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Helpful Information on Online Banking Accounts

What is online banking?

Online banking simply means managing your banking activities using either your financial institution’s internet banking website or their mobile banking app for smartphones. With online banking or mobile banking, you can view your account balances, make payments, transfer money, and update your personal details with your financial institution.

There are also specifically-designed online accounts, such as online savings accounts, where the account is designed to be used mainly online. Such accounts earn interest but may charge fees if the customer wants to use the account in non-online ways such as making ATM withdrawals. Learn more about online savings accounts here.

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What to look for in online banking or mobile banking apps

There are a few basic things you should be able to do using online banking or an online savings account:

Internet banking in a browser Mobile banking apps
  • Make transactions and payments
  • View and update account information and personal details
  • Secure log-in process
  • Apply for other banking products online with secure application process, including ID verification
  • Easy to use self-service menu
  • Create reports or e-statements for your account
  • Use self-help education and tools as needed
  • Calculators for home loan repayments, currency conversion, and share trading
  • Contact banking institution’s customer service using online contact us or email
  • Find your nearest ATM or branch using online location services
  • Make contactless payments in person using phone app instead of physical card
  • Make transactions and payments
  • Transfer money between your accounts
  • Apply for other banking products through the app
  • Access your transaction history
  • View and update account information and personal details
  • Calculators for home loan repayments, currency conversion, and share trading
  • Contact banking institution’s customer service using app
  • Find your nearest ATM using app location services
Source: www.canstar.com.au

How Canstar compares online banking

Canstar compares online banking with our sophisticated, unique online banking ratings methodology, which looks at both pricing and features. We present the results with our consumer-friendly 5-star concept, with a 5-star rating signifying an online banking platform or mobile banking app that offers outstanding value to the consumer.

Some of the features Canstar compares when it comes to online and mobile banking platforms include:

  • Transaction options
  • Account management tools
  • Email and SMS alerts
  • Online product applications (e.g. ability to apply for a loan online)
  • Online help resources

Compare online banking products yourself, based on your own requirements, using our detailed comparisons in our latest Online and Mobile Banking Star Ratings report.

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Written by: TJ Ryan

Online banking glossary of terms

Please note that these are a general explanation of the meaning of terms used in relation to online banking platforms. Your bank or financial institution may use different terms, and you should read your product disclosure statement (PDS) carefully to understand everything that may apply to your account. You cannot rely on these terms in relation to any product you may purchase.

Account-keeping or administration fee: An ongoing fee charged to cover the bank’s administration costs of creating and maintaining the account. Usually charged monthly, this fee is often waived if you deposit a certain amount per month into the account. Find out the latest fees for online accounts with our star ratings reports for savings and transaction accounts.

Android Pay: Android Pay is a digital wallet and contactless smartphone payment app that launched in Australia in July 2016. Find out which institutions’ cards are compatible with Android Pay.

Apple Pay: Apple Pay is a digital wallet and contactless smartphone payment app that launched in Australia in April 2016. Find out which institutions’ cards are compatible with Apple Pay.

Bpay: An electronic bill payment system in Australia, where bills are paid through a financial institution’s online or telephone banking facility to registered merchants (‘billers’).

Contactless payments: The ability to make a payment by holding your smartphone to an EFTPOS terminal rather than using a physical credit card or debit card. Requirements for contactless payments vary depending on whether you are using a mobile banking app or a digital wallet app. Learn more about contactless payments here and check whether your bank is compatible with the main digital wallets.

Digital Wallet: A digital wallet is an electronic system that stores your card details. This can be used in two ways – for a quicker, easier online shopping experience (no need to enter card details) and to make contactless payments using your smartphone. Learn more about how digital wallets work.

Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA): The AFCA is responsible for providing a free and independent dispute resolution service that helps consumers make complaints and resolve disputes with their banks, insurers and other financial institutions. Learn more about the AFCA here.

Google Wallet: Google Wallet is a digital wallet and contactless smartphone payment app that launched in Australia in July 2016. Learn more about how digital wallets work.

MasterPass: MasterPass is a digital wallet that can be used when online shopping or making other purchases. Learn more about how digital wallets work.

Pay Anyone: A payment system where you can transfer money to any individual or organisation using online or phone banking, as long as you have their account name and number.

PayPal: PayPal is a digital wallet that can be used when online shopping or making other purchases. PayPal also owns other payment companies, including PayPal.Me for alternative payments, and Xoom for international money transfers. Learn more about how digital wallets work.

Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA): The central government-owned institution in Australia that issues bank notes, sets the official cash rate to meet the inflation target, maintains a financial payments system, and manages Australia’s gold reserves and foreign exchange currency reserves.

Samsung Pay: Samsung Pay is a digital wallet and contactless smartphone payment app now available in Australia. Find out which institutions’ cards are compatible with Samsung Pay.

Savings account: Bank accounts that pay significant interest back to the account holder and cannot be used to make transactions. Savings accounts typically have higher interest rates than transaction accounts. They can be linked to transaction accounts to make savings available as funds for transactions as needed. Compare savings accounts using our website and find out the latest interest rates on offer with our star ratings reports for savings accounts.

Transaction account: A deposit account where your money is available for day-to-day transactions. Provides frequent access to funds in your account for making payments through EFTPOS machines, online, ATMs and branches, and also for the use of cheques. Compare transaction accounts using our website.

Visa Checkout: Visa Checkout is a digital wallet that can be used when online shopping or making other purchases. Learn more about how digital wallets work.

Online banking providers we research and rate

At the time of writing, Canstar researches and rates the following providers of online banking platforms and mobile banking apps:

  • AMP Bank
  • ANZ
  • Arab Bank Australia
  • Australian Military Bank
  • Bank Australia (formerly bankmecu)
  • Bank First
  • Bank of Melbourne
  • Bank of Sydney
  • Bank of us
  • BankSA
  • Bankwest
  • bcu
  • Bendigo Bank
  • Beyond Bank
  • Big Sky Building Society
  • BOQ
  • Catalyst Money
  • Commonwealth Bank (CommBank)
  • Community First Credit Union
  • CUA
  • Delphi Bank
  • Easy Street Financial Services
  • ECU Australia
  • Endeavour Mutual Bank
  • FCCS Credit Union
  • First Option Credit Union
  • Firstmac
  • G&C Mutual Bank
  • Gateway Bank
  • Greater Bank
  • Heritage Bank
  • Holiday Coast Credit Union
  • Horizon Credit Union
  • HSBC
  • Hume Bank
  • Hunter United
  • Illawarra Credit Union NSW
  • IMB
  • ING
  • Macquarie Bank
  • Macquarie Credit Union
  • ME Bank
  • MOVE – People Driven Banking
  • My Credit Union
  • MyState
  • NAB
  • Newcastle Permanent
  • Nexus Mutual
  • Northern Inland Credit Union
  • P&N Bank
  • People’s Choice Credit Union
  • Police Bank
  • QBANK (formerly Queensland Police Credit Union (QPCU))
  • Qudos Bank
  • RACQ Bank
  • Regional Australia Bank
  • Rural Bank Limited
  • Summerland Credit Union
  • St.George Bank
  • Suncorp Bank
  • Teachers Mutual Bank
  • The Capricornian
  • The Mutual
  • The Rock
  • Transport Mutual Credit Union
  • UBank
  • Westpac
  • Woolworths Employees Credit Union

Compare online banking providers for yourself using our latest star ratings report:

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