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Bank account boom: what banks are offering to win your business

Bank account boom: what banks are offering to win your business

Interest rates have dropped to record lows and savings account rates are just scraping above zero per cent. This has led to banks scrambling to find new ways to fight for your business - through the humble bank account.

And with generous perks on offer, there are a few ways everyday Aussies looking to nab a new bank account may come out on top, if they know where to look.

Bank account boom

If you’ve contemplated opening a new bank account this year, you’re not alone. The latest data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) found that Australians have opened more than 750,000 new debit card accounts since COVID.

We’re are also squirreling away our cash more than ever, with almost $100 billion more in our bank accounts now than pre-COVID. In fact, recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data tipped that Aussies are now saving almost one fifth of our incomes on average.

March-2020Oct-2020Change since COVID-19
(pre COVID)
Number of debit card accounts

34,097,116

34,861,747

764,631
Deposits by household

$998.7 billion

$1.1 trillion

$99.7 billion

Source: Debit cards data from APRA monthly banking stats released Nov. 2020. Deposits data released by APRA, Nov 2020.

But not all banks accounts are created equally. This means that if you’re one of the many Aussies opening new accounts, you may want to ask: what’s in it for me?

Many banks are offering up to $100 in cash, as well as other incentives to get new customers to open and use their transaction accounts. Other perks may include a free bottle of wine, discounts at retailers, petrol discounts and even donations to your favourite charity (see tables below for full details).

Cash offers for transaction accounts

BankAccountSpecialConditions
86 400Pay Account$10 cashGet $10 after you make a purchase in your first 30 days of account opening with signup code "WELCOME10".
Australian Military BankMilitary Rewards Account1% cashbackEarn 1% cashback on Visa Paywave purchases under $100 when you deposit >$2k each month (capped at $25/mth). 'Cents gifting program' also transfers the spare change in your account each month to a Defence related charity selected by account holder which is then matched dollar for dollar by the bank.
Bank of MelbourneComplete Freedom$50 cashDeposit $500 and make 5 eligible purchases within 30 days of account opening.
BankSAComplete Freedom$50 cashDeposit $500 within 30 days of account opening.
BankwestQantas Transaction AccountEarn QFF points0.3 QFF pts per $100 in account each day, 3 QFF pts per eligible purchase, 5 QFF pts per overseas ATM cash withdrawal.
HSBCEveryday Global Account$100 cash, 2% cashback$100 bonus for new customers when you deposit >$2k for 3 consecutive months within first 6 months of account opening, earn 2% cashback up to $50/mth when you tap & pay on eligible purchases under $100.
St. George BankComplete Freedom$50 cashDeposit $500 within 30 days of account opening.
WestpacChoice$50 cashDeposit $500 and make 5 eligible purchases within 30 days of account opening.

Source: RateCity.com.au. Data accurate as of 17.12.2020.

Other transaction account perks on offer

BankAccountSpecialConditions
Bank of usOne for All Account1% of your average annual balance donated to your chosen community organisation.
CBAEligible debit cardsPersonalised rewards and cashback if you shop at participating CommBank Rewards stores.Rewards are only earnt at eligible store locations.
CitiGlobal Currency AccountFree bottle of wine.Pay with your Citi debit card at a participating Citibank Dining Program partner.
CitiPlus AccountFree bottle of wine.Pay with your Citi debit card at a participating Citibank Dining Program partner.
Community First Credit UnionPink Debit Card$1 of the monthly $6 fee is donated to the McGrath Foundation each month.
Macquarie BankTransaction AccountDiscounts of up to 10% on eGift cards at select retailers.
ME BankEveryday Transaction AccountME donates 1¢ to the National Breast Cancer Foundation for every purchase using the Pink Buck card.
QBankEveryday PlusFor each Everyday Plus Account we’ll make a donation of 10 cents every month, paid quarterly, to support charities in your community.
RACQ BankAdvantage Plus AccountSave 4c/litre at participating fuel stores, plus other discounts.
Regional Australia BankCommunity Partnership AccountCalculates a member's average annual balance and donates the equivalent of 1% back to a chosen group each year - at no cost to the member.
Suncorp BankEveryday Essentials AccountDiscounts of up to 15% with major retailers,

Source: RateCity.com.au. Data accurate as of 17.12.2020.

RateCity tips for selecting a bank account

Keep in mind that there’s more to a bank account than the perks being offered. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting your next bank account.

  • If you buy things from overseas regularly, look for an account with no foreign exchange fees.
  • If you get cash out regularly, aim for a provider that refunds ATM fees (e.g. ING, ME Bank, Macquarie Bank).
  • Don’t pick a bank account solely based on the perks offered.
  • Don’t accept monthly fees. 73% of bank accounts on RateCity have no monthly fees while 24% will waive them if you meet certain criteria.
  • Check the fine print for hidden fees.

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Mark Bristow before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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