Compare the top Australian bank accounts^

Compare the top Australian bank accounts. View product details, interest rates, fees and more. - Last updated on 23 Oct 2019

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A bank account is the workhorse of the personal financial world. Although it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of other products, most people in Australia need one to get by.

Choose the right bank account – one that offers convenience, plenty of access and minimal fees – and it will make managing money a whole lot easier.

So, how do you choose a bank account that best suits your needs, especially with so many products on the market? Here is a quick guide to help you out.

What is a bank account?

An Australian bank account (sometimes called a ‘transaction account’ or ‘everyday account’) is an account where you can deposit your pay, receive government benefits and access your money in different ways, such as through ATM withdrawals, debit card transactions, electronic transfer and bank cheques.

A good bank account should help you manage your finances better. Think of it as a tool that allows you to direct exactly where you want your money to go. For example, you may use your account to:

  • Setting up an automatic direct debit for regular payments
  • Using BPAY to pay for bills
  • Link to a high-interest savings account so you can set money aside as savings
  • Withdraw a certain amount of cash each week for spending
  • Keep tabs on whether you’ve been paid by your employer through an app

What features should I look for in a bank account?

There are many bank accounts to choose from in Australia, each offering different features that help you manage your money.

To find a bank account that suits your needs, consider the following:

Easy accessibility

When it comes to spending, ask yourself: what type of access do you need? A lot of bank accounts offer the basics – ATM access, eftpos, a debit card for purchases – but it is worth considering what type of access suits your spending habits.

Do you take cash out on a regular basis? You may want to choose a lender that has a comprehensive network of ATMs. Are you a traveller? Consider a lender that offers cash withdrawals at overseas ATMs and international money transfers. Prefer to speak to someone in person about your account? A bank with a branch near your home may be what you need.

Minimal fees

Transaction bank accounts typically offer very low rates of interest. This means that a good way to differentiate one product from another is the fees they come attached with. Typical bank account fees you may cross paths with are:

  • Account-keeping fees which cover the administration costs of managing your account
  • ATM withdrawal fees if you withdraw money from an ATM (most lenders charge even more if you use another bank’s ATM)
  • Eftpos transaction fee for paying with eftpos while shopping
  • Branch fees for when you visit the lender’s branch for services
  • Foreign transaction fee or a currency conversation when you access your money while overseas
  • Electronic transaction fee for internet banking

Also check if the lender charges a fee if you don’t make a monthly minimum deposit into your account.

It is worth shopping around for a bank account with a competitive offering. Many lenders will waive monthly fees, as well as offer free services such as own bank ATM withdrawal, eftpos, direct debit and internet banking.

Online features

Online banking isn’t just for the digitally savvy; it can be a convenient option for anyone who prefers to do their banking at home or on the run.

To take advantage of the convenience technology offers, consider opening a bank account with a bank that has a mobile app and internet banking, so you can transfer money across accounts, pay bills and check your balance online. Digital wallets and contactless payments can also be a good feature to have, especially if you are the type of spender who doesn’t like to carry cash.

Tailored for my needs

While most transaction bank accounts in Australia are suitable for anyone, some lenders offer accounts specifically suited to a certain demographic or stage of life. These may include:

  • Student bank accounts – for those engaged in full-time study, these bank accounts often charge no account-keeping or ATM fees
  • Online-only bank accounts – online-only lenders don’t operate any branches, so they can potentially offer savings in fees
  • Pensioner savings account – many lenders offer unlimited withdrawals, no monthly fee and increased fraud protection
  • Joint accounts – these can be held in two names if you want to share financial management with a long-term partner, or work together towards a financial goal

​Nick Bendel is a senior property and personal finance writer for RateCity, and an experienced journalist with numerous writing credits to his name. To date. He covers property, home loans, credit cards, superannuation and other bank products, and loves getting elbow-deep in the latest ABS, APRA and RBA data.​


FAQs

Opening a bank account in Australia is usually a straightforward process. Some banks give you the option of opening an account online, while others require you to visit a branch.

Different bank accounts offer different features, so it’s best to compare your options to find one that suits you.

All banks require you to pass an identity check to open a bank account. Australia uses the 100-point identification system, which means you’ll need to show a number of forms of ID that, together, add up to 100 points.

Common ID types include a driver’s licence, passport, Australian visa in a foreign passport, and Australian Medicare card. You’ll find out what types of ID are accepted when you go through the sign-up process online or at a branch.

Once your account is open, you’ll be given or sent a debit card that you can use to make purchases and withdraw money from your account.

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^Words such as "top", "best", "cheapest" or "lowest" are not a recommendation or rating of products. This page compares a range of products from selected providers and not all products or providers are included in the comparison. There is no such thing as a 'one- size-fits-all' financial product. The best loan, credit card, superannuation account or bank account for you might not be the best choice for someone else. Before selecting any financial product you should read the fine print carefully, including the product disclosure statement, fact sheet or terms and conditions document and obtain professional financial advice on whether a product is right for you and your finances.

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