NAB and ANZ have both cut their savings rates again in the wake of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to reduce the interest rate to 1.0 per cent.
NAB’s basic savings account now offer just 0.11 per cent interest, and ANZ’s just 0.15 per cent, after they on Friday reduced interest rates by between 0.15 per cent and 0.25 per cent.
“Australian savers are now staring down the barrel at zero interest rates,” Canstar finance expert Steve Mickenbecker said.
“There’s now an expectation that the other two banks will follow ANZ and NAB’s lead with similar cuts.”
“The question is not if they will cut, but when and by how much,” agreed RateCity.com.au research director Sally TIndall.
All the banks do offer higher promotional rates of around two per cent, but those expire after a few months.
They also have conditional savings accounts that allow customers to earn more interest – up to 1.95 per cent for ANZ and 1.86 per cent for NAB – but those are only good for customers who don’t need regular access to their money.
A single withdrawal during the month from an ANZ, Commonweath or NAB’s goal-based savings account means it won’t earn much interest for the month.
Westpac’s Life account allows withdrawals, but to be eligible for the 2.1 per cent interest rate the account needs to end the month with a higher balance than it begun.
Mr Mickenbecker said that savers “must start looking at options beyond the obvious”.
The top five six-month term deposit rates fall between 2.3 per cent and 2.45 per cent interest, he said.
RateCity lists several savings accounts with rates of between 2.55 and 2.75 per cent, although they have several conditions attached.
The low interest rates also have been credited, or blamed, for causing a rise in the share market, as investors seek alternatives to earn yield.