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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 60 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. 86 400
  2. AMP Bank
  3. ANZ
  4. Arab Bank Australia
  5. Australian Military Bank
  6. Australian Unity
  7. Bank First
  8. Bank of Melbourne
  9. Bank of Sydney
  10. Bank of us
  11. BankSA
  12. BankVic
  13. Bankwest
  14. bcu
  15. Bendigo Bank
  16. Beyond Bank
  17. BOQ
  18. Citi
  19. Commonwealth Bank
  20. Credit Union SA
  21. CUA
  22. Delphi Bank
  23. Endeavour Mutual Bank
  24. Gateway Bank
  25. Geelong Bank
  26. G&C Mutual Bank
  27. Heritage Bank
  28. Horizon Bank
  29. HSBC
  30. Hume Bank
  31. Hunter United
  32. Illawarra Credit Union
  33. IMB
  34. ING
  35. Macquarie Bank
  36. Macquarie Credit Union
  37. ME Bank
  38. MOVE Bank
  39. MyState Bank
  40. NAB
  41. Nabtrade
  42. Newcastle Permanent
  43. People’s Choice Credit Union
  44. QBANK
  45. Qudos Bank
  46. Queensland Country Bank
  47. Rabobank Australia
  48. RACQ Bank
  49. RAMS
  50. Regional Australia Bank
  51. Rural Bank ONE
  52. SERVICE ONE Alliance Bank
  53. St.George Bank
  54. Suncorp Bank
  55. Sydney Mutual Bank
  56. Teachers Mutual Bank
  57. The Capricornian
  58. The Mac
  59. The Mutual Bank
  60. Transaction Mutual Credit Union
  61. UBank
  62. UniBank
  63. Up
  64. Volt
  65. Westpac

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

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