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For convenience, security and easy management, most people keep their money in an everyday bank account. These accounts are built for daily use, where you can hold money for everyday withdrawals and deposits.

Offered by banks, credit unions and other financial institutions as a secure place to keep your funds, there are many elements to consider to find the best everyday bank account for you.

Learn more about bank accounts

What is an everyday bank account?

Everyday bank accounts are often known as ‘transaction accounts’ as these are the bank accounts you use to make your daily transactions. However, some people colloquially refer to them as "spending accounts", because that’s what they are primarily used for.

When you pay on the card associated with your bank account, you will usually select “savings” as the account function over “credit” or "cheque,” yet these accounts are fundamentally different to savings accounts, as you will not earn interest on an everyday bank account.

Most receive their salary and pay their bills and regular expenses using this type of account.

How do you pay for expenses with your everyday bank account?
You can pay in a variety of ways from your everyday bank account including:

  • Visa or Mastercard debit cards
  • BPAY
  • Direct debit set up
  • Electronic transfers

You can also deposit money from an everyday bank account into your superannuation fund, usually via electronic transfer.

Do everyday bank accounts have fees or charges?

Different fees and charges apply to everyday bank accounts, but not all accounts have the same fees and charges.

In order to ensure you don’t spend your hard-earned cash on bank fees, it’s important to find an everyday bank account that has low or no fees.

Fees associated with everyday bank accounts

Here are some of the fees that you may be charged with an everyday bank account:

  • Account-holding fees: fees charged by banks for holding your money
  • ATM withdrawal fees: fees charged when you take out cash from an ATM
  • Support fees: fees charged for telephone and online banking support
  • Transaction fees: fees charged for using EFTPOS machines
  • Bank fees: fees charged when you do not follow bank rules e.g. not depositing enough
  • Statement fees: fees charged when paper statements are delivered to your home

It is important to consider how and why you access your everyday bank account so you can make sure you find an account that will allow you to minimise the fees you pay. For example, if you do not deposit a regular amount every month, check your everyday bank account has no minimum monthly deposit and does not charge fees for deposits under a certain amount.

Always consider your personal spending and saving habits as well as your monthly salary before signing up to any specific transaction account.

Are there any everyday bank accounts with no fees?

Although some everyday bank accounts will charge the fees listed above, there are some that are fee free.

The pros and cons of everyday bank accounts

Everyday bank accounts can be an easy way to save, track, spend and manage your money.

However, as with all financial products, there are certain benefits and disadvantages that you should consider before you apply. 

What are the pros of everyday bank accounts?

  • Easy access: you can get relatively easy access to deposit and withdraw money
  • Support: most accounts offer online or phone banking, for access to funds 24/7
  • Digital access: most banks offer apps to check and control your money on the go
  • Plastic cards: EFTPOS and debit cards mean you can shop without the need for cash

What are the cons of everyday bank accounts?

  • Fees: ATM withdrawals, support and transaction fees may be charged
  • Restrictions: you may face restrictions including minimum deposits and maximum withdrawals
  • Low or no interest: most everyday bank accounts will pay little or no interest on funds
  • Little or no rewards: these bank accounts are often “no frills” and may not offer extra benefits

     

How do I apply for an everyday bank account?

Each banking institution will have a different method for applying for an everyday bank account. You can usually apply for everyday bank accounts via a bank’s website or in person at your local branch.

Some banks don’t have branches, so you will need to apply online or over the phone.

There are a few rules when it comes to opening everyday bank accounts in Australia that may include:

  • You must be an Australian citizen or legal Australian resident
  • You must have an Australian mailing address or residency
  • You need to be over the age of 12 years old to open the account on your own

You should always consider whether an everyday bank account is the best banking product for you before applying.

What other accounts are there besides everyday bank accounts?

There are a number of other bank accounts on the market to suit different needs, that provide a variety of benefits.

Many bank accounts are built to suit to specific individuals, including:

  • Bank accounts with no foreign transaction fees for travellers
  • Seniors bank accounts for those in retirement
  • Student bank accounts
  • Children or baby bank accounts

Apart from bank accounts, you may also be looking at savings accounts or term deposits.

Savings accounts: these often go hand in hand with an everyday account, and as they are built for the purpose of generating interest, attract higher interest rates. They can also include additional incentives for people who do not withdraw the money in their saving accounts.

Term deposits: these require you to lock away your money for a set period of time, will also provide a fixed amount of interest, in return for your commitment not to withdraw money for an extended period of time.

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 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 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.

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).

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)

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.

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 open a bank account under 18?

If you’re under 18 and you want to open an Australian bank account, you will need your passport or birth certificate. (Some lenders might require just a Medicare card or driver’s licence.) You can apply online or at a branch. If you’re 13 or under, you will probably need a parent to accompany you to a branch.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

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.