Several banks in Australia are vying for your attention but do you know which one’s best for you?
Australia has a number of good banks, and unless you have a special requirement you can expect similar offerings from most. Most prominent banks offer an array of products and services, which include everyday accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, personal loans, home loans and more. If you need access to multiple products, keeping all your accounts under a single umbrella by banking with the same institution can be a good idea.
How does the best bank work?
Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and NAB account for the big four banks in Australia. While they provide a myriad of financial services and products, there is no conclusive way to say which one is better than the other. Besides, there are other banks that can rate better than the big four across different parameters, especially after you take individual considerations into account.
If you’re looking for no more than a transaction account, the best bank for you should provide an account that does not attract any account keeping fees and gives you easy access to your money. If you need a home loan, your bank should provide a competitive interest rate as well as features as per your requirement.Back to top
How do I find the best bank for my situation?
Not all banks are as good, and some can be better than others in certain aspects. When you’re comparing banks, make sure you pay attention to the following:
- Awards. Every year, banks in Australia compete for awards issued by different organisations, across different categories. Some of the more popular awards include Australian Banking and Finance awards, Money Magazine awards, Smart Investor Blue Ribbon Awards and Your Mortgage magazine awards. Some of the award categories include best bank, best online account, best home loan and best CFO.
- Branch and ATM network. If you like banking in person, you may want to limit your search to banks that have branches in the proximity of where you live and work. The ATM network plays a role because you may have to pay a fee every time you use an ATM that does not belong to your bank. The best banks have extensive ATM networks, and some smaller banks let their customers use other ATMs for free.
- Products and services. Before you select a bank, consider your baking needs for the future. If you think you may need a credit card or a home loan down the line, you may want to start banking with an institution that already offers these products. This can put you at an advantage when you apply for new products or services, given that you already have a standing relationship with the bank.
- Fee structure. If you’re looking at paying minimal fees you may want to consider going with a credit union. Credit unions tend to keep fees to a minimum because they have no shareholders to worry about. Some big banks provide accounts that charge little or no fees, but such fee structures tend to apply to specific offerings.
What are the pros and cons of find the best bank?
- Multiple offerings. 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 still get to choose from multiple options.
- Australia wide presence. Some banks and credit unions have limited number of branches, and you may find that the presence of some does not extend beyond a particular state. However, the best banks have branches in most important cities and town in Australia.
- Fees. If this is the criteria you wish to focus at, you can find banks providing accounts that don’t attract any account keeping fees, ATM fees, overseas transaction fees and overdraft fees.
- Fees and charges. Big banks aren’t particularly competitive when it comes to the fees and charges they impose on customers, which can work as a drawback. However, you may still be able to find some low-fee or fee-free offerings provided by these banks.
What should I consider when comparing financial institutions?
How you choose the best bank tends to depend on your individual needs. Going through consumer ratings can give you an indication of how existing customers view their banking relationships. Word of mouth can also work well, so ask people you know if they have any positive experiences.
If your family has been banking with a financial institution for some time, and if you like the fact that they provide personalised service, you may want to continue your relationship. Importantly, don’t forget to account for your future needs, because banking with a single institution can help keep things simple.
Frequently asked questions
Do all banks offer online and phone banking platforms?
You can expect every major bank to provide Internet banking and phone banking solutions.
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. Some banks even work in confirming your identity online.
Can I open transaction accounts with multiple banks?
Yes, you can. There is no limit to the number of transaction accounts you can have, but if you have multiple accounts keeping track of account details can be a challenge.