Compare Australia's cheapest bank accounts

Sort By
Product
ATM Fee
Company
Maximum Interest rate
Card Type
Features
Real Time Rating™
Go to site

$0

Over 3,000 Westpac Group ATMs

Citi

Gold Award Winner 2020

0.75%

MasterCard

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

4.39

/ 5
More details

$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
More details

$0

P&N Bank

Visa

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

3.96

/ 5
More details

Learn more about bank accounts

Most people don’t put a lot of thought into their everyday bank account. That is a shame, because comparing the cheapest bank accounts can be a handy way to find a bank account which minimises unnecessary fees and charges, while qualifying for a range of perks and extras.

We’re going to look at the different types of everyday transaction accounts available, what distinguishes these bank accounts from other options and the sort of things you should be looking for when comparing bank accounts.

What type of bank accounts are available?

  • Transaction accounts – These bank accounts are designed to make meeting day-to-day expenses easy. Transaction accounts are set up to make it easy for people to receive their pay, take out cash and pay any bills that have arrived. While these bank accounts are highly accessible, they generally don’t offer a great interest rate return and sometimes have numerous bank account fees and charges that the account holder should be wary of.
  • Savings accounts – On the other end of the spectrum you’ve got savings accounts, which are designed to give people a place where they can put their money and make it grow faster. Savings accounts typically offer a superior interest rate to regular transaction accounts, and some have measures in place that make it harder to access your money, theoretically making it easier to set your funds aside and save.
  • Joint bank accounts – This is a bank account that has two names on it, and is an account that is generally opened by people in a relationship. There are advantages to opening joint bank accounts, like lowering account fees, but there are also inherent risks involved.

What are the advantages of a transaction account?

When you’re testing the market, and comparing the cheapest bank accounts to find the best option, it’s useful to be aware of the advantages an everyday transaction account offers for users.

  • Easy-to-use and accessible – Perhaps the chief advantage of an everyday transaction account is the fact that it’s easy to use, and highly accessible. If you’ve got a bill to pay or need a place where you can receive your wages, a regular transaction account generally gets the job done, making it easy to manage your money and meet day-to-day expenses.
  • They’re often free to open – Rules change from provider to provider, but most everyday bank accounts are free to open. This allows you to get started with your new bank account, without having to worry about being slugged with fees straight off the bat.
  • No lock-in period – Most people don’t shop around for the cheapest bank account, but it’s easier than you might think. Many institutions offer bank accounts with no lock-in periods, which can be useful for people looking to shop around for a better deal.
  • Your money is safe – A bank account is one of the safest places to keep your money. Should the unthinkable happen and the financial institution you’re banking with somehow goes bust, the Australian government will guarantee your savings account balance up to the value of $250,000, which can provide some peace of mind in times of volatility.

What are the disadvantages of a transaction account?

When you’re comparing the cheapest bank accounts and looking to find the right one for your situation, it’s equally as important to be aware of the disadvantages of a transaction account.

  • Interest rates are variable – While they take some guidance from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), banks and financial institutions are free to change their interest rates whenever they like. This could cause problems for people who want a bank account that can give them the potential to grow their money, while managing their day-to-day expenses.
  • Interest rates are lower than savings accounts – What’s also true is that interest rates offered by traditional transaction accounts are generally lower than those offered by savings accounts. So even if you have found the cheapest bank account available, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in a good position to grow and expand your wealth.
  • Paying multiple fees – Another one of the main sticking points that comes with people opening transaction bank accounts is the fees payable. While the nature and amount of these fees vary from provider to provider, bank account holders can often lose a significant portion of their savings paying fees that in some cases they’re not even aware of.
  • Temptation to spend – Having money that’s easily accessible is convenient, but it can also be very tempting. The ease with which transaction bank account holders can access their funds can sometimes result in people making unnecessary discretionary purchases, which over the course of time can make it more difficult for savers to meet their long-term financial goals.

What sort of fees will I have to pay with a transaction account?

If you’re comparing the market, and looking to find the cheapest banking account in Australia, it’s important to be wary of the sort of fees these bank accounts commonly put upon customers:

  • Monthly account-keeping fees – These are fees charged by your bank or financial institution that are designed to cover the day-to-day administration and upkeep of your account.
  • Phone banking fees – If you’re someone who likes to bank over the phone, your use of this banking feature might incur an additional level of fee from your provider.
  • Internet banking fees – By the same token, if you’re undertaking internet banking, you may be incurring additional charges from your bank or financial institute.
  • Overdraft charges – Some banks and financial institutions will penalise account holders for overdrawing on their bank account balance. It’s always important to be aware of your bank’s policy on overdrafts, and whether they impose additional charges when this occurs.
  • Transaction fees – Depending on your provider and the nature of the transaction you wish to undertake, you may also incur separate transaction fees you have to pay. Again, it’s important to be aware of your bank’s policy when comparing bank accounts.

What should I look for when choosing a transaction account?

When you’re comparing cheapest bank accounts in Australia and looking for the right one that fits your situation, it’s important to consider the following aspects and traits.

  • Are the fees low? Bank accounts with low fees generally ensure that the bank account holder has more money at the end of the day. Make sure you compare bank accounts by fees, to make sure you’re not needlessly digging into the money you’ve saved to cover unnecessary charges.
  • Does your bank have minimum and maximum account balances? Be wary if your bank imposes charges for going under or over any minimum or maximum balances.
  • What sort of access does it offer? When comparing transaction accounts, it’s important to be aware of the different levels of access offered, to make sure you’ve got the right bank account to meet your day-to-day expenses, while keeping your funds safe.

Frequently asked questions

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 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 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.

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 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.

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)

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 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.

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.

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 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.

Can British expats still open bank accounts?

As a British expat, you can open an Australian bank account, and you can apply for an account the same ways an Aussie would. You can even open an account online from the UK prior to relocating.

If you’re overseas, the bank you choose to open an account with may call you to provide you with our new account details beforehand. You can then have your ID verified within a branch once you’ve arrived.

And if you’re already living down under, the following list outlines the types of information required by most banks when opening an Australian bank account.

  • Australian residential address
  • Tax file number (TFN) or a TFN exemption
  • Identification (this can be your passport)

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.

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 delete your bank account from PayPal?

Deleting your bank account from PayPal is a simple three-step process:

  • Go to your Wallet
  • Choose the account you’d like to delete
  • Click ‘Remove bank account’

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.

How can I close a Commonwealth Bank account?

You can close your Commonwealth Bank account at any branch, provided you have appropriate identification. You can also close your account over the phone, by calling 132 221, 24 hours a day.