Monthly account fees can eat away your hard-earned cash and make it harder to hit your savings goals. Costly charges for account keeping, withdrawals or online transactions not only impact your balance but the interest you earn.
However, fee-free accounts do exist and comparing with Savvy can help you find them. You can learn how to compare savings accounts from various financial institutions to find a low-cost option all in one place, so you can start your new savings journey today.
Opening a savings account can come with various fees. These can range from charges for general account maintenance or how you use your funds. Some of the most common costs on savings accounts include:
Account keeping fee
The majority of financial institutions waive this fee on savings accounts or make it conditional on a minimum balance or monthly deposits. Depending on who you bank with, this charge can reach up to $5 to $10 per month.
Depending on the flexibility of your account, you’ll likely be able to withdraw with no fee. However, some may place limits on how often you can tap into your account, such as five or fewer or none at all. Once you eclipse your limit, you’ll start getting charged a fee of up to $3 each time you dip into your funds. Some banks can also give you two no-fee in-branch transactions per month.
A visit to a bricks-and-mortar branch to withdraw money can cost you between $2 and $3. Depending on your financial institution, this fee is also included when cashing a cheque.
Getting a physical copy of your savings account statement in the post can cost up to $2.50. Most banks let you choose to stop receiving paper statements and instead get them emailed directly to you at no fee.
You’ll be charged $5 if a direct debit or cheque payment fails because you have insufficient funds in your savings account. This also applies if your scheduled payments are unsuccessful. Savings accounts don’t come with overdraft facilities, so the amount debited will likely just bounce back.
You should look out for banks or institutions which don’t charge fees in most (or any) of the above areas, first and foremost. Others can offer fee-free accounts in exchange for you hitting certain monthly targets, such as minimum deposits (such as $500 to $1,000 per month), a minimum balance (such as being no lower than $5,000 at all times) and making no withdrawals. These accounts can be a great way to save if you can easily manage the requirements. However, it’s important to choose one with conditions which suit your financial status. Opening an account with unrealistic conditions can cancel out the benefits of having one in the first place: to gain interest on your savings.
Ultimately, though, the best way to beat account fees is to do your homework. Comparing savings account deals with Savvy will let you compare to see which deal is the cheapest for you. Depending on who you bank with, account fees can be waived if you’re under 25 or a full-time student. Our detailed information on fees to look out for and side-by-side comparisons let you make the best-informed decision without the headaches.
Comparing interest rates to get the highest-possible deal is an important part of your savings account research. Getting a high interest rate can fast-track your savings goal. For instance, if you put $1,000 away every month in an account with 2% p.a. interest for five years, you’d earn $3,047, which is almost $800 more than an account with a 1.5% rate. You can road-test interest rates and how they affect your balance by using Savvy’s savings calculator.
The best fit for your savings goal
Saving for an upcoming holiday or a new set of wheels? Having a goal in mind will help you decide what type of account you need to open. If you trying to meet a short-term target, accounts with high bonus rates and stricter terms may suit you.
On the flipside, if want to put your money away long-term, a term deposit can be a good way of growing your funds. If you have a savings target you want to meet, you can use Savvy’s money goal calculator to calculate how long it could take to reach it. You can also use our handy savings deposit calculator to work out how much you need to put down regularly to reach your savings goal.
A linked account gives you a fuss-free way to access funds from your savings account. These are a requirement among some banks, with most offering no fee transfers from your savings account to your linked everyday account. If you want to keep your current transaction account with a separate bank, you should look for those which don’t require linkage or charge fees for transfers. If you have opened a term deposit, you can have the interest you earn paid into an adjoining account
Work out if you’re likely to want access to your savings or happy to set it and forget it in a locked account. Accounts which make it tougher to access your money are more likely to charge you a fee for doing so or break your interest for the month. If you want the ability to dip into your funds more frequently or complete regular transfers, an online savings account might be more up your alley.
Don’t try to reach for the moon when you look at the bonus interest deals on savings accounts. Choose a loan minimum deposit and balance conditions you can easily afford. It’s important to pay attention to the base interest rate, as this is what you’ll fall back on if you can’t hit the monthly targets.
Ensure the fees you’re paying don’t cancel out the interest you’re going to earn each month. Otherwise, you risk your savings goal becoming counterproductive. Savvy’s easy comparative table allows you to easily find and select the cheapest option on the market.
Major banks may seem like the safest option when looking to house your savings. However, many Australian credit unions, building societies and online banks can offer more competitive rates with lower fees. That’s why it pays to compare with Savvy, so you can see all the options available to you across various types of financial institutions.