With hundreds of savings accounts on the market, choosing the right one to grow your hard-earned dollars in can be a daunting experience. To make the process easier and a little less stressful, Mozo has created this guide highlighting the features you should consider when choosing a savings account.
Savings Account Comparison Table - last updated January 16, 2021
Top 10 Savings Account Features
1. Interest Rates
A competitive interest rate will help your savings grow faster. The higher the rate, the quicker you’ll earn. Savings account interest rates are variable and offered per annum (yearly), so even a 0.50% difference in interest can make you hundreds of dollars in the long run. Throw some figures in the Mozo Savings Calculator for an idea of how much interest you can receive on your savings.
2. Bonus Incentives
A bonus rate is offered on top of the base rate when specific criteria are met. It often requires you to make a minimum deposit per month, make transactions through a linked bank account, or limit withdrawals. Always remember to check the terms and conditions as the bonus rate may only apply for a limited time before a new bonus promotion is introduced. There's no point choosing a savings account for the bonus incentives if you don’t believe you’ll be able to meet the criteria.
3. Introductory Interest Rate
A lot of banks in Australia offer an impressive promotional interest rate to new account holders. This rate is usually only for a limited time before reverting to the standard variable interest rate of the account. Be sure to check the standard rate, as you don't want to see your interest earnings plummet with an uncompetitive rate after the first few idyllic months.
4. Minimum Opening Deposit
Some financial institutions require you to make a minimum deposit before they open and activate your savings account. This is usually to cover costs associated with setting up the new account and then maintaining it. Having to make a minimum opening deposit may deter you from that savings account.
5. Monthly Deposit Requirements
In order to lap up a high interest rate, you are often required to maintain a minimum monthly balance or deposit a certain amount every month. If you fail to meet the requirements the bank will lower your interest rate or pay no interest for that month. It's a good idea to work out how much you can save and look for an account offering bonus rates with criteria that matches your circumstances. Setting up an automatic deposit into the account can help ensure you meet the requirements (and also boost your savings with minimal effort).
6. Frequency of Withdrawals
A lot of accounts have a limit on the number of withdrawals you can make a month. In order to secure a bonus rate you may not even be able to make a withdrawal in a month. If you believe you might need to make frequent withdrawals then choose an account which allows you to do so without penalties.
7. ATM Facility
Many online savings accounts don’t come with a hole in the wall facility where you can withdrawal money from your savings account. So if you need to access your savings you’ll need to transfer the money into your linked transaction account in order to withdraw it. If you’re likely to withdrawal money regularly from your savings account, find one with ATM facilities or free access to use others.
8. Linked Accounts
With most online savings accounts you'll need to have a linked transaction account so you can transfer money to and from your savings bundle. Sometimes this account needs to be with the same bank and sometimes you can link to any bank account. If the account requires a same bank transaction account, be sure to check for fees and features of this account as well as the savings account to ensure you will not end up paying extra fees.
9. Automatic Salary Deposits
If you’re a little forgetful and unreliable when it comes to savings, then look for an account that offers direct crediting. This means a portion of your salary can be automatically deposited into your savings account from your employer each month.
10. Account Keeping Fees
We deliver you positive news, there are plenty of savings accounts out there with no account fees. But some banks may slip a few fees your way. Be wary of the following:
- ATM withdrawal fee
- Monthly account fee
- Branch deposit fee
- Over the counter transaction fee
How to help your savings grow
- Making savings transfers automatic – set up an automated plan where money is transferred from your transaction account into your savings account every month. Even if it’s just $20.
- Take the time to find a savings account free of fees. This means more money in your pocket
- Avoid making unnecessary withdrawals from your savings account as you could be penalised and miss out on a bonus rate
- Create a budget and try and stick to it
- Review your rates every six months - variable rates shift constantly, and a better deal could be waiting for you around the corner
Feel like your current savings account doesn't have the features that best suit you? Then compare savings accounts with Mozo to find a plan that'll help save you the most.
^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Savings Accounts Awards
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