A high interest savings account is a savings account that offers an extremely competitive interest rate to help your savings grow. All high interest savings accounts have variable interest rates, meaning your rates could go up or down over time, usually in response to changes to the Reserve Bank cash rate.
Which banks offer high interest savings accounts?
Nowadays all of the big banks and dozens of smaller banks, mutuals and online providers claim to offer high interest savings accounts. But not all high interest savings accounts are created equal, with some offering much more competitive interest rates than others. With so much choice on offer, it's important to compare the market thoroughly to find the best high interest savings account for your needs.
How do I apply for a high interest savings account?
Once you’ve surveyed the high interest savings accounts table below and picked a winner for you, the application process is pretty simple. Simply hit the ‘go to site’ button next to your favourite account and you’ll land on the provider’s page ready to start an online application right then and there. Just make sure you’ve got your personal details and tax file number on hand so that you can get set up quickly and start saving as soon as possible.
Page last updated January 19, 2020
High interest savings account comparisons on Mozo - rates updated daily Mozo has robust processes to ensure our site is updated to reflect the latest information from providers. There may be the odd occasion where updates are delayed, so please confirm information before purchasing.
Bonus interest only applies on funds held in linked USaver account if $200 deposited into either account in the month from an external source.
1.04% p.a.(for $0 to $5,000,000)
The UBank Ultra Transaction Account works hand in hand with the USaver. Receive a generous 2.10% ongoing bonus rate when you deposit at least $200 into either account each month. No international fees. Winner of the Mozo Experts Choice Awards 2019 as Savings Bank of the Year.
Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening
1.05% p.a.(for $0 to $250,001)
No fees, no minimum balance, no minimum monthly deposit and no minimum term. Rabobank's account was also awarded an impressive two 2019 Mozo Experts Choice Awards in the No Strings Savings and Kick Start Savings categories.
Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening, reverting to standard variable rate. Rate shown is for Personal customers and is subject to change. Different rates apply to Business/SMSF customers.
No withdrawals in the month. Bonus rate for first 4 months, reverting to 0.45% bonus rate after*
0% p.a.(for $0 and over)
$0 Monthly account fee. 2.60% p.a. 4 Month Introductory Variable Rate. 0.70% p.a. ongoing Variable Rate applicable every month you don’t make a withdrawal (both for the Introductory and Ongoing Variable Rates)
Whether you're saving for a rainy day or a specific goal, you want to make sure that every dollar you're putting into your savings account is earning the best rate possible and getting you closer to your savings goal. Here are some top tips from the Mozo money experts to make sure that you're set up from day one to earn the highest interest you can.
What are the benefits of a high interest savings account?
High interest savings accounts are flexible and easy to use accounts that can help you to maximise your savings and reach your savings goals faster.
Unlike a term deposit, a high interest savings account offers you the flexibility to deposit money at any time and withdraw all or part of your savings whenever you need it without paying a penalty fee. You can also automate your savings by setting up regular direct debit payments from your everyday bank account to your high interest savings account.
Great savings rates aside, the best high interest savings accounts come with minimal fees and afford you the luxury of managing your money over the internet or via a mobile banking app which makes depositing money or accessing the funds in your account both instant and super easy.
Which banks have the highest savings rates?
Many of the most competitive savings accounts on the market these days are online offerings. Not only are online accounts easier to access because you can do your banking 24/7, they also generally come with no account service fees and higher interest rates than standard branch access savings accounts. What's better than managing your money from the comfort of your home? While there may be limited transactions allowed with a high interest savings account, you can conveniently transfer money between your transaction and savings accounts online according to your needs.
5 top high interest savings accounts in Australia*
Special rate conditions
MyState Bank Bonus Saver Account
Up to 2.25%
$20 deposit minimum monthly
5 Visa Debit transactions made monthly, using linked Everyday or Glide transaction accounts
86 400 Save Account
Up to 2.25%
$1,000 deposit minimum monthly to either Pay or Save account
Up Saver Account
Up to 2.25%
5+ card purchases per month using Up debit card and digital wallets
ME Online Savings Account
Up to 2.20%
4 tap and go payments per month with your Everyday Transaction Account debit card (all payments must be processed in the month)
Bank of Queensland Fast Track Saver Account
Up to 2.15%
$1,000 or more credited to linked Day2Day Plus account in the previous month ($200 for 14-24 year olds)
How do high interest savings accounts work?
Unlike everyday transaction accounts, savings accounts are designed to help you save up, so they generally come with higher interest rates and no online transaction or account fees.
Once you park money inside the savings account, you’ll be able to start earning compound interest. The highest interest rates are usually made up of a base rate and a special rate that you need to meet conditions to get, which combined, give you the maximum rate. Conditions could include a deposit minimum or limits on how often you can make withdrawals per month.
What features should I look for in a high interest savings account?
Not all savings accounts are created equal so, here are the main things you'll want to look at when doing your side-by-side comparison of the high interest accounts on your shortlist:
Interest rates: Getting a great rate is the key to maximising your savings, and you'll have lots of different options to choose from. Some high interest savings accounts offer attractive short term introductory rates, but if you're looking at signing up for ones of these accounts you'll need to check the ongoing rate to make sure the account will be competitive over the long term once the intro rate has ended. Another common option is accounts that offer high ongoing interest rates in return for you meeting certain conditions, such as depositing a set amount each month or linking your savings account to an everyday transaction account with the same provider. Always make sure you've compared the different rates and conditions that providers are offering as the interest you'll earn will depend on you meeting these. Also, note that all savings accounts rates are variable and this means that they can go up and down depending on the market. If you want a set return on your money, you might want to compare term deposits as the interest rates on these are fixed for the term.
No account fees: While most online high interest savings accounts have no account fees, if you need over the counter branch or ATM access with your savings account you may have to pay a fee for this. Sometimes it will be a per transaction fee or the account might have a monthly fee.
Accessibility: With most high interest savings accounts your money will be at call, meaning you can withdraw your funds at any time. There is a type of account called a notice account that's a bit different however. With these accounts you will need to give the bank notice that you want to withdraw funds before you can take money out. If you opt for one of these, make sure that you can serve out the required notice period or have other funds available in case of an emergency.
Automatic transfers: If your high interest savings account requires you to maintain a certain monthly balance in order to get a higher interest rate you will want to make sure you don't miss the deadline. Set up periodic transfers into the account to meet the requirement for monthly deposits through online banking.
Linked account: Some banks may require you to have an everyday transaction account linked to your savings account. Sometimes this account needs to be with the same bank (and sometimes you can link to any bank account). If you are using both accounts from the same bank, make sure you check the fees and features of the new account as well so you don't end up paying extra money.
How do I compare high interest savings accounts?
Mozo makes savings account comparison super easy. In our comparison table above, you'll notice two interest rate columns.
The Special Rate column lists the maximum interest rate you can earn with each account in a given month, for instance by meeting conditions like depositing a set amount each month. If the account has an introductory rate, this will also be listed in the Special Rate column.
The Standard Rate column lists the base rate you'll earn in any month that you don't meet the special rate conditions. For accounts that have introductory rates, the standard rate column lists the rate you'll receive one the intro rate has ended. When you're comparing rates, make sure you read any conditions carefully to ensure that you can meet them.
The Account Fee column shows you whether there are any monthly or ongoing fees associated with each savings account. Account fees can eat away at your savings so it makes sense to try to choose an account without any.
Do the best savings rates come with conditions?
To supersize your savings, you can look at earning higher interest with bonus saver offers. These generally require you to fulfil certain criteria such as meeting minimum monthly deposit conditions or making no withdrawals, but if you get an extra 3% interest for doing this it will be worth it.
Before signing up for one of these accounts it's important to be realistic, as if you don't think you'll be able to meet conditions on a regular basis you'll likely be better off looking for an account that pays a decent base rate of interest with no strings attached. Alternatively, you could consider being a rate tart and chasing introductory rate offers every few months, but this strategy requires a lot of time and energy and is certainly not for everyone.
Are introductory savings rates worth it?
Some savings accounts offer higher interest rates for an introductory period of say 3 to 6 months, before reverting to a lower ongoing rate. These accounts can often look quite attractive, but as always it pays to compare the detail to make sure you're not stuck with a dud rate once the intro rate ends. Unless you plan on switching savings accounts every few months, there's little point signing up for an account that offers a tasty 3% interest for just 3 or 4 months before dropping back to 1% or even less once the intro period ends. So if you are comparing introductory savings rates, be sure to check the ongoing rate and make sure that's competitive as well.
Should I bundle accounts to get a higher savings rate?
Many banks now offer their best savings rates to customers who are prepared to open both a savings account and a linked everyday transaction account, and use the linked account as their main everyday account by depositing their pay, making regular transactions and so on.
So, is it worth switching your everyday bank account over as well just to get a high savings interest rate? Some of the best savings rates on the market can be obtained using this strategy, but if you're considering doing this be sure to review both accounts and make sure you're getting a competitive deal on both. If you're going to sign up for a linked everyday account, make sure it has no account fees and is competitive on things like ATM fees and overseas transaction fees.
How can I get the most out of my high interest savings account?
Choosing the best savings account for you is a great first step, but then what? There are a few steps you can take to help make the most of your shiny new savings account and boost your balance.
Meet any bonus conditions. The base interest rate on a savings account is not always the best way to grow your stash - instead, check if there’s a special rate available, and try your best to meet any requirements to get it. These often include not making any withdrawals in the month or depositing a minimum amount each month.
Build up your balance. Because savings account interest is calculated as a percentage of your account balance, the more you have stashed away, the more interest you’ll earn on it. So if you’ve got cash sitting in a bank account that you don’t need right away, transferring it to your savings pile instead can help boost your interest earnings.
Should I stash my cash in a high savings savings account or term deposit?
It depends on what you’re looking for.
While savings account rates are variable and move up or down with the market, term deposits offer more stability because of their fixed rate, fixed term features.
Term deposits come with much less flexibility than savings accounts. You’ll be charged hefty fees if you decide to withdraw early and you can’t make extra deposits. On the flip side, if you can commit to these conditions, there are often slightly higher rates on offer with a term deposit than a regular savings account.
Savings accounts, however, allow you to withdraw or deposit money whenever you like, although some do have monthly limits. The other thing to keep in mind with savings deposits is that in order to score bonus interest, you may need to meet certain requirements like making no withdrawals or depositing a minimum amount per month.
In Australia, the government guarantees deposits of up to $250,000 with any one Authorised Deposit-taking Institution (ADIs) such as your bank or credit union - so you can be reassured that this money is protected, should something happen to the ADI.
But if you’ve saved up more than $250,000, you’d need to keep smaller amounts of up to $250,000 inside different banks in order for for all your funds to be covered by the guarantee. That means, if you’ve got $700,000 in savings, you would need to put $250,000 with one bank, $250,000 with another, and $200,000 with a third.
Who can apply for a high interest savings account in Australia?
Everyone! Applying for a savings account is pretty easy, and doesn’t require you to jump through the same hoops as something like a home loan might. A couple of things to keep in mind before applying are:
Age limits. If you’re under 18, you might like to have a look at kids savings accounts, which are especially designed for those just getting started on their savings stash.
Minimum deposits. While most accounts can be opened with any minimum balance - even as low as $1 - some savings accounts have a minimum deposit requirement you’ll need to meet.
Bank specific criteria. Some credit unions, mutual banks or community owned banks might have other criteria, for example, you might have to live in a certain state or be part of a particular profession. Other member-owned institutions might require you to become a member before opening up a high interest savings account.
What's the best way to open a high interest savings account?
Generally, you can open a savings account online, over the phone or in a bank branch, depending on what you prefer. While you might need some in-person help for big commitments, like a home loan, a savings account is a little more simple and less risky, so you might opt to open it online.
At Mozo, we think the best way to open your new savings account is right here! Once you’ve used our handy comparison table to find the right option for your needs, you can click the blue ‘Go to site’ button next to it. This will take you through to the bank or credit union’s website, where you can start the process of opening an account.
What information will I need to apply for a high interest savings account?
When you go to open a savings account, whether you do it online, over the phone or in a branch, you’ll need a few details, including your contact details, personal details and some ID. You should have some things ready, like:
A few different forms of identification, preferably photo ID. These can include a driver’s licence, passport, birth certificate, medicare card or a utility bill.
Your name, date of birth, address and contact details
The details of any other account you want to link, like an everyday transaction account
How long does it take to open a new savings account?
Because there aren’t any credit checks to worry about, opening a savings account is a pretty quick process. A lot of the time, you can open a new savings account in ten minutes or less, as long as you have all the details you need prepared ahead of time.
The way you choose to open a savings account might also affect how long it takes - opening an account online can be a lot quicker than going into a branch, as you won’t have to wait in line.
Kelly Emmerton is the Money Editor at Mozo, and has over 4 years experience writing exclusively in the Australian finance space. Her in-depth knowledge spans all areas of personal finance, from home loans to travel money, and she leads our team of money writers in helping to demystify personal finance for everyday Australians. Kelly has a background in communications and when she’s not delving into finance industry stats and product disclosure statements, you’ll find her on the beach reading classic sci-fi.