Manage your funds online with extra convenience with an online transaction account.
An online transaction account gives you complete control over your day-to-day transactions without ever having to enter the bank. With similar features of your typical everyday account, an online transaction accounts often comes with lower fees so you can manage your funds with increased flexibility.
How does an online transaction account work?
An online transaction account is a specialised bank product that is opened and maintained entirely online. With the assistance of an ATM debit card, online banking and mobile applications, you can manage your online transactions without entering a branch.
The fees attached to an online transaction account tend to be lower thanks to lower overhead costs. You can also make ATM withdrawals for free, with some accounts giving you access to large ATM networks across Australia.
How do I compare online transaction accounts?
Like your typical transaction account, you need to make sure that your online transaction account will meet your banking needs. You should also compare the accessibility and other features that make an online transaction account appealing, including:
- Customer service. Some points to look for when comparing an online transaction account is whether they have any provisions for phone banking or teller assistance if you need help from the provider. You will find that some of these financial institutions offer 24/7 customer service to help you with any enquiries you might have with your account.
- Fees. Not only should you be looking at monthly maintenance fees, but check if there are any additional charges for common bank transactions before applying.
- Access. Many banks now provide their customers mobile banking solutions for easy access. Check to see what type of functions the app has and if it will help you with your daily banking needs.
- Maintenance. How often is the bank's site down? If the site is down, this will prevent you from accessing your money.
Additionally, an online transaction account should come with a debit card that can be used to withdraw money. Ensure that your account includes access to a variety of ATM networks. You’ll also find that some have a credit card logo which give you the flexibility to make purchases in person and online, similar to using cash.
There are financial institutions in Australia that operate entirely online, while other online transaction accounts are an option with some of the major banks and credit unions. This will make a difference in the features and benefits that this type of account provides.
Weight up the pros and cons
- Convenience. An online transaction account provides you with a convenient way to manage your daily spending and account deposits without having to visit a local branch.
- No or low fees. With many of these online accounts, you should find no charge or a lower charge for monthly maintenance of the transaction account.
- Overseas transactions. Some Australian banks have ATM networks that extend overseas, making it easy to access your money when travelling abroad.
- Online only banks. For some, not having the option of speaking to someone at a branch could be considered an inconvenience. If you want to maintain that ability, it is best to look at online transaction accounts offered by traditional banks only.
- Cheque fees. In most cases you will not be issued cheques with your online transaction account. If they are even provided by the financial institution you will need to pay a fee in order to have a cheque issued.
What are the risks?
There are no risks to your deposits of up to $250,000 thanks to the Australian Government guarantee scheme should there be a economic downturn, but there are other risks you should consider before you open an online transaction account.
- Security. When you log into your account online, make sure that the 'lock' symbol appears in your browser. While the financial institutions take every known measure to protect your account, you should practice your due diligence too and not give away any of your banking details.
- Bank features. If you choose an online institution for your account, you could be missing out on other products available with banks such as loans and business accounts.
Have you got more questions about online transaction accounts?
Q. Will I be able to have my salary deposited into an online transaction account?
Yes, you should be able to set up automatic deposits of your salary into your account.
Q. Is there an age restriction for an online transaction account?
This will depend on the financial institution. You should note however that account holders under 18 will be issued a debit card only without a Visa or Mastercard logo.
Q. Can I link an online transaction account to a savings account?
In most cases the financial institution will also provide savings accounts that can be linked to your online transaction account.