Watch your savings grow in real time with an online savings account.
An online savings account, or e-savings account, is an account that you manage via the internet. You can log in anytime, anywhere as long as you have internet access and a suitable device. You are able to transfer funds back and forth, as well as immediately check your balance.
E-savings accounts generally offer a higher interest rate and charge lower fees than conventional bank accounts, because there are less overheads involved. Plus, you get the flexibility of the internet, so you can access your money 24/7 using your bank's online services.
Compare online savings accounts today
You usually need to link your online savings account with your everyday bank account. This lets you transfer funds back and forth.
The top 5 online savings accounts by maximum variable rate
- ME Online Savings account - 2.95%. When you link to a ME Everyday Transaction account and make a weekly purchase with your Debit Mastercard using tap & go.
- RAMS Saver account - 3.00%. When you deposit 200+ each month and make no withdrawals.
- ING Direct Savings Maximiser - 2.80%. When you link to an ING Orange Everyday bank account and deposit $1,000+ each month.
- Citibank Online Saver - 2.85%. Available for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 1.70%
- Australian Unity Easy Saver - 2.70%. Available for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 1.70%
Definition: Best online savings account*
The best online savings account will help you manage your savings effectively to suit your savings and spending style. There may be more than one online savings account that is 'best' for your situation.
It is important to consider what features of an online savings account are important to you, such as monthly fees, access to your balance, and interest rate when selecting an account. The accounts identified on this page are some of the best online savings accounts offered, however there are other accounts that may be better suited to your personal circumstances.
How do online savings accounts work?
You first need to ensure that you have an active transaction account (an everyday account) that can be used as a linked account for transferring funds into, and out of, your savings account. This is because most online savings accounts do not come with a debit card, therefore the only way to access your money is by transferring it to your transaction account where you can then access via EFTPOS or withdraw the cash from an ATM. Once your transaction and savings accounts are both set up, linking them simply involves logging in to your internet or mobile banking app and initiating a transfer between accounts.
Online accounts usually don't attract any transfer fees or monthly account-keeping fees, so they offer an inexpensive way to build savings. Interest on the balance is calculated daily, and deposited into the account at the beginning of the following month.
Do online accounts generally offer better interest rates?
Interest rates on online accounts tend to be higher than for conventional accounts. If you're saving for a short-term goal, such as a holiday, then an online savings account may be suitable. Due to the reduced cost to the bank to maintain the account, they are often able to offer you a higher rate of interest. However, as with regular accounts, rates will fluctuate according to the official RBA cash rate.
You may also be interested in
Pre-orders could go live as soon as Microsoft's presentation wraps up. Read more…
A new trilogy starring Chloe Frazer, please. Read more…
As Aussie property prices skyrocket, New Zealand is looking like a very favourable place to invest. Read more…
In Shenzhen's Huaquiangbei tech markets, you can buy just about anything, or more typically, 1,000 of anything. Read more…
A weekly round-up of Australia's latest healthcare news. Read more…
Make friends with your receipt and save yourself a small fortune. Read more…
Do I get instant access to transferred funds?
If your online savings account is linked to a transaction account from the same institution, then you generally do get instant access. However, if the money comes from a different financial organisation, it usually takes up to three business days for the funds to appear in your account.
How does an online savings account work?
Lucy currently holds several accounts across multiple financial institutions. She has a UBank USaver, UBank USaver Ultra, a CommBank Complete Access and RaboDirect high-interest savings account. When she transfers money from her UBank USaver to her UBank USaver Ultra, the transfer happens instantly. When she transfers from her RaboDirect account to her CommBank Complete Access, she notices it takes two business days on average for funds to clear.
Can I read reviews of online savings accounts on finder.com.au?
Yes, you can! Click on the blue "more" link underneath the green button in our comparison tables to read reviews of individual accounts.
How do I find the best interest rate on finder.com.au?
Use the sorter button in our tables to check the interest rates.
Is interest paid monthly for online savings accounts?
Generally, the interest is calculated daily and paid monthly.
What features do online savings accounts offer?
If you think an online savings account is going to encourage you to save, be sure to compare the various features available across different accounts. This will help you make the best choice with the right rate and most convenient options for your needs.
You can usually link your online savings account to your regular Australian bank account
Many online banks make it easy to transfer money to and from your linked account. However, some will only let you link a bank account from the same institution. This means that you might have to open a new bank account just for your online savings account, which could mean extra monthly fees.
You get 24/7 access and mobile access to your money
One of the best aspects of an e-savings account is that you can usually access your money whenever you like. While the accounts are all accessible online via a web browser, some banks make it even more convenient with mobile banking apps. These allow you to monitor your savings activity even when you are on the go.
Deposited funds are usually safe
Ensure that your bank is an authorised deposit-taking institution; this means your deposits are guaranteed up to $250,000 by the Australian Government if the institution goes bust.
You get a competitive interest rate
In some cases, you could also benefit from bonus interest that comes with an introductory savings account. These offers reward you for opening an account by offering a special interest rate for a limited time. Once the bonus period ends, the interest rate reverts to the standard rate offered by the bank.
There are few or no fees
Generally, an online savings account does not attract any monthly account-keeping fees or transaction fees. Avoid accounts that charge monthly maintenance fees, statement fees and ATM charges.
$0 minimum deposit requirements
Some banks may require that you make a minimum deposit when first opening the account, or on an ongoing basis. Understand what you can and can't commit to in terms of deposits to choose the account that's best for you.
Flexible transaction limits
Check how many withdrawals you can make per month and how much you can take out. Your daily transfer limit may be capped around the $10,000 mark; you may be able to adjust this by calling the bank.
What are the upsides and downsides of saving with an online account?
E-savings accounts have both good and points when compared with other types of savings accounts available in Australia. Consider these before making any final decisions.
- Generally no minimum balance required. An online savings account should not have any minimum balance requirements. Some even allow you to open an account without any initial deposit.
- Competitive rates. Interest rates on e-savings accounts are competitive with those of other savings accounts. You may even qualify for a bonus introductory rate.
- Flexible terms. Deposit what you can and make withdrawals whenever you can. Most online savings accounts don't have specific terms you need to meet, though bonus interest rates will often require a minimum deposit each month.
- Needs to be linked to a bank account. Although you won’t have any fees on the account, there may be fees associated with the linked account used to manage it.
- Can be delayed if funds are from different banks. Funds transfers may not be instant if they are coming from a separate financial institution.
The most common account questions answered
Can non-residents open an online high-interest savings account in Australia?
No. Even though the account is based online, the account holder must be a resident of Australia with an Australian residential address.
Are the accounts available for businesses?
There are online savings accounts designed specifically for businesses. Business owners need to apply for one of those rather than an account which is structured for personal use only.
Will I have to pay taxes on the interest earned on an online savings account?
Generally, interest is considered income and must be included in your annual tax return. Whether you will have to pay tax on it depends on the amount, your income and your personal circumstances.