Digital Wallet Apps & Mobile Banking Apps For 2017

What are the best apps to help you manage your finances? From digital wallets, to cardless cash from your smartwatch, to low balance alerts, here’s a list of the mobile banking functions you need in 2017.

Mobile banking is one of the most exciting spaces for innovation because it’s all about how we manage money every day. Whether you want to pay without your wallet or you need to cancel a lost credit card, mobile banking apps and digital wallets are quickly becoming our go-to for banking.

In fact, the latest survey of more than 2,000 Australians by Canstar Blue found that around 1 in 4 Australians (23%) check their mobile banking app or online banking platform every single day.

As part of our 2017 expert star ratings of mobile banking apps and online banking platforms, Canstar has analysed what’s on offer when it comes to digital wallets and mobile banking apps in Australia.

Compare Mobile Banking Apps with Canstar

Digital wallets

Forget about carrying around a bulky wallet! Digital wallet apps such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay allow customers to capture, store, and scan their credit cards, debit cards, and loyalty cards within one app on their smartphone.

Thankfully, institutions in Australia have largely jumped on board (despite some initial controversy around Apple Pay) and many banks have made their cards compatible with at least one digital wallet.

Check our latest list of which institutions are compatible with which digital wallets and get started paying with your smartphone.

Compare Mobile Banking Apps with Canstar

Cardless cash from your phone or smartwatch

Looking for a smartwatch app for your mobile banking? You’re not alone, and many banks are responding to the growing desire for wearable technology such as smartwatches and Fitbits.

Which institutions offer a smartwatch app for mobile banking? Here’s our list as of May 2017:

Smartwatch apps for mobile banking
AMP Bank
ANZ
Bank of Melbourne
BankSA
Commonwealth Bank
ING DIRECT
NAB
Regional Australia Bank
St.George Bank
Westpac
Source: www.canstar.com.au as of May 2017.

Until now, smartwatch banking apps have largely been able to merely view an account balance and sometimes receive certain notifications. But CommBank’s smartwatch banking app took the technology one step further, letting customers make ‘cardless cash’ ATM withdrawals on both Apple and Android smartwatches. This is the first mobile banking app for a smartwatch in Australia that enables transactions.

Source: CommBank

Personalised alerts and notifications

Bankwest won a 2016 Canstar Innovation Award for the Easy Alerts function on their mobile banking app. Customers get a push notification on their phone (rather than an SMS) to let them know when:

  • Low balance: The current account balance has fallen below a set amount or is not enough to cover a scheduled payment.
  • Success: The current account balance has reached your savings goal.
  • Payday: A deposit has been made to the customer’s transaction or savings account.
  • Fraud: Transactions or credit card payments have been made overseas.
  • Fees: Customers should transfer some more money into their transaction account to avoid the monthly account-keeping fee.

A low balance type of alert can be particularly useful, as the latest Canstar Blue survey found that 32% of Australians have let their account run dry and failed to meet payments for bills at least once.

14% said this happens to them a couple of times a year, while 4% say this happens every week for them, living payday to payday.

Other institutions also have similar notification systems enabled for certain types of alert, although these are mostly sent via text message rather than in-phone push notifications.

Alerts available include:

  • Low Balance
  • Withdrawal
  • Deposit Received
  • Dishonour Warning
  • High Balance
  • Credit Card (a reminder when your monthly bill comes due)

Various alert types are now available from the following institutions:

Customised banking alert Overdrawn fee alert Fee incurring alert
B&E Personal Banking Bank Australia Bank of Melbourne
Bank Australia Bank of Melbourne BankSA
Bank of Melbourne Bank of Sydney Beyond Bank
BankSA BankSA Citi
Bankwest Bankwest Commonwealth Bank
bcu Beyond Bank Community First CU
Bendigo Bank Big Sky Building Society Defence Bank
Beyond Bank Citi Easy Street Fin Services
Big Sky Building Society Commonwealth Bank First Option Credit Union
Citi Community First CU P&N Bank
Commonwealth Bank CUA Regional Australia Bank
Community First CU Defence Bank Select Encompass Credit Union
CUA Easy Street Fin Services St.George Bank
Defence Bank ING DIRECT The Mutual
Easy Street Fin Services P&N Bank
ECU Australia People’s Choice Credit Union
First Option Credit Union Regional Australia Bank
Heritage Bank St.George Bank
Holiday Coast CU Teachers Mutual Bank
Horizon Credit Union UniBank
HSBC
ING DIRECT
Newcastle Permanent
P&N Bank
Queenslanders CU
Regional Australia Bank
Select Encompass Credit Union
St.George Bank
Suncorp Bank
The Capricornian
The Mutual
UBank
Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank
Source: www.canstar.com.au as of May 2017.

Forget the PIN

Sick of having to remember different PIN numbers for each card, and then another for your mobile banking app? It’s probably why 39% of Australians told the Canstar Blue survey team that they never change their online banking passwords, with another 22% saying they change their password just once per year.

PIN numbers and passwords are a relatively secure method for logging into our mobile banking, but most of us find it difficult to store that many numbers in our memory.

Customers with many institutions now have one less PIN to remember. You can log into their mobile banking app by swiping a pattern, or using a fingerprint, voice recognition, or other biometric technology. This is now available with the following institutions:

Fingerprint verification PIN passcode
ANZ AMP Bank
Australian Military Bank ANZ
Bank Australia Australian Military Bank
Bank of Melbourne Auswide Bank
BankSA B&E Personal Banking
Bankwest Bank Australia
Bendigo Bank Bank of Melbourne
Beyond Bank BankSA
Big Sky Building Society BankVic
Citi Bankwest
Commonwealth Bank Bendigo Bank
Defence Bank Beyond Bank
First Option Credit Union Big Sky Building Society
IMB Commonwealth Bank
ING DIRECT Community First CU
Macquarie Bank CUA
ME Defence Bank
My Credit Union Easy Street Fin Services
NAB ECU Australia
People’s Choice Credit Union G&C Mutual Bank
Police Bank Heritage Bank
Select Encompass Credit Union Holiday Coast CU
St.George Bank Hume Bank
Suncorp Bank IMB
UBank ING DIRECT
Westpac Macquarie Bank
ME
My Credit Union
NAB
People’s Choice Credit Union
Police Bank
QBANK
Qudos Bank
Queenslanders CU
RaboDirect
Regional Australia Bank
Rural Bank Limited
SCU
Select Encompass Credit Union
St.George Bank
The Mac
Transport Mutual Credit Union
UBank
Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank
Westpac
Woolworths Employees CU
Source: www.canstar.com.au as of May 2017.

budgeting and savings apps

Budgeting and savings goals

Want to save more or spend less? Many institutions have a function in their mobile banking app that lets customers set specific savings goals.

For more help with saving money, the following institutions offer useful features in their mobile banking apps:

Savings calculator Set savings goal Graph projected savings
AMP Bank AMP Bank Bendigo Bank
ANZ Bank of Melbourne Citi
Australian Military Bank BankSA
Auswide Bank bcu
B&E Personal Banking Bendigo Bank
Bank Australia Catalyst Money
BankVic Illawarra CU NSW
Bankwest Regional Australia Bank
bcu St.George Bank
Bendigo Bank Suncorp Bank
Beyond Bank The Mutual
Big Sky Building Society Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank
BOQ
Catalyst Money
Citi
Commonwealth Bank
Community First CU
CUA
Defence Bank
Easy Street Fin Services
ECU Australia
FCCS Credit Union
First Option Credit Union
Gateway Credit Union
Holiday Coast CU
Horizon Credit Union
HSBC
Hume Bank
Illawarra CU NSW
IMB
ING DIRECT
Macquarie Credit Union
My Credit Union
MyState
NAB
Newcastle Permanent
P&N Bank
People’s Choice Credit Union
Police Bank
QBANK
QT Mutual Bank
Qudos Bank
Queenslanders CU
Regional Australia Bank
Rural Bank Limited
Select Encompass Credit Union
Suncorp Bank
Teachers Mutual Bank
The Capricornian
The Mutual
UBank
UniBank
Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank
Westpac
Woolworths Employees CU
Source: www.canstar.com.au as of May 2017.

It’s worth downloading an app and giving it a go, as studies have shown that tracking your spending in a mobile app such as the TrackMySpend app by ASIC is an excellent way to build your savings and stick to a budget.

To take it a step further, some mobile banking apps use machine learning technology (a basic form of artificial intelligence or AI) to automatically categorise users’ spending and tell them where they need to cut back. It’s not quite SkyNet, but it’s certainly making it easier than ever before to save money.

Some banks offer the ability to graph spending by category within their mobile banking app. A great example of this functionality is the Beyond Bank mobile banking app, which graphs your spending and can track all your expected upcoming expenses and expenses already paid that month on the app’s calendar.

Split the bill

In the past year, we’ve seen the launch of new options for splitting the bill. No more friends around the bar asking you to shout them every drink because they didn’t bring any cash, or housemates “forgetting” to send you their half of the sharehouse rent.

The Cashper app, an Australian app launched in 2016, only needs a person’s mobile phone number or email address to make splitting the bill with cardless payments easy.

In 2015 we saw the launch of Australia’s first integrated bill sharing and mobile payment app: the BillSplitter app by Suncorp Bank, which won a Canstar Innovation Excellence Award in 2016. Within its first year, BillSplitter saw 5,295 bills split, with a total of $1.4 million have been shared and paid by users using the app (Suncorp).

Then there’s the Splitwise app, which launched in 2011 and has recently been gaining in popularity.

Pay your bill by taking a photo

In 2016, CommBank followed in the footsteps of the big European banks by launching the Photo-a-bill function. Apple smartphone users can now use the CommBank mobile banking app to BPAY a bill simply by taking a photo of the invoice with their smartphone’s camera.

pay your bill by taking a photo

Pay someone with their mobile number

Need to pay someone but don’t have their BSB number and account number? Never fear – if you have their mobile number, you could be all set.

Pay-to-mobile functions are becoming more common via the big banks’ mobile banking apps, with many other institutions also offer this function these days:

Pay via mobile number
ANZ
Bank of Melbourne
BankSA
BankVic
bcu
Big Sky Building Society
Commonwealth Bank
Community First CU
Defence Bank
Easy Street Fin Services
FCCS Credit Union
NAB
People’s Choice Credit Union
Police Bank
QBANK
St.George Bank
Suncorp Bank
Teachers Mutual Bank
The Capricornian
UniBank
Westpac
Woolworths Employees CU
Source: www.canstar.com.au as of May 2017.

If you’re not with a big bank, there are other free apps available for pay-to-mobile, such as PayPal.Me, PayMate, eWay and POLi, and Pingit.

Many freelancers use alternative payment methods such as PayPal.Me or PayPal Pay Anyone because it has many advantages over using bank account details:

  • Secure: PayPal keeps your bank details secure and you don’t have to list your personal bank account numbers at the bottom of every invoice you send.
  • Convenient: There’s less risk your client will send money to the wrong person by mistyping a bank account number.

Automatic favourite transfers

Thanks to the latest machine learning technology, many mobile banking apps can now analyse your spending and saving behaviour and automatically create common transfers for the moves you make regularly.

At present, there are just a few institutions that offer this, but we expect the number who offer this functionality to grow in the years to come.

Auto-categorised spending behaviour
Beyond Bank
Citi
Macquarie Bank
Source: www.canstar.com.au as of May 2017.

For example, Bendigo Bank’s Common Transfers function makes recurring transfers easier with their mobile banking app. Customers don’t need to do anything; the app analyses their behaviour and identifies the most common transfers they use.

Bendigo Bank’s research showed that overwhelmingly, customers with credit cards made a common transfer every month to repay their credit card balance using a savings or transaction account. So the app will automatically create a “Savings > Credit Card” transfer as an easy way for you to avoid a late payment fee on your credit card.

In the first month following the release of this function in early March 2016, Bendigo Bank saw over 15,000 common transfers made by customers.

In app identity verification

Don’t you hate having to go through ten thousand questions every time you phone your bank? Please list your full name, your date of birth, your home address…

Oh sorry, you’re on the bus and don’t want to answer all those personal questions? You’ll have to phone back later – but during business hours, of course.

At last, the solution has arrived! St.George Bank has developed the Connect call verification method. Once you’ve logged into the app, you can call St.George directly using the app and the person answering your call will already know who you are.

St.George Bank says this saves at least 2 minutes in being identified, and you don’t have answer those annoying questions.

Auto-verification over the phone
ANZ
Bank of Melbourne
BankSA
Big Sky Building Society
Commonwealth Bank
nabtrade
SERVICE ONE Alliance Bank
The Mutual
Source: www.canstar.com.au as of May 2017.

Face-to-face video call app

When you need financial advice but you live far from any bank branches, or you just don’t have time to go in person, a face-to-face video call may be the option.

Member-owned institution Defence Bank have become the first to introduce face-to-face banking through the Video Call App. The face-to-face function means that Defence members posted or transferred to remote locations can access financial advice across a range of banking services whenever they have reception.

pay your bill by taking a photo

Token-less secondary authentication

Remember when you used to have to carry around a physical Security Token for secondary authentication wherever you went, just in case you needed to make a payment or transfer? Now that is one less device you need to carry around.

Many banks including the Bank of Queensland allows customers to simply use the mobile banking app to generate a secondary authentication code.

Take a photo

Most insurance claim apps now let you take a photo within the app to submit with your claim, and the banks are taking note! Many mobile banking apps, such as HSBC’s, now allow you to take a photo within the app to submit paperless documentation to go with your online applications for products.

This can make applying for products that need a lot of documentation, such as credit cards and home loans, much quicker and easier.

Keeping work life and personal life separate

Want to be able to view your business expenses and your personal expenses in one mobile banking app – but still want to be able to keep them separate? No biggie.

Thanks to customer feedback, IMB’s mobile banking app now allows customers who manage multiple “entities” with IMB to switch between entities within the app. This means that business owners or those who operate work credit cards can now switch easily between viewing their work accounts and personal accounts.

And if your business and personal accounts aren’t already kept separate, here’s a few reasons why they should be.

Make an appointment

Using online banking, customers can set up an appointment at a branch or with a BankVic financial planner entirely online. The system will send the customer a confirmation of the appointment and a reminder text the day before the appointment.

Find an ATM

For the occasional days when you need cash, most mobile banking apps now offer a location services tool to help you find the nearest ATM or branch. So you’ll never need to pay the fee to use someone else’s ATM again.

At the time of writing, different institutions allow you to search for the nearest ATM or branch by either your current location or a particular postcode or suburb:

Search by current location Search by postcode/suburb
AMP Bank AMP Bank
ANZ ANZ
Australian Military Bank Australian Military Bank
Auswide Bank Auswide Bank
B&E Personal Banking B&E Personal Banking
Bank Australia Bank Australia
Bank of Melbourne Bank of Melbourne
Bank of Sydney Bank of Sydney
BankSA BankSA
BankVic Bankwest
Bankwest bcu
bcu Bendigo Bank
Bendigo Bank Beyond Bank
Beyond Bank Big Sky Building Society
Big Sky Building Society BOQ
BOQ Commonwealth Bank
Citi Community First CU
Commonwealth Bank CUA
Community First CU Defence Bank
CUA Easy Street Fin Services
Defence Bank ECU Australia
Delphi Bank FCCS Credit Union
FCCS Credit Union First Option Credit Union
First Option Credit Union G&C Mutual Bank
G&C Mutual Bank Gateway Credit Union
Gateway Credit Union Heritage Bank
Heritage Bank Holiday Coast CU
Holiday Coast CU Horizon Credit Union
Horizon Credit Union HSBC
HSBC Hume Bank
Hume Bank IMB
IMB Macquarie Credit Union
ING DIRECT ME
Macquarie Bank My Credit Union
ME NAB
MyState Newcastle Permanent
NAB P&N Bank
Newcastle Permanent People’s Choice Credit Union
People’s Choice Credit Union Police Bank
Police Bank QBANK
QBANK QT Mutual Bank
Qudos Bank Qudos Bank
Regional Australia Bank Queenslanders CU
SCU Regional Australia Bank
Select Encompass Credit Union Rural Bank Limited
St.George Bank Select Encompass Credit Union
Suncorp Bank St.George Bank
Teachers Mutual Bank Suncorp Bank
The Mac Teachers Mutual Bank
The Mutual The Capricornian
The Rock The Mac
UBank The Mutual
UniBank UBank
Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank UniBank
Westpac Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank
Woolworths Employees CU Westpac
Woolworths Employees CU
Source: www.canstar.com.au as of May 2017.

Oh, and here’s how to avoid other types of ATM fees, as well – and while we’re at it, our guide for how to get fee-free banking in Australia.

Find the mobile banking app that’s right for you with Canstar’s latest star ratings:

Compare Mobile Banking Apps

Discover more trends everyone needs to know about when it comes to online banking in 2017, with our latest star ratings report:

Online & Mobile Banking Star Ratings - Canstar

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