Bankwest began life in 1945 as the Rural and Industries Bank of Western Australia (known as R&I Bank). It grew throughout WA, was incorporated in 1990 and started trading as Bankwest. After being acquired by the Bank of Scotland in 1995, it was sold to Commonwealth Bank in 2008.
The bank’s online share trading platform was closed in 2016, but it still offers a range of personal and business banking products, as well as home, car and personal loans, credit cards and more. Savvy can help you decide which bank account may be the right one for you by offering free and accurate bank account comparison information so you can compare bank products side by side right here today.
*Please note that Savvy does not represent Bankwest for their banking products.
Bankwest doesn’t offer as wide a range of bank accounts as its parent, the Commonwealth Bank, but it has a reputation for innovative banking products and early adoption of new technology. It now offers Easy Alerts through its innovative mobile banking app, which can alert you when your account balance gets low, when you’ve been paid or when automatic bill payments happen. Bankwest customers can use ATMs belonging to Bankwest, Commonwealth Bank, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA, ANZ, Westpac, NAB and St.George Bank free of charge in Australia.
The everyday transaction account offered by Bankwest is known as its Easy Transaction Account. It has no transaction fees and can be linked to a Mastercard credit or debit card. It offers Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay as well as [email protected] transactions. The Halo ring offering contactless payments using a wearable ring was previously offered with this account, but these rings were discontinued in late 2021. Up to ten Easy Transaction Accounts (which Bankwest calls ‘buckets’) can be opened at one time, allowing you to individually name each account and use them to assist with your household budgeting.
Also on offer is the Bankwest Offset Transaction Account, which is an offset transaction account which can be linked to your home loan. Up to nine offset accounts (‘buckets’) can be opened at one time. There are no account-keeping fees and 100% of the funds in any of your buckets will offset the interest you pay on the principal sum of your home loan.
Another innovation offered by the bank is a Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account. This account (which can be opened fee-free through Bankwest using the Qantas website) allows you to earn Qantas frequent flyer points on the balance in your transaction account and on eligible purchases made with your linked Bankwest Qantas debit Mastercard. You can earn 0.3 Qantas points for every $100 in your account each day up to a limit of $50,000 and three points per eligible purchase on your debit card, plus five points each time you withdraw cash at an overseas ATM.
For retirees and aged pensioners aged over 55 years, there’s a Retirement Advantage Account, which is a hybrid transaction and savings account offering tiered interest on your account balance. Your first $2,000 will earn 0.01% p.a., the next $46,000 will earn 0.05% p.a. and the remaining balance over $48,000 will earn 0.25% p.a. Concession card holders aren’t forgotten, with a FeeSaver Basic Account offering no account-keeping fees. This account has to be opened at a bank branch in person.
There are three savings accounts on offer: two ‘locked’ savings accounts, where you earn a higher interest rate if you don’t make any withdrawals, and an online savings account that requires a linked transaction account. A Hero Saver account offers a variable interest rate of 0.45% p.a. up to the maximum of $250,000 as long as you make no withdrawals that month and deposit at least $200 a month.
An Easy Saver account offers a standard interest rate of 0.10% p.a. with no deposit requirements or withdrawal limits. The Smart eSaver account is an online-only tiered interest account, offering varied interest depending on the balance. It also requires a linked Bankwest transaction account. The interest tiers are a variable rate of 0.25% p.a. for balances from $1 up to $500,000 and 0.10% p.a. for balances from $500,001 up to a maximum of $5 million. These balances are only available if you don’t make any withdrawals during the month. If a withdrawal is made, the interest reverts to the standard 0.01% p.a. for that month.
Bankwest term deposits are available from one month up to five years. Comparable term deposit rates are 0.05% p.a. for one month, 0.1% p.a. for two months, 0.2% p.a. for between three months and five months, and 0.4% p.a. for six months.
An online term deposit offers 0.45% p.a. for a fixed 12-month period. This requires you to have a linked transaction account and a minimum deposit of $1,000. If you don’t want a linked transaction account, a Gold Term Deposit (which you can open either in a branch or over the phone, but not online) offers 0.4% p.a. for a 12-month fixed term. Interest is paid on the maturity of the term deposit. The minimum deposit is $5,000 up to a maximum of $5 million.
To apply for a Bankwest bank account either online or in person you’ll need to be at least 12 years old. To apply online using an electronic ID check you’ll need at least two of the following documents:
For in-person ID checks, you’ll need one photo ID document (either a passport, driver’s licence or state proof of age card) or two non-photo ID documents (such as a birth certificate, citizenship certificate, a Centrelink pension or health care card or Australian veterans’ card, an ATO notification, utility notice etc).
If you’re under 18 years of age, you’ll need a letter from your school principal including your full legal name, date of birth, residential address and confirmation you attend the school.
Up to ten different ‘buckets’ for your money
Bankwest allows you to open up to ten fee-free transaction accounts (and nine offset accounts) and allows you to name them individually using their mobile app
Innovative feature-packed mobile app
Bankwest’s mobile app allows you to set alerts, determine savings goals, keep track of multiple accounts on the run and much more
Earn Qantas Frequent Flyer Rewards points for everyday banking
A transaction account which allows you to earn rewards points on your everyday account balance and per eligible transaction can be incredibly useful
Halo rings discontinued
Bankwest’s innovative Halo rings – which permitted contactless payments to be made using a wearable ring – were discontinued in September 2021 after less than three years on the market
Few branches outside of WA
In 2018 and 2019, Bankwest closed many of its bank branches in NSW, Victoria and Queensland, so relatively few branches remain outside of WA
International transaction fees
Bankwest charges a 2.95% international transaction fee if you make purchases in a foreign currency, plus there’s a $5 overseas ATM use fee also