finance

One woman's clever trick helps her earn four times normal interest.

The reality is most of us can’t be arsed switching banks. Whether out of loyalty or laziness, most of us keep our cash with the same institution for years. But one Melbourne woman says we’re missing out.

Erica Jong told The Sydney Morning Herald she’s about to open her third savings account in just 12 months. The reason for the 25-year-old’s tedious cash-shuffling is forehead-slappingly genius. She’s taking advantage of honeymoon offers, those tempting introductory rates that banks use to win your business. When time is up with one, she simply moves on to another.

It’s helped her earn about four times the amount of interest she would by keeping her cash nestled away in a regular savings account, plus she’s not being held hostage by a term deposit.

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“With term deposits you have to lock your money away for many months to get the higher rates, so I started to look at other options,” Erica told The Sydney Morning Herald. “I realised NAB had the Reward Saver account and thought the other banks would have equivalents and they do.”

Super savings accounts like these kick you some bonus interest if you top up your balance by a set amount each month, say $1000. Most banks offer them, and a quick look at a comparison site like finder.com.au shows that you could be earning as much as 3.5 per cent (that’s with a RaboDirect High Interest Saver account) for up to four months.

Of course, it’s crucial to read the fine print. The key things to look out for are how long the honeymoon rate lasts, whether there’s a maximum balance it applies to and (if you’re not employing Erica’s bank-hopping trick) what the interest rate will drop to once the offer expires.

That last one is crucial. You might earn some tidy interest – say, 3.11 per cent – for a few months, but then the rate could fall back to around 1.75 per cent. It’s a matter of balancing the initial offer against the base rate to suit your long-term savings goal.

“I think anyone can do it,” said Erica. “You just have to be active in searching for what rates you want and reading the terms and conditions.”

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