Overdrawn fees explained: Find out which accounts won’t charge you for spending past your available bank account balance.
When you spend more money than you have in your bank account, you’ve overdrawn your account. Reforms to the banking sector changed the way banks charge customers for overdrawing transaction accounts.
Although overdraw fees still exist, now more than ever, there’s a choice of bank accounts to compare which don’t charge a fee for overdrawing your account. You can compare no overdraw fee bank accounts on this page.
What are overdrawn fees and how do I avoid them?
Overdrawn fees are a charge applied by your bank when you spend more money than you have in your transaction account. Not all banks charge overdrawn fees, so not all banks will let you overdraw your account. If your bank does let you overdraw your account, it will only be by a small amount ($10 for example), this amount varies depending on financial institution.
While choosing a bank account which doesn’t charge overdrawn fees gives you confidence that you’ll never pay extra for spending money you don’t have, it presents a problem if you have direct debit agreements with service providers and monthly charges are more than the money in your account. The direct debit is dishonoured and you may incur additional fees.
Overdrawn fees charged by the Big 4 Banks
From Australia’s Big 4 banking institutions: ANZ, NAB, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac; only NAB do not charge a fee if you overdraw your transaction account. These two banks may decline a transaction which takes you past your available balance.
Commonwealth Bank and Westpac may allow you to spend more money than you have in your account; however, you’ll incur an overdrawn fee for doing so.
Avoid overdrawn fees with a NAB classic banking account
What are the types of fees charged to bank accounts?
While not all institutions charge these fees, common fees among different everyday bank accounts include:
Account keeping fee
This is a fee for owning the account which is usually charged every month. Some banks offer account keeping fee waivers if you meet conditions such as deposit $2,000 or more every month. Most banks can also waive this fee if you’re a student or pensioner.
A charge if you make a transaction that overdraws your bank account.
Australian ATM withdrawal fees
Most bank accounts attract a fee if you’re using an ATM not related to your bank. For example, St.George cardholders can make free ATM withdrawals at Westpac ATMs but incur a charge using Commonwealth Bank ATMs and vice versa.
International ATM withdrawal fee
A flat fee for using an ATM in another country. Some banks waive this fee, for example, Citibank don’t charge an international ATM withdrawal fee and Westpac waive this fee when you use any ATM which is part of the Global ATM Alliance.
Currency conversion fee
The majority of accounts available will charge a fee of about 3% if you make an EFTPOS purchase outside Australia. This includes overseas online purchases. The Citibank Plus Transaction Account and the Macquarie Bank Platinum Transaction account don't charge for currency conversion.
You may incur a charge if you request an additional paper print out of your account statement.
Cheque dishonour fee
A fee charged by your banking institution when you write a cheque and it bounces due to insufficient funds in your account.Back to top
Are bank accounts with no overdrawn fees actually a good idea?
- No fees. You’ll never pay extra for spending money you don’t have.
- Add an overdraft. Most financial institutions will let you attach an overdraft facility to your bank account. If you overdraw your account, your line of credit will be used. Interest applies to the portion of the overdraft you use. You’re under no obligation to use the overdraft line of credit.
And the bad
- Rejected transactions. If you have direct debit agreements with service providers and one month your need to pay more money than you in your account (like $20 or $30), the transaction will be rejected. You may then incur a fee from the third party or your bank for having missed a payment.
What are some things to avoid about bank accounts with no overdrawn fees?
If your bank account doesn’t charge overdrawn fees, they will not let you spend more than you have in your account. As mentioned above, make sure you always have enough money in your account to honour your direct debit agreements. If you don’t the direct debit payment may be rejected and you may incur fees from the debtor and your bank.