Get more value from your banking and save on fees: the best bank accounts in Australia revealed.
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Definition: Best bank account
The best bank account will help you manage your finances properly according to your spending style. It’s also important to note that there may be more than one everyday bank account that is ‘best’ for your situation. Consider what features are important to you, such as monthly fees, ATM fees and access, when selecting your bank account.
First you’ll need to think about your requirements for a bank account. Is it flexibility you need, or are you happy to trade some of that flexibility for no monthly fees? The considerations listed below can help you prioritise what features you need in a bank account.
It's linked to your savings account
There are numerous banks serving the population of Australia, all offering a range of different banking products. To make managing your money easier, you may want to think combining all your products with the one bank.
It charges no monthly fees
The best bank account shouldn't charge any monthly fees, or it's easy for you to meet the depository conditions so the monthly fee is waived.
And doesn't charge a bunch of other fees as well
To ensure that you are getting the most benefit you should compare all of the fees associated with the lifestyle you have. For example, if you do a lot of shopping through overseas internet sites, you will want to check for the amount charged for international transactions. Compare debit cards with low or no foreign international transaction fees here.
If you use ATM excessively, you may want to consider a bank account that doesn't charge ATM fees. Click "View More" on our comparison tables to see what fees and charges apply.
You can bank online and on-the-go
Many banks are now online, giving you better accessibility to your money with Internet, phone or mobile banking. If you do a lot of your day to day activities through a smartphone, you should also check for the availability of an app. Compare mobile banking apps here.
There's customer service available when you need it
Look to see if the institution is strictly online or if you also have the option of calling, or face-to-face banking at a local branch. If you don’t consider yourself tech-savvy, you may want to consider a financial institution that has a physical presence.
There's a large number of ATMs available
This is an important feature to consider if you make frequent ATM withdrawals. With some best everyday bank accounts you could accrue added charges for not using an ATM in it's network. See who has the largest ATM network here.
Easy overseas accessibility
There are some institutions that are based globally, allowing you easier and cheaper access to your money when travelling abroad.Back to top
Sorting your everyday banking needs before you arrive will make life a lot easier when you arrive in Australia. Our big four banks generally provide the most comprehensive migrant banking service, as well two international banks: ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB, Citibank and HSBC.
There are benefits to online banking – online financial institutions tend to have less overheads, and in turn pass on their profits to their customers. The best bank account for a digital nomad usually depends on which bank has the bank online banking platform. In Australia, CommBank was voted as the best bank for online banking and Beyond Bank as the best customer owned institution.
Teens and students?
You're about to start your first job and wanting to save up some extra cash. There are plenty of banks wanting your business so be sure to shop around to find the best deal. If you're comfortable staying with your Dollarmites account, remember to compare that against other banks. Note that if you're under 14 years of age, you'll need to ask your parent or guardian for permission to open a bank account for you.
If you're 55 years or over, you can enjoy the benefits of senior banking. This usually includes unlimited access to your bank account, including ATMs, branches, Internet and phone banking. Also, you can look forward to reduced or waived fees, as banks try to earn your business.
Using your debit card overseas usually incurs the following charges:
- International transaction fees
- Currency exchange
- Overseas ATM fee (charged by your bank)
- Local operator ATM fee (charged by the ATM owner)
While exchange rates and operator ATM fees can't be controlled, you can take control over the international transaction fees and overseas ATM fees. There are bank accounts in the market that don't charge international money transfer fees or overseas ATM fees so you can save money when you travel. See our best debit cards for travel page.
- ATM fees: Some banks will charge you a fee to access their own ATM over a certain threshold of transactions. Others may charge you a fee for accessing ATMs owned by other banks. It's important to check what fees apply to your own account. There are plenty of situations when an ATM fee may be inevitable: overseas, in a casino, bar or hotel. While the big banks tend to have a larger ATM network, you may not want to dismiss the smaller players: the ING Direct Orange Everyday account and the ME Bank Everyday Transaction account both don't charge any ATMs fee, though conditions may apply.
- EFTPOS transaction fee: Some banks will charge transaction fees for using EFTPOS payment facilities over a certain threshold.
- Branch assistance fee: Many banks now charge a fee to make transactions over the counter at branches. This may be their way of encouraging customers to use the DIY banking options, such as internet or phone banking.
- Excess transaction fees: If your account has a limitation on the number of transactions you can make, you may be charged fees for exceeding that limit.
- Account overdrawn fee: If you spend more money than you have available in your account you may be charged an overdrawn fee.
Ask yourself: "What type of transactor am I?"
Take a closer look at your spending habits and try to work out approximately how many transactions you make each month.
- You make >35 transactions per month. You may need to look for an account that offers you plenty of transactions per month so you don't risk being charged excess transaction fees for using your account a lot throughout any given month.
- You only make 8-10 transactions per month. You're a low transactor - look for an account with no monthly fees that will let you access your account the way you want to.
Ask yourself: "Do I prefer cash or card?"
If you already know you don't like to carry a lot of cash on you and you prefer to pay for things you want via EFTPOS or BPAY, an everyday account offering high or even unlimited amounts of transactions each month may be best for you. Likewise, if you want to access cash, you can still withdraw your money using an ATM.
Ask yourself: "How close am I to a branch or ATM"?
Do you have convenient access to your bank's ATMs? Most big banks seem to have ATMs everywhere, some of the smaller banks and credit unions may have them installed in fewer locations, or piggyback with other bank ATM networks. Take a look at the banks offering ATMs available near your home and your workplace and compare the transaction accounts available from those convenient banks.
Ask yourself: "Can I avoid fees?"
The fees and charges associated with everyday accounts will vary between different banks. Take a look at any monthly account-keeping fees charged and see what you're getting in return for that fee. Some banks may charge a transaction fee on every transaction you make. Some may offer you a specified number of transactions you can make before they charge excess usage fees. Others may let you transact on your account an unlimited number of times with no fees at all. Likewise, some banks may require you to keep a specified minimum balance in the account in order to have the monthly fees waived. Others may request that you deposit an agreed amount of money into the account each month in order to avoid paying fees.
Ask yourself: "Am I comfortable banking online?"
While almost every bank now offers a secure online banking portal for you to access your accounts, not every internet banking facility is the same. Some offer differing levels of security. You may find that you can't view all of your accounts with that same bank easily, or that reporting facilities aren't as streamlined as you would like. You can ask a customer service representative at any branch to give you a demonstration of their online banking platform so you can see what level of functionality you can expect before you open an account.
Ask yourself: "What are my future plans and goals?"
Is it likely your personal circumstances are going to change in the future? Does your current partner bank with a different financial institution to you and you're thinking about consolidating your finances? Opening a transaction account with a new bank is a good way to develop a relationship with that bank. This is especially true if you're also going to open a savings account or intend to apply for a mortgage in future.
There's a combination of factors as to why most of won't change banks: sometimes it's the love, for others there's the lazy factor and for the remaining, it's not our priority when we're living pay cheque to pay cheque. If you're currently satisfied with the services that your bank provides, such as it's online services or mobile apps, you'd feel less inclined to change.
- Banks spend a lot of money on computer security. And by a lot, we mean millions of dollars. It's a necessary cost because banks are required to refund the money to those who have been defrauded.
- Banks use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption. This gives an added layer of protection from hackers.
- There is always password security. You'll often find that your password needs to be a certain length and contain certain characters.
- Your personal information is encrypted. This means that the lock symbol is displayed in your browser, and the information coming in and out is scrambled.
- You're locked out of your account if there has been too many attempts. In addition, you're logged out of the account if there hasn't been any activity for a number of minutes. There are also firewalls in place so only authorised people can log in.
- You'll need to use SMS codes. To ensure you say who you are, banks will also send codes to the phone to authorise new transactions.
What is the difference between a savings account and a term deposit account?
A basic savings account gives you access to the money inside whenever you need it, whereas with a term deposit account you are charged a penalty if you make a withdrawal before the terms are completed.
What does the term linked account mean?
Linked accounts are two or more different banking accounts where you are able to transfer money between. You may have a savings account that is linked to your transaction account, allowing you to move funds from one to the other without having to physically go to the branch, withdraw cash from one and then deposit it into the other.
Are there monthly fees for savings accounts?
That depends on the specific product. For some, there are absolutely no fees, while with others you will be obligated to maintain a certain balance to avoid paying any fees.