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Fee-free Freedom: Take Action Against Bank Fees

Information verified correct on April 23rd, 2017

Do you think bank fees are worth fighting over? For those taking part in a class action lawsuit against 'unfair fees' they are.

Bank fees are an unfortunate part of life and something that we all need to deal with, but some Australians think the banks have gone too far. Over 185,000 banking customers are preparing to take on eight banks for 'unfair' fees. The class action lawsuits are against the banks for allegedly charging customers excessive fees between $20 and $45 for overdrafts or ‘over the limit’ fees. The lawsuit is a game changer for Australia’s financial services industry and shows what public pressure can do.

We often forgot how much power we as consumers have over our finances. Yes, we rely on banks and financial institutions to keep our money safe, provide us with credit and give us access to funds that we need to live our lives. But this does not mean we have to pay high fees. Consumer choice has driven competition between financial service providers which has resulted in increased savings for us. The internet has provided consumers with the tools they need to find the best deal. Consumers should remember that access to information about financial services is right at their fingertips and it’s important to compare services to maximise your own savings potential and find the right product for you.

The case shows a marked change in the finance industry. Australians have had enough of paying collectively billions of dollars in bank fees and if these cases win, there will likely be a shake­up of all bank fees across the industry. The finance industry has changed considerable over the past few years, with government regulations encouraging increased competition and a number of emerging smaller financial institutions offering great savings to Australians. We as consumers also saw a huge win in July 2011 with the introduction of a government ban on home loan exit fees, encouraging consumers to compare and find the best home loan deal for their financial situation.

But fees and interest rates have always made it hard for Australians to plan and manage their finances. Last year, we collectively paid our banks over $11 billion in bank fees – over $4 billion of which was from households. Financial institutions cannot be relied upon to charge fairer fees or drop their fees altogether - the only way we will make real changes to the banking industry is if more Australians compare their financial products and switch. This will encourage competition between providers and will be a win for the consumers.

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    Start your own comparisons

    If you don’t want to start a class action lawsuit but are still not happy with fees or charges from your bank, then you can compare credit cards and other products here at finder.com.au. There are many credit cards with no annual fees, including platinum and gold cards. There are also many home loans with no annual service fees and a large number of home loans that don’t charge redraw fees. Many transaction accounts come with no monthly service fees and fee­ free transactions. By reviewing products and comparing aspects of savings promises you can determine the best product for your situation. For example, you shouldn't choose a rewards credit card if you aren’t going to find a benefit from the rewards.

    It’s up to more Australians to take on the responsibility with their financial products by reviewing their options and comparing deals. It will not only force competition between banks but also will save consumers potentially thousands of dollars every year.

    Compare a range of bank accounts

    Rates last updated April 23rd, 2017
    $
    Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
    NAB Classic Banking
    $0 monthly account fees.
    Tap and pay with your NAB Visa Debit card, NAB Pay for Android or NAB PayTag for iPhone.
    Visa $0 $0 $0 account keeping fees with no deposit conditions. Unlimited free withdrawals at NAB and rediATMs. Go to site More
    ING DIRECT Orange Everyday Account
    $75 cash bonus + Apple Pay available.
    Get a competitive ongoing variable rate when linked with a Savings Maximiser.
    Visa $0 $1,000 $0 monthly account keeping fees. Unlimited free withdrawals at any ATM in Australia if you deposit $1,000 each month. Go to site More
    ANZ Access Advantage
    $100 voucher for new customers (conditions apply).
    Your new Visa debit card must be used three times before 4 June 2017 and opened before 30 April 2017.
    Visa $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $5 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at ANZ ATMs. Go to site More
    Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account
    Earn Qantas Points on eligible purchases and on your account balance.
    Conditions apply.
    Mastercard $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees when you deposit at least $2,000 into your account each month. Otherwise, a $6 monthly fee applies. Unlimited Free withdrawals at Bankwest and CommBank ATMs in Australia. Go to site More
    HSBC Day to Day Transaction Account
    Your Visa debit card unlocks special privileges worldwide with the HSBC home&Away Privilege Program.
    Visa $0 $0 $0 account keeping fees. Unlimited free withdrawals at over 3,000 HSBC, Westpac, St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA ATMs. Go to site More
    Bankwest Easy Transaction Account
    2% cash back offer for new customers (conditions apply).
    Open account by 30 June 2017 to earn 2% cash back on contactless purchases and pay no monthly fees until 31 August 2017.
    Mastercard $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $6 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at CommBank, NAB, ANZ, Westpac, St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA ATMs. Go to site More
    BankSA Complete Freedom Account
    Open one in less than 5 minutes with Cardless Cash available.
    Visa $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $5 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at BankSA, St.George, Westpac and Bank of Melbourne ATMs. Go to site More
    St.George Complete Freedom Account
    10% Cash back for online gaming purchases.
    Waived account keeping fees when minimum deposit is met with no minimum balance.
    Visa $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $5 fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. Go to site More
    BankSA Express Freedom Account
    Get Cardless Cash, free SMS and email alerts.
    Visa $0 $1,000 $0 account keeping fees when you deposit at least $1,000 into your account each month. Otherwise, a $3 monthly fee applies. Unlimited Free withdrawals at BankSA, St.George, Bank of Melbourne and Westpac ATMs. Go to site More
    Westpac Choice
    $0 ATM withdrawal fee at 50,000+ ATMs globally.
    Via Westpac's Global ATM Alliance. Get Cash without your debit card (conditions apply).
    Mastercard $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $5 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at St.George, Westpac, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA ATMs. Go to site More
    Bank of Melbourne Complete Freedom
    Get Cardless cash and shop securely with your Visa debit card. Customise SMS and email alerts.
    Visa $0 $2,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Otherwise, a $5 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at Bank of Melbourne, St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. Go to site More
    Bank of Melbourne Express Freedom
    Get Cardless Cash and PAYG branch and cheque services.
    Visa $0 $1,000 $0 account keeping fees if you deposit at least $1,000 per month. Otherwise, a $3 monthly fee applies. Unlimited free withdrawals at BankSA, St.George, Westpac and Bank of Melbourne ATMs. Go to site More

    Shirley Liu

    Shirley is finder.com.au's publisher for banking and investments. She has completed a Masters in Commerce (Finance) and is the author of hundreds of articles. She is passionate about helping Aussies make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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