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Fee-free freedom: Take action against bank fees

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 considerably 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.

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 May 27th, 2018
$
Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details Monthly Account Fee
NAB Classic Banking
Impressive digital perks. $0 monthly account fee. Tap and pay with your NAB Visa Debit card, NAB Pay for Android or NAB PayTag for iPhone. Temporarily block your card at the touch of a button if you lose it.
Visa $0 $0 $0 account keeping fees with no deposit conditions. Unlimited free withdrawals at NAB and rediATMs. Go to site More
ING Orange Everyday Account
$75 cash bonus. $0 monthly account fees. Receive a $75 cash bonus if you open a new Orange Everyday account, enter the promotional code and deposit at least $1,000 within a calendar month and make 5+ card purchases (T&Cs apply). Get a competitive ongoing variable rate when linked with an ING Savings Maximiser.
Visa $0 $1,000 ING charges no ATM withdrawal fees and offers a rebate on any third-party ATM fees and international transaction fees when you deposit $1,000 and make 5+ card purchases a month. Go to site More
AMP Bett3r Account - Pay Account
Manage your budget effectively with a bundle of accounts. $5 waivable monthly account fee. Monthly account fee waived if you deposit at least $2,000 a month from a source that is not another AMP bank account. Enjoy linked individual Pay, Spend and Save accounts to reach your savings goals.
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 rediATMs in Australia. Go to site More
HSBC Everyday Global Account
No foreign ATM or transaction fees. $0 monthly account fee. Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies.
Visa $0 $0 Go to site More
Bank of Melbourne Complete Freedom
A flexible option for those living in Victoria. Manage your budget with a spend tracker and pay with Samsung Pay. $5 waivable monthly account fee. Monthly account fee waived if you deposit at least $2,000 a month, are under 21 or if you meet other eligibility criteria.
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
NAB Classic Banking with Platinum Visa Debit Card
1% cashback on contactless purchases, $0 foreign transaction fee and complimentary travel insurance. $10 waivable monthly account fee. Complimentary travel insurance, transport accident insurance, purchase protection insurance and more when you meet eligibility criteria. Book travel and restaurants through NAB's 24/7 Concierge Service.
Visa $0 $0 $10 account keeping fees with no deposit conditions. Unlimited free withdrawals at NAB and rediATMs. Go to site More
HSBC Day to Day Transaction Account
Open an account and easily switch your regular payments over from your current bank. $0 monthly account fee. Through your linked Visa debit card, you can access exclusive shopping, travel and restaurant deals here and abroad through HSBC's 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
St.George Complete Freedom Account
Pay with Samsung Pay & manage your budget with the St.George Spend Tracker. $5 waivable monthly account fee. Monthly account fee waived if you deposit at least $2,000 a month, are under 21 or if you meet other eligibility criteria.
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
Westpac Choice
Complimentary Student or Youth Discount Card $5 waivable monthly account fee. Monthly account fee waived if you deposit at least $2,000 a month, are under 21 or if you meet other eligibility criteria. Full-time students and those aged 31 and younger save thousands on travel and experiences through the complimentary Student Discount Card
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
ANZ Access Advantage
Pay with Apple Pay, Google Pay & Samsung Pay. $5 waivable monthly account fee. Monthly account fee waived if you deposit at least $2,000 a month, are under 25 or if you meet other eligibility criteria.
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
BankSA Complete Freedom Account
$50 cash bonus available. A flexible option for those living in South Australia. Manage your budget with a spend tracker and pay with Samsung Pay. $5 waivable monthly account fee. Monthly account fee waived if you deposit at least $2,000 a month, are under 21 or if you meet other eligibility criteria.
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
MyState Everyday Account
$100 cash bonus. $6 waivable monthly account fee. Receive cash bonus when you make five or more Visa card transactions within the first 30 days of opening the account (new customers only). Monthly account fee waived if you deposit at least $2,000 a month. Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay available.
Visa $0 $2,000 Go to site More

Shirley Liu

Shirley Liu is a program manager at finder, formerly the publisher for Banking and Investments. She is passionate about helping people make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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