Bank accounts are an essential part of our lives in Australia, but that doesn’t mean that you should have to pay for storing your money in a bank. 

There are ways to find an everyday bank account that doesn’t charge you fees, or charges you low fees, but this might mean you’re not able to enjoy the full range of services (after all, you get what you pay for). 

Here’s everything you need to know about fee free bank accounts.

Find and compare no fee bank accounts

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ATM Fee

$0

Over 3,000 rediATMs

Company
MyState Bank
Features
Apple Pay
Google Pay
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Samsung Pay
Linked account
Real Time Rating™

3.83

/ 5
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ATM Fee

$0

Free access to thousands of ATMs nationwide

Company
CUA
Features
Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account
Real Time Rating™

3.83

/ 5
Go to site
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ATM Fee

$0

Free access to thousands of ATMs nationwide

Company
CUA
Features
Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account
Real Time Rating™

4.12

/ 5
Go to site
More details
ATM Fee

$0

Over 7,000 ATMs

Company
NAB
Features
Apple Pay
Google Pay
Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account
Real Time Rating™

4.01

/ 5
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ATM Fee

$0

Over 3,000 rediATMs

Company
Suncorp Bank
Features
Apple Pay
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Interest rate
Overseas ATM facilities
Samsung Pay
Linked account
Real Time Rating™

4.42

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Learn more about bank accounts

Why do banks charge fees?

To put it simply, banks charge fees in order to make money. Any fees charged make up that financial institutions' revenue. It’s important to remember that banks are businesses, and businesses need to make money in order to sustain themselves and remain profitable. 

Charging a number of small, seemingly innocuous fees to their customers is one of many ways that the banks achieve this.

However, many banks don't charge you ongoing fees, like monthly account fees or foreign transaction fees. This is why it literally pays to do your research when choosing a bank account. 

What kind of fees should I look out for in my bank account?

There are a number of different fees that banks charge on bank accounts (also known as transaction accounts). If you are looking to do anything with your money, there could be a fee for it.

Here are some of the most common bank account fees: 

  • Monthly account keeping fees – As the name implies, these are charged on a monthly basis. This fee is usually a few dollars and is essentially charged to keep your account open. Many banks will waive this fee if you deposit a certain amount each month or keep your balance over a particular amount. This incentivises customers to put more of their money in their bank account.
  • Foreign transaction fees - Another common fee type that may be charged are overseas fees, such as foreign currency conversion fees, overseas EFTPOS fees, overseas ATM fees and general, international transaction fees - whether shopping online on an international website or travelling.
  • ATM fees – The big four banks now charge no ATM fees, but this doesn’t stop smaller banks from charging you an ATM withdrawal fee, usually at around $2 per transaction. Some bank accounts also have a limit on the number of ATM withdrawals you can make in a month and will charge you if you exceed this number.
  • Internet and phone banking – Depending on your bank account, you may be charged for withdrawals or deposits made when using these services.
  • EFTPOS transaction fees – It’s possible that you could be charged for using your debit or EFTPOS card to make a purchase.
  • Branch fees – This can be charged when you visit your bank’s branch to make a transaction, through a withdrawal or over-the-counter deposit fees. Your bank may also charge you a cheque fee if you need to make a cheque payment, though this is becoming less common.
  • Overdraft or dishonour fees – A fee could be charged if the balance on your bank account drops below zero. You will be charged an overdraft/overdrawn fee or dishonour fee by your bank for trying to make a payment when you don’t have enough funds. For example, if you have a joint account, and you haven't communicated your purchases with this person when a bill is due, this may result in accidental overdrafts. You can avoid this by choosing an account that does not charge overdraft fees. This would cause your transactions to decline, rather than put you in overdraft. This may be a little embarrassing at the cash register, but it’s also a lot less expensive.

So how do I find a no-fee bank account?

While this might look like a lot of fees, it’s worth pointing out that most bank accounts will not charge any at all. They might be profit-driven, but banks still need to be competitive at the end of the day to incentivise new and existing customers to bank with them. This is even more reason why it's valuable to shop around when choosing your bank account, so you're not stuck paying fees when others don't.

The best way to find a fee free bank account is to compare your options and do your research. Tools like comparison tables can help you compare apples with apples. The comparison table on this page allows you to view some of the most common fees, like account keeping fees and ATM fees. This immediately lets you rule out these options in your search. You can then look at individual features and other perks provided by the account, such as whether it is a Mastercard or Visa debit card.  

Is a low fee bank account better than a fee free bank account? If you find a bank account that ticks all of the other boxes, but still charges for certain services like overseas fees but not withdrawal fees, weigh up how likely you are to use these services. If your bank charges a few dollars to issue a cheque, but you doubt you’ll need to use this service, this fee may not even be a problem for you. Alternatively, you can search for a no cheque deposit fee account. 

In other words, depending on your financial situation, by being consumer-savvy and doing your research, you can turn a low fee bank account with fees into an “unofficial” fee fee bank account.

Are there any bank account perks?

Bank accounts might not have the same extravagant perks as credit cards, such as concierge services and VIP event seating. However, there are certain benefits that financial institutions offer for choosing one of their bank accounts. Here are some perks and bonuses you may find:

  1. Interest. Despite not being savings accounts, some providers still offer customers interest on their banking accounts. You can compare these bank accounts through the comparison table on this page by sorting your search via 'Maximum Interest Rate'.
  2. Rewards. Some bank accounts also allow you to accrue rewards points through eligible purchases and/or maintaining a minimum account balance. This is less common nowadays thanks to the continued popularity of rewards credit cards. But these rewards may include frequent flyer points, gift cards for affiliated stores, cash back and more. 
  3. Savings tools. Most savings accounts now require your transaction account to be linked to your saver. Not only does this make meeting minimum deposit requirements easier, but you may be able to boost your savings with 'Round-Up' tools. Round Up tools allows savers to automatically transfer spare cash between their earnings and expenses via direct debits into their savings account.
  4. Digital wallets. Whether you are team iPhone or team Android, many bank accounts also now offer Apple Pay,  Google Pay and Samsung Pay. This allow you to make transactions using your smartphone, rather than a debit card. This process can make online banking simpler at checkout as all your details will be preloaded. Not all banks or bank accounts currently offer this option, so look out for one that does if this appeals to you. 
  5. Cardless cash. Using digital wallet technology, cardless cash is another feature that banks are rolling out more and more. This service allows you to use your bank’s mobile app to pay for everyday purchases and make ATM withdrawals, even if you don’t have your card on you.

Will a fee free bank account really offer no fees? Just because a bank is calling its transaction account 'fee free' may not mean it's so. Oftentimes you may see an account advertised as fee free as it doesn't charge a monthly account-keeping fee. However, you may still be stung at the ATM, or when shopping internationally via currency conversion. Read the product disclosure statement linked to any financial product before you apply. This will also outline any eligibility criteria required on application.

Frequently asked questions

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.

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 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.

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 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).

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 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.

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 you open a bank account in Australia?

Opening a bank account in Australia is usually a straightforward process. Some banks give you the option of opening an account online, while others require you to visit a branch.

Different bank accounts offer different features, so it’s best to compare your options to find one that suits you.

All banks require you to pass an identity check to open a bank account. Australia uses the 100-point identification system, which means you’ll need to show a number of forms of ID that, together, add up to 100 points.

Common ID types include a driver’s licence, passport, Australian visa in a foreign passport, and Australian Medicare card. You’ll find out what types of ID are accepted when you go through the sign-up process online or at a branch.

Once your account is open, you’ll be given or sent a debit card that you can use to make purchases and withdraw money from your account.

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 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.

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.

What do you need to open bank accounts?

Opening a bank account is one of the simplest online tasks you could perform. The hard part is deciding which type of bank account you want to open.

All banking institutions have a website where you hit ‘apply’ on the account of your choice and step through an application in less than 10 minutes.

Here’s a list of information that is generally required for applications.

  • Identification (driver’s licence, passport, proof of age card, proof of citizenship and/or birth certificate)
  • Tax file number (so you don’t get charged the highest tax rate)
  • Address, contact email and phone number

If you decide to open a new account at the branch, make sure you ask beforehand what information you need to take with you, or take all of the above to be safe.

Can a debt collector garnish my bank account?

A debt collector can garnish your bank account, but only with a court order. This drastic action is usually taken only if you’ve ignored several notices asking you to pay the debt.

If this happens, there is nothing you can do to stop it other than immediately pay back your what you owe in full or make arrangements to pay it off in installments.

Once a garnishee order is issued, your bank will put a freeze on your account as it processes the order. This usually takes two to three days and you won’t be able to access any of your money during this time.

If you have Centrelink payments, they may be protected, depending on what the court order says.

How can I close an ANZ Bank account from overseas?

There are two ways you can close your ANZ Bank account from overseas:

  • Call +64 4 472 7123 (toll charges apply)
  • Send a bank mail request via ANZ internet banking

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 open a bank account in another country?

Despite having a bad rap for facilitating tax evasion, it is possible and legal to open a bank account in another country, also known as an ‘offshore account’.

Some people choose to open a bank account in another country to invest overseas, for higher interest-earning potential or to access foreign banking services.

The process for opening an offshore bank account differs depending on the financial institution and country in which you’re opening the account.

Typically, you will need to provide identification such as a passport, a local bank statement and a signed declaration proving the source of the money being used to open your account. Usually, deposits into offshore accounts can be made by international money transfer.

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.

What do I need to open bank accounts online?

Opening a bank account online is a simple process and only takes between five to 10 minutes to complete. To get started you will need a computer or smartphone with internet access.

Information to have available when you’re ready to apply is:

  • Identification (such as driver’s licence, birth certificate, passport, proof-of-age card)
  • Tax file number
  • Residential address, email and a contact number

In some cases, you might be asked to provide employment details. If you’re not able to verify your identity online, most financial institutions let you provide this in the branch at a later date.

There are some types of bank account that you can apply for only in a branch. However, most bank accounts can be applied for conveniently online.

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.