First home saver accounts

A new government scheme provides incentives for new home buyers, but watch for traps.
 
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03.Deposit account comparison

Results table

Full results for all models are shown in the table below.  

 
  First home saver accounts compared
Institution Variable interest rate (%, pa) Reason failed benchmark Account fee Interest credited Minimum contribution Switch or exit fee Other details
Accounts that meet CHOICE benchmark (listed by maximum interest rate)
Members Equity Bank
www.membersequitybank.com.au
6.00 NA No Monthly No No
 
ANZ Bank
www.anz.com
3.75
          NA
No Monthly No No
 
Teachers Mutual Bank
www.tmbank.com.au
3.75 NA No Monthly No No
Available to all eligible Australian residents, not just teachers and their families
Hume Building Society
www.humebuild.com.au
3.60 NA
 
No Monthly No No
Victoria Teachers Credit Union
www.victeach.com.au
3.50 NA No Quarterly No No
Home loan establishment fee waived for new homeloan customers who had a FHSA with the credit union
Big Sky
www.bigsky.net.au
3.05 NA No Monthly No No
AMP Bank
www.amp.com.au
3.00 NA No Monthly No No
 
Police Credit
www.policecredit.com.au
3.00 NA No Quarterly No No
Membership only available to certain groups including members of police, emergency services, health services, public services, and their families
Other accounts (listed by maximum interest rate)
Defence Force Credit Union
www.defcredit.com.au
3.60
Exit fee, interest credited annually
No Annually No $30
 
Commonwealth Bank
www.commbank.com.au
3.50
Interest credited annually
No Yearly No
 
Wagga Mutual Credit Union
www.waggamutual.com.au
3.50% plus 1% bonus (see other details)
Interest credited annually
No Yearly No No
Customers who get a homeloan from Wagga Mutual after completion of the four financial year term receive an additional 1% interest,
Hunter United Employees Credit Union (Hunter United)
www.hunterunited.com.au
3.45
$30 fee to close or transfer the account
No Quarterly No $30
Home loan application fee waived for applicants using their FHSA towards first home purchase
MyState Financial
www.mystate.com.au
3.25
$500 minimum starting balance
No Quarterly No No
Wyong Council Credit Union
www.wccu.com.au
0.00-3.00
No interest paid until balance reaches $1000
No Quarterly No $30
Credit union membership is only open to Wyong Council employees and their families.

Interest rates correct as at August 2009.

Table notes

  • NA Not applicable
  • Rates are variable unless otherwise indicated.
  • Our comparison includes most providers that were offering a First Home Saver Account in August 2009. Interest rates are variable, before tax and can change. They are in addition to the government's contribution.

FHSAs are also available from the following institutions which we haven't yet assessed:

  • Greater Building Society
  • IMB
  • Plenty Credit Co-operative
  • Police Association Credit Co-operative
  • Satisfac Direct Credit Union

CHOICE benchmark for fair accounts with high interest and low fees.

  • Matches RBA cash rate for the full account balance.
  • Fair and simple interest: we think a high interest rate should be paid for all account balances, so savers with small amounts get an equivalent benefit to those with larger savings. Accounts with tiered interest rates, where less interest is paid for smaller account balances, fail our benchmark.
  • No account keeping fee.
  • No switching fee.
  • No fee to make deposits.
  • No tiered interest rates.
  • No regular saving requirement to get for full interest rate.
  • No minimum starting balance or regular deposit amount. We think you should be able to start the account with a small amount and continue to make small contributions when you can afford them.
  • We also think the best accounts allow you to take a break from regular savings, while still paying interest on the full account balance.
  • Interest calculated daily and credited (compounded) monthly or quarterly on the full account balance (monthly is better). Some accounts accrue interest annually, leading to lower returns. And we think daily interest should apply to the full account balance, from the day deposits (including your savings and the government contribution) hit the account.
 

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