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Learn more about savings accounts

How to search for a savings account

There are a few handy tools designed to help savers find the most competitive savings accounts for their savings goals.

  • Comparison tables

With so many different types of accounts available to suit all Australians, comparison tables are one of the easiest ways to compare savings account products. Simply filter down your results by entering your preferred savings account type, as well as any companies you may favour.

You may then search your results by base rate or maximum rate to find which account may provide the highest yield. The comparison table will then show a range of options side by side to help create a short list of savings accounts with competitive interest rates. You may then view more details to see potential fees and costs that you may want to avoid, as well as conditions.

(Not sure of your ideal savings account type? This is explained further in this guide.)

  • Savings account calculators

As savings accounts grow savings based on compound interest, a savings account calculator may also help you to narrow down your short list of new accounts. You’ll be able to see which savings account may earn you the highest return in a chosen period of time, factoring in ongoing fees.

While using the comparison tables, if you enter in your initial deposit, monthly deposit and preferred savings period (up to a year), your results will automatically show you how much interest you may earn with various savings accounts. Otherwise, ASIC’s MoneySmart website has a helpful compound interest calculator to help you project more long-term savings growth.

  • Real Time RatingsTM

Still not sure how to narrow down your savings account search? This is where Real Time RatingsTM may be able to help.

Real Time RatingsTM is a world-first rating system that provides up-to-date assessments of savings accounts based on your individual requirements. Other comparison site rating systems may only be graded once or twice a year. However, Real Time RatingsTM is calculated daily, with each savings account given a rating out of 5 stars. This rating is based on interest earned and flexibility. It factors in your individual savings capabilities, such as your initial deposit, monthly savings and your savings time period, so you can find the best savings account applicable to you.

What to search for in a savings account

While it is crucial to choosing a competitive savings account, there’s more to your savings than the interest rate. Here are some key factors to consider when looking for a new savings account:

  • Interest rate. One of the biggest deciding factors for your new savings account. Savings accounts use variable interest rates, and your rate may fluctuate with the Reserve Bank of Australia's cash rate. A higher interest rate generally means a higher rate of return. You may find an account comes with an introductory rate, a base, or standard variable rate, and a bonus interest rate to be earned by meeting certain conditions. 
  • Fees and costs. A high interest rate may mean very little if your savings account hits you with high fees and costs. These may include monthly account keeping fees, ATM withdrawal fees, eftpos fees and foreign transaction fees.
  • Account type. There are a few savings account types, including conditional (ongoing) savers, regular savers, online savers, children savers and retirement savers.
  • Linked accounts. Typically, a savings account will require you to link it with an everyday transaction account. This may help ease the transferring of funds and can even be an ongoing condition to earn a bonus rate. Ensure you research the bank account for any fees and hidden costs before applying for a savings account. You may even be able to link your savings account or everyday account to a term deposit, credit card or home loan. 
  • Spending habits. Be honest about your spending habits when searching for a saver account. If you struggle with not dipping into your savings, or don’t want to have to meet a number of conditions to earn interest, ensure your spending habits suit the savings account type you choose.
  • Joint accounts. Many savings accounts will allow multiple account holders to join together. Keep in mind that both parties will be provided Visa or Mastercard debit cards for easy access to the savings, and will both need to meet any conditions for bonus interest. To see if a savings account approves joint applications, check the terms and conditions or product disclosure statement (PDS).

Are you searching in the right place for a savings account?

Not all savings accounts are created equally, and your spending and savings habits will impact which savings account type may best suit your financial situation.

Here is what you need to know to ensure you’re searching for the right savings account for you:

  • Saving for a goal

If you’ve got a set savings goal in mind and want to meet it in an exact time frame, then you may want to consider a conditional savings account type. Compared to standard savings accounts with introductory rates, disciplined savers may benefit from the often-strict conditions to earn a high interest rate on an ongoing basis.

You’re discouraged from dipping into your savings by no-withdrawal criteria or rules around maintaining a minimum balance. You’re also encouraged to make regular deposits to boost your savings by minimum deposit criteria. All of this may help you to meet your savings goal in your chosen time frame.

  • Saving for a rainy day

If you’re more relaxed in your savings habits and just looking to save a portion of your income for a rainy day, you may want to consider a regular (also called standard) savings account. This type does not come with conditions you need to meet to earn its interest rate.

Further, regular savings accounts typically come with a higher interest rate for an introductory period (3 – 6 months), which then reverts to a standard variable rate. This allows you to set-and-forget your savings and cuts out the hoops you need to jump through just to earn interest.

This type also may suit those who cannot meet ongoing savings account conditions each month, such as those employed casually who can’t meet the monthly minimum deposit limit.

  • Using fintech to save

Whether you’re a tech-savvy saver, or just a fan of helpful features, online savings accounts and neobank savings accounts may help you to meet your savings goals faster thanks to helpful savings tools. They’re typically on the forefront of fintech, such as Round-Up tools, which allow savers to transfer all the spare cash to the nearest $1 or more between their earnings and expenses to their savings account.

Further, online savings accounts typically offer higher interest rates and fewer fees as these providers can keep overheads low by cutting out branches and other expenses. If you’re not a fan of online banking, and prefer face-to-face customer service, this savings account type may not suit your financial situation.

  • Teaching financial literacy

 You may have children and want to start teaching them about finances and securely store their pocket money. This is where children’s savings accounts may come in handy. Kids will begin to understand the banking system and may learn about saving your “income” (pocket money) and budgeting for something you want, like toys or electronics.

You may also take advantage of linked educational savings apps to further teach your children financial literacy. These accounts often come with higher interest rates than adult accounts, but also may have higher fees, and come with strict rules around usage to prevent misconduct.