It’s a complex world for savers. And there aren’t many friends.

Recently, the four major banks were accused of failing to tell term deposit holders that their rates went down when they allowed their savings to rollover.

This left customers as much as $1 billion out of pocket over five years.

Which is a pity. Because term deposits are a great way to save money and are widely considered safe havens for many families.

They offer a guaranteed return, lock your money away for a set period of time and usually offer a higher rate of interest than regular savings accounts.

But you have to choose wisely. A Really Simple Money survey found big banks actually offer a poorer return than many.

Here’s our best picks:

  • Comparison site Infochoice.com.au picked ME Bank which is offering 2.65 per cent pa for a minimum deposit of $1000 over a six month period.
  • The interest rate increases to 2.75 per cent if you leave the same amount of money at the bank for 12 months.
  • Qudos Bank is offering 2.60 per cent for a six month term deposit of  $10,000.
  • Finder.com said MyState Bank Online term deposit offers 2.5 per cent interest rate pa for a minimum deposit of $5000 over six months.
  • Of the longer term accounts, Community First Credit Union is offering 2.8 per cent pa for deposits between $5000 and $250,000 over a 36 month period. Rates for amounts above $250,000 “are negotiated at the discretion of Community First Credit Union.” Interest can be paid every 28 days or at the end of the term. There are no monthly or account keeping fees and you can view your deposit at any time via internet banking on CF’s smart phone app.
  • Citi is offering 2.7 per cent pa interest for a minimum deposit of $75,000 over a six month term and 2.98 per cent pa interest for deposits of at least $250,000 over a six month period.
  • CBA’s term deposits are less competitive. It has a special offer of 2.4 per cent pa interest for a minimum deposit of $10,000 over a five month period. While there are no set up fees, any withdrawal of funds before maturity, requires 31 days notice and “you may incur a prepayment interest adjustment and administration fee,” CBA said on its website.
  • Westpac also has a special offer for term deposits but they are less competitive than what is available on the market. Westpac is offering 2.5 per cent pa interest for a minimum deposit of $5000 over a 10-month term. The offer closes on 27 February.
  • NAB’s term deposits are also not as attractive. NAB is offering 2.3 per cent pa interest for a minimum deposit of $5000 over a 5-month term.
  • ANZ’s term deposits are also not as competitive. ANZ is offering 2.3 per cent pa for a minimum of $5000 deposit over a 12-month period.

So if you are thinking of investing in a term deposit, the key to getting the best interest rate is to shop around and look at what the smaller banks have to offer. And don’t forget to read the small print in case you have to withdraw your money before maturity.