CommBank launches finance goal tracker, but you have other options

CommBank launches finance goal tracker, but you have other options

Commonwealth Bank customers can get an app this week to help them scrimp and save for personal goals, but the reality is customers of any bank have app options for the same.

Managing your finances can be difficult at the best of times, but saving for goals, that can prove impossible for some people. That little supercomputer you keep with you at all times can be a big assist, however, and it’s something CommBank seems eager to get involved.

Commonwealth Bank has developed a tool called “Goal Tracker” built for its customers with phones and tablets to set goals for things like an emergency fund, a home loan deposit, or even just saving for a holiday, with the app able to employ automatic payments to help reach that goal.

Developed off the back of insights from CommBank’s behavioural economics team, it’s an app that has been developed to help people without a “formal plan in place” for their finances, as well as those “forgetting to put money in savings”, according to Commonwealth Bank General Manager for Digital Banking, Kate Crous.

“We’ve created Goal Tracker to help customers create better financial habits. The tool combines the latest in digital banking innovation as well as behavioural science to help customers improve their financial wellbeing,” she said.

The app works in tandem with the CommBank app, which means you have to be a Commonwealth Bank customer to take advantage, but it’s not the only solution out there.

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Apps for any bank customer

You don’t need to be a CommBank customer to track personal finance goals, and provided you have a phone or tablet from the past few years running Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS, you can get to saving for a budgeted goal regardless of where you bank.

TrackMyGoals

Price: Free Believe it or not, the government has actually provided a financial goal tracking app for free to customers of any bank, and it’s on both of the major phone and tablet operating systems, meaning Android, iPhone, and iPad. It’s not much to look at, and we’re sure designers will baulk at the heavy use of green, but ASIC’s TrackMyGoals doesn’t need to hook into any banking app you have. Rather, it will ask you to create a goal, and then you add sums to it over time, exploring how much you’d need to save to reach that goal. There are no connections to your banking so no risk to your accounts. It’s just a goal app that you can manage. Find ASIC’s TrackMyGoals on Android and iPhone and iPad

Pocketbook

Price: Free On the other side of the app divide, there’s one that is designed nicely and also free. Pocketbook is about a little more than merely working to a goal, but it can definitely be used for that. Rather, Pocketbook works best when it’s linked to your bank accounts to track what your expenses are doing and where your money is going. However, you can use this information not just to get a better understanding of your finances as a whole, but to save for goals. Find Pocketbook on Android and iPhone and iPad

Spendee

Price: Free Similar to Pocketbook, Spendee gives you an understanding of your finances as money goes in and out of your account, and also allows you to set goals for what you want to save. Much like Pocketbook, this one works best when talking to your bank accounts, as it can give you a total look at what your money is doing. Find Spendee on Android and iPhone and iPad

YNAB (You Need A Budget)

Price: $84USD per year (approximately $120 per year) You Need A Budget is a finance tracking app made to help you find the best way of managing your budget, but it’s one built not just for your phone and tablet, but also your computer’s web browser, Apple Watch, and even Amazon Alexa speakers, as well. Goal tracking is a major part of how YNAB works, as are reports and the ability to budget with a friend or partner, though in case the yearly plan doesn’t seem like something you’d normally go for, there’s a 34 day free trial. Find You Need A Budget on Android and iPhone and iPad

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Learn more about bank accounts

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.

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 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 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 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 can I wire money to a bank account?

You can wire money to an Australian bank account either through your own bank or by using a money transfer company such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Either way, you’ll need the other person’s name, BSB number and account number. If you use a money transfer company, you might also need to provide the recipient’s address for large payments.

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 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 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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

Do you need a bank account to get a credit card?

To get a credit card, you need to show proof of income, which will almost certainly require you to have a bank account.