If you haven’t seen the ads scattered all around town, the Commonwealth Bank has launched a new savings account. Initially dismissive due to the fact that ‘Big 4’ savings accounts rarely set the market alight, having to eyeball the ad at the bus shelter on my way to work every morning finally drove me to their website (don’t you hate it when the advertising wins?). A few clicks later and I was pleasantly surprised to find something worth writing about.
When it comes to savings accounts, there are two things that matter – rate and monthly fee. Commonwealth’s Goal Saver has managed to deliver on both fronts. For starters, there is no monthly service fee on the account. As for the interest rate, it’s an ongoing 6.0% – as long as you increase your balance by $200 a month and make no more than one withdrawal a month. Failure to meet the requirements and the rate drops down to a measly 3.0%.
The real headline here is the special rate conditions. Where before the market was focused on a ‘honeymoon rate’ that stayed high for the first few months then receded back to a lesser standard rate, over the past few months we’ve seen a trend emerging in favour of high ongoing rates with regular conditions. BankWest’s Regular Saver is currently at the head of the market with a rate of 7.0% as long as you make no withdrawals and deposit between $50 and $500 a month and UBank’s USaver offers 6.51% as long as you deposit $200 a month.
Whilst the Goal Saver rate does not quite hit the heights of BankWest and UBank, it certainly is a very good effort from a Big 4 bank and definitely warrants some consideration, particularly if you’re an existing Commonwealth customer who likes the convenience of all your banking in one place. As for the competition, the Goal Saver’s combination of rate and flexibility has really given Commonwealth the march on their rivals. Neither NAB or Westpac offer an ongoing rate anywhere near the 6% mark and whilst ANZ’s rewards saver does, it doesn’t have the flexibility of allowing any withdrawals.
It’s good to see banks starting to shift the goalposts towards rewarding their existing client base for an ongoing period as opposed to continuously luring new clients in with flashy headline rates then forgetting about them after four months. For so long banking advertisements have featured pledges to put the customer first only for the exact opposite to occur in practice. Perhaps this new offering from Commonwealth heralds the start of all that changing. And who knows? When all’s said and done, it might even stop me taking so long to notice those ads at the bus stop.
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