The savings account landscape offers more choice than ever before. And it is doubly important to get your savings in order as the world deals with being in the grip of such severe financial upheaval. Australia has dodged the worst of this, of course, meaning that the interest rates of our savings accounts are not as grim as they might be.
So the rewards that can be had from a good savings account remain potentially very good. But with the sheer number of banks and other financial institutions on the market, anyone not familiar with the details and possibilities of a savings account can be overwhelmed with information, jargon, offers and options. Nowadays of course, the savings account market is largely dominated by online banking.
So with taking care of your savings, and maximising them if possible, such an imperative part of personal financial planning, here are some basic things to consider when confronted with the decision over which account and which bank to go with.
This will be the deciding factor for many. A good interest rate is essential for maximising your savings, and should be the first thing you look for. A vital factor affecting interest is how often it is paid out on your account. Some institutions pay interest monthly, perhaps others daily. This will affect your broader savings strategy, and the timing of your deposits into your account.
Be sure to check on a bank’s history, reviews and financial standing before taking up one of their savings products – particularly in the current financial climate.
There are many reasons you could be saving money, such as for a home, car, big holiday, education or whatever. In these cases, a high-interest savings account would be a good option.
However, you may be a student or a first-time saver. If so, you are a major target for many banks. Students may need a good deal of flexibility in their savings account and preferably no costs or fees. Students, as well as first-time savers, may well also be eligible for special offers, deals and indeed interest rates as first-time customers.
Many major banks offer good incentives for your savings. Be sure to keep an eye out for additional interest paid if you make regular deposits, or indeed waiving of certain fees if you place a certain sum in the account. You may also be eligible for higher interest rates once you reach a certain balance. Introductory rates are also a common option from banks, though always be aware how much lower the rate will be once the introductory period expires.
You must decide how easily available you want your savings to be. If your savings account features mobile or online banking, you can transfer your money straight over to your current account. The convenience of this may be an attractive proposition for some, though the temptation to access savings may make this an unwise option. An over-the-counter savings account or perhaps a term deposit might be worthwhile for those who do not want easy access to their savings.