Which savings account is right for me?

Savings accounts are NOT all simple, straightforward products that are basically pretty much all the same.

Each savings account has its own terms and conditions, rates and fees. To get the maximum interest rate return on your savings, you need to be aware of the rules and the basic differences between accounts.

There are two common types of at-call savings accounts

At-call savings accounts are accounts that pay you interest to help you grow your balance and allow you withdraw your cash pretty much instantly, without forward notice.

If you don’t need instant access to your money, then you might like to look at term deposit accounts, which lock up your money for a set ‘term.’ There are two basic types of at-call savings accounts offered by banks in Australia – the incentive saver accounts and the introductory rate savings accounts.

1) Incentive savings account

These accounts pay you a bonus rate of interest if you meet their terms and conditions which are designed to encourage you to save more and grow your money.

They have rules like: ‘Make at least $200 of deposits, with no withdrawals in a month to qualify for the bonus rate of interest.’

If you don’t meet these rules, for example you make a withdrawal from the account, then you will receive just the (much lower) base rate of interest.

These accounts give you an incentive to put money away each month and a disincentive to withdraw funds.

2) Introductory rate savings accounts

These accounts don’t have complex rules about deposits and withdrawals. They will pay you a base rate of interest no matter what happens during the month plus a higher introductory rate of interest for the first few months after opening the account.

These accounts are for people with a large lump sum who want to keep it safe in the bank and perhaps withdraw some funds occasionally for spending. These accounts are not designed for people who are actively trying to grow their savings.

Like the other big four banks, National Australia Bank offers an incentive saver and an intro rate account.

“At NAB, we have two popular products in market that help support Australians to save including the NAB Reward Saver and NAB iSaver,” a bank spokeswoman told InfoChoice.

“The Reward Saver allows customers to grow their savings faster with bonus interest for regular deposits and no withdrawals.

“While the NABiSaver enables customers to access their savings whenever they need them without impacting their interest rate,” said the spokeswoman.

“We also offer term deposits so there are many options for customers to suit their needs.”

Like many other banks and credit unions, you don’t need to open a NAB transaction account to open a NAB savings account. You can link your savings account to a transaction account with your current bank or credit union.

If you don’t know which account is right for you, your bank or credit union can help.  

“We encourage our customers to give us a call anytime to discuss their account and what product is right for them,” the NAB spokeswoman said.

You can compare savings accounts and term deposits from Australia’s major banks, credit unions and building societies at InfoChoice.

The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser. If you or someone you know is in financial stress, contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.

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