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Top eight high interest savings accounts by interest rate
Rabobank Online Savings High Interest Savings Account - 2.50%
AMP Saver Account - 2.36%
HSBC Serious Saver Account - 2.60%
Bank of Queensland Fast Track Saver Account - 2.15%
Citibank Online Saver - 2.30%
UBank USaver Account - 2.10%
ME Online Savings Account - 2.20%
Australian Unity Active Saver - 2.25%
How to choose a savings account on finder.com.au
Use your savings style as a guide for getting to your savings goal. Each savings account has different terms and conditions, so take the time to find out what they are. This can affect how quickly or slowly you reach your financial goals.
Bank of Queensland Fast Track Saver Account (Base rate 0.35% p.a. + Bonus rate 1.80% p.a. when you link to an BOQ Day2Day Plus Account, deposit $1,000+ into the Day2Day account each month, on balances up to $250,000)
A high interest savings account (also known as a savings account or online savings account) is an account that offers a competitive interest rate. It is similar to a bank account, but it is designed to help you save money, rather than spend money. Typically, interest is compound interest that is calculated daily and paid monthly. All savings accounts come with a free, 24/7 online banking platform to access your funds.
What are the benefits of a high interest savings account?
You don't need to know anything about finance.
Compared to other investments, such as shares and property, a savings account is probably the easiest one to apply for. You can always reinvest what you have deposited there into another asset and it's almost impossible to get a negative return on a savings account.
You don't need to take any risks.
It's considered one of the safest investments in the financial system (next to a term deposit). Most banks and financial institutions are guaranteed by the Australian government, which means eligible deposits are insured up to $250,000 per person, per institution. If you have more than $250,000, it's important to diversify your funds across different banks to take advantage of the guarantee.
You can see progress after just a few months by quickly earning a few dollars.
How do high interest savings accounts work?
You generally link a high interest savings account to your bank account. This allows for the easy transfer of funds back and forth. In some cases, you can only link your savings account to another account within the same bank. A savings account also gives you at-call access to your funds, which means you can access your money almost immediately.
The interest rate is calculated on your balance every day and your interest is paid monthly. The following is the formula your bank will usually use to calculate your daily interest:
Hack: How do I always get the highest interest rate?
A lot of high interest savings accounts offer bonus introductory rates for the first few months only. For example, an account may offer a higher interest rate of say 3.00% for the first three months, which will drop down to the standard variable interest rate after this time which could be much lower.
To ensure you are always earning the highest rate, you could continually switch savings accounts after the introductory period ends. However, keep in mind that you typically can only earn the bonus introductory interest on your first account with that bank.
How do I find the best high interest savings account for me?
If you're trying to stop yourself from dipping into your savings, then consider an account with limited or no accessibility. Term deposits offer you a higher rate of interest the longer you agree to keep your money inside. The catch is that you won’t have access to your savings for the duration of the term, unless you want to pay a hefty penalty.
Consider: Going online
Aussies who are willing to manage their savings entirely online could benefit from an online high interest savings account. Since these accounts require less overhead costs, customers are rewarded with a higher rate of interest.
Look for: Whether you can link your existing bank account or need to open another account.
Some high interest savings accounts need to be linked to a transaction account. Banks dictate whether the account needs to be from the same institution or if it can be from a different bank. If you already have a transaction account at a different bank, check to see if you can link it to your high interest savings account. Otherwise, you may be forced to pay another monthly fee for a bank account you don’t need.
Look for: Zero fees
Check for any fees charged for maintaining the account, it’s common for savings accounts to not have monthly fees.
Identify: Whether you're a regular saver or flexible saver
If you're a regular saver, consider opening a bonus saver account. This way, you'll get the maximum amount of interest every month. Flexible savers may want to opt for an introductory bonus account so they get the bonus interest rate no matter how many withdrawals they make.
Should I switch savings accounts?
Yearly Interest ($)
Switch benefit ($)(7% vs 0.01%)
Your balance ($)
This table shows interest that is calculated daily and paid monthly. It doesn’t take into account any other deposits made into your account; if you make additional deposits, you will accumulate more interest in the long term.
Not only can you earn money by switching to a high interest savings account, you can also save money. If you have money sitting in a low interest everyday transaction account that has banking and transaction fees, it could turn out that you are actually losing money.
With so many different high interest savings accounts available online, there's no excuse not to take advantage of one. The more you deposit into a high interest savings account, the more interest you will earn on those deposits over the long term.
What types of high interest savings account are available?
There are different types of accounts depending on the purpose of the account.
If you’re self-employed or a business owner, you may be better off with a business account
Business savings accounts mean that you can separate your work and personal expenses, so it’s easier to collate your expenses at tax time. Also, most banks charge a fee for depositing cheques. If you still deposit a lot of cheques with small amounts, you may want to consider switching to electronic payments as they tend to be free.
If you’re sharing finances, a joint account may be easier
Joint savings accounts mean that two signatures are required to make withdrawals. This can help partners and couples reach a savings goal together. Read more about joint accounts here.
If you want to teach your children good money habits, you can set up a children’s savings account
The advantages and disadvantages of a savings account
You can reach your savings goals quicker. If you apply for a high interest savings account that matches your savings style, you can reach your savings goal faster.
You can take advantage of introductory bonus rates for a new account. Some high interest savings accounts will give you a bonus interest rate for a limited time. This is typically a variable rate on top of another variable standard rate. If you switch accounts regularly to take advantage of these offers, you could be giving your savings a big boost.
They usually charge little to no fees. The majority of high interest savings accounts don't charge any fees for maintaining the account.
High balances tend to earn a lower rate. Many accounts work on a tiered interest rate structure, which means that the more you have in your account, the lower the standard variable rate.
Transfer times can take up to three business days. The limited access, especially for online accounts, could prove troublesome if you suddenly need the money for an important purchase. Transfers could take up to three business days.
What’s the difference between a savings account and a term deposit?
High interest savings accounts offer competitive rates, but conditions apply in most cases. For example, you might need to deposit a certain amount every month and not make any withdrawals. Introductory bonuses also only last a few months.
Term deposits offer good interest rates over a fixed term of between 7 days and 12 months. There is usually a minimum deposit required and although term deposits can be broken, a hefty penalty usually applies.
Traps to avoid when using your high interest savings account
It's important that you choose the high interest savings account that best serves your needs. This can help you avoid the following scenarios:
Interest rate penalties apply if you don't meet the terms and conditions.
With term deposits, it's important to choose the right term duration. If you choose terms that are too long and find yourself needing the money sooner, you'll have to pay a penalty to have your term deposit released early.
Banks can lower their rates in response to many factors. Bonus introductory rates are usually withdrawn after a few months, or at the end the introductory period. If the rate on your account has changed and you're not sure why, contact the bank.
How do I apply for a high interest savings account?
What do I need to apply for a high interest savings account online?
Once you’ve clicked through to the bank's secure application page, you will typically need to provide:
Your personal details
Your tax file number and related information
Details of the account you want to link to your new high interest savings account
Can I open a high interest savings account as a tourist in Australia?
Depending on your visa type, you may be able to open a bank account in Australia. You can learn more about opening a bank account as a non-resident here. You should always compare different migration programs offered by certain lenders. Speak with the financial institution directly about eligibility requirements for opening an account as a temporary visitor.
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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