Find bank accounts with no minimum balance
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If you’re just getting started in the world of bank accounts, you might be looking for an option that will allow you to have a bank account, but keep a low balance.
Bank accounts with no minimum balance requirements may be an excellent choice for those who want to bank, but don’t have a big balance.
What is a minimum balance?
A minimum balance is as simple as it sounds: it is the least amount of money that your bank permits you to have in your bank account.
This rule may only apply when opening the account, meaning that the bank requires a certain amount of funds to be deposited when the account is opened. It could also apply to your ongoing balance after your account is opened.
Banks apply this rule to accounts in order to encourage account holders to keep a certain amount of funds in their account at all times.
Are there penalties for dropping below a minimum balance?
Penalties and fees vary greatly from bank to bank. Generally, banks require you to have a minimum balance in your account to avoid paying maintenance fees.
This means that rather than charging you with a penalty, they’ll charge you with a maintenance fee when your balance drops below their specified minimum.
How do you avoid paying a minimum balance fee?
If your bank account requires a minimum balance each month, there are a few steps you can take to prevent the fee from being applied.
First, it’s important to know when your bank applies the minimum balance fee. They may assess at the end of each business day, calculate your average monthly balance, or charge on a certain day of the month. If you know when the fee is charged, it can help you manage your balance to ensure it doesn’t meet the minimum balance fee criteria.
Another way to avoid the minimum balance fee is to set up a direct deposit into your bank account. When you have your monthly salary put directly into your bank account, you’ll find that your balance will stay higher, and therefore you may avoid minimum balance fees.
If you’re a student or under the age of 25, you may be eligible for certain fees to be waived. Ask your bank about possible options to avoid paying a monthly or minimum balance fee.
How do you find a bank account with no minimum balance?
Many banks offer bank accounts with no minimum balance required, particularly for students and young people. When searching for accounts without a minimum balance requirement, be sure to ask about both a starting balance minimum and an ongoing balance minimum. This will help you understand how to manage your funds to avoid minimum balance fees.
If you’re ready to bank but don’t tend to have a big balance, then finding a bank account with no minimum balance requirements may be a great place to start. Build your balance or just keep a little without having to worry about paying pesky minimum balance fees.
Property Personal Finance Writer
A property and personal finance writer, Nick Bendel covers property, loans, credit cards, superannuation, and other bank products. Nick has previously written for The Adviser, Mortgage Business, Lifehacker, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, and InvestorDaily, and loves getting elbow-deep in the latest ABS, APRA and RBA data.
Frequently asked questions
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 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 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)
How do I transfer money from Paypal to my bank account?
Transferring cash from Paypal into your bank account is simple…if you have a Paypal account that is.
Once you’re logged into your Paypal account, the account balance will appear on your home page. Below your balance are two options:
- Add money
- Withdraw money
Choose option two if you want to transfer money from your Paypal account to your personal bank account.
The next screen will prompt you to either enter new bank account details or choose a bank account that’s connected to Paypal. You can always add more bank accounts to your Paypal profile.
Another way to transfer out of Paypal is by jumping to the wallet tab on the top menu, and clicking ‘transfer money’. Both options will give you the same result.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How can I find bank accounts in my name?
To find ‘live’ bank accounts in your name, you’ll have to ask individual lenders, which involves contacting them one by one and proving your identity each time. To find ‘unclaimed’ bank accounts (those that have been inactive for at least seven years), you can use this website.
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 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.
How do I open a bank account for a baby?
If you’ve just welcome a new baby into the world, congratulations. Opening a bank account for your child can be a wonderful first gift.
Before you can open your child an account, you’ll need to have a birth certificate or passport for your baby.
As the parent or guardian, you’ll also be listed as a joint holder on the account. This means you’ll need to have proof of your identification and address (a driver’s licence, passport, birth certificate or Medicare Card).
Many banks and credit unions offer baby banks accounts. Usually, you can apply online; otherwise you can head into a local branch or office with your documents.
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.
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 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 overdraw my Commonwealth Bank account?
Overdrawing a bank account can happen by accident. It’s often hard to know what your balance is, particularly with direct debits, scheduled repayments and pending transactions competing for cash.
To avoid being stuck with a bank fee every time your account is overdrawn, you can apply for a personal overdraft. This will enable you to overdraw your account up to an approved amount.
A personal overdraft is connected to your CommBank Everyday Account, so you can enjoy easy access to extra funds once approved – anywhere from $100 up to $20,000.
Your overdraft funds can be accessed via your CommBank keycard or Debit MasterCard, or online through NetBank and the CommBank app.
To apply you can either call the Commonwealth Bank directly or visit your local branch.
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 long does it take to open a bank account?
The length of time it takes to open a bank account varies, depending on whether you want to open it online or in person.
Most banks and credit unions have simple online applications that usually take no more than 10 minutes to fill out. It can be especially fast if you have your identification documents like your driver’s licence and passport handy. Sometimes you will instantly be approved and the bank account opened. However, depending on the financial institution, it may take a day or so to be processed and your account number issued. Your account information and ATM or debit card will then be mailed to you, which usually takes between five to 10 days.
If you decide to go into a branch or office to open a bank account, it may take about half an hour. Make sure you bring your identification documents with you. Also book an appointment if you can, otherwise you might be forced to wait in line. Sometimes your ATM or debit card will be issued on the spot, otherwise you’ll need to wait for one to arrive by mail, which usually takes between five to 10 days.
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.