Consumer Choice on Savings Accounts: Bounded rationality

Saumya Vinayak


Given the falling returns in share markets and the comparative safety of savings accounts protected by the deposit insurance provided by the Australian Government, there was a significant surge in deposits made in savings ac counts. According to an article published in The Australian , Australian households deposited an estimated $38 billion into savings accounts over a period of six months ending on the 31 st of March, 2009. Among the various deposit-taking institutions, Westpac received the largest part of this growth. (Jimenez, 2009). Interestingly, there have been no major changes in the interest rates offered on savings accounts by the major banks recently. If the savings account market is examined , the first thing that one notices is the large number of options available to a prospective customer. There are more than fifty savings accounts on offer by various banks, building societies and credit unions. These include regular savings accounts, high interest savings accounts with more stringent conditions on deposits, withdrawals and usage and exclusively online savings accounts. Any given savings account product can have different combinations of attributes apart from the interest rate offered such as the minimum balance requirements, the minimum lock-in period, etc. For an average consumer who wants to open a savings account, there is a plethora of choices available. This paper considers how a typical consumer might make a choice among so many options and whether this choice is “right”.

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