Savings deposits

What they are

Savings deposits are also called deposit accounts. This is different from a current account because it's a savings instrument and the only operations available are paying in or withdrawing money.

A deposit account has a bankbook, which is where all the withdrawals and deposits are recorded.

Deposit accounts are widely used for minors and can be opened for them by their parents (one or both), and in this case the bankbook is in the name of the minor.

For savings deposits, banks agree to pay back the sums deposited when requested to do so.

A deposit account can be unrestricted or restricted by time. With the former, the sums deposited are available immediately. The latter only allows you to withdraw money at the end of a set period (from 1 to 36 months), but the interest you receive on your money is higher. If you need to withdraw money before the end of the set period, you have to pay a penalty, which usually means that the interest isn’t paid on your deposits.

Interested parties

Anyone who wants to save money without running any particular risks.

Strengths and drawbacks

It's a low-risk savings tool.

As with other bank contracts, if changes are to be made to your contract, the bank must propose any change (to the credit interest rate, fees or service charges) with at least two months' notice in a written communication called a 'Proposal for a unilateral change to the contract'. If you don't accept the changes, you can refuse the proposal by asking to end your contract with the bank and without having to pay any penalties or costs.


As with all banking products, the cost of holding a deposit account varies from bank to bank. Deposit accounts in the name of minors may be free of opening and administration charges. Payment of stamp duty and tax on interest are added to these costs.

Underlying rules

As of 4 July 2017, banks and post offices can no longer issue bankbooks to the bearer and their transfer is not allowed. The last date on which sums deposited on bearer bankbooks could be withdrawn was 31 December 2018. A fine had to be paid if accounts were not closed by that date.

It's useful to know that money deposited in a deposit account is protected by the guarantee for all banks operating in the European Union provided by the Interbank Deposit Protection Fund and the Depositors' Guarantee Fund. In the event of a bank crisis, and the application of the bail-in mechanism, deposits of up to €100,000 are guaranteed for each depositor. This limit is valid for each depositor, per bank.


People often sign a deposit account contract without reading it carefully first, because it’s too much of an effort to read and understand the various clauses (this is true for all contracts!). They can’t understand and process all the information available unless they use mental shortcuts that simplify (though only on the surface) the decision-making problem and help them decide quickly and easily.

To find out more, watch our videos on behavioural traps.



A bail-in for a bank is the legal mechanism introduced in 2016 by the European Union for the recovery and resolution of credit institutions and investment firms in the event of a crisis. The mechanism obliges savers/investors to participate in a bank’s capital losses to avoid using public funds to rescue the bank and to maintain market confidence.

Shareholders and creditors cannot, under any circumstances, suffer greater losses than they would in the event of a bank being liquidated under normal proceedings.

Deposits of up to €100,000 are excluded from bail-ins.