How to choose a savings account

When choosing a savings account, you need to consider how you intend to use the account.

Do you intend to save/deposit regularly for a length of time, and not make regular withdrawals?

If this is the case, then a fairly serious type of savings account would be right for you.  These accounts tend to offer incentive interest if you deposit each month and don’t withdraw.  The downside to these accounts is that they offer practically no interest if you do withdraw during the month.  My suggestion would be to open two of these accounts so that you can transfer your remaining funds into the second account (counts as a deposit to the second account) if you do need to make a withdrawal one month.  This type of account would be perfect for your 10% savings.

Examples are ANZ’s Serious Saver, Westpac’s Online Bonus Saver, ASB’s Savings Plus, and Kiwibank’s Fast Forward Saver.

Do you need a savings account so that you can put some funds aside each pay period for bills or unexpected expenses?

If you intend to use the account for short-term savings with regular withdrawals, then sometimes it is cheaper to have a second transaction account for this, rather than an interest-bearing savings account.  Savings accounts tend to have higher fees for withdrawals, and unless you are seriously saving for something, the wee bit of interest you might earn would easily be eaten up in account fees.  Be sure to check the fee structure of any new account!

Do you need to put a lump sum away for a set time period and don’t intend to add to it during that time?

You have a few options if this is the case.  If you know that you won’t need the funds for a reasonable length of time, then you could consider a term deposit.  You need to be fairly certain that you don’t require the funds though, if you opt for a term deposit.  You’ll lose your interest if you have to break it before maturity.

With interest rates so low at present, some people are opting to put their lump sums into Bonus Bonds in the hope of winning a prize.  Some banks also offer accounts that have low rates of interest, but a chance to win a prize.

Whatever type of saver you are, it is a good habit to create.  Have a look at the savings options available to you and you just might feel motivated to put a bit aside each payday.




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