A term deposit is also often known as a fixed savings account because the interest rate you earn is fixed, and so is the account balance - you can't put any more money in, or take any out until the end of the term you have chosen. A term deposit is just one way you can save for your future or for a specific goal, and here, we can help you decide whether a fixed term deposit account could be right for all or even just a part of your financial plans. .
Term Deposit Rates Comparison
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There are only a few types of investments that can be considered as stable and the term deposit is one category of these. For investors that are more interested in long term money, it is a good means to achieve their goal. They know how much they put in, the interest rate, the time when they receive the money and how much they will receive. There are various interest rates that are available with the different terms but they are considered one of the best* and safest ways to invest and grow money.
This being said, for someone who wants to withdraw the money early, there are penalties and again, these change with the banking or financial institute. It can take away a part of all of the interest earned on that account. It is essential that when a person invests their money in term deposits that they understand all of the terms and conditions that go along with them and go with the ones with the least amount of penalties for the highest amount of interest.
Other Term Deposit Resources
- Bank Term Deposit
View the market-leading term deposit accounts on offer from Australia's top banks. Discover the benefits of opening a term deposit account with a bank.
- Term Deposit Rates
Compare interest rates on the top term deposit accounts on the Australian market. Secure the most competitive rate and reach your savings goals faster.
- Fixed Term Deposit
Discover the benefits of a fixed term deposit account as your money is kept secured and you are not tempted to make withdrawals.
Consider whether these features appeal to your needs:
- The ability to choose a term anywhere between one month and five years, to meet your short, medium or long term savings goals.
- Term deposits can require a small minimum deposit amount, often around $1,000.
- They are completely managed for you so you don't have to have any specialist financial or investment experience.
- Your interest rate, your investment amount and your returns are all guaranteed so you don't have to worry about movements in the share market, the official interest rate or the property bubble.
There are some options around what happens with regards to interest repayments. You can have your interest paid out daily from start until maturity or you can have the interest reinvested. Reinvesting can help to increase the size of your nest egg quickly. You can also diversify your term deposits, and have them across a variety of rates and maturity time lines.
Don't forget to leave enough money accessible if your regular savings account to account for any unforeseen expenditures you may have, such as vehicle repairs or emergencies, and you should be pretty well set. If you have a little extra cash stashed away, then a term deposit may be the perfect way to invest. These accounts are no risk and relatively high interest.
What Do You Mean By A Fixed Rate?
If you're waiting for a catch you're not alone, and you're right to be wary when it comes to your finances, however, in this instance a fixed interest rate really does mean fixed.
Most high interest savings accounts and transaction accounts which pay interest have a variable interest rate. This means that the rate is set by the provider, but they are able to change it whenever they choose, in line with the movements of the Reserve Bank on official rates, or to reward customers when the bank has made a profit, or reduce the rate to cover losses. While it is possible to watch the standard variable rates of the major high interest savings account providers to follow the account with the highest interest rates, if you're looking for an easier solution to securing a high rate, fix it.
A fixed interest rate on a term deposit account will be calculated based on the term you have chosen, the amount you are investing and how you choose to have your interest paid: quarterly, six monthly, annually or at maturity. The provider will then calculate the best rate for your options, and guarantee your savings will earn that rate every single day for your entire term. Your returns are therefore guaranteed too.
However, a fixed interest rate will only remain fixed if you do not access your account during the term. If you need to make a withdrawal you will jeopardise your interest earnings, plus you can't add to your account balance until maturity.
You also need to make sure you are happy with the interest rate you have fixed, because during the term, your provider may raise their interest rate in response to economic movements, and you have to be content in the knowledge you are also protected from drops in the rate. At the same time, there are plenty of providers who are willing to offer very competitive rates because they want to add your savings to their reserves, to save them having to borrow from the still shaky global markets.
To help you decide if a term deposit is for you, follow these steps:
- Clarify your savings goals.
This will not only help you determine whether a term deposit is the right investment for you, but will also help you decide on a term and a deposit which is right too. For example, if you only have a small investment amount, but you need that amount to grow significantly to help you prepare for the arrival of a new baby, or to help you save for a house deposit, then you may choose to look at longer terms for your term deposit account, as a longer term will offer you a higher interest rate and better returns. Alternatively, if you've just about met your savings goal for a new car or TV, you may want to lock away your savings for just a few months so they can continue to earn interest, but you're not tempted to spend them.
- Be realistic about the term of your investment.
Only you know what your finances are like, and if you need confirmation of the best investment style* you may want to consult a financial advisor or accountant, and you will know whether you need your savings in an emergency fund you can access. Using a term deposit account as an emergency fund can work well, if you know what your emergencies are likely to be; for example in November you could lock away some savings for just a few months so they don't get spent in the Christmas chaos, but are there when you have those endless back to school expenses which can quickly turn into emergencies.
- If you don't want to risk your investment, use a term deposit account.
Shares and property can secure you high returns on your investments, but they can just as easily cost you more than you've invested too, and there are no guarantees. With a term deposit account you know how long your money is invested for, at what interest rate, and what your expected return at the end of the term will be, all before the first day of your term has elapsed.
How To Compare Term Deposit Accounts
Most Australian financial institutions will offer a form of term deposit account, many will even offer more than one type of term deposit, that is how varied the product can be. That is also why you need to know what you are looking for in your comparisons, to ensure that you make your comparisons as easy as possible, and you track down the account which is right for you.
To compare term deposit accounts:
- Decide on your term and then compare term deposits.
Some financial institutions want to attract long term term deposits, and others prefer to facilitate short term investments. Therefore, before you choose a term deposit, you need to choose your term as one financial institution may offer 4.50% on a six month investment, where another will offer you 5.50% for that same term.
- Compare based on your investment amount.
This will allow you to make comparisons on a level playing field because many term deposit providers will tier their interest rates based on the deposit amount. Therefore a six month term deposit of $5,000 may earn 4.50% while a six month investment of $20,000 may earn 5.50% and you can save a lot of time in your comparisons by comparing based on what you can afford to invest.
- Find out about fees.
You don't want to plan for a big return on your term deposit investment only to find that there are monthly fees, fees to open the account or fees at the end of the term, it is possible to find a term deposit account without any of these fees so it is worth making the comparisons. While you are comparing term deposit account fees, also find out what you are charged to leave the term early, if an emergency does arise and you need access to your funds sooner than expected, some financial institutions will charge you a percentage of the investment, where others will have a set cancellation fee.
- Save time as you save money by choosing an online term deposit account.
Saving and investing your funds is something you have to do amongst all of your other commitments and if setting up and managing a term deposit account costs you time, is it really worth the returns? Instead choose an online term deposit account which can be opened online, where the statements can be viewed online or emailed to you and you can reinvest or cancel your investment through internet banking.