Ways to slash your banking costs

Ways to slash your banking costs

Nothing in life is free, including with your bank, and while regulations are in place to protect Australian consumers, there are still plenty of ways you could be slashing your banking costs.

The Future of Financial Advice Regulations have been praised by the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) as providing favourable banking conditions for consumers nationwide.

“[T]he FOFA Regulations enable consumers to continue to do their banking in simple, easy and low cost ways. Banks can continue to provide free, simple and general advice across banking channels as they do now, and as customers expect,” explained Steven Münchenberg, ABA Chief Executive.

The FOFA scheme was voluntary from July 1 2012 and mandatory exactly a year later. It’s now a benchmark to ensure Australians receive affordable, high-quality financial advice. However, financial advice is just one aspect of banks’ dealings. What about the fees and charges customers are paying for their accounts and credit cards?

Watch your spending

Do you quiver at the knees when you hear the word “Louboutins”? Perhaps the sound of a purring motorbike makes your heart sing instead or you’re a fan of fine dining. 

Everyone has their spending weaknesses, whether it’s a pair of new shoes or vehicle accessories, however, failing to budget can hit your pocket in more than one way.

Obviously, you need to purchase the item itself but if you’re using credit cards to splurge and go over your credit limit, you could be stung with fees. Likewise, if you overdraw your account, you may see a penalty fee land on your monthly statement. 

Always look at your monthly statements and raise any discrepancies with your bank.

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Get direct about those automatic payments

Setting up direct debits or automatic payments can be liberating — rather than manually paying rent, power bills and internet payments, you can instead take a set-and-forget approach. 

But beware, automatic payments and direct debits aren’t all that. If your pay cycle doesn’t line up with payments or your transactional balance is a little short, you could be hit with penalty fees.

Set up a spreadsheet to keep track of your scheduled payments, and check them against your salary cycles. If it looks like a payment is going to run foul, you can hold it before it does, saving yourself an annoying extra charge.

Compare the options

If you feel like you’re getting a poor deal with your bank, don’t hesitate to compare its term deposit, credit card and account fees against competitors. 

There’s no point sticking with a bank purely for the sake of it, if you could otherwise be saving hard-earned dollars in the long run. If low fees are what you want, head into your local branch and see if you can switch to a low- or no-fee transaction account.

Take evidence of other banks’ offers — if your current bank won’t offer a better deal, vote with your feet.

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Learn more about bank accounts

How do you deposit change into your bank account?

One way to deposit change into your bank account is to visit a branch. Many lenders will also allow you to deposit your change through one of their ATMs.

What do I need to open a company bank account?

To open a company bank account, you will probably have to provide 100 points of ID, an ABN and an ACN. You will probably have to provide the details of all signatories as well.

Can I find my bank account number online?

Yes, you can find your bank account number by logging into your online banking and clicking on the relevant account.

How can I wire money to a bank account?

You can wire money to an Australian bank account either through your own bank or by using a money transfer company such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Either way, you’ll need the other person’s name, BSB number and account number. If you use a money transfer company, you might also need to provide the recipient’s address for large payments.

How can I check my bank account balance online?

Checking your bank account balance online is a simple process. Once you’ve logged in to your online banking, clock on the relevant account and the balance should be visible.

How can I deposit cash into my bank account?

The traditional way to deposit cash into your bank account is to go to a branch and give it to a teller. These days, many banks will allow you to make deposits through an ATM as well.

Which bank is best for business accounts?

Unfortunately, there’s no definitive answer to the question of which bank is best for business accounts. That’s because ‘best’ will differ from customer to customer, depending on their unique circumstances. These include not only your company’s financial position, but also its size, its age and the sector in which it operates. Another factor to consider is what features you want in a bank account. Your business may require different features than another business; and your business may require different features tomorrow than it does today.

The best thing to do is to thoroughly research the market before opening a business account. And when you do open an account, you should reassess your options every year or two, because the market moves quickly. A particular bank might offer the best account today, but be surpassed by one or several rivals tomorrow.

Can I start a bank account online?

Yes, most lenders that operate in Australia will let you set up a bank account online. The process is usually simple and takes five to 10 minutes. You will probably need to provide a passport or birth certificate, as well as a driver’s licence, Medicare card or another form of secondary identification. Requirements differ from lender to lender, so some institutions might ask for more or different forms of ID.

Do you need a bank account to sell on eBay?

You don’t need a bank account to sell on eBay. But if you don’t have a bank account, you must provide either a credit card or debit card.

Can you get a payday loan without a bank account?

Yes. Some payday lenders are willing to transfer loans to prepaid debit cards instead of bank accounts.

How do you transfer money from PayPal to a bank account?

Transferring money from PayPal to an Australian bank account is simple. Just follow these three steps:

  • Go to your Wallet
  • Click ‘Transfer Money’
  • Follow the instructions

The money will take three to seven business days to reach your bank account.

Once you’ve made the transfer request, it can’t be withdrawn.

Can I have a PayPal account without a bank account?

You don’t need a bank account to send or receive money through PayPal. However, you do need a bank account if you want to withdraw money from your PayPal account.

How can you cash a cheque without a bank account?

You can cash a cheque without a bank account if you visit the bank that issued the cheque. For example, if somebody sends you a cheque from Bank X (as written on the cheque) and you visit Bank X, it’s likely that Bank X will let you cash the cheque – provided the person who wrote the cheque has enough money in their account. Bank X would probably charge you a fee for the service.

Can foreigners open bank accounts in Australia?

Many Australian lenders allow foreigners to open bank accounts in Australia. Often, this can be done before you arrive in the country – with no Australian address required. When you get to Australia, you can pick up your debit card, using your passport as identification.