Bank fees fall, but Australians still fork out $3.92 billion

Bank fees fall, but Australians still fork out $3.92 billion

Australians forked out $3.92 billion in bank fees last year, new figures from the RBA show. This equates to around $406 per household in bank fees a year.

Overall, Australians paid $285.19 million less bank fees than the previous year – a drop of 6.79 per cent.

However, new research from RateCity reveals that many fees can be largely avoided by shopping around.

How much Australian households spent on bank fees in 2019:

Key categories Spend Change from last year Spend per household
Credit cards

$1.70 billion



Home loans

$1.09 billion



Transaction accounts

$703.92 million



Personal loans

$325.21 million



Other deposit accounts

$39.99 million



Other fees

$59.34 million




$3.92 billion



Exception fees

$472.12 million



Source: RBA Domestic Fee data 2019, released 18 June 2020 based on each bank’s financial years ending in 2019. Number of households is from ABS Household and Family Projections, released 14 March 2019.

Note: Exception fees are not included in the total fees.

RateCity research director Sally Tindall said: “It’s great to see bank fees fall in almost every category for two years running. This is in part because the big four banks scrapped their ATM provider fees, however, it’s encouraging to see home and personal loan fees drop as well.”

“Banks have listened to customers’ complaints in relation to fees and acted. It’s savings Australians can put to good use, particularly now many household budgets are feeling the pinch.

“Australians are getting better at managing their money with exception fees falling by $82 million a year, that’s typically charges for late payments and overdrawn accounts.

“Nevertheless, the average household is still shelling out over $400 a year in bank fees. It’s an expense that can be cut back even further by shopping around or haggling with your bank.

“People often throw fees in the same category as death and taxes but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re paying fees, get up the gumption to ask your bank to waive them. They might just surprise you and say yes,” she said.


RateCity data shows the average annual fee is $140 however 31 cards (15 per cent) have no annual fee.

Low fee credit card examples:

Lender Card Annual fees Currency conversion fees Rate
American Express Low Rate




Bankwest Zero Mastercard Platinum




Teachers Mutual / Uni Bank Teachers Credit card





The average annual home loan fee on the RateCity database is $254 while the average upfront fee is $565.

However, 49 per cent of all home loans have no annual fees and 29 per cent of all home loans have no application fees charged by the lender.

Low fee, low rate home loan examples:

Lender Home loan Advertised rate Application fees Annual fees
HSBC Fixed rate loan

2.09% - 2 yrs

$0 (plus ‘at cost’ valuation. fee)


BCU Fixed rate loan

2.12% - 2 yrs



Pacific Mortgage Group Fixed home loan

2.19% - 2 yrs



Note: Rates are for owner occupiers paying principal and interest. Government fees and other third-party fees may be charged.


The majority of customers are no longer paying provider fees after the big four banks scrapped them.

However, RateCity data shows at least three banks rebate non-bank ATM fees, while nine banks don’t charge a currency conversion fee when shopping in a different currency.

Bank Account Admin fee ATM provider fees O/S ATM fees (from bank) O/S ATM provider fee Currency conv. fees
ING Orange Everyday






Macquarie Bank Transaction Account




At cost


HSBC Everyday Global Account


At cost (free at HSBC)


At cost


Notes: ING, Macquarie refund all ATM provider fees in Aus. ING also refunds third party ATM fees overseas. ING has monthly terms and conditions to qualify for refunds. HSBC provides 2% cashback on paywave purchases and a $100 sign up bonus, subject to terms and conditions.

  • Average fees exclude products that charge $0 fees. Number of home loans is based on all home loan variations in the database. While it’s important to factor in fees to the overall cost of the home loan, interest rate and product features are also important considerations.

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Learn more about bank accounts

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.

Which bank is best for business accounts?

Unfortunately, there’s no definitive answer to the question of which bank is best for business accounts. That’s because ‘best’ will differ from customer to customer, depending on their unique circumstances. These include not only your company’s financial position, but also its size, its age and the sector in which it operates. Another factor to consider is what features you want in a bank account. Your business may require different features than another business; and your business may require different features tomorrow than it does today.

The best thing to do is to thoroughly research the market before opening a business account. And when you do open an account, you should reassess your options every year or two, because the market moves quickly. A particular bank might offer the best account today, but be surpassed by one or several rivals tomorrow.

Can I find my bank account number online?

Yes, you can find your bank account number by logging into your online banking and clicking on the relevant account.

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 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.

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.

Can you open a bank account at 16?

Yes, you can open a bank account at 16, or even younger. If you’re 13 or under, you will probably need a parent to accompany you to a branch.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.