What is a term deposit and how it works

How term deposits work, how they’re different to a savings account and what to think about before you invest.

2.5 minute read

About term deposits

A term deposit is an account where you lock away money for a set amount of time (a ‘term’) at a fixed rate. Terms can range from one month to five years.

Unlike with a savings account – where you can access your money anytime in online banking or the Bankwest App – a term deposit is designed to make it harder to withdraw funds. If you want to access money in your term deposit, you’ll need to give us 31 days’ notice and pay a fee, and the interest you earn will be adjusted (so you'll get a lower interest rate for the term).

Why open a term deposit

You might want to open a term deposit over a regular savings account if:

  • You want to lock away funds you don't need immediate access to and earn interest on them at a fixed rate
  • You want to make it harder for yourself to withdraw your money
  • You’re an established saver who can meet the initial minimum deposit requirement – $1,000 for a Bankwest Term Deposit and $5,000 for a Gold (in-branch) Term Deposit.

Ready to open a term deposit? Here's where to start.

What happens at the end of my term?

At the end of your term you have seven calendar days – known as a grace period – to let us know what you'd like to do with your term deposit. We'll remind you around ten days before your grace period begins, so you can start thinking about your options.

During your grace period, you can choose to:

  • Reinvest your current balance for another term
  • Withdraw or add funds, then reinvest
  • Transfer your balance to another account and close your term deposit.

If you have one of our Bankwest Term Deposits, you can manage it yourself in online banking.

If you have any of our other term deposit accounts, you can manage your term deposit by messaging us in the app or online banking, or by calling our Term Deposit Direct team on 1300 132 574.

Withdrawing money during your term

To withdraw all or part of your funds before the end of your fixed term, you'll need to give us 31 days' notice – you can do this by giving us a call or visiting us in a branch.

If you're experiencing financial hardship, you may be able to access your funds immediately. Contact us to chat through your options.

Making the most of your term deposit

To milk your term deposit for all it's worth, think about:

How long you’ll invest for

If you choose a longer term and interest rates rise, you’re locked in at a lower rate. On the other hand, if you invest for a shorter term and interest rates fall, you could be stuck with a lower rate if you choose to reinvest.

Research market trends before you invest so you can make an informed decision.

When the interest is paid

If your term is less than 12 months, we'll pay you interest at the end of your term. If it's 12 months or more, you can choose whether you'd like interest to be paid monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annually – it must be paid at least once a year. The interest rate you get for your term will vary depending on how frequently interest is paid.

What you want to do when your term ends

We'll remind you when your term deposit is ending so you can tell us what you'd like to do with your account – reinvest your balance, withdraw or add funds, or close your term deposit. You'll be given a grace period before your term ends where you can withdraw funds from your term deposit.

If you don't give us any instructions, we'll automatically reinvest your total balance for the same amount of time at the relevant rate. Make sure the term length and rate are still the best option for you.

About this article

We take care of all the BS (bank stuff) so you can access the knowledge you need to make informed decisions. When we write a guide or article, we take steps to make sure the information is relevant, accurate and most of all, helpful.

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The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be nor should it be considered as professional advice. You should not act on the basis of anything contained in this article without first obtaining specific professional advice. Also to the extent permitted by law, Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL / Australian credit licence 234945, its related bodies corporate, employees and contractors accept no liability or responsibility to any persons for any loss which may be incurred or suffered as a result of acting on or refraining from acting as a result of anything contained in this article.