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Compare transaction and savings accounts from the best banks in Australia

The best banks in Australia are competing for your business

The best bank in Australia is one that works for you, offering the financial advice, services and tools that let you manage your money to the best of your abilities. The major banks all offer a similarly holistic range of products, and picking out all the ones you need from the same provider keeps these accounts easily accessible in one place, can net you a number of discounts and may help you earn additional rewards.

Australia's best banks are competing for your business, and you can take advantage of this by seeing what they have to offer.


What can you get from the best banks?

Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and NAB are Australia's most major banks, but there is no conclusive way to say which one is the best. They're also competing with many smaller institutions, some of which offer special advantages to certain people.

  • If you're past retirement age, the best bank for you might be one that specially offers fee-free savings accounts for pensioners and provides a range of related benefits for older account holders.
  • If you're a student or a teenager there are also specialised zero monthly fee accounts available with certain banks, and finding the best bank now means you might be able to save up more money, more quickly.
  • If you have a family, a mortgage and complicated finances, the best bank might be one that can save you thousands of dollars with an offset account, a special option for mortgage-holders that lets them reduce your mortgage payments without locking up crucial funds.

There are many banks and finding the best can take time. The best bank gives you the freedom to manage your money according to your own personal goals, and the products and services to let you do this.

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How do I find the best bank for my situation?

There are several aspects one can look at when trying to find the best bank.

  • Awards. Every year, banks in Australia compete for awards issued by different organisations. Some of the more popular ones are the Money Magazine and Australian Banking and Finance Awards, while specific sectors also compete for accolades including the Smart Investor Blue Ribbon Awards and Your Mortgage magazine awards. Award categories include best bank, best online account, best home loan and best CFO, and these can be a way to identify some of the top-performing options.
  • Branch and ATM network. If you like banking in person, look for banks that operate in your local area. You might also want to check on their ATM network to see that the bank has plenty around Australia and you won't have to keep paying fees every time you need to use one. The best banks have extensive ATM networks, and may also let their customers use other banks' ATMs for free.
  • Products and services. Before you select a bank, consider your future banking needs. If you think you may need a credit card or a home loan down the line, you may want to only look for banks that already offer these. Having a long-term relationship with a bank can get you discounts and advantages when applying for new products or services.
  • Fee structure. If you’re primarily interested in keeping your fees to a minimum, the best bank might be a credit union. Credit unions don't need to charge fees for everything, largely because unlike the more prominent banks they don't have the costs of keeping shareholders happy. Many banks also provide low or zero fee accounts, but the requirements tend to be more specific while credit unions typically offer them more broadly.
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Should I use a major bank or a smaller one?

It's all about finding the one that's best for you. You might consider these "big bank" pros and cons when making a decision.

Pros

  • Many options. The best banks in Australia let you choose from different types of services and products, and tend to offer good variety. For example, if you want to open an everyday transaction account, you  can choose from a range of different options to find the one that's most preferable, while a smaller bank might only have one or two different types of account.
  • Australia wide presence. The largest banks have a strong presence all over Australia, while mid-sized institutions might be present in some states but not others and small banks and credit unions may have only a very limited number of branches. Depending on where you are and where you go, a smaller bank might not offer services everywhere you need them to.

Cons

  • Fees and charges. Big banks typically aren’t particularly competitive when it comes to the fees and charges they impose on customers. This doesn't mean you can't find low or zero fee accounts with them, but smaller institutions may be more likely to have lower fees on a given product.
Frequently asked questions

Do all banks offer online and phone banking platforms?

  • You can expect these from all major banks and many smaller ones.

How can I open a bank account or apply for a credit card?

  • Depending on the bank you choose, you can do this online, over the phone or by visiting a branch.

Can I open transaction accounts with multiple banks?

  • Yes. There is no limit to the number of transaction accounts you can have, or the number of banks you can have accounts with, but fewer is often better. Having too many can make your finances more complex and difficult to manage, which can carry real costs.
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What else should I consider when picking the best bank?

The products and services are the core of what a bank offers, but you may also want to consider how they offer them and their reputation. The major banks all offer comprehensive online banking services, but many smaller establishments have yet to catch up. If you know you'll be depending on online banking, you may want to be sure it's available.

To get a sense of their reputation and customer service record you might look through consumer ratings. These can give you an indication of how existing customers view their banking relationships, and may highlight deal breakers. Word of mouth can also work well, so if you know someone who banks with that institution ask them about their experiences.

Whether you're switching banks or looking for a new one might also be worth consideration. If you or your family has been banking one provider for some time and you've come to enjoy their personalised service, it's worth noting that you may not get the same experience elsewhere.

Ideally you will be able to access all your financial needs in one place, through the same bank. This can make it significantly easier and quicker to manage your finances, but can also mean you're eligible for substantial discounts, particularly if you also hold insurance through that bank. Car insurance premiums, home and contents cover and life insurance policies are important forms of cover, but you may not be able to get all of them at a small bank.


What's the first service to look for in a bank?

It depends what your top priority is. An effective place to start is often by looking at available transaction accounts and savings accounts, because these are often a core component of banking services, and you may be required to open one in order to use other products.

Rates last updated December 6th, 2016
$
Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
RaboDirect High Interest Savings Account
Introductory rate of 3.20% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 2.05% p.a. Available on balances below $250,000.
Visa $0 $0 Open More
Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account
Earn Qantas Points on eligible purchases and on your account balance.
Conditions apply.
Mastercard $0 $2,000 No monthly fees when you deposit at least $2,000 into your account each month. Free access to Bankwest and CommBank ATMs in Australia. No overseas ATM withdrawal fees (charged by Bankwest) though third party fees may apply. Open More
ANZ Access Advantage
Earn a $100 shopping voucher.
For opening a new account by 18 Dec 2016 and shop three times with your new Visa debit card by 8 Jan 2017 (conditions apply).
Visa $0 $2,000 No monthly account fee when you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Other fee waivers available based on your personal situation. Open More
ING DIRECT Orange Everyday Account
Get a $75 cash bonus.
Get a competitive ongoing variable rate when linked with a Savings Maximiser.
Visa $0 $1,000 No monthly fees, and you can use any ATM in Australia for free when you deposit $1,000 each month e.g your salary. Open More
Bankwest Easy Transaction Account
Pay no ATM fees at over 10,000 ATMs in Australia (conditions apply).
Mastercard $0 $2,000 Minimum deposit of $2,000 per month needed to waive the monthly account fee otherwise $6 monthly fee applies. No ATM fee applicable at Bankwest, CBA, NAB, ANZ, Westpac, St.George, BoM and BankSA ATMs in Australia. Open More
AMP Access Account
An everyday transaction account with fee-free banking.
Visa $0 $0 Unlimited fee-free transactions at rediATMs, $0 transaction fees using BankNet, mobile banking and BankPhone. Open More
St.George Express Freedom Account
Convenience of cardless cash and shop securely with your Visa debit card.
Customise SMS and email alerts.
Visa $0 $1,000 No ATM fees when using St.George / Westpac / BankSA ATMs. No monthly service fee if you deposit a minimum of $1,000 per month otherwise $3 monthly fee applies. Open More
AMP Cash Manager
Ongoing, variable 1.50% p.a. when you link to an AMP Visa debit card and deposit $2,000+ each month. Available on the entire balance.
Visa $0 $2,000 No transaction fees and waived monthly fee when at least $2,000 is deposited. Open 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 No account keeping fees, if you deposit $2,000 per month plus no minimum balance required. No ATM fees when using St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. Open More
Rates last updated December 6th, 2016
$
$
months
Maximum Variable Rate p.a. Standard Variable Rate p.a. Bonus Interest p.a. Fees Min Bal / Min Deposit Interest Earned
ME Online Savings Account
Ongoing, variable 3.05% p.a. rate when you link to a ME Everyday Transaction account and make a weekly purchase with your Debit MasterCard using tap & go. Available on balances up to $250,000.
3.05% 1.30% 1.75% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
ING DIRECT Savings Maximiser
Ongoing, variable 2.75% p.a. when you link to an ING Orange Everyday bank account and deposit $1,000+ each month. Available on balances up to $100,000.
2.75% 1.60% 1.15% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
Bankwest Hero Saver
Ongoing, variable 2.65% p.a. rate when you deposit at least $200 each month and make no withdrawals. Available on balances up to $5,000,000.
2.65% 0.01% 2.64% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
RaboDirect High Interest Savings Account
Introductory rate of 3.20% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 2.05% p.a. Available on balances below $250,000.
3.20% 2.05% 1.15% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
ANZ Online Saver
Introductory rate of 2.85% p.a. for 6 months, reverting to 1.25% p.a. Available on the entire balance.
2.85% 1.25% 1.60% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
HSBC Serious Saver
Introductory rate of 2.25% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 1.60% p.a. Available on balances below $1,000,000.
2.25% 1.60% 0.65% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
Westpac eSaver
Introductory rate of 2.71% p.a. for 5 months, reverting to a rate of 1.25% p.a. Available on the entire balance.
2.71% 1.25% 1.46% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
ANZ Progress Saver
Ongoing, variable 1.91% p.a. when you link to any Australian everyday bank account and deposit $10+ each month. Available on the entire balance.
1.91% 0.01% 1.90% $0 $10 / $10 Open More
St.George Maxi Saver
Introductory rate of 3.00% p.a. for 3 months, reverting to a rate of 1.05% p.a. Available on balances below $5,000,000.
3.00% 1.05% 1.95% $0 $1 / $1 Open More
Bank of Melbourne Maxi Saver
Introductory rate of 3.00% p.a. for 3 months, reverting to 1.05% p.a. Available on the entire balance.
3.00% 1.05% 1.95% $0 $1 / $1 Open More
BankSA Maxi Saver
Introductory rate of 3.00% p.a. for 3 months, reverting to a rate of 1.05% p.a. Available on the entire balance.
3.00% 1.05% 1.95% $0 $1 / $1 Open More
Bank of Melbourne Incentive Saver
Ongoing, variable 1.85% p.a. when you make at least one deposit and no withdrawals each month. Available on the entire balance.
1.85% 0.01% 1.84% $0 $1 / $1 Open More
Westpac Reward Saver
Ongoing, variable 1.85% p.a. when you deposit at least $50 and make no withdrawals each month. Available on the entire balance.
1.85% 0.01% 1.84% $0 $0 / $0 Open More

Shirley Liu

Shirley is finder.com.au's publisher for banking and investments. She is currently studying 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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Related Posts

Savings Account Offers

Learn about our information service
ME Online Savings Account

Maximum Variable Rate

3.05%

Standard Variable Rate

1.30
ING DIRECT Savings Maximiser

Maximum Variable Rate

2.75%

Standard Variable Rate

1.60
Bankwest Hero Saver

Maximum Variable Rate

2.65%

Standard Variable Rate

0.01
RaboDirect High Interest Savings Account

Maximum Variable Rate

3.20%

Standard Variable Rate

2.05

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