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What is a savings account?

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A savings account is simply a bank account that you use to accrue interest, growing your initial deposit. Savings accounts are a great way to save towards a goal.

Some investors, such as those with a self-managed super fund, use a savings account as part of their investment portfolio, in order to guarantee receiving some kind of return on their money.

The rate at which your savings account increases is determined by the interest rate offered.

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How Canstar compares saving accounts

Canstar compares saving accounts from across the industry, using a sophisticated methodology to examine hundreds of individual products from more than 80 institutions.

With interest rates at record lows, finding the highest interest rate for a savings account is vital. You can compare interest rates for different types of savings accounts using our handy comparison tool at the top of this page.

There are a few basic things to look for in a savings account, depending on your financial needs:

  1. High interest rate (beware of high introductory rates that revert to lower rates)
  2. Low fees
  3. Free transactions or fee rebates
  4. Accessibility of branches and ATMs if necessary
  5. Features such as suitable minimum or maximum deposit amounts

Some common fees to look out for on savings accounts are:

  • Monthly account-keeping fees
  • eftpos fees
  • Electronic transaction fees
  • ATM withdrawal fees from your own bank and other banks
  • Branch deposit fees
  • Over-the-counter transaction fees

The good news is that most savings accounts won’t charge fees for electronic transfers, and you can usually waive the monthly account-keeping fee simply by depositing a certain amount each month.

When we have realistic goals for our savings and we know what to look for when choosing a savings account, we can do quite well for ourselves. You can make a plan today for building your savings for the future, using our Canstar Savings Plan Calculator and Budget Planner Calculator.

If you’re struggling to save and would prefer advice on how to budget to meet your regular financial needs, head on over to our Budgeting & Saving guide. You’ll find all our best hints and tips to help you survive and thrive financially.

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Written by: TJ Ryan & Tim Smith

High interest savings accounts glossary of terms

Please note that these are a general explanation of the meaning of terms used in relation to savings accounts. Your bank or financial institution may use different terms, and you should read your product disclosure statement (PDS) carefully to understand everything that may apply to your account. You cannot rely on these terms in relation to any savings account you may open.

What is Account-keeping fees?

Account-keeping fees are ongoing fees charged to cover or partially cover the bank’s internal costs of creating and maintaining the account.

What is an Annual equivalent rate (AER)?

A Annual equivalent rate (AER) is a rate that can be compared between lenders, which shows what the interest rate would be if interest was paid and compounded once each year. Any advertisement for a savings product that quotes an interest rate must also quote the AER so that you can compare what return you could expect over time.

What are Basis points?

Basis points is a unit of measurement used in financial situations to describe the percentage change in interest rates or the value of a financial product. One basis point is 0.01% or 0.0001 in decimal form.

What is a Bonus savings account?

A Bonus savings account is an account that give bonus interest whenever the accountholder makes no withdrawals and deposits a certain amount of money into the account (usually around $50 or $100).

What is a Cash management account?

A Cash management account is a savings account for high balances (usually $10,000 – $20,000) with a higher interest rate and the flexibility of a transaction account.

What is a Debit card?

A Debit card is a card that is linked to a transaction account and allows the cardholder to make transactions with merchants and withdrawals from ATMs. Also known as a bank card or cheque card.

What is a Deposit?

A Deposit is money that you put into an account with a financial institution.

What is a Introductory rate?

An Introductory rate is an introductory bonus offer where a variable interest rate applies to the account for a set time period. At the end of the bonus period, rates revert to the base rates.

What is a Junior savings account?

A Junior savings account is a savings accounts for children. A parent or guardian operates the account in the child’s name but the child also has access to their account. View our Junior Banking Award for under 12s and Youth Banking Award for under 18s on our website.

What is a Online savings account (OSA)?

An Online savings account (OSA) is a savings account that is primarily managed on the internet.

What is a Promotional rate?

A Promotional rate is an interest rate which is only offered during a specified promotional period. When the promotional period ends, the interest rate will generally revert to the base rate. Similar to an introductory rate.

What is a Transaction account?

A Transaction account is a deposit account that serves the purpose of providing frequent access to funds in your account for debit card transactions made through eftpos at merchants, branches, ATMs, and also for the use of cheques. A transaction account is different to a savings account because it is not designed to grow your savings with interest.

What is a Withdrawal?

A Withdrawal is when you take money out of your account, e.g. getting cash out of an ATM.

What is a Yield?
A Yield is the rate of return earned on an investment.

Savings account providers we research and rate

At the time of our latest star ratings of savings accounts, the savings account product providers we researched and rated included the following:

  1. ADCU
  2. AMP Bank
  3. ANZ
  4. Arab Bank Australia
  5. Bank Australia (formerly known as bankmecu)
  6. Bank First
  7. Bank of Melbourne
  8. Bank of Sydney
  9. BankSA
  10. BankVic
  11. Bankwest
  12. bcu
  13. Bendigo Bank
  14. Beyond Bank
  15. BOQ
  16. Cairns Penny
  17. Catalyst Money
  18. Citibank
  19. Coastline Credit Union
  20. Commonwealth Bank
  21. Community First Credit Union
  22. Community Mutual Group
  23. CUA
  24. Defence Bank
  25. Delphi Bank
  26. Easy Street Financial Services
  27. ECU Australia
  28. Encompass Credit Union
  29. FCCS Credit Union
  30. First Option Credit Union
  31. G&C Mutual Bank
  32. Gateway Credit Union
  33. Geelong Bank
  34. Greater Building Society
  35. Heritage Bank
  36. Holiday Coast Credit Union
  37. Horizon Credit Union
  38. HSBC
  39. Hume Bank
  40. Hunter United
  41. Illawarra Credit Union NSW
  42. IMB
  43. ING
  44. Intech Credit Union
  45. Macquarie Bank
  46. Macquarie Credit Union
  47. ME Bank
  48. MOVE Bank
  49. MyState
  50. NAB
  51. Newcastle Permanent
  52. Nexus Mutual
  53. Northern Beaches Credit Union
  54. People’s Choice Credit Union
  55. P&N Bank
  56. Police Bank
  57. Qantas Credit Union
  58. Qld Police Credit Union
  59. Qld Professional Credit Union
  60. QT Mutual Bank
  61. Quay Credit Union
  62. Qudos Bank
  63. Queenslanders Credit Union
  64. RaboDirect
  65. RACQ Bank
  66. RAMS
  67. Regional Australia Bank
  68. Rural Bank Ltd / Rural Bank ONE
  69. SCU
  70. Select Credit Union
  71. SERVICE ONE Alliance Bank
  72. St. George Bank
  73. Summerland Credit Union
  74. Suncorp Bank
  75. Teachers Mutual Bank
  76. The Capricornian
  77. The Mac
  78. The Mutual
  79. The Rock Building Society
  80. Transport Mutual Credit Union
  81. UBank
  82. Unicredit WA
  83. Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank
  84. Westpac
  85. Wide Bay Australia

For more information on how CANSTAR rates savings accounts, read our latest star ratings report.

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Canstar’s^ highest rated Savings Accounts with the Highest Total Interest Rates

for a Savings Account with a starting balance of $1,000 in NSW.

See some of highest interest rate, 5-Star rated Savings Accounts^ on Canstar’s database. The table below displays some of the 5-Star rated products from Canstar’s database (including some products from our referral partners) sorted by Star Ratings, then highest total interest rate (highest to lowest), then by provider name (alphabetically).

The Star Ratings in this table were awarded in October 2019. Current rates and fees are displayed and may be different to what was rated. The table does not include all providers and may not compare all features relevant to you. ^View the CANSTAR Savings and Everyday Transaction Accounts Ratings Methodology. The rating shown is only one factor to take into account when considering products. The products and star ratings displayed are those that are the highest rated savings accounts with the highest total interest rates. For more information, read our detailed disclosure, important notes and additional information. Consider whether this general financial advice is right for your personal circumstances. You may need financial advice from a qualified adviser. Consider the product disclosure statement before making a purchase decision.
If you decide to apply for a savings product, you will deal directly with a financial institution not with Canstar. Rates and product information that may be available to you will be determined by the relevant financial institution in accordance with their eligibility criteria, please confirm this directly with the financial institution you select.