Two of Australia’s biggest banks go head to head – ANZ has better mobile payments but does CommBank make up for it in interest rates?
Choosing the right bank is a difficult but very important process. You obviously want to get the best value for money and enjoy easy access to your funds and excellent customer service, so it’s essential to compare what a range of Australia’s banks has to offer before choosing where you should open an account.
All of Australia’s “Big Four” banks often have a reputation for being virtually identical, but there are several key differences in the products and services they offer that can have a huge bearing on which bank is right for you. ANZ and Commonwealth Bank are two of the biggest players in Australia’s banking industry, each of them offering a wide range of transaction accounts, savings accounts and other financial products and services.
Meet the contenders: ANZ vs CommBank
ANZ began life as the Bank of Australasia in Sydney in 1835. Today, ANZ is one of the world’s top 50 banks, operating across 34 global markets and having around 10 million customers. It provides bank accounts, home loans, credit cards and many more financial products to its customers.
Commonwealth Bank was established in 1911 and now boasts more than 4.6 million active online customers. CommBank has locations across Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, and as at 30 June 2016 it has more than $930 million in assets. It offers a full range of banking services to its customers, including everything from savings and transaction accounts to credit cards and mortgages.
This feature focuses on the savings and transaction accounts available from each bank, not on the home loan and credit card products available, so the table below shows the deposits on the books of ANZ and the Commonwealth Bank.
Deposits on Australian books of individual banks ($million) as of August 2016
|Non-financial corporations||Financial corporations||General government||Households|
*Figures taken from Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Monthly Banking Statistics, August 2016
How they compare
ANZ or Commonwealth Bank: which bank is better for you? Let’s compare the two banks across a range of key categories to see which one comes out on top.
If you’re looking for a no-frills transaction account to help you take care of your day-to-day banking needs, ANZ offers the Access Advantage Account and CommBank provides the Everyday Account Smart Access.
The ANZ Access Advantage Account is an everyday bank account designed to help you use, move and manage your money. It comes with a linked ANZ Access Visa debit card and provides 24/7 access through ANZ Internet Banking and the ANZ iPhone or Android app. Apple Pay functionality is also available, allowing you to pay for purchases with your compatible iPhone or Apple Watch, while Android phone owners can use Android Pay. A $5 monthly service fee applies, but this fee is waived if you deposit at least $2,000 a month.
CommBank’s Everyday Account Smart Access is a flexible transaction account that allows you to make unlimited electronic transactions. You can enjoy access to Australia’s largest ATM network and manage your funds 24/7 via Internet and mobile banking. Tap-and-pay purchases are also available with iPhone and Android smartphones. A $4 monthly account-keeping fee applies to this Everyday Account, but the fee is waived when you deposit at least $2,000 per month.
|ANZ Access Advantage Account||CommBank Everyday Account Smart Access|
|Monthly fee||$5 (fee waived if you deposit at least $2,000 per month)||$4 (fee waived if you deposit at least $2,000 per month)|
|Debit card||Yes – Visa||Yes – Mastercard|
|Online banking access||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile banking access||Yes||Yes|
|ATM withdrawal fee||$0||$0|
|Contactless smartphone purchases||Yes||Yes|
Savings accounts pay a high rate of interest on your account, allowing you to grow your balance and save to achieve your financial goals.
However, there are several different types of savings account available from ANZ and Commonwealth Bank, so let’s take a closer look at how these specific accounts compare across the two banks.
High-interest online savings accounts
As the name suggests, these types of accounts offer a high-interest-earning capability and can be completely managed online. ANZ’s high-interest online savings account is known as the ANZ Online Saver. It pays interest at a standard variable rate of 0.50% p.a., but allows you to earn a bonus 2.05% p.a. interest for an introductory period of three months. There is no minimum balance requirement and no monthly account service fee, and you can enjoy unlimited access to your funds via your linked ANZ Everyday Account.
Meanwhile, CommBank’s NetBank Saver Account is a high-interest savings account that can be linked to your CommBank transaction account. It provides a standard variable rate of 0.80% p.a. (0.05% lower than ANZ’s account), but also offers bonus interest of 1.71% p.a. for a three-month introductory period. There are no ongoing account-keeping fees on this account, nor are there any minimum deposit or balance requirements to worry about.
|ANZ Online Saver||CommBank NetBank Saver Account|
|Maximum interest rate||2.55% p.a.||2.51% p.a.|
|Standard variable rate||0.50% p.a.||0.80% p.a.|
|Bonus interest rate||2.05% p.a.||1.71% p.a.|
|Introductory rate period||3 months||3 months|
|Minimum deposits required||No||No|
|Minimum balance required||None||None|
|Linked account required||Yes||Yes|
Reward saver accounts
Reward saver accounts provide increased interest-earning power to customers who satisfy specific terms and conditions. If you meet the criteria applying to your account, for example meeting minimum deposit requirements and not making any withdrawals each month, you are “rewarded” with a bonus interest rate.
The ANZ Progress Saver only offers a standard variable interest rate of 0.01% p.a., but if you make at least one deposit of $10 or more and do not make any withdrawals each month, 1.70% p.a. bonus interest applies to your savings balance. There are no monthly service fees to worry about and you can set up an automated transfer to make sure you stick to your monthly savings plan.
CommBank’s GoalSaver Account is a very similar product. It offers a slightly lower maximum interest rate – 2.30% p.a. compared to ANZ’s 1.71% p.a. – and has slightly different bonus rate conditions. To earn bonus interest on your account, you’ll need to deposit at least $200 and make no more than one withdrawal per month. Automated transfers are also available to help ensure that you always meet the account deposit requirements.
|ANZ Progress Saver||CommBank GoalSaver|
|Maximum interest rate||1.71% p.a.||2.30% p.a.|
|Standard variable rate||0.01% p.a.||0.01% p.a.|
|Bonus interest rate||1.70% p.a.||2.29% p.a.|
|Conditions to achieve bonus rate||Make at least one deposit of $10 or more and make no withdrawals in a month||Deposit at least $200 and make a maximum of 1 withdrawal per month|
|Monthly account fees||No||No|
|Electronic transaction fees||$0||$0|
Finally, CommBank offers its YouthSaver Account to help customers under the age of 18 build a bigger bank balance. It offers bonus interest of 2.29% p.a. whenever you make just one deposit and no withdrawals each month.
Term deposits provide safe and consistent returns on the money you invest. They allow you to deposit your money for a set time period and earn a fixed interest rate, meaning your balance is guaranteed to grow by a specified amount.
Both ANZ and Commonwealth Bank offer a range of term deposit accounts with terms ranging from 30 days through to five years. The interest rates on offer vary depending on the term you choose.
The table below outlines the interest rates that apply with CommBank and ANZ for set term lengths. As you can see, at the time of writing CommBank’s term deposit rates were higher than those offered by ANZ across the board.
However, ANZ also offers a range of Advance Notice Term Deposit Accounts. These offer higher interest rates than regular term deposits, but you need to give the bank 31 days’ notice before you can withdraw any funds from your account. The interest rates for ANZ Advance Notice Term Deposits are shown below:
|1 month||3 months||6 months||12 months||24 months||36 months||48 months||60 months|
|Rate||1.50% p.a.||2.00% p.a.||2.10% p.a.||2.30% p.a.||2.60% p.a.||2.50% p.a.||2.60% p.a.||2.80% p.a.|
As the table shows, it’s important to compare interest rates between banks based on your desired investment term.
The next factor you should look at when comparing ANZ with Commonwealth Bank is each bank’s online banking portal. With an ever-increasing percentage of day-to-day banking transactions now able to be carried out online, it’s important to know that your bank’s online platform will be easy and efficient to use.
ANZ Internet Banking is a digital self-service hub that allows you to perform a long list of tasks and transactions on your desktop or tablet device. You can:
- Check account balances and statements
- View and pay bills
- Transfer funds in Australia and overseas
- Update your details
- Report lost and stolen cards, activate new cards
CommBank customers manage their accounts online through NetBank. This award-winning platform is designed to make it as convenient and easy as possible to manage your everyday banking. You can use NetBank to:
- View online statements and account balances
- Pay bills
- Transfer money in Australia and overseas
- See your full financial picture
- Activate your card, report lost and stolen cards
The services and features of the Commonwealth Bank and ANZ online banking platforms are actually quite similar. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to check out some online reviews of the two platforms and even ask friends and family for their recommendations.
CommBank offers a demo NetBank account to help customers try out its Internet banking service, while ANZ offers a large selection of how-to videos that allow you to get a feel for how its online platform works. Use these tools to help you work out which bank’s online banking platform is the best for you.
Do you like the convenience of being able to do your banking on the go? If you’ve got a smartphone or tablet, it’s also essential to compare the mobile banking solutions offered by ANZ and Commonwealth Bank.
Mobile banking with ANZ is conducted via their mobile banking app, which is available for Apple and Android smartphones. The app allows you to check balances, transfer funds and find your nearest branch or ATM, and is designed to help you quickly and easily manage your money anytime, anywhere.
Meanwhile, the CommBank app is also available for compatible Apple and Android devices. It allows you to transfer money and pay bills, access cardless cash and find your nearest branch or ATM.
Once again, the features and services of each app are quite similar, so check out online reviews for a clearer picture of which one is quicker and easier to use.
|Platform||ANZ App||CommBank app|
|Available from||Apple App Store, Google Play||Apple App Store, Google Play|
|Available on tablets||Yes||Yes|
While Commonwealth Bank has traditionally been a “Big Four” leader in terms of technology, ANZ may have surpassed its big rival in the mobile payments sphere. In April 2016, ANZ stole a march on its rivals when it revealed it would be the first of the “Big Four” to offer Apple Pay to its customers.
This service lets customers tap and pay for their purchases with their compatible Apple iPhones, while ANZ also offers support for Android Pay, which offers tap-and-pay purchases using Android smartphones. Both services are available with a long list of supported credit cards and come with the security and protection measures native to each payment platform.
Over at CommBank, there’s no support for Apple Pay just yet but it does offer Android Pay. With this in mind, if a bank’s support for mobile payment platforms is important to you, ANZ is the clear winner in this category.
Another important consideration when comparing two banks is the ease and speed with which you can access customer service. If you ever have a problem with your account or a question about any banking product or service, it’s essential that you can find the answers you need as quickly as possible.
Take a look at the table below for a breakdown of the customer service options offered by ANZ and Commonwealth Bank.
|Phone||Live chat||Internet banking messages||Online FAQ section||Online help forum|
|ANZ||7am-10pm your local time||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
It’s also a good idea to read online reviews and seek out recommendations from friends and family to form a clearer picture of how each bank performs in terms of customer support.
Number of ATMs
When you’re out and about and you need cash, it’s reassuring to know that an ATM owned by your bank is never too far away. The size of a bank’s ATM network is a critical factor when determining just how convenient the service it offers really is, and also in how easy it will be for you to avoid incurring extra fees by using another bank’s ATM.
Commonwealth Bank customers can access more than 4,000 ATMs around Australia through the CommBank ATM network and BankWest, making it the largest network in Australia.
Meanwhile, ANZ has in excess of 2,600 ATMs nationwide.
Both banks have handy online services to help you find your nearest ATM, so visit the Commonwealth Bank ATM locator or ANZ’s Find a branch/ATM tool to find out where you can withdraw money without incurring extra fees.
Number of branches
There are some banking services that can only be provided in a branch, while some people simply prefer to deal face-to-face with a bank teller when managing their finances. With this in mind, it’s important to research how many branches each bank operates in your local area.
Both CommBank and ANZ have substantial branch networks spread across all Australian states and territories. However, as the table below shows, CommBank enjoys a significant advantage with 1,131 locations offering a branch level of service to ANZ’s 721.
*Table taken from Australian Prudential Regulation Authority publication Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions Points of Presence, June 2016.
However, the total number of a bank’s branches is irrelevant if there are no locations convenient for you to visit. Both CommBank and ANZ provide handy branch locator tools on their websites, so use these services to find the bank with the best presence in your region.Back to top
It’s impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all answer to the question of which bank is better, ANZ or CommBank? The truth is that the right bank for one person could be very different to the best financial institution for the next person – it all comes down to the type of account and the features you want, current deals and special offers, and even the number of ATMs or branches in your local area.
With this in mind, consider the products and services of a wide range of banks, credit unions and building societies before choosing any financial institution to look after your banking needs. And remember that you don’t have to keep all your accounts with one bank; you can mix and match products from different banks to make sure you always get the best value for money.