The Ins & Outs of Savings Account Features

By Olivia Gee ·

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

Search promoted savings accounts below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure.

  • mozo-experts-choice-2020

    1.20% p.a. (for $0 to $250,000)

    0.10% p.a.(for $0 and over)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Bonus rate when at least $20 is deposited each month and five Visa Debit transactions are made each month using linked Everyday or Glide transaction accounts.

  • 0.90% p.a. (for $0 to $1,000,000)

    0.05% p.a.(for $0 and over)

    Yes up to $250,000

    No withdrawals in the month. Bonus rate for first 4 months, reverting to 0.05% rate after*

  • 0.80% p.a. (for $0 to $250,001)

    0.01% p.a.(for $0 to $5,000,000)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Minimum deposit of $200 and no withdrawals in the month.

  • 1.10% p.a. (for $0 to $1,000,000)

    0% p.a.(for $0 and over)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Make 5 or more successful card purchases per calendar month using your Up debit card and digital wallets (ATM transactions excluded).

  • 0.85% p.a. (for $0 to $5,000,000)

    0.05% p.a.(for $0 to $5,000,000)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Increase balance by at least $300 in the month


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

Mozo provides general product information. We don't consider your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and we aren't recommending any specific product to you. You should make your own decision after reading the PDS or offer documentation, or seeking independent advice.

While we pride ourselves on covering a wide range of products, we don't cover every product in the market. If you decide to apply for a product through our website, you will be dealing directly with the provider of that product and not with Mozo.

Olivia Gee
Money writer

As a personal finance writer at Mozo, Olivia investigates insurance, banking and property. After completing a double degree in journalism and media and communications, Olivia became a lifestyle editor at Time Out Sydney and freelanced for notable publications such as Guardian Australia and SBS News. Now she is Mozo’s resident car insurance enthusiast, and is certified (ASIC RG146 Tier 2) to provide general advice in general insurance. She also creates audible finance adventures as co-host of Mozo’s podcast, The Finance Burrito.