Is your savings account one of Australia’s top savings accounts?
There are basic savings accounts that offer you a nominal rate of interest and easy access to your money whenever you want. Then there are top savings accounts, with competitive and bonus rates, limited accessibility and incentives to save even more.
How does a top savings account work?
Top savings accounts are designed to hold onto your money and help it grow. These pay interest on the balance allowing you to passively profit from your savings amount. Some accounts will allow you to continually make deposits into the account to help further your savings goals, while others will take away the benefits if you withdraw, motivating you to save. The top savings account you choose will largely depend on what your goal is and how long you have to reach it.
How do I pick a top savings account?
Compare some of the common features and differences to help you make the right decision:
- Competitive interest rate. If your goal is to earn money on your savings, than you are going to get the most benefit from a high interest savings account. Just make sure that you are differentiating between the standard rate and any bonus rate that might be offered for a limited time.
- Compound interest. Compound interest is the way in which interest is paid into the account and can help you grow your money exponentially by paying interest on interest payments you have already earned.
- Balance requirements. You may have to maintain a certain minimum balance on top savings accounts in order to receive all of its benefits.
- Fees and penalties. There are some top savings accounts that provide you with incentive to save by locking in your money for a predetermined amount of time. Check to see what the penalty is on these accounts if you were to have to make an early withdrawal.
- Linked account. With most top savings accounts you will need to have a linked transaction account in order to move your money in and out. If you already hold a transaction account with a bank you will want to check that it can be used as your linked account with another bank.
- Bonuses. Top savings accounts will give you bonuses such as higher interest rates or reduced fees for meeting their terms.
- Accessibility. The ease in which you are able to access your account will depend mainly on your preference. Some top savings accounts will provide you with limited accessibility, while others like term deposits will penalise you for making any early withdrawals.
What are the pros and cons to opening a savings account?
- Interest earnings. Top savings accounts provide you with the opportunity to earn on your savings simply by keeping it inside of the account.
- Security. Deposits of up to $250,000 (per person per institution) are secure under the Australian Government Guarantee scheme. This ensures that you will not lose your savings the way you might with other investment opportunities.
- Incentives. Not everyone is a born saver, but with a top savings account, you are given incentives to stop dipping in. These may include bonus interest rates for no withdrawals, or fees for when you do make one.
- Variable rates. Not all savings accounts are offered with a fixed interest rate. This may cause you to lose out on some of the interest earning benefit if rates were to fall.
- Limitations. In the event of a financial emergency, not all top savings accounts will provide you with a way to withdraw your money fast.
What are the risks?
Top savings accounts provide you with a way to secure your financial future but not without certain risks. If you want to ensure that you are getting the most benefit from these products you will want to avoid:
- Penalties. Penalties with top saving accounts come in many forms, such as the loss of a bonus rate, monthly fees and charges for making an early withdrawal.
- Restrictions. Make sure that you are able to meet any requirements to maintain the account and the interest rate. Some top savings account do insist that you keep a certain minimum balance or that you only make a certain number of withdrawals each month.
Frequently asked questions
What are the top saving accounts if I am looking to put money away towards a down payment on a first home?
For long term goals that are a few years off, a term deposit will give you the best return on your investment while not allowing you to pull any money out of the account. You may also consider a notice saver if you are planning on buying that home in the next year.
What should I do if I like a top savings account that is provided by a bank other than the one where my transaction account is held?
First look to see if the two banks will allow you to link the accounts. If not, then you could change your transaction account, or look for a similar top savings account in your bank's line of savings products.
What does tiered interest mean?
Term deposits and notice savers pay out different interest rates for higher balances and for longer terms.