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Helpful Information

What is a transaction account?

A transaction account is an everyday account used to manage your finances. You can deposit your income, and withdraw money to spend it on the things you need in a variety of ways:

  • Debit card (EFTPOS, payWave/PayPass)
  • Electronic payments and online shopping
  • Digital wallet (e.g. Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay)
  • ATMs
  • Direct debit
  • Bpay
  • Branch access
  • Cheques

Transaction accounts are useful for just about everyone. You can compare transaction accounts on our website.

Businesses also need a good transaction account, so business owners can compare business transaction accounts on our website.

How Canstar compares transaction accounts

Canstar compares hundreds of transaction accounts from over 60 different institutions under the research microscope every year. We use a sophisticated methodology to compare transaction accounts and present our findings in an easy-to-use star ratings system.

Our 5-star ratings are awarded to transaction account products that offer outstanding value in different customer profiles. To see which products received a 5-star rating, compare transaction accounts on our website using the comparison selector tool at the top of this page, or read our latest star ratings report.

There are a few basic things to look for in a transaction account, depending on your financial needs:

  1. High interest rate so you can save while you spend (but beware of high introductory rates that revert to lower rates)
  2. Low account-keeping fees
  3. Access to suit your spending habits
  4. Free transactions and ATM withdrawals
  5. Suitable minimum or maximum deposit amounts
  6. Accessibility of branches and ATMs if necessary

Being able to use your money in many transactions involves paying fees. Some of the more common fees you will encounter include:

  • Monthly account-keeping fees
  • EFTPOS transaction fees
  • Electronic transaction fees such as BPAY fee
  • ATM withdrawal fees from your own bank and other banks
  • Branch cash deposit or withdrawal fees
  • Cheque deposit and withdrawal fees

Surcharges are another matter entirely. ‘Tap and go’ card systems including MasterCard PayPass or Visa payWave are faster, easier ways to make purchases under $100 without entering a PIN, but these systems often come with an extra cost in the form of a surcharge. You can usually avoid paying these surcharges by inserting your card and selecting the ‘Savings’ or ‘Cheque’ option instead of using payWave or PayPass.

See how your current institution stacks up with what is available on the market, and switch if you’re not satisfied.

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Author: Nina Tovey

As Canstar’s Editor-in-Chief, Nina heads up a team of talented  journalists committed to helping empower consumers to take greater control of their finances. Previously Nina founded her own agency where she provided content and communications support to clients around Australia for eight years. She also spent four years as the PR Manager for American Express Australia, and has worked at a Brisbane communications agency where she supported dozens of clients, including Sunsuper and Suncorp.

Nina has ghostwritten dozens of opinion pieces for publications including The Australian and has been interviewed on finance topics by the Herald Sun and the Sydney Morning Herald. When she’s not dreaming up ways to put a fresh spin on finance, she’s taking her own advice by trying to pay her house off as quickly as possible and raising two money-savvy kids.

Nina has a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in English Literature from the University of Queensland. She’s also an experienced presenter, and has hosted numerous events and YouTube series.

You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or Canstar on Facebook.

You can also read more about Canstar’s editorial team and our robust fact-checking process.


 

Transaction Account Glossary Of Terms

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

What is account-keeping fee or administration fee?

An Account-keeping or administration fee is an ongoing fee charged to cover the lender’s administration costs for creating and maintaining the account. Usually charged monthly.

What is an annual equivalent rate (AER)?

An annual equivalent rate (AER) is a rate that can be compared between lenders. Any advertisement for a savings product that quotes an interest rate must also quote the AER so that you can compare the return you might expect over time with other products.

What does ‘At call’ mean?

“At call” transaction accounts or savings accounts allow you to immediately withdraw your money from the account whenever you like.

What is a balance?

A balance is the amount of money available in your transaction account.

What is a cheque account or checking account?

A cheque or checking account is a transaction account that allows you to make payments with your own money by writing cheques. If you do not have enough money in your account when the recipient cashes your cheque, the cheque will “bounce”, meaning it is not paid and you may be charged penalty fees.

What does debit mean?

Debit means a withdrawal.

What is a deposit?

A deposit is money that you put into an account with a financial institution.

What is interest?

Interest is the amount of ‘extra’ money that you earn by having a positive balance of money deposited into your bank account, earned over time and calculated as a percentage of the balance of your account.

What is a introductory rate?

An introductory rate is a bonus offer where a variable interest rate applies to the account for a set time period. At the end of the bonus period, rates revert to the base rates.

What is a junior transaction account?

A junior transaction account is a transaction accounts for children and youth. A parent or guardian operates the account in the child’s name until they reach legal age, but the child also has access to their account. View our Junior Banking Award for under 12s and Youth Banking Award for under 18s on our website.

What is a transaction?

A transaction is the movement of money in or out, including deposits, withdrawals, and transfers between bank accounts.

What is a withdrawal?

A withdrawal is when instructions are carried out to pay money out of your account and it is paid, e.g. when you get cash out from an ATM.

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Transaction account providers we research and rate

At the time of writing, Canstar currently researches and rates transaction accounts from providers including the following:

  1. 86 400
  2. AMP Bank
  3. ANZ
  4. Arab Bank Australia
  5. Australian Military Bank
  6. Australian Unity
  7. Bank First
  8. Bank of China
  9. Bank of Melbourne
  10. Bank of Sydney
  11. Bank of us
  12. BankSA
  13. BankVic
  14. Bankwest
  15. Bendigo Bank
  16. Beyond Bank
  17. BOQ
  18. Citi
  19. Commonwealth Bank
  20. Credit Union SA
  21. CUA
  22. Delphi Bank
  23. Endeavour Mutual Bank
  24. G&C Mutual Bank
  25. Gateway Bank
  26. Geelong Bank
  27. Greater Bank
  28. Heritage Bank
  29. Horizon Bank
  30. HSBC
  31. Hume Bank
  32. Hunted United
  33. Illawarra Credit Union
  34. IMB
  35. ING
  36. Macquarie Bank
  37. Macquarie Credit Union
  38. ME Bank
  39. MOVE Bank
  40. MyState Bank
  41. NAB
  42. nabtrade
  43. Newcastle Permanent
  44. People’s Choice Credit Union
  45. QBANK
  46. Qudos Bank
  47. Queensland Country Bank
  48. Rabobank Australia
  49. RACQ Bank
  50. Regional Australia Bank
  51. St.George Bank
  52. Suncorp Bank
  53. Sydney Mutual Bank
  54. Teachers Mutual Bank
  55. The Capricornian
  56. The Mac
  57. The Mutual Bank
  58. Transport Mutual Credit Union
  59. UBank
  60. UniBank
  61. Up
  62. Westpac

Compare transaction accounts from these providers now:

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