Bank apps that can replace your transaction account

Here are the apps that let you do all of your banking from your smartphone.

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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

Updated November 20th, 2019
Name Product Product Status Pros Cons
Available

  • Spending insights

  • Bill detection and reminders

  • Available on Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay


  • Card delivery time

  • International ATM fee

Exclusive offer: $5 bonus for new Up customers when you click through from Finder and create an Up account. A transaction account designed for your smartphone with spending categorisation and a round-up feature to help you save. No international transaction fees and no ATM fees in Australia.
Available

  • Unlimited multiple accounts

  • Free withdrawals

  • Bonus interest up to 1.75% p.a.

  • Bonus interest up to p.a.

  • Option of roundups


  • Bonus interest on balances up to $50,000 only

An innovative savings account that's tied to your goals. Create multiple accounts and automatically round up your spending from your Up transaction account.
Available

  • Quick and easy sign-up process

  • Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay

  • Insights into your spending and saving habits

  • In-app bill detection and reminders

  • No account keeping fees




  • International transaction fees apply

  • ATM fees apply (fees can be avoided at 10,000 ATMs in Australia)


Special offer: Get $10 cash back when you open a new 86 400 account and make a purchase before 15 December 2019 (T&Cs apply). An everyday transaction account that allows you to link your existing bank account/s in the 86 400 app and see all your transactions in the one place. Enjoy spending tools and bill reminders.
Available

  • Bonus interest up to 1.85% p.a.

  • Can make withdrawals without losing interest

  • Insights saving habits, with a nudge each month you're not on track

  • No account keeping fees


  • If you don't earn the bonus interest, the standard interest is quite low

  • The $1000 per month deposit condition is higher than some other savings accounts

Link this Save account to your 86 400 Pay account and earn a competitive bonus interest rate each month you deposit $1000. You can withdraw from the account without affecting your bonus interest rate.
Available

  • Create an account in minutes

  • Security features

  • Spending analysis and categorisation tools in the Xinja app

  • Low-fee travel money solution


  • No bank branches

  • Cannot receive salary into the account yet

The Xinja bank account is an everyday transaction account with zero ATM fees, zero account fees and no currency conversion fees.
Limited availability

  • Low-cost global spending

  • Buy, hold, trade and transfer multiple fiat currencies plus cryptocurrencies

  • Receive spending notifications and insights into your transactions

  • Insurance options


  • Low fee-free ATM limits

  • No free express delivery

  • No interest earned on savings

A convenient global spending account that lets you hold multiple currencies, spend and transfer money in over 150 currencies and benefit from innovative money management features.
Pre-beta

  • Low-cost spending in Australia and overseas

  • Hold and split bills in up to seven currencies

  • Access live chat 24/7 and lock and unlock your card in the app

  • Spending tracking and insights


  • Product is not available yet

  • No savings account option

A convenient, low-fee account that hold sup to seven currencies and charges no account-keeping fees.
Available

  • Bank-level security

  • Use your card at millions of locations, including online

  • Student benefits


  • Not a transaction account

  • No savings account option

  • Campus availability

A prepaid spending account designed for students. Benefit from low fees, spending insights and rewards tailored to how and where you spend.

Compare up to 4 providers

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.

FeatureDigital bank appsTransaction accounts
FeesTypically low feeVaries
Spending categorisation and analysisYesSome banks offer this
Payment splittingTypically yesSome banks offer this
Bill detection and automationTypically yesSome banks offer this
Automated savingsSome offer thisSome banks offer this
No fees for travellingTypically yesSome banks offer this
Other productsTypically no, but some do or will do so in futureYes
Payment optionsGenerally a wide range of optionsGenerally a wide range of options
Internet banking on desktopNoYes

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 cardsDebit cards
  • Are reloadable
  • Hold a limited amount of funds
  • Are a good option for travelling
  • An option for under 18s
  • Your funds are not guaranteed by the government because it isn't considered a "deposit"
  • Fees may apply for reloading
  • Expiry dates apply
  • Used to access funds in a transaction account
  • Accounts can hold a large amount of funds
  • Funds up to $250,000 guaranteed by the government (per bank)
  • Your funds are still in the account even if the card expires
  • Some card fees may apply

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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