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NAB vs CommBank

While there is no clear winner, our analysis goes to show you should really do your research when it comes to comparing accounts.

Choosing a bank is a difficult but very important decision. Whether you’re saving for a home, your retirement, a holiday or simply for a rainy day, you’ll want to get the best possible results with the financial institution you choose.

But from the range of accounts available to interest rates, fees, the efficiency of online banking platforms and even the size of branch and ATM networks, there’s a whole lot to consider before you can choose a bank.

NAB and Commonwealth Bank are two of Australia’s “Big Four” banks, and they both offer an extensive range of financial products and services to millions of customers. But which one has the right bank account for you? We compared the two banks across a range of key areas to see who came out on top.

Meet the contenders: NAB vs CommBank

NAB has been helping Australians manage their money for more than 150 years. Boasting 10 million customers and more than 800 locations spread across Australia, New Zealand and the rest of the world, it offers a wide range of transaction and savings accounts, credit cards, home loans and business banking solutions to customers.

The Commonwealth Bank commenced operations in 1912 and today employs more than 50,000 people. With more than 4.6 million active online customers, CommBank has locations across Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. It offers everything from savings and transaction accounts to home loans, credit cards and much more.

As this feature focuses largely on the savings and transaction accounts available from each bank, the table below shows the deposits on the books of NAB and the Commonwealth Bank.

Deposits on Australian books of individual banks ($million) as of August 2016

Non-financial corporationsFinancial corporationsGeneral governmentHouseholds
CommBank96,35382,64022,900235,517
NAB108,92064,99710,380115,725

*Figures taken from Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Monthly Banking Statistics, August 2016

How they compare

To help you decide which bank offers the right products and services for you, let’s take a closer look at what each has to offer.

Transaction accounts

If you’re looking for a basic transaction account to help you manage your everyday banking, NAB offers the Classic Banking Account and CommBank provides the Everyday Account Smart Access.

The NAB Classic Banking Account is a simple everyday banking account with no monthly account-keeping fees. It features a Visa debit card at no extra cost, and 24/7 access is provided via online and mobile banking. There are no minimum deposit or ongoing balance requirements with this account.

CommBank’s Everyday Account Smart Access is also a simple everyday transaction account designed to provide easy access to your money. A $4 monthly account-keeping fee applies, but this fee is waived if you deposit at least $2000 a month. A debit MasterCard is also included and you can enjoy 24/7 access to your funds via online and mobile banking. Unlimited electronic transactions are also allowed.

NAB Classic Banking AccountCommBank Everyday Account Smart Access
Monthly fee$0$4 (fee waived if you deposit at least $2000 per month)
Debit cardYes – VisaYes – MasterCard
Online banking accessYesYes
Mobile banking accessYesYes
ATM withdrawal fee$0$0

Both banks also offer special transaction accounts for pensioners and retirees, including the NAB Retirement Account and the CommBank Pensioner Security Account.

Rates last updated December 5th, 2016
$
Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
Commonwealth Bank Smart Access
Get unlimited CBA electronic transactions using internet banking, phone banking, ATM and EFTPOS.
Mastercard $0 $2,000 Unlimited free CBA ATM transactions. No monthly service fee if you deposit a minimum of $2,000 per month otherwise $4 monthly fee applies. More
NAB Classic Banking
Tap and Pay with your Android Phone using NAB Pay.
No minimum deposit required.
Visa $0 $0 No monthly account fees, ever. Free use at over 3,400 NAB and RediATMs Australia wide and $0 overdrawn fees. More

Savings accounts

Looking for an account that makes your money work harder for you? Savings accounts pay a high rate of interest on your account balance, allowing you to save towards your financial goals.

There are several different types of savings accounts available from NAB and CommBank, so let’s take a closer look at how they each stack up.

High-interest online savings accounts

The NAB iSaver Account is a high-interest online savings account that offers a base variable interest rate of 1.20% p.a. but also allows you to earn an extra 0.70% p.a. for a four-month introductory period. There are no minimum deposit or ongoing balance requirements, and no transaction or monthly account-keeping fees.

Meanwhile, CommBank’s NetBank Saver Account is an online savings account with a standard variable rate of 1.25% p.a. However, it also allows you to earn 1.45% p.a. bonus interest for a three-month introductory period. There are no transaction or account-keeping fees, nor are there restrictions on minimum deposits or balances.

NAB iSaver AccountCommBank NetBank Saver Account
Maximum interest rate1.90% p.a.2.70% p.a.
Standard variable rate1.20% p.a.1.25% p.a.
Bonus interest rate0.70% p.a.1.45% p.a.
Introductory rate period4 months (accounts up to $1 million)3 months (accounts up to $5 million)
Account-keeping fees$0$0
Transaction fees$0$0
Minimum deposits requiredNoNo
Minimum balance requiredNoneNone
Linked account requiredYesYes
Online accessYesYes
Mobile access YesYes
Rates last updated December 5th, 2016
$
$
months
Maximum Variable Rate p.a. Standard Variable Rate p.a. Bonus Interest p.a. Fees Min Bal / Min Deposit Interest Earned
NAB iSaver
Introductory rate of 1.90% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 1.20% p.a. Available on balances below $1,000,000.
1.90% 1.20% 0.70% $0 $0 / $0 More
Commonwealth Bank NetBank Saver
Introductory rate of 2.70% p.a. for 3 months, reverting to a rate of 1.25% p.a. Available on balances up to $5,000,000.
2.70% 1.25% 1.45% $0 $0 / $1 More

Reward saver accounts

Reward saver accounts pay bonus interest to “reward” you for satisfying special terms and conditions, for example depositing a minimum amount into your account each month.

NAB’s offering in this category is the NAB Reward Saver. This account offers a base interest rate of 0.50% p.a. but pays bonus interest of 2.20% p.a. every month you make at least one deposit but do not make any withdrawals. Other features include no monthly account or transaction fees.

CommBank’s offering is known as the GoalSaver Account. This account offers a standard variable rate of just 0.01% p.a., but you can earn bonus interest of 1.94% each month you deposit at least $200 and make no more than one withdrawal. There are also no monthly account-keeping fees with the GoalSaver.

NAB Reward SaverCommBank GoalSaver
Maximum interest rate2.70% p.a.1.95% p.a.
Standard variable rate0.50% p.a.0.01% p.a.
Bonus interest rate2.20% p.a.1.94% p.a.
Conditions to achieve bonus rateMake at least 1 deposit each month but do not make any withdrawalsDeposit at least $200 and make a maximum of 1 withdrawal per month
Monthly account feesNoNo
Transaction fees$0$0
Minimum balance $0$0

Finally, it’s also worth pointing out that CommBank offers its YouthSaver Account to customers under 18 years of age. This provides a maximum variable rate of 2.30% p.a. to account holders who make at least one deposit but do not make any withdrawals each month.

Rates last updated December 5th, 2016
$
$
months
Maximum Variable Rate p.a. Standard Variable Rate p.a. Bonus Interest p.a. Fees Min Bal / Min Deposit Interest Earned
NAB Reward Saver
Ongoing, variable 2.70% p.a. when you link to NAB transaction account and deposit $200+ each month and make no withdrawals in the month . Available on balances up to $5,000,000.
2.70% 0.50% 2.20% $0 $0 / $0 More
Commonwealth Bank Goal Saver Account
Ongoing, variable 1.95% p.a. rate when you deposit at least $200 p/m with no withdrawals. Available on balances up to $100,000.
1.95% 0.01% 1.94% $0 $0 / $0 More

Term deposits

A term deposit provides a guaranteed return on your investment, allowing you to lock away your money and earn a fixed interest rate for a set term. Both NAB and Commonwealth offer term deposits for periods ranging from one month to five years, with different interest rates available depending on the amount you deposit and the term you select. There are no monthly account fees to contend with and both banks require a minimum investment of $5,000.

The table below outlines the interest rates that apply to term deposits of $5,000 with CommBank and NAB. As you can see, the highest rate available depends on the term you choose. For example, while CommBank offers a 0.40% p.a. higher rate for one-month deposits, NAB’s rate for 36-month deposits is 1.30% p.a. higher than CommBank’s.

1 month3 months6 months12 months24 months36 months48 months60 months
NAB1.50% p.a.2.10% p.a.2.10% p.a.2.40% p.a.3.10% p.a.3.20% p.a.2.75% p.a.2.80% p.a.
CommBank1.90% p.a.1.90% p.a.1.90% p.a.1.90% p.a.1.90% p.a.1.90% p.a.1.90% p.a.1.90% p.a.
Rates last updated December 5th, 2016
$
3 Mths p.a. 4 Mths p.a. 6 Mths p.a. 12 Mths p.a. 24 Mths p.a. 36 Mths p.a. 48 Mths p.a. 60 Mths p.a. Min Deposit Interest Earned
NAB Term Deposit
NAB Term Deposit
2.10% 1.75% 2.10% 2.40% 3.10% 3.20% 2.75% 2.80% $5,000 More
Commonwealth Bank Term Deposit
Commonwealth Bank Term Deposit
1.90% 1.90% 1.90% 1.90% 1.90% 1.90% 1.90% 1.90% $5,000 More

Online banking

From checking your account balance to paying bills and even transferring funds overseas, there’s plenty of everyday banking transactions you can complete via your bank’s online banking portal.

NAB’s portal is known as NAB Internet Banking. It allows you to keep track of your finances 24/7 and offers protection against scams through NAB Defence. You can pay bills, transfer funds, report lost or stolen cards and check your account balance and recent transaction history.

CommBank customers do their online banking through NetBank. This multi-award-winning online banking platform is designed to make it convenient and easy to manage your finances whenever you want. It allows you to do everything from paying bills and viewing online statements to transferring funds to more than 200 countries around the world. There’s also a Security Guarantee to cover losses from unauthorised transactions.

The tasks and transactions you can perform are fairly similar between the two platforms, so deciding which one is better may come down to your opinion of which one is easier to use. CommBank offers a demo NetBank account to help you sample the features on offer, while you can also read reviews of each platform and ask family and friends for their recommendations.

Mobile banking

If you conduct an increasing number of transactions from your tablet or smartphone, like millions of other Australians, it’s also important to compare the mobile banking solutions offered by NAB and CommBank.

NAB’s Mobile app offers instant transfers, bill payments and a quick balance check feature. You can also transfer money overseas, bank on your Apple Watch and find your nearest ATM or branch.

The CommBank app works on smartphones and tablets and allows you to pay bills, transfer funds, and tap and pay to make purchases with your mobile. You can also use the app to find your nearest CommBank ATM or branch.

NABCommBank
PlatformNAB MobileCommBank app
Available fromApple App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone StoreApple App Store, Google Play
Available on tabletsYesYes
Features
  • Instant transfers with NAB Flik
  • Transfer funds and pay bills within Australia
  • Transfer money overseas
  • Check your balances
  • Find your nearest branch or ATM
  • Available on Windows phones
  • Transfer money and pay bills
  • Send international money transfers
  • Tap and pay with your iPhone or Android
  • Withdraw up to $500 a day with Cardless Cash
  • Find your nearest branch or ATM

Customer service

With an ever-increasing percentage of banking transactions carried out online or over the phone, it’s essential that you can get in touch with your bank’s customer service team. If you ever have a problem with a transaction or a question about your account, you need to have quick and convenient access to the assistance you need.

Take a look at the table below for detailed information on the customer service offered by NAB and Commonwealth Bank.

PhoneLive chatInternet banking messagesOnline FAQ sectionOnline help forum
NABMon-Fri 8am–7pm (AEST/AEDT)Sat-Sun 9am–6pm (AEST/AEDT)YesYesYesNo
CommBankAvailable 24/7YesYesYesYes

Number of ATMs

The size of a bank’s ATM network can have a big impact on how cost-effective and convenient it is for customers. There are no extra fees attached when you withdraw from an ATM that’s part of your bank’s network, but withdrawing from another provider’s ATM will incur a fee of $2 or even $2.50. While this might not seem like much on its own, these fees can quickly add up to a significant amount.

Commonwealth Bank customers can access more than 4,000 ATMs around Australia through the CommBank ATM network and its partnership with BankWest.

Meanwhile, NAB is partnered with rediATM to provide its customers with fee-free access to more than 3,400 ATMs.

NABCommBank
3,400+4,000+

Both banks have handy online services to help you find your nearest ATM, so visit the Commonwealth Bank ATM locator or NAB’s Find a location or service tool for more details on where you can withdraw funds without being slugged with fees.

Number of branches

Do you prefer the convenience and face-to-face contact of doing your banking at your local branch? Whether opening a new account, making a deposit or withdrawal, or simply seeking advice on a financial matter, there are plenty of everyday banking tasks you can perform by visiting a branch if you prefer.

NAB and CommBank both operate extensive branch networks across Australia. CommBank holds a significant advantage with 1,131 branches, while NAB has 748 branch locations Australia-wide. The table below shows a state-by-state breakdown of each bank’s points of presence that offer a branch level of service.

ACTNSWNTQLDSATASVICWATOTAL
CommBank15376617961392951601,131
NAB92405157461020477748

*Table taken from Australian Prudential Regulation Authority publication Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions Points of Presence, June 2016.

Of course, the true level of a bank’s convenience is determined by the number of branches it has close to you. Both CommBank and NAB offer handy online tools to help you find your nearest branch, so use these services for a clearer picture of which bank has the strongest presence in your area.

The verdict

There’s no easy answer to the question of which bank is better for savers, NAB or Commonwealth Bank. As the above comparisons show, the right bank for you will depend on your personal situation – the type of account you’re looking for, the interest rates and special offers available, and even where you live.

So before you choose NAB, Commonwealth Bank or any other bank to handle your savings or transaction account, compare the products and services on offer from each bank. This will help you make an informed decision about which bank is right for you.

Tim Falk

A freelance writer with a passion for the written word, Tim loves helping Australians find the right home loans and savings accounts. When he's not chained to a computer, Tim can usually be found exploring the great outdoors.

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