ato logo
Search Suggestion:

Choosing a super fund

When choosing a super fund make sure you understand your options and set up an account that suits your situation.

Last updated 1 August 2023


Whether you're an employee, contractor or self-employed, you can usually choose which fund you want your superannuation contributions (including your super guarantee contributions) to be paid into.

There are different types of super funds. To choose one that suits your situation and maximise your retirement savings, consider their administration fees, insurance, member benefits, as well as performance and investments options. For example, you may opt for higher returns (with higher risks) or greater security (with lower risks).

To help compare options and choose a super fund that meets your needs you can:

If you change your mind about the fund you've chosen and want to transfer your super to another fund, or consolidate multiple super accounts into a single fund, you may be able to roll it over (see Transferring or consolidating your super).

For the compulsory super guarantee contributions your employer makes, your right to nominate a fund will depend on your employment arrangements (see Employees and contractors).

Employers who don't pay super guarantee contributions by the due date or into the right fund must pay the super guarantee charge to us. We then pay super guarantee shortfalls and any interest into your super account. (See Unpaid super from your employer.)

How to tell your employer what fund you've chosen

Once you have an account with a super fund, you need to tell your employer what fund they should pay your compulsory super guarantee contributions into.

Your employer should give you a superannuation standard choice form or advise you to get it directly online (see Superannuation standard choice form). Complete the form and give it to your employer.

Note that not all employees are eligible to choose their fund for super guarantee contributions.

If you don't choose a super fund, or you're not eligible to choose one, your employer may need to check with us whether you have an existing super fund if you commenced work with them from 1 November 2021. If so, they should pay super guarantee contributions into a fund you already have – this is known as a 'stapled' super fund.

If you don't have a stapled super fund (for example, it's your first job in Australia) and you don't choose a particular fund, your employer can pay your super guarantee contributions into a fund they choose from among those that offer a MySuper product. These products are basic super accounts without unnecessary features and fees (see YourSuper comparison tool).

Who can choose a super fund?

Employees and contractors

Generally, you are eligible to choose a super fund for your super guarantee contributions if you're:

  • employed under an award or registered agreement that does not require super contributions. An award is a legal document that outlines the minimum employment pay rate and conditions in a specific industry. A registered agreement outlines the minimum employment pay rate and conditions for a particular business or enterprise (enterprise agreement), and is approved by Australia's workplace tribunal, the Fair Work CommissionExternal Link)
  • employed under an enterprise agreement or another formal agreement such as workplace determination, made on or after 1 January 2021. A workplace determination constitutes the terms and conditions of employment made by the Fair Work Commission in the absence of an enterprise agreement
  • not employed under any award or registered agreement; for example, if you're a contractor paid wholly or principally for your labour. To be paid super in the fund of your choice, your contract must be directly between you and your employer; it can't be through another person, company, trust or partnership.

You are not eligible to choose a super fund for your super guarantee contributions if:

  • your super is paid under a state award or registered agreement
  • your super is paid under certain workplace agreements made before 1 January 2021 that require super contributions, including some Australian workplace agreements
  • you’re a federal or state public sector employee
  • you’re in a particular type of defined benefit fund or have already reached a certain level of benefit in that super fund.

For more information on:


If you're self-employed – that is, as a sole trader or a partner in a partnership – you don't have to pay super contributions for yourself. However, it's a good idea to save for your retirement. If you have a tax file number (TFN) you can make personal super contributions into a super fund of your choice and you may:

Types of funds

There are 5 basic types of funds you may be able to choose from:

  • Industry funds: you can only join some industry funds if you work in a particular industry (such as hospitality or construction) or under a particular award, and your employer signs up with the fund. Some industry funds are open to everyone.
  • Retail funds: usually run by financial institutions and open to everyone. 
  • Public sector funds: generally open to employees working for the Australian (federal), state and territory governments.   
  • Corporate funds: generally only open to people working for a particular employer or corporation.
    • They may offer defined benefits to their members.
  • Self-managed super funds (SMSFs): an SMSF works like any other super fund, but you manage it yourself. As 'trustee', you are legally responsible for all investment decisions and for complying with the super and tax laws.

Note that approved deposit funds (ADFs) are mainly rollover vehicles. They cannot accept contributions directly from contributors in the same way as super funds. They only accept termination payments after you take early retirement, change jobs or are retrenched. They must pay out a member's benefits when they reach 65 years old, and they cannot pay a pension.

For more information visit ASIC's MoneysmartExternal Link website.

Stapled super funds

A stapled super fund is an existing super account that is linked, or 'stapled', to you – it follows you when you change jobs. You don't have to do anything; your employer should ask us which fund to pay your super into.

How we select your stapled super fund

How we select your stapled super fund depends on the information we hold on your super.

If you have one existing eligible super account, we will notify your employer that this is the stapled super fund account to pay super guarantee contributions into.

Where you have multiple existing eligible super accounts, we will apply 'tiebreaker' rules that take into consideration:

  • whether we have previously identified an account as a stapled super fund
  • how recently contributions have been made to each of the accounts
  • the account balances
  • how recently each of the accounts were created.

If you have any concern about how the tiebreaker rules will be applied, you can nominate your preferred fund using a Superannuation standard choice form.

For a super fund to be a stapled super fund all of the following conditions must be met:

  • the fund is a:
    • complying superannuation fund
    • retirement savings account
    • complying superannuation scheme
    • able to accept contributions from the employer
  • you are a current member of the fund
  • we're able to legally disclose information about you or your super fund to your employer.

Protecting your privacy

When your new employer requests your stapled super fund details, we'll notify you of the outcome of that request, including the fund details we provide to them. You don't need to do anything: your employer should make your super guarantee contributions to that super fund if you've not chosen a fund.

If you have concerns about why an employer has requested your stapled super fund details, you need to speak to them directly.

Nominate your super beneficiary

When you open a super account it's important that the fund trustee knows where to pay your money if you die.

When a person’s super is paid after their death it’s called a super death benefit, which is made up of the deceased person’s super fund account balance and any associated insurance benefit.

Take the time to ensure you have a valid death beneficiary nomination in place in your super fund as this isn't covered by your will. This means your loved ones will not be put through unnecessary difficulties to finalise your estate.

Most binding nominations expire every 3 years. Some super funds have an option where nominations do not expire and remain in place until they are revoked.

If you don’t nominate a beneficiary, your fund may not know who your benefit should be paid to. In these cases, they will follow the law. This usually means they pay it to one or more of your dependents or your legal personal representative.

To check or nominate your death beneficiary:

  • Refer to your super fund's website or contact them to check if you already have a valid nomination in place.
  • To update it, complete the form from your super fund, sign and date in the presence of 2 witnesses.
  • If you are unsure, contact your super fund or seek independent financial or legal advice from a qualified estate planner.

How ATO online services can help you

In addition to completing your choice of super fund, you can also use ATO online services through myGov to:

  • view your current super accounts
  • consolidate multiple accounts
  • access the YourSuper comparison tool to compare MySuper products.
Log in to ATO online services

If you don't have a myGov account, create one and link it to the ATO.