Superannuation fees compared and explained
All super funds charge different fees, and you can save hundreds of dollars each year by comparing. Plus, here are some tips on how to reduce your super fees.
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
Spaceship's GrowthX fund is a high-growth option with increased exposure to Australian and international shares, aiming for strong long-term returns.
This fund invests in renewable energy, innovative technology and sustainable products while avoiding coal, oil, tobacco and live animal exports.
Compare super fund fees below
The right column in the table below shows you the calculated fees on a $50,000 balance. You might have more or less than this in your super, but it's a great way to compare the funds side by side to give you an idea of which charge the lowest (and highest) fees.
*Past performance data is for the period ending June 2021.
Different types of super fees that you may have to pay
There are a number of different superannuation fees that you may be charged, although not all fees will apply to all funds. Some of the fees that your fund charges might not be charged by other funds and vice versa.
The main fees charged by super funds:
- The establishment fee. Some funds charge an initial fee for setting up your superannuation fund.
- Admin fees. Most funds will charge an annual admin fee in a dollar amount, plus an additional admin fee as a percentage of your balance.
- Investment fees. Standard MySuper funds and balanced funds will charge an annual investment fee as a percentage of your balance. This will vary depending on the type of investments you've selected.
- Indirect fees. A lot of funds have a fee called the indirect cost ratio (ICR), which is charged as a percentage of your balance annually. This fee is for all the indirect costs associated with managing your fund.
- Contribution fees. You could be charged a fee each time you make a contribution or payment into your fund.
- Termination or exit fee. These are becoming rare, but some funds do still charge a set fee when you decide to leave the fund.
- Switching fees. These are charged if you change the investment options in your superannuation fund, or switch between different investment options.
- Advisory fees. This might be charged by any adviser who offers you assistance and personal advice in relation to your super fund.
There are additional costs and fees that may apply with your super fund, depending on how your money is invested which could include:
- Insurance premium costs
- Transaction costs relating to the selling, buying or switching of investments
- Maintenance fees relating to real property and direct investments
How to know what fees you're paying
If you're not sure what you're looking for, it can be tough figuring out what fees your super fund is charging you. But now that you know what to look out for using the list above, it should be easier.
Here are a few ways to find out what fees your super fund is charging you.
- Call your fund. Give your fund a call, quote your membership number and ask what your annual fees were for the last financial year. You can also ask them for a breakdown of the admin fees, investment fees and the indirect costs.
- Read the PDS. All super funds have their PDS available online on their website. If you're in the default MySuper or balanced options (which most people are), these fees need to be clearly listed in the PDS by law. The PDS will include an example of how the fees are applied based on a balance of $50,000.
- Search the website. Head to your fund's website and navigate to the fees section. You'll find a list of each investment option and the different fees charged.
- Check your statement. Log into your account online and take a look at your past few statements.
Fees charged by some of the biggest super funds
Here are the annual fees charged by some of the biggest super funds in Australia.
AustralianSuper's Balanced option, which is the default MySuper fund, has annual fees of $476.18 based on a $50,000 balance. This includes annual admin fees of $137.65 and annual investment and indirect fees of 0.63%.
REST Super fees
REST Super's Core Strategy, which is the default MySuper option, has annual fees of $467.36 based on a $50,000 balance. This includes annual admin fees of $91.76 plus 0.14% and annual investment and indirect fees of 0.61%.
HostPlus Super fees
HostPlus's Balanced option, the default MySuper option, has annual fees of $641.76 based on a $50,000 balance. This includes annual admin fees of $91.76, plus annual investment and indirect costs of 1.1% a year.
How to minimise super fees
- 1. Change funds
The simplest way to cut down on super fees is to choose a fund that charges minimal fees. It's surprisingly quick and easy to compare fees online, so shop around to find a better deal.
Examine the fee structure of different funds, as member and administration fees could be charged as a flat annual rate or calculated as a percentage of your investment balance. There may even be a tiered fee structure in place, with lower percentages applied on higher balances, so it's wise to regularly review how much you're paying in super fees and whether there might be a better deal elsewhere.
- 2. Choose the right fund
Industry super funds, which are owned by members not shareholders, tend to charge lower fees than retail funds. Keep this in mind when comparing super funds, but remember that fee amounts and structures do vary between individual funds.
- 3. Consolidate lost super
As of 30 June 2016, ATO figures reveal that some 43% of Australians have more than one super account, which means almost half the population is paying unnecessary super fees. On the same date there were also a total of over 5.7 million lost and ATO-held superannuation accounts with a total value of just over $14 billion.
With this in mind, one of the key ways you can save on super fees is to consolidate your multiple super accounts into one account. Not only will this eliminate unnecessary fees (you will only have to pay fees on one account instead of on several accounts) but it could also help you boost your retirement savings with money you didn't even know belonged to you. To check on your super, consolidate super accounts and find lost super, login to your myGov account.
- 4. Check your level of insurance cover
One of the largest expenses that can eat away at your super balance every year is insurance premiums. Most funds offer a variety of insurances as standard, including death cover, total and permanent disability and income protection insurance. Many funds offer a default level of insurance to members, so lowering the level of cover you have can reduce fees. It's also a requirement for MySuper accounts to offer life insurance to members, so remember to opt out when you sign up for a new account.
In some cases, you may even be able to remove insurance cover from your super account altogether. However, be warned that if you're thinking of purchasing similar cover outside of your super fund, it will often be more expensive (but may also provide a higher level of cover).
More guides on Finder
Superhero Super: How to invest your super with Superhero
Superhero Super offers two different investment options which both give members more control over how their super is invested. Here's how the super account works.
Tiger Brokers review
If you’re thinking of trading stocks with Tiger Brokers, check out our review of this online broker’s fees, safety, and pros and cons first.
Westpac Low Rate Credit Card – Cashback Offer
A no-frills card offering a $0 annual fee for the first year, $400 back when you meet the spend requirement and a 13.74% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
CommBank Green Loan
Are you an existing Commbank home loan customer looking to make your home more energy-efficient? Apply for a 0.99% p.a. Commbank Green Loan for up to $20,000. No fees attached.
PayPal Rewards Card
The new PayPal Rewards credit card offers no annual fee and points per $1 spent. So how much value can you get from it?
New superannuation product by Superhero allows members to buy individual shares
Superhero, the app known for $0 brokerage trades and fractional share trading, has launched a super product. Here's how it differs from a standard super fund.
How to avoid impermanent loss and save money
Earning interest on your cryptos is great, but you're probably losing some of it to impermanent loss.
Citi Clear Credit Card – Balance Transfer Offer
This Citi Clear Credit Card offer includes 0% on balance transfers for 28 months and a reduced first-year annual fee. Compare and apply here.
BankSA Vertigo – Cashback Offer
The BankSA Vertigo card offers $300 cashback, a waived first-year annual fee and a low ongoing purchase interest rate.
St.George Vertigo Card – Cashback Offer
This card offers a low ongoing purchase interest rate, a $0 first-year annual fee and a $300 cashback offer.
Ask an Expert