How much could you save by ditching account keeping fees?

TAMIKA SEETO
Finance Journalist · 23 October 2020
Do you pay a monthly fee on your everyday bank account? Find out how you much you might be able to save with a fee-free bank account.

A monthly account keeping fee is a fee that banks charge you for using your account and 34% of transaction accounts in Canstar’s database currently charge it. The highest monthly account keeping fee on Canstar’s database is $6.50, while the average is $5.30. This means you could be paying over $60 each year in account keeping fees alone.

What banks have no monthly fees?

The following banks offer a transaction account with no account keeping fee:

  • 86 400 – Pay Account
  • AMP Bank – Access Account
  • Australian Military Bank – Access Savings
  • Australian Unity – Healthy Banking Everyday Transaction
  • Bank First – Everyday Account
  • Bank of Melbourne – Complete Freedom
  • Bank of Sydney – Everyday Saver
  • BankVic – Everyday Account
  • Bankwest – Easy Transaction Account
  • bcu – access
  • Beyond Bank – Purple Transactor Account
  • BOQ – Day2Day Plus Account
  • Citi – Global Currency Account
  • Credit Union SA –  Access Account
  • CUA –  Everyday Account
  • Endeavour Mutual Bank – Transaction Account
  • Gateway Bank – Edge Account
  • Geelong Bank – Redi Access Account
  • Greater Bank – Access Account
  • Heritage Bank – Simply Access
  • Horizon Bank – RediSavings
  • HSBC – Day to Day Account
  • Hume Bank – All Purpose
  • Hunter United – On Call Savings Account
  • IMB – Everyday
  • ING – Orange Everyday
  • Macquarie Bank – Transaction Account
  • Macquarie Credit Union – Cheque/Card Account
  • ME Bank – Everyday Transaction Account
  • MyState Bank – Glide Account
  • NAB – Classic Banking
  • Newcastle Permanent – Basic Access Account
  • People’s Choice Credit Union  – Expenses Account
  • QBANK – On Call Savings Account
  • Qudos Bank – General Savings Account
  • Queensland Country Bank – Learners and Earners All Access
  • RACQ Bank – Everyday Account
  • RAMS – Action
  • Regional Australia Bank – eFree
  • SERVICE ONE Alliance Bank – Day to Day Account
  • Suncorp Bank – Everyday Essentials Account
  • Sydney Mutual Bank – Transaction Account
  • Teachers Mutual Bank – Bill Paying Account
  • The Capricornian – Access Account
  • The Mac – EveryDay Savings
  • The Mutual Bank – Express Savings Account
  • Transport Mutual Credit Union – Multi-Access Account
  • UBank – USpend
  • UniBank – Bill Paying Account
  • Up – Up Everyday Account
  • Xinja – Bank Account

Source: Canstar Research as of 19/10/2020. Based on personal transaction accounts on Canstar’s database. 

Of the big four banks, NAB is the only one that offers a transaction account with no monthly fee. ANZ, CommBank and Westpac all charge monthly fees on their accounts, unless you meet certain conditions.

A number of banks say they will waive the monthly fee if you make a minimum monthly deposit. 60% of transaction accounts in Canstar’s database do this and the average deposit required is $1,850 each month. Some banks also waive the fee in other circumstances, such as if you are a full-time student or have a packaged home loan (bear in mind that lenders sometimes charge a premium for package home loans, so it’s worth checking any fees that apply).

What fees are charged on bank accounts?

As well as monthly fees, bank accounts can also come with fees that only apply in certain circumstances. These can include EFTPOS transaction fees, ATM fees, international fees (e.g. currency conversion fees) and overdrawn account fees. We’ve taken a look at the main types of fees you may be charged and how much they could cost you:

Transaction Account Fees
Fee % of Accounts that Charge a Fee Average
Monthly account keeping fee 34% $5.30
Transaction fee when using EFTPOS 18% $0.86
International/currency conversion fees
EFTPOS conversion fee 90% 2.87%
International EFTPOS charge 19% $3.65
ATM currency conversion fee 88% 2.86%
International ATM charge 69% $4.65
Direct debit
Direct debit fee 12% $0.60
Dishonoured direct debit 90% $13.33
Cheque fees
Cost of cheque book (25 cheques) 22% $13.90
Withdrawal fee 23% $1.92
Deposit fee 12% $0.81
Dishonoured cheque fee 80% $15.62
Other fees
Unauthorised overdraft fee 57% $12.98
Branch cash withdrawal fee 26% $2.21
Phone transaction with operator assistance 16% $3.73
Failed ATM transaction 14% $0.80
Failed ATM withdrawal 12% $1.04
Source: www.canstar.com.au – 19/10/2020. Based on personal transaction accounts on Canstar’s database.

How to avoid bank fees

Bank fees can add up if you’re not careful. Here are a few ways to help avoid them:

Pick the right account

Make sure your bank account suits you and your payment habits. For example, if you regularly use EFTPOS, you might want to pick an account that does not charge transaction fees for doing this. Check your bank’s schedule of fees so you understand what you could be charged for.

Do up a budget

You could also create a budget to help avoid overdrawn and dishonour fees. This will help make sure you have enough money in your account to cover any upcoming payments. Setting reminders for when payments such as household bills are coming up could also help you to stay on top of your budget and avoid unnecessary fees.

Check if you can get a fee waiver

Ask your bank if you are eligible for any fee waivers. For example, some banks may waive monthly fees if you are a full-time student or are receiving a government benefit (such as the Age Pension).

Shop around

Lastly, it could be a good idea to do your research and compare your options regularly. Although we’ve been focusing on fees, it’s just as important to look at the features on offer. Consider what you want out of your transaction account. For example, do you want an account that offers digital wallet payment options such as Google Pay and Apple Pay? Or would you like access to a large ATM network?

You can compare a range of transaction accounts by using Canstar’s comparison tables. Canstar compares accounts based on both price and features.

This article was reviewed by our Sub Editor Jacqueline Belesky and Finance Editor Sean Callery before it was updated, as part of our fact-checking process.

Main image source: Krakenimages.com (Shutterstock). 

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