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3 Alternative Savings Accounts with Higher Interest than the Big 4 Banks
Posted on: 30 / 08 / 2017
Updated on: 22 / 01 / 2018
Savings accounts have lost their charm over the years. I remember when I was still in school, my then Commonwealth Bank account was spitting out around 6% return.
How times have changed. Since just after the GFC, savings account rates have been on the decline. A return of around 2-3% is now the norm.

This has heavily hurt savers, particularly those who lived off the interest rate payments. Many have been forced to transfer their savings into riskier investments like shares and property to achieve the same return on their money.

While savings accounts definitely don't pay as much interest as they used to, it is still important to have a stash of cash available that is easily accessible on short notice. You might as well get a good interest rate on it while it is sitting there.

The vast majority of Australians (myself included) have a bank account with one of Australia's 'Big 4' banks; Commonwealth bank, National Australia Bank, ANZ, and Westpac. But interestingly, these banks rarely offer the best rate you can get.

We will explore three alternative banks that you can park your money in. Note that all of these banks require you to open an 'Everyday Transaction Account' in addition to the 'Savings Account'*. You will also need to meet certain conditions to get the bonus interest rate, however these are usually pretty easy.
1. ME Bank
Interest rate: 2.95%

Members Equity Bank. You may have seen the 'Me Me Me' ads played in the past year or so. These guys have a history of offering one of the better interest rates on a savings account.

To get the bonus rate:
You need to use the 'tap and go' (also known as Paywave or Paypass) feature on your Everyday Transaction account ONCE A WEEK.

Some of the features are; ATM withdrawal fees refunded to you once a month, and the fact that you can make unlimited withdrawals from your Online Savings Account. There are also no account keeping fees.

2. ING Direct
Interest rate: 2.80%

To get the bonus rate:
A minimum of $1000 per month needs to be deposited into either of your ING accounts from an external bank account. This will most likely be your paycheck.

If you fulfil these conditions, ING entitles you to not only the 2.80% interest rate, but also free ATM usage, and no account keeping fees. It should be noted too that if you do withdraw the $1000, it doesn't matter. You still reap all the benefits.
Interest rate: 2.80%
To get the bonus rate:
You need to deposit a minimum of $200 per month without withdrawing any money from the account.
What about Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, NAB, and Westpac Savings Accounts?
The above banks do offer similar condition based savings accounts. You will have to check the finer details on their websites regarding their conditions. At the time of post though, their rates are as follows: 

Commonwealth Bank Goal saver – 1.65%
ANZ Progress saver – 1.81%
NAB Reward saver – 2.50%
Westpac Life – 2.30%

There are several other banks that offer interest rates like these. However, many of these are only temporary introductory offers that last for a few months before dropping down to a lower interest rate.
Final Words
The above three options; ME Bank, ING Direct, and RAMS are the currently some of the highest rate savings accounts available now. While they may come with additional conditions that you need to satisfy, they offer higher interest rates than the regular ‘big four’ banks.
*the actual name of the accounts will vary depending on the bank. 

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