Compare SMSF bank accounts
You need to open a dedicated bank account for your self-managed super fund to manage your fund’s expenses and accept contributions from members.
One of the first things to do after getting your self-managed super fund (SMSF) registered is to open an SMSF bank account. We'll outline what SMSF banks accounts are and the steps to open one in this guide. You can also compare a range of SMSF accounts below.
Compare SMSF bank accounts
What is an SMSF bank account?
An SMSF bank account is a type of everyday bank account that's designed specifically for SMSFs, to help manage the fund's day-to-day finances. Similar to how a joint account works, SMSF bank accounts enable all SMSF members to access the account.
Some SMSF bank accounts pay interest on the cash in the account and some offer interest on certain balances only (for example if you have, say, $10,000 or more in the account).
SMSF bank accounts usually also offer linked trading accounts, so you can easily place trades on the share market and settle the trade directly from the SMSF bank account.
Why do I need an SMSF bank account?
Having an SMSF bank account is a good way to manage your fund's expenses and member contributions all in one place. As each member of the fund will have equal access to the account, it's a good way for all members to keep on top of the fund's finances.
Not only does an SMSF bank account make managing the fund's finances easier, it's actually a legal requirement for SMSFs. Members are required to keep their personal finances separate from their SMSF funds. This means you can't simply use your existing everyday transaction account for your SMSF, as it'll contain a mix of your own personal funds as well as the SMSF's funds.
Features of an SMSF bank account
Here are some of the key features of an SMSF bank account:
- Joint access. SMSF bank accounts allow all members access to the account, so all members can keep an eye on the fund's finances, make contributions and pay expenses.
- Interest-earning. Some SMSF accounts pay interest on the cash in the account.
- Seamless investing. SMSF bank accounts are usually linked to an online investment account with the same bank, which allows for quick and easy trading.
- Pay your fund expenses. Your SMSF will have ongoing expenses to pay that relate to the management of the fund, for example accountant fees, annual audit fees and lawyer fees.
- Earn income from investments. You can receive income from your fund's investments into the SMSF bank account, for example rental payments from an investment property owned by the fund.
- Accept member contributions. An SMSF bank account can accept contributions from members of the SMSF and will allocate investment earnings to each member based on their contributions.
- Pay for assets. If your SMSF buys assets like property, art, antiques or collectibles you can use the money in the SMSF account for the purchase.
- Tax and financial reporting. You can give your accountant access to the account transaction history to help with accurate tax reporting.
How to find the best SMSF bank account for you
Consider the following when comparing SMSF bank accounts:
- The fees. Check for any account keeping fees applied to the bank account as well as fees charged on any linked accounts, like investment accounts.
- Linked accounts. Check what linked accounts you get with the bank account, if any. Having a linked investment account could be really convenient, and some will even offer discounted brokerage on trades when you link an investment account.
- Account access. Can all SMSF members access the account, and can the account be managed by a corporate trustee if that's the structure of your fund? Also, can you use Internet banking and mobile banking?
- Interest earned. If your SMSF is likely to have large amounts of cash sitting in the account, choosing one that pays interest could be beneficial.
- Minimum balance requirements. Does the SMSF bank account have a minimum opening balance or a minimum ongoing balance requirement to meet? If it does, make sure your SMSF can meet this condition.
How to open an SMSF bank account
Once you've selected the account you'd like to open you can start the application process. Some SMSF bank accounts can be applied for and opened online, while others will require you to visit a branch or to speak with the bank over the phone to get set up.
Before you start the application process make sure you have the following details handy, as you'll be required to supply these:
- The name of your SMSF
- The SMSF's Australian Business Number (ABN)
- The SMSF's Tax File Number (TFN)
- The names of each member and their residential addresses
- ID documents for each member
- The name and Australian Company Number (ACN) of the corporate trustee (if you have one)
Or, if you haven't yet established your SMSF and don't have any of the details above, take a look at our six-step guide to setting up an SMSF to get started.
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