points, while secondary documents such as driver’s licences are worth 40 points. If you already have an account with the same bank you will not have to satisfy the 100-point check.
Shirley Liu is Finder's global program manager. She was previously the publisher for banking and investments and has also written comparisons for energy, money transfers, Uber Eats and many other topics. Shirley has a Master of Commerce and a Bachelor of Media, Journalism and Communications from the University of New South Wales. She is passionate about helping people find the best deal for their needs.
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