It’s slim pickings at the moment but if you want to earn a higher rate of interest on your savings, here are savings accounts with some of the highest bonus rates on the market.
Here, we’ll explain what a bonus rate is, how they work, how you can earn them and how they’re different from base and introductory rates.
Compare savings accounts with the highest bonus rates
The table below displays a selection of savings accounts with some of the highest bonus rates on the market (age limits may apply).
What is a bonus interest rate?
The bonus rate is an interest rate that some savings accounts offer on top of their base rate. The bonus rate is either offered as an introductory rate or as a conditional rate that you can only earn if you meet certain conditions each month.
For example, to earn the bonus interest rate for the month you may have to meet requirements including:
Depositing a certain amount of money into your savings account every month
Making no or limited withdrawals every month
Making a certain number of transactions every month using the linked transaction account
Having a linked transaction account with a certain amount of money deposited into it every month
Keeping your savings account balance above or below a set threshold
It’s not unusual for some savings accounts to require you to meet a combination of these requirements every month in order to earn the bonus interest rate.
Savings accounts with bonus interest rates can be attractive for people saving up towards a goal who want to be rewarded for their good savings habits like depositing $X amount each month and not taking money out of their savings. Savings accounts with bonus rates are also more likely to have higher total interest rates than savings accounts that don’t offer a bonus rate.
Before you choose a savings account, make sure you find out what the bonus rate is (if any) and what conditions you need to meet every month in order to earn the maximum bonus rate. Some bonus rates are only available for a limited period of time (known as an introductory rate or a honeymoon rate) so while the bonus rate might make the savings account look really tempting, the base rate could be very small (some are as low as 0.00%!).
How are bonus rates different from base and introductory rates?
The base rate is the default interest rate that account holders will earn without needing to meet any requirements.
According to Savings.com.au’s research, the highest base rate is 3.50% p.a. (for a child savings account) while the highest base rate on an adult savings account is 1.20% p.a. at the time of writing (February 2021). The average base rate for savings accounts is around 0.50% p.a. to 0.80% p.a.
Across the big four banks, the average base rate on savings accounts is a piddly 0.05% p.a. - that’s less than the rate of inflation which is currently 0.90% - so your money would be theoretically be going backwards in value at that interest rate.
The introductory interest rate (also known as the honeymoon rate) is a temporary bonus interest rate that is usually only offered in the first few months of opening the account. Introductory interest rates are often quite high to entice new customers to open up an account - but the rate it reverts to (the base rate) can be quite low so it’s worth checking before signing up.
Savings.com.au’s two cents
A savings account with a high bonus rate can be a great incentive to earn a higher rate of interest on your savings and a way to reward savers for their good savings habits. But before you sign up for a savings account with a high bonus rate, find out if it’s only an introductory rate or a conditional rate, and what the requirements are to earn that bonus rate each month.
When it comes to choosing a savings account, a high interest rate isn’t the only thing to look out for. You should also make sure there are no monthly account keeping fees as these will eat into your savings. You should also consider what features you want out of a savings account, like the ability to link multiple sub-savings accounts if you have a few savings goals, or if the account comes with an app that has insights into your spending and saving habits.
Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash