Find and compare cheap bank accounts

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$0

Free access to thousands of ATMs nationwide

CUA

Visa

Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account

3.96

/ 5
Go to site
More details

$1

Over 5,000 network ATMs

The Mutual

0.10%

Visa

Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account

0.00

/ 5
More details

$2

Over 3,400 RediATMs

Transport Mutual Credit Union

0.07%

Visa

Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account

0.00

/ 5
More details

$0

Over 3,400 rediATMs

AMP Bank

Visa

Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account

2.86

/ 5
More details

$0

Over 3,400 rediATMs

AMP Bank

Visa

Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account

2.86

/ 5
More details

$0

Over 10,000 ATMs

UBank

Visa

Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account

4.39

/ 5
More details

$0

Over 3,400 rediATMs

AMP Bank

0.25%

Visa

Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account

2.86

/ 5
More details

$0

ANZ

Visa

Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account

4.14

/ 5
More details

$0

Over 3,000 rediATMs

UniBank

Visa

Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account

3.78

/ 5
More details

$0

Over 3,000 rediATMs

UniBank

Visa

Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account

3.78

/ 5
More details

Over 3,400 Commbank network ATMs

Bank First

0.05%

Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account

3.16

/ 5
More details

$0

Over 3,400 Commbank network ATMs

Bank First

0.40%

Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account

3.16

/ 5
More details

$0

Over 3,400 Commbank network ATMs

Bank First

0.05%

Visa

Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account

3.16

/ 5
More details

$1

Over 3,000 rediATMs

Australian Military Bank

0.01%

Visa

Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account

0.00

/ 5
More details

Learn more about bank accounts

In the same way you might shop around for the best price on a car or a TV, comparing bank accounts can be a good way to find one that helps minimise unnecessary fees and charges, while possibly making you eligible for some helpful extras.

So let’s look at what’s available and help you find the cheapest way to get what you need from your account.

What are the most common types of bank account?

Among the most common types of account offered by financial institutions (and the ones we’re focusing on here) are:

  • Bank accounts – Also known as transaction accounts, these are designed to assist you with your day-to-day needs, like getting your salary, withdrawing cash and paying bills. However, while they are very accessible, they usually don’t offer much of an interest rate return and may have various fees and charges that can eat into your money.
  • Savings accounts – These are designed so you can store your money and let it work for you. They usually offer a better interest rate than bank accounts, and, in the case of term deposits, may not let you access your money for a fixed period.

What’s good and bad about bank accounts?

Glad you asked! The best bank account for you will depend on your own specific needs, but here are a few basic starting points to consider:

Pros

  • Easy-to-use – An easily accessible account for money coming in (i.e. wages) and going out (e.g. bills), making it simpler to manage your money.
  • Usually no starting fees – Most everyday bank accounts are free to open and don’t need a minimum starting balance.
  • Security – Accounts at authorised deposit-taking institutions of up to $250,000 are guaranteed by the government. So if you have $250,000 with one institution and $250,000 with another, then both deposits are guaranteed. However, if you have more than $250,000 with one institution, then only the first $250,000 is guaranteed.

Cons

  • Interest rates can vary – Banks and financial institutions are free to charge whatever interest rates they like, regardless of the official cash rate set by the Reserve Bank. So keep an eye on which institutions are being competitive.
  • Lower interest than other accounts – Generally, a bank account won’t give you as high an interest rate as savings or term deposit accounts, though they offer other advantages.
  • Fees – You might be charged fees if your balance falls below a certain amount or if you use ATMs owned by a rival bank. Check with the financial institution what fees will be charged on the account.

What fees should I avoid?

When you’re looking for a cheap bank account, there are some fees it’s better not to get stuck with if possible, like:

  • ATM fees – Some banks will charge you a fee to access their own ATM once you pass a certain number of transactions. Others may charge you a fee for accessing ATMs owned by other banks.
  • EFTPOS transaction fee – Some banks will charge transaction fees for using EFTPOS facilities once you pass a certain number of transactions.
  • Branch assistance fee – Due to the rise in internet and phone banking, a number of banks now charge a fee to make transactions over the counter at branches.
  • Account overdrawn fee – If you spend more money than is in your account, you may be charged an overdrawn (or overdraft) fee.

Of course, you may decide that some fees are worth accepting to get the type of bank account that best suits your spending and saving habits. So compare bank accounts to find one that is the best fit.

What factors should I look for when choosing a bank account?

We’ve looked at the possible negatives to avoid, so what are some positives to look for? Here are a few basic things that might suit you, depending on your particular financial needs:

  • High interest rates – Of course you want the best rate for your money, but be careful of banks or financial institutions that offer high introductory rates that revert to lower rates after a certain period.
  • Low account-keeping fees – Low is good, none is better.
  • Access to suit your spending habits – Do you need an actual branch to visit? Are you comfortable doing your banking online?
  • Free ATM withdrawals – Check fees both for your own ATMs and those of other banks when you use them.
  • Minimum or maximum deposit amounts – These can become important if there are fees attached to how much is in your account.

The important thing with any comparison shopping is to find the account that suits your own needs, so think about what kind of saver and spender you are.

Frequently asked questions

Opening a bank account for someone under 18

Can you open another account at the same bank?

Yes, you can open another account at the same bank if you already have an account there, but some banks place a limit on how many specific accounts you can open.

Generally, though, it is possible to have more than one everyday account, one personal account and one joint account, or have different types of accounts – such as a transaction account and a savings account.

Keep in mind that some bank accounts come with fees, so you could be charged twice for having two types of the same account at the same bank.

Also, if you have more than one high-interest transaction account at the same bank, only one account will be able to earn the highest rate of interest.

Can you find your bank account number online?

If your bank offers online services, you should be able to find your bank account number online by logging into your account on your bank’s website and checking your details there.

Keep in mind that each type of account you have with a bank comes with a unique account number. This means if you have a bank account as well as a savings account, for example, your bank account number and your savings account number will be different.

If you don’t have access to your bank account online or can’t login, you should be able to find your account number on a mailed bank statement, if you have one.

Alternatively, you can call your bank’s customer service number or visit a branch to retrieve your account number.

How do you open a bank account in Australia?

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.

Can I close my bank account over the phone?

In most cases, you can close a personal or business bank account over the phone. In fact, this is the best way to ensure you’ve closed an account properly.

By speaking to a banking representative, you can capture and close out any pending transactions, or interest owing/payable on the account being closed.

In the instance where the account is a joint account, or you have multiple bank accounts you want to close, your bank may send you a form that you need to fill out and return.

Either way, you would be advised over the phone of the steps you need to take. Calling your bank ahead of closing an account is often a smart course of action.

How do I close a bank account?

Closing a bank account is one of those tasks that’s easy to put in the too-hard basket. There are quite a few steps involved, some which may require you to hang on the phone for a while.  

Here’s a handy checklist of items to tick off, so the job gets done quicker. If you don’t do your banking online, the following steps can also be done at a branch.   

  • Cancel any scheduled or recurring payments
  • Update your direct debit details (such as loan repayments) with creditors
  • Export your payee address book (to keep a record of saved third-party bank account details)
  • Transfer the balance of your account (to the new bank account)
  • Close your account online, or by calling the bank or visiting a branch

Can you deposit money into somebody else's bank account?

One of the easiest banking tasks in the world is depositing money. You can even deposit money into someone else’s bank account if you wish.

The basic information you need to deposit money into a third-party bank account is:

  • Payee’s name
  • Bank, building society or credit union (though this isn’t necessary)
  • BSB (or bank code, which is the branch identifier)
  • Account number

Including the name of the financial institution isn’t necessary – particularly with online banking – because the BSB will identify this for you.

A handy tip is to record yourself (or add a personal message) in the transaction description or reference. This will show up on the recipients account, letting them know who’s paid them the money.

How do I open a new bank account?

There are a number of ways to open a new bank account – online, over the phone or in the branch. The trick is to decide what type of bank account you want beforehand.

It might sound like a simple enough task, but there are literally hundreds of bank accounts to choose from. And each offer their own banking features and benefits.

A comparison site like RateCity can help you work out what bank account product matches your needs.

Once you’ve made up your mind what you want, it’s advisable to have the following information ready for the application process.

  • A couple of forms of identification (such as driver’s licence, Medicare card, passport)
  • Tax file number
  • Residential address, contact phone number and email (though email is not essential)

Do I need to open a business bank account?

Just because you’re in business doesn’t necessarily mean you need a business bank account. You could be a sole trader not registered for GST, and use your personal bank account for business.

If you do want a business account, there are plenty of benefits attached to business transaction and savings accounts, as well as business term deposits.

There are business bank accounts designed for businesses with a high volume of transactions, and those for start-ups with a small amount of trade. You could also include an EFTPOS service with your account.

Some business bank accounts charge for the number of transactions per month, while others offer a pay-as-you-go fee structure, where you only pay fees for transactions you make.

It’s up to you whether your priority is mainly transactions, or earning the maximum amount of interest on your principal. There’s a business banking solution for you if you need one.

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 to transfer money to another bank account

Transferring money to another bank is often called a bank transfer, and it can be done a few different ways.

Customers generally need three pieces of information to transfer money to another bank account. Customers need the account name, BSB and account number of the account they wish to transfer money to.

One way of transferring money to another bank account is in a branch with the help of a staff member; they will often give you a receipt as well as confirmation of the transfer.

Transfers can be also made via internet banking and phone banking.

Some banks also allow customers to make transfers via partnered ATMs, especially if the account is with the same bank.

How do you set up a bank account online?

Once you’ve compared bank accounts and found the right one, the process of opening a bank account online is quite simple and can be done in around 10 minutes.

To set up a bank account online, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide an approved form of ID as well as your tax file number (TFN).

If you’re a new customer of the bank, you’ll need to verify your identity and potentially upload documents before you can complete your online application.

Once your ID has been verified and you’ve set up your bank account online, you should receive your bank cards in the mail along with your PIN and any other account details.

Can I open bank accounts for my children?

A common question for new parents is, ‘Can I open a bank account for my child?’

The short answer is yes – as a parent you can open a bank account for your child.

Once you’ve compared your options and found a bank account that suits your needs, the process is relatively simple.

As the bank account is for your child, you’ll need to provide some documentation such as proof of ID, including your tax file number.

You will also need a copy of your child’s birth certificate, and in some cases you may also need to sign a guarantee of indemnity.

Depending on the bank and whether you’re an existing customer, you may be able to open a bank account for your child online. However, you may still need to go into a branch to prove your identity.

Can foreigners open bank account in Australia?

If you’re migrating, studying or working in Australia, you’ll be pleased to know that you can open an Australian bank account. For the most part, opening a bank account in Australia is a simple process which starts by comparing the types of bank accounts foreigners can open in Australia.

Once you’ve found a bank account that suits your needs, you can start the application process.

When you apply for the account, you’ll need to provide proof of ID which may include your passport, overseas ID or credit card. You may also need to provide a copy of your visa and proof of address in Australia.

Depending on the bank and the type of account you choose, you may be able to apply for the account online or over the phone before you arrive in Australia.

How do I close my bank account online?

You can usually easily open a bank account online, but you often can’t close it online.

Many banks and credit unions will only let you close an account if you go into a branch or call them on the phone.

However, some banks will let you request to close the account via your internet banking. Check your financial provider’s website for details.

Just remember: If you still have funds in the bank account, transfer them to another account, or withdraw the cash. Also, if you have any payments like direct debits going in or out of the bank account, these will also stop when you close your account.

Are bank accounts frozen when someone dies?

Yes, Australian bank accounts are frozen when someone dies. If you want to close the account of somebody who has died, you might have to provide proof of death and a copy of the will. You might also have to prove your relationship to the deceased person.

If you have a joint bank account with somebody who has died, you will generally be entitled to all the money in the account. Again, you might have to provide proof of death if you want to change the bank account from a joint account to a one-person account.

How do I open a bank account for a child?

There are few better ways for a child to learn about money management than through savings. And there’s a plethora of bank accounts designed specifically for young people and children.

A bank account for a child can be opened online, over the phone or in a branch in a few easy steps. The minimum age a child can open a bank account for themselves usually ranges between 12 and 14.

If the child is too young to open the account, you can do it for them as their legal parent or guardian. 

To do this, you would need to be over 18, have an Australian residential address and currently reside in Australia (or have proof of residency).

You would also need to provide:

  • Identification for yourself and the child
  • Your tax file number (TFN) or TFN exemption

Depending on the bank account, you might be able to choose what level of access the child has to their bank account (online and via the phone).

Can I open a bank account in another country?

Despite having a bad rap for facilitating tax evasion, it is possible and legal to open a bank account in another country, also known as an ‘offshore account’.

Some people choose to open a bank account in another country to invest overseas, for higher interest-earning potential or to access foreign banking services.

The process for opening an offshore bank account differs depending on the financial institution and country in which you’re opening the account.

Typically, you will need to provide identification such as a passport, a local bank statement and a signed declaration proving the source of the money being used to open your account. Usually, deposits into offshore accounts can be made by international money transfer.

How do I open a bank account if I'm under 18?

The good news for savvy young folks like you wanting to take charge of your finances is that there are many bank accounts available for under-18s.

For bank accounts that require you to be 18 or older, you’ll have to rope in a parent or guardian to open the account for you.

Otherwise, you can apply by yourself online or at the branch of the bank, credit union or building society that has the account you would like to open. 

If applying online, you might be asked for a form of identification. For under-18s, this could be a Medicare card you’re listed on, your birth certificate and/or your current home address.

In most cases, you can verify your identity online (at the time of applying) or at the branch afterwards.

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.