Bank Offers For New Accounts In Australia

Discover what incentives and bonuses the banks are offering to attract new customers to open an account.

Last updated on May 3rd, 2022 at 11:30 am by Cate Cook

Find out what incentives the banks are offering to new customers

Who doesn’t like a freebie or a bonus gift offer?  Just as shops entice customers to walk into their stores with tempting ‘two for one’ offers, banks offer great deals to attract new customers too.  Consider a range of bank offers for new accounts with Savvy and find out what great deals are available in Australia today.

What are bank offers for new accounts?

Most banks and financial institutions offer sweeteners to entice customers to open an account with them or to switch banks.  These incentives come in many forms, including:

  • fee-free transaction account periods, such as offers for no account fees for a year or more if you sign up for a new everyday account
  • cash bonus offers, so the bank pays a cash bonus if you open a new account with them by a certain time deadline. These can range from $100 or so for a new transaction account up to several thousand dollars for switching home loans
  • cashback offers for tap and pay transactions, where you receive cash back based on a percentage of the transactions you make (such as 1% of all transactions on your card)
  • an interest-free period on balance transfers for people swapping their credit cards
  • awarding rewards points, frequent flyer program points and loyalty card points for customers opening a new account
  • offering gym memberships or subscriptions to health services to those signing up for a new account before a set deadline
  • Pay TV subscriptions, movie tickets and access to other pay-for-service digital subscriptions for a year or more when new customers sign up for a bank account, small business account or savings account

What else should I compare when considering opening a new account?

Banks and financial institutions offer such incentives in the hope of gaining a new customer for life.  Therefore, customers should also look long-term and judge whether the financial product they’re considering really does offer them tangible advantages.  Here are the important points to consider when you’re thinking of switching:

Transaction accounts

The key words here are accessibility, compatibility and versatility.  Make sure the transaction accounts you’re comparing have mobile apps which are compatible with your phone, smart watch, digital wallet and credit card. If you frequently use ATMs, make sure there are plenty near you which won’t charge you for using them. 

Make sure the transaction account offers all the payment features you need and consider whether you want advanced account features such as rounding up, automatic transfers (called account sweeping) or budgeting tools.  Of course, make sure you minimise the fees you’ll have to pay by choosing accounts which are fee-free or which offer a sufficient number of free transactions to enable you to bank at no cost.

Savings accounts and term deposits

The interest you earn on your savings is the key comparison point for savings accounts. Even a 0.2% p.a. difference in the interest rate can make a huge difference over the long term.  If you have savings you feel you won’t need for a while, consider a term deposit instead of parking your money in a high-interest savings account

Term deposits can offer a higher interest rate in return for locking up your savings for a specified period, ranging from one month up to several years.  It’s also worth considering accounts which offer a bonus interest rate if certain deposit conditions are met, such as an additional 1.2% p.a. interest if you deposit $1,000 or more per month. 

Some of these bonus offers are conditional on having a linked savings and transaction account, whereas others have no conditions attached. Compare interest rates with Savvy to make sure your money is working the hardest it can for you.

Business accounts

Whether you’re looking for the best business account for a small business or an SME, compare not only the interest rate offered on your savings but the fee structure of the transaction accounts you’re considering.  Make sure the account you switch to offers all the functionality you need, is compatible with your accounting or payroll software and has a fee structure which minimises cost to your business.

For example, if you run a retail business and regularly have cash to bank, make sure the bank you choose has a convenient branch nearby and free facilities to deposit your takings.  Banking transactions which involve a bank teller can charge up to $2.50 per transaction, so if you’re banking every day the fees can soon mount up.  Similarly, if you regularly transfer large sums of money between accounts or internationally, make sure you can do this fee-free or as cheaply as possible to avoid unnecessary expenses which can eat away at your profits. 

What is a honeymoon rate?

A honeymoon interest rate offer provides a special interest rate for a set period, which is offered as an incentive to switch accounts.  After the set offer period (known as the honeymoon period) is over, the interest rate will revert to the account’s standard rate.  Such offers are made on savings accounts, credit cards and home loans in an effort to attract new customers. 

For example, the honeymoon interest rate on a savings account may be 1.5% p.a. for the first 12 months, but after a year it reverts to 0.8% p.a.  The difference between a honeymoon interest rate and a standard rate on your savings account can make a substantial difference to how quickly your savings grow, which is why it’s worth comparing with Savvy to make sure you always have the best financial offer available.

Which special bonus offers from the banks are the best or most valuable?

This will depend entirely on whether you’ll use or take advantage of them.  Think carefully about whether you actually want a new gym membership or a particular pay TV subscription.  Do you have spare time to visit a gym regularly?  Do you need a new TV channel to watch?  Will you use and benefit from the incentive being offered?  If you don’t end up using this offer, it shouldn’t inform your decision.

On the other hand, if you’re on the lookout for a new pay TV subscription, it’s well worth comparing offers with Savvy so you get the offer that best suits your personal needs.  As another example, if you’re struggling to pay your credit card debt, swapping to a card which offers no interest for a year on balance transfers could give you a financial break and help you get back on top of your debt.

More of your questions about bank offers for new accounts

How do percentage cashback offers on 'tap and pay' purchases work?

A percentage of the amount you spend on purchases in a month is refunded to you, up to a maximum refund limit.  The percentage cashback is usually between 1% and 3%, with a maximum offer up to around $50 or $100 a month.  For example, the offer may be for 2% cashback on all purchases up to a maximum of $50 per month. 

What are bank referral offers and are they worthwhile?

Banks, building societies and credit unions all want new customers and word of mouth is a very effective sales tool.  Some institutions offer a referral reward if you introduce them to a new customer who subsequently opens a new account.  This can range from $20 to $100 or more and is usually in the form of cash credited to your account.  If you do have family or friends who are thinking of opening a new bank account, this can be an effective way of getting a free cash bonus just in return for proving a name and contact details.

How often can you change bank accounts to take advantage of special offers?

Some bonus offers have a time limit attached. For example, you may need to stay with the same bank for at least a year to continue to enjoy a bonus interest rate. These may also encompass credit card no-interest periods, which can be linked to having the credit card open for at least three years or a penalty interest rate could be applied.  However, with other offers, there isn’t any time limit and, in theory, nothing to stop you from switching whenever you choose.

How many bank accounts are you allowed to have at one time?

It’s a personal decision about how many bank accounts you choose to have open at one time, as there’s no legal limit to the number of accounts you’re able to have in Australia.  For those who like to sub-divide their money, some banks now allow up to ten sub-accounts to be created under one account number.  These can all be labelled individually, so you could have one savings account with sub-accounts for holiday savings, Christmas, a new car, home extensions and more.  Many savers find these sub-accounts more motivating.