Bonus saver accounts often offer more interest than a regular savings account, as they reward you with bonus interest each month you add to your savings balance. Some bonus savers require you to deposit just $20 a month, making it super easy to earn the bonus interest, while others require you to deposit $200 or more each month.
You can compare a bunch of Australian bonus saver accounts in the table below and open one online in minutes.
Bonus Saver Savings Account Offer
ING Savings Maximiser
standard variable rate
Bonus Saver Savings Account Offer
Ongoing, variable 1.80% p.a. when you link to an ING Orange Everyday bank account and deposit $1,000+ each month and make 5+ card purchases a month. Available on balances up to $100,000.
Think about your savings habits when comparing bonus saver accounts to help you find the best one for your needs. Compare across multiple banks and ensure you can meet the conditions to get that bonus rate.
Rates last updated April 6th, 2020
What is a bonus saver account?
A bonus saver account is a savings account that rewards you with extra interest when you meet the account conditions. These are also known as incentive saver accounts, as they incentivise you to save, or bonus interest accounts.
The account conditions that need to be met in order to earn the bonus interest could include a minimum amount of money you need to deposit per month, no withdrawals for the month, linking an everyday bank account from the same bank or making a weekly tap and go purchase. Everyday, banks are thinking of new ways to earn the bonus interest rate to differentiate themselves to the market. So it's important to regularly compare savings accounts to ensure you're always getting the best deal.
How can a bonus saver account benefit me?
A bonus saver account is designed to encourage you to save money on a regular basis. The terms used for this type of account generally come with two requirements. The first requires a minimum monthly deposit without making any withdrawals from the savings account for a given month. The second looks at the growth of the account from the first day of the month to the last and if the balance has increased by a set amount. If one of the two conditions are met, generally you can receive the bonus interest. The bonus rate is an additional percentage that’s determined by the bank and then added to their standard variable interest rate.
Do I lose the bonus interest permanently if I don't meet the conditions for one month?
No! If you haven't met the conditions for one month, you'll be eligible for the bonus interest again the following month. Any month you meet the conditions, you'll be able to receive the bonus interest.
What features should I look for in an Australian bonus saver account?
Bonus saver accounts give you an opportunity to earn a higher interest rate in return for exercising some financial discipline and displaying good savings habits. When comparing between different Australian banks and their bonus saver accounts, compare the following features.
The amount of bonus interest you get
Each bank will offer different bonus interest rates, so make sure to look for one that offers a high bonus interest rate.
What are the deposit conditions?
Sometimes the deposit conditions are quite strict, requiring you to deposit high amounts each month in order to earn the bonus interest rate. Ensure you're realistic when considering the deposit requirements.
The withdrawal conditions
Some banks will not allow any withdrawals in the month, while with others, you’re free to make withdrawals as long as you essentially return that money by meeting a monthly growth total. For example, if the goal is to save $200 in a month, and you withdraw $50, you will need to deposit at least $250 into the account before the month finishes in order to qualify for the bonus interest.
If a minimum balance is required
With some financial institutions, you may have to open the account with a certain amount of money and maintain a minimum balance to avoid having to pay extra fees for the account.
Some of these accounts will be accessible only through a linked transaction account, while others act almost like a transaction account and give you access through an included debit card.
Interest rate penalties
Check with the lender regarding the terms for when you don’t make the deposit requirement within a month. With some banks you’ll lose the bonus interest but still earn the standard variable rate, while with others, the interest earned on a month where the conditions are not met could drop to as low as 0.01% p.a.
Term deposits versus bonus saver accounts – which is better?
This depends on your financial situation. The benefits of a term deposit include locking in a fixed interest rate meaning your funds are protected against any interest rate drops. The downsides are that you can’t access your funds until the deposit matures and you won’t benefit if the interest rate rises while your money is locked away in a term deposit.
With a bonus saver account, on the other hand, you can usually access your funds whenever you need, but you're usually penalised with a lower interest rate if you do so. Also, as the interest rate on bonus saver or incentive saver accounts is variable, this means it can change at any time. There are several other types of savings accounts available to help you realise your financial goals, which are discussed below.
Can under 18's open a bonus saver in Australia?
Yes. There's a range of children's savings accounts, including bonus savers. You’ll need to shop around and compare the features of a range of accounts to find the right one for you. Look for an account that doesn’t charge any ongoing fees, that has no minimum balance requirements and that offers easy access to your funds. It’s also important to consider whether there are any minimum monthly deposit requirements, whether the bonus interest rate only applies for a short introductory period, and what happens to the money in the account when the account holder reaches the age of 18 or 21.
How do I compare kids’ bonus saver accounts?
You'll also need to think about the following when comparing kids’ bonus saver accounts:
Where the income is coming from (the parent or the child?)
The type of account (a trust account or personal savings account?)
Withdrawals and deposit restrictions for the child
What are the advantages of disadvantages of bonus savings accounts?
You get a higher interest rate. Bonus saver accounts give you an opportunity to boost your savings quicker with a higher interest rate.
There are usually no fees. These types of accounts typically do not have monthly account keeping fees, so you can focus on your savings goals.
Motivate yourself to save. Individuals who need help with saving may find that having a set monthly goal to meet makes it easier to stay on track with saving.
There are usually terms and conditions. Some Australians may find it hard to continually meet the strict terms of a bonus saver account on a month to month basis.
You'll need to try and avoid making withdrawals. Unlike a transaction account, the money kept in a bonus saver account cannot be easily accessed and used to make everyday purchases.
Wait, I have more questions about bonus savings accounts!
This is the same thing as a bonus saver account. It's often refereed to as an incentive saver, because the bonus interest provides a good incentive to save.
There's no one account that is best, and what's best for you might not be best for someone else. You can compare bonus saver accounts in the table above, and make sure to check you can meet the account conditions when making your choice.
In most instances, you will need a transaction account with the same lender in order to apply for their bonus saver account. However, there are some Australian financial institutions that will allow the nominated account to be with an external bank. The transaction account allows you to transfer money to and from your account without having to visit a branch.
If you qualify, the bonus interest is applied to the balance of the month immediately following the one that met the conditions. However, please note that interest payments made do not count as a part of a deposit.
The Westpac Life account is a bonus saver account that rewards customers with extra interest each month they meet the account conditions. To earn the bonus interest rate of 0.90% make sure you deposit money into the account each month and make sure your balance is higher at the end of the month than it was at the beginning.
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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