Bank apps that can replace your transaction account
Here are the apps that let you do all of your banking from your smartphone.
There is a new generation of banks coming into the Australian market and they're making all their products and services available from your phone. These new banks are called digital banks, but can also be referred to as neobanks.
While the accounts only exist in your phone it doesn't mean they will come with fewer features, though. This guide will take you through exactly what the features of these banks are and whether they might be able to replace your transaction account.
Compare digital (neobank) bank apps
What are the benefits of a digital bank app?
There is a range of benefits to using an app to do your everyday banking. These include:
- Get a better understanding of your money. Neobank apps have spending analysis features that help understand where your money is going. These features include automatic spending categorisation, notifications, alerts, daily spend limits and reports.
- Set up budgets. Using your spending analysis and categories you can set up budgets in your digital bank app. The app may allow you to nominate how much you want to save, thereby giving you a safe spending limit, or you can create a budget of your own.
- Low-cost travelling. These apps also allow for simple and low-cost travelling. Features can include being able to hold multiple currencies in your account, no international ATM fees or foreign currency fees and the ability to lock and unlock your card in your app if you lose it or it's stolen.
- Split bills with your friends. Payments are also becoming simpler in the digital bank apps. Some offer payment splitting options where you can send money to your friends, request money from them or split a bill.
- Automate your savings. Some neobanks also prioritise savings as part of their offerings. One example is round-ups, which round up transactions to the nearest dollar and send the difference to your savings account.
Digital bank apps vs transaction accounts
Not sure whether a digital bank app or a transaction account is better for your money needs? Here we compare them both side by side to help you decide.
|Feature||Digital bank apps||Transaction accounts|
|Fees||Typically low fee||Varies|
|Spending categorisation and analysis||Yes||Some banks offer this|
|Payment splitting||Typically yes||Some banks offer this|
|Bill detection and automation||Typically yes||Some banks offer this|
|Automated savings||Some offer this||Some banks offer this|
|No fees for travelling||Typically yes||Some banks offer this|
|Other products||Typically no, but some do or will do so in future||Yes|
|Payment options||Generally a wide range of options||Generally a wide range of options|
|Internet banking on desktop||No||Yes|
How do I compare neobank bank apps?
When you're choosing a neobank app, keep the following points in mind to find the right one for you:
- What are the main benefits of the app? Each digital bank app offers a range of features, such as travel benefits or automated savings round-ups.
- Does it have the payment options you want? If you use a digital wallet, check the app offers this payment method.
- What fees and limits are there? While digital banks typically have low fees, some fees still apply. There also may be limits as to how much you can withdraw at ATMs here and overseas, how much you can deposit or hold in your account and other limits. Check the terms of your account to make sure it will work for how you spend your money.
- What security features does it have? The apps offer a range of innovative security features including the ability to lock and unlock your card instantly within the app. 24/7 live chat support may also be on offer. Take a look at what each app offers and see what security feature might work best for you.
Prepaid cards vs debit cards
When comparing your digital bank options, you may notice that some offer a prepaid card option with the account. It's important to keep in mind the differences between a prepaid card and a debit card so you choose the right option for you.
|Prepaid cards||Debit cards|
How do I sign up for a digital bank app?
The sign-up process varies between provider, but you start by downloading the provider's app to your smartphone. Remember to check the app is available on whichever type of operating system you have (iOS or Android). After you download the app you will need to verify your identity by providing documents such as your driver's licence, Medicare card or passport.
You will also need to provide personal details such as your name, address and contact information. Some apps will need to deliver you a physical card for you to start spending any money you load into the account but others allow you to start spending instantly with a virtual debit card.
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