The A to Z Guide on Bank Fees

Information verified correct on October 26th, 2016

The complete list of bank fees and charges.

Financial institutions make a bit of noise when they scrap fees — remember the NAB break up campaign? The reality is banking remains a fee heavy industry. We pay billions every year to banks so we can access our money.

For the majority of day to day transactions, it isn’t hard to find a ‘fee-free’ account; however, most institutions are the same when it comes to telephone banking fees, overseas transaction fees, ATM withdrawals and overseas payments. We’ve put together a A - Z guide on bank fees covering everything from ATM withdrawal fees, statement fees through to fee waivers.

The A - Z Guide on Bank Fees


ATM withdrawals

It’s more than twice as expensive to use an ATM overseas than in Australia.

  • Domestic. Banks and financial institutions have ATM networks and partners including overseas banks. $2.50 when you use an ATM outside your bank’s ATM network.
  • Overseas. It’s no secret using an overseas ATM is expensive. $5 for access to the international MasterCard, Cirrus or Visa Plus ATM networks. Withdrawals and balance enquiries can be charged differently. The local ATM operator may also charge a fee.
  • Additional card issue fee. Different from a replacement debit card request, you can have more than one debit card linked to your transaction account at a time. For example, NAB provide the first two debit cards for fee and then charge $10 for each card issued after that.


  • BPAY transfer fee. For most bank accounts it’s free to make a BPAY payment online, a fee may apply for BPAY payments requested via telephone banking. BPAY payments from a credit card may also be considered a cash advance.
  • BPAY error correction fee. If you make a mistake on a BPAY payment, you can amend the details of the transaction for a fee. Bankwest charge $35 and HSBC charge $20.
  • Bank@Post. Withdrawals and deposits to your account at Australia Post retail outlets may attract a fee of a couple of dollars for each transaction. Bank of Queensland charge $3 for withdrawals to their Day2Day Plus transaction account but deposits are free.
  • Break costs. Also called discharge costs. For breaking a fixed rate home loan, a early repayment adjustment and early repayment fee are charged.

Bank cheques & personal cheques

  • Bank cheques. Different to personal cheques, bank cheques drawn straight from your account and are an alternative to cash. Bank cheques can be a little cheaper if you order online, about $10 is a standard charge per cheque. Emergency orders can be as much as $5 more.
  • Personal cheque dishonour fee. Also called an Outward Dishonour Fee,bounced cheques incur fees. Commonwealth Bank charge $5 and Bankwest $10.
  • Personal overseas cheque dishonour fee. Bouncing a cheque to an overseas payee costs about $50 plus currency conversion fees.
  • Replacement bank cheque. It will cost $20 - $30 to order a replacement bank cheque.
  • Trace personal cheque. IMB charge $50 to trace a personal cheque.
  • ‘Speedy’ Bank Cheque Request. An expedited or special answer cheque, speed up cheque clearing time for a fee of roughly $10.
  • Cheque Stop Payment. A fee may apply if you wish to stop a cheque payment, a fee applies for cancelling a personal cheque. Suncorp Bank charge a stop payment fee of $15.
  • Closure fee. Although it’s free to close your transaction account. If you have a balance less than $5, you may not receive a refund when you close your account. Learn more about closing your transaction account.
  • Coin counting. If you go to your everyday bank, you should be able to get this done for free, otherwise charges apply. For an hours work, Bankwest charge a minimum of 10% of the amount counted per hour. HSBC charge a coin handling fee of 2% for transactions greater than $100 (minimum charge $10).
  • Coin bag purchase fee. Coin bags cost a couple of dollars each.
  • Cash advance. The fee for using a credit cash advance facility. Can be a percentage based fee as well as ongoing interest charges. For example a cash advance using a credit card at an ATM will cost about $3 for the cash advance plus interest charges in the region of 20%.
  • Deposit books. Small deposit books of 50 - 100 pages may be issued for free. If you want a personal cheque book with 200 pages, a fee may apply.
  • Direct debits. Mostly free from most accounts when transferring online. You may attract a fee when making a direct debit from a mortgage offset account.
  • Envelope purchase fee. Individuals and businesses looking to purchase pay envelopes at Bankwest will need to pay about $30 for a box of 500.
  • Early payout fee. For breaking term investments. Bank of Queensland charge $30. Interest rate adjustments may also apply.
  • Foreign currency conversion fee. Some banks call this an overseas or foreign transaction fee, it’s a 3% fee, approximate, when you spend in foreign currency. This fee can be charged when you transact outside Australia, even if the transaction is in Australian dollars. The currency conversion fee comes partly from MasterCard or Visa and the debit or credit card issuer. We have a detailed comparison of travel friendly bank accounts, cards and travel products you can use to save on travel fees.
  • Foreign currency notes. A commission applies when you buy and sell foreign currency online or at a bank branch. While you can find fee waivers for online orders, foreign currency transactions at a branch will almost always attract a commission. For example, HSBC have a $10 flat fee for orders under AUD$10,000 and a percentage based fee for anything greater. Bankwest similarly charge a 1.00% fee (minimum of $8 per currency). This commission is in addition to whatever margin the bank applies to the exchange rate.
  • Foreign exchange rate margin. Banks add a margin to the foreign exchange rate when you send money overseas, buy foreign currency or load a travel card. This margin can be as much as 3% - 5% over the interbank rate.
  • Account garnishment fee. Bankwest charge $75 per garnishee transaction processed on your account.

International Bank Drafts

Looking at the Commonwealth Bank, the institution’s fees for international bank drafts are

  1. Issue. $30
  2. Reporting as lost or stolen. $35
  3. Notification of receival. $25
  4. Selling the draft back to the bank. $25
  • Issue Fees. Credit cards, personal loans, travel cards and overdraft accounts all come with issue fees. You can compare products to find a no-issue fee product; however, this isn’t always the best option.
  • Inactivity fee. Mostly a travel card fee, inactivity fees are charged every month when you don’t use your account for a year. An inactivity fee can’t take your account into a negative balance.
  • Late payment fee. Applies to credit cards, overdrafts and other credit products. A fee is charged when you miss the minimum payment date.
  • Mail deposit. A fee when you make a deposit by mail and the deposit doesn’t include a mail deposit slip.
  • Monthly payment. Not really a fee but a charge, the monthly payment applies to credit and mortgage products and is an ongoing cost.
  • Note handling fee.  Your bank may charge you to use the cash counting machine when making a deposit or a withdrawal.
  • Overdrawn fee. Also called a Honour Fee,transactions such as direct debits which cause your account to go over balance can attract an overdrawn fee. Some financial institutions promise no overdrawn fees, ever; however, this may cause some transactions to get knocked back. Commonwealth Bank will let you overdraw your account and charge $10, Westpac $9, ANZ $6 and NAB $0 when you do so.
  • Overdraft fee & interest. This is a charge for adding an overdraft facility to your transaction account. This charge can be a monthly service fee or an overdraft establishment fee or both. For example HSBC charge an overdraft arrangement fee of $9. Westpac charge a monthly service fee of $6 for personal unsecured overdrafts in addition to interest charges. And, if you overdraw your overdraft there can be a fee as well, Citibank call it an ‘Unarranged Casual Overdraft’: $10.
  • Periodical Payment fee. Periodical payments between transaction and savings accounts are generally free. Charges can apply when you’re transferring between accounts from different institutions. For example NAB charge $5.30 for periodical payments to accounts at another bank and St.George $4 with some accounts. Bankwest do not charge for periodical payments between accounts in the same name, i.e. a transaction account and health cover policy in the same name.
  • Periodical payment dishonour fee. A charge when a periodical direct debit payment from your account is declined because of insufficient funds. NAB waive the fee, Commonwealth Bank $5, the ANZ periodical payment dishonour fee is $6, Westpac and Citibank $9.

Replacement fees

Free debit, credit and travel card replacement is a feature of some accounts.

  • Debit card replacement fee. Somewhere in the $15 range, it’s different for some debit card providers, the debit card replacement fee can be higher if you’re ordering a card from overseas. You can get this fee waived if it’s stolen and you can produce a police report.
  • Overseas emergency card replacement. You may be required to pay an emergency overseas debit or credit card replacement fee. Some institutions provide this as a free service while others charge, for example Suncorp Bank charge $50 for emergency overseas card replacement.
  • Security token replacement fee. Some institutions work use security tokens to authorise international payments, sometimes the first token be issued free of charge and additional tokens come at cost. Police Bank charge $20 each time.
  • Redraw fees. Banks may charge when you redraw on your home loan extra repayments.
  • Request additional statement. About $4 when you want a second copy of your last statement. This fee can be higher or lower depending on your statement request. You can avoid this fee by choosing electronic statements.
  • Service fee. Usually charged every month, the service fee is an account keeping fee to own a bank account or similar product. Financial institutions may waive this fee for juniors, students, seniors or upon meeting deposit or balance requirements. This includes accounts maintenance fees for lines of credit, personal loans, term deposits, mortgages, offset accounts and some deposit products such as cash management accounts.
  • Search fee. Banking businesses services allow you to search business registers and company history. Charges can vary based on the location of the business and inquiry date. Bankwest charge between $10 and $25 per search.
  • Staff-assisted transactions. Accessing your account at a bank branch is likely to be more expensive than online transactions. For example, some transaction accounts with the Commonwealth Bank charge a $2 fee when you make a withdrawal at a Commbank branch and St.George charge $2.50 for staff assisted transactions. Not all institutions charge for staff assisted transactions, Sydney Credit Union for example gives transaction account holders free over the counter access to their account at their branches.

Overseas telegraphic transfers.

The fees for sending money to a bank account in another country. You’ll pay more to send money overseas from a bank branch than online. Processing fees from the receiving bank can also apply. Looking at Commonwealth Bank overseas telegraphic transfer fees:

  1. Requested online:  $22
  2. Requested from a branch: $30
  3. Amendments: $25
  4. Cancellations: $25
  5. Investigation fee: $25

If you’re looking to send money overseas, you can get a far better deal using a non-bank provider.

  • Trace fee. Bankwest charge $10 each time you need to be located because your account is in default.
  • Traveller’s cheques purchase fee. If you want to purchase traveller’s cheques to use on holiday, you’ll need to pay an issue fee of about 1% of the value of the transaction (set at a minimum amount).

Telephone banking

You may be required to pay a fee for telephone banking transactions, internet banking transactions are generally free. Some institutions offer telephone banking services free of charge.

  • BPAY payments. A fee of about  $2 for each transaction.
  • Funds transfers. Approximately $1.00 per transaction when transferring funds to an account with another institution using telephone banking.
  • While not a fee, waivers come in all shapes and sizes. You can get a waiver on a particular product if you’re a customer of the bank, like with Commbank customers and the CBA travel card. Everyday bank fees like overdrawn fees, ATM fees and monthly fees can be avoided by being savvy about your choice of bank account. There are even accounts that give you cash back when you spend. Compare bank accounts to find a fee-free bank account for you.

The fees and charges listed are current at the time of writing and are subject to change.

Compare fee-free bank accounts below

Rates last updated October 26th, 2016
Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
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. Open More
HSBC Day to Day Transaction Account
Your Visa debit card unlocks special privileges worldwide with the HSBC home&Away Privilege Program.
Visa $0 $0 $0 monthly fees. No ATM fees at over 3,000 HSBC, Westpac, St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA ATMs. 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

Reveal the answers to these questions about fees

What is the difference between a bank cheque and a personal cheque?

Bank cheques come from the bank and not from your account. The bank has guaranteed the transaction which means it’s a more secure form of payment and takes less time to clear.

Which accounts don’t charge overdrawn fees?

You can find a comparison of bank accounts which don’t charge you for overdrawing your account on this page.

Are there any fee free bank accounts?

There are less than a handful of bank accounts on the market which don’t charge account keeping fees or ATM fees, you can compare these products here.

What’s an international bank draft?

A cheque in a foreign currency to be a deposited into an overseas bank account.

Jacob Joseph

Jacob is a writer and video journalist with Credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts are his bread and butter, and he likes nothing more helping people understand the sometimes overly complex world of personal finance.

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2 Responses to The A to Z Guide on Bank Fees

  1. Default Gravatar
    | July 25, 2016

    I have an international cheque coming to me in Australia, I would
    just like to know if a fee would be applicable to me as payee.

    • Staff
      May | July 25, 2016

      Hi Margaret,

      Thanks for your inquiry. Please note that you’ve come through to – we are a financial comparison website and we do not represent any bank / financial institution.

      For personal overseas cheques, you may be charged by the bank for a foreign currency conversion fee. The fee varies from bank to bank. If the check bounces, there is a fee of approximately $50 plus currency conversion fees.


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