Compare Bank Accounts

Find out how to compare the best bank account offers in Australia right here with Savvy.

Last updated on April 26th, 2022 at 01:19 pm by Cate Cook

Compare and find the best bank accounts in Australia

What different types of bank accounts should I compare?

The type of bank account which will be perfect for you will depend on what you’re looking for and what your banking needs are.  Are you a youth or teen looking to open your first transaction or everyday account in Australia, or an aged pensioner wanting the best interest rate for their savings?  Are you looking for an account for your spending or your saving? Compare the basic types of bank accounts available in Australia to help you choose which is best for your needs.

  • Everyday transaction account

This is the main bank account you’ll use for your everyday banking needs: depositing your income and using those funds for shopping, paying for drinks and meals, buying items online and paying bills.  You’ll probably have your credit or debit card linked to this account and be able to access your account either online, on your phone or smart watch.  You may wish to set up a digital wallet so you don’t have to carry around a wallet full of cards.

  • Savings account

This is where you’ll keep your savings to earn interest for you, so the interest rate offered is a primary consideration. Fees charged are also worth comparing, as are many terms and conditions which may apply to receive any bonus incentives or special introductory offers.  Comparing savings accounts with Savvy is easy, as you’re given simple-to-understand interest and fee information in a format that makes it easy to compare.

These are the two basic types of bank accounts: one for spending, one for saving needs.  However, the banking institutions have also developed banking products for other specific needs.  Some of these are:

  • Child, junior or teen accounts

Children’s bank accounts are designed as joint accounts for parents and kids aged from infancy to 12 years old.  They feature fee-free banking, strong parental controls and often fun, colourful graphics to teach children about the basics of banking and saving their pocket money.  A child can open an account in their sole name from the age of 12 and can be issued with a debit card with their parent’s permission from this age.  Youth accounts tend to be for teens and young people from the age of 12 or 14 upwards until early adulthood, with some available until the accountholder is aged 21 or even 25.

  • Student accounts

Many banks and financial institutions offer students fee-free banking as long as they’re studying, aged over 18 and under 30 years of age.  If you’re a student, it’s well worth looking at special deals for students to save you money.

  • Pensioner accounts

Aged pensioners can also bank fee-free with many specially-designed transaction and savings accounts.  An account that has your pension or super allowance paid into it automatically can earn you bonus interest on your savings.

  • Offset accounts

This is a special type of account which is linked to your home loan, designed to save you money on the interest you pay on your loan.  The money in your offset account reduces the interest you pay on your home loan on a dollar-for-dollar basis.  For example, if you have $100,000 left to pay on your mortgage but you have $10,000 in your offset account, you’ll only pay interest on $90,000 of your loan.

  • Business bank accounts

As their name suggests, these are transaction accounts designed to be used by a business.  They are geared for multiple transactions, often with no account-keeping fees and unlimited standard electronic transactions.  The best business accounts often allow both Osko and PayID instant payments, while many feature frequent and detailed bank statements to allow for accurate business accounting.

  • International accounts

       Also known as global accounts, these offer the ability to send and receive money to overseas accounts with reduced or no fees, and to receive money from overseas in different currencies.  They’re popular with workers who frequently work overseas or who receive part of their income in an alternative currency.

  • Term deposits

These are savings accounts which hold a set sum of money for an agreed period.  In return for leaving your money with the bank for a set period, effectively locking it up, higher interest rates are offered.  Term deposits are available for anywhere between one month and five years.

How do I compare bank accounts?

First of all, choose which type of account you want: either an everyday account for your daily transactions or a savings account.  From there, it’s crucial to delve into the key features and aspects of the loan.

Fees and interest rates

Comparing the fees charged for an everyday account is quite simple.  On average, account keeping fees for transaction accounts are around $5 a month, although many banks now offer fee-free accounts too.  For savings accounts, most banks don’t charge monthly account fees but do charge for certain types of transactions or for supplying paper account statements.  For example, you may be charged $3 per additional paper statement supplied or $2.50 for teller-assisted transactions.

Interest rates awarded on savings accounts are expressed as a percentage per annum, with interest awarded daily and compounded per month.  This means the interest earned on the account is usually paid monthly, and you can choose either to reinvest this sum back into the account to compound your interest, or withdraw it and use it for other purposes.  Savvy can help you compare interest rates by providing clear comparison information in an easy-to-understand format. 

Transaction accounts

There are many different features and options available for transaction accounts.  Features to consider include:

  • Accessibility – is it possible to view your account and make payments using an online app, on your phone and smart watch?
  • Are there any restrictive terms and conditions, such as a limit to the number of withdrawals or transactions made before additional fees are charged?
  • Can you link a savings account or an offset account to your transaction account if necessary and can you have payments made automatically into that account?
  • If carrying cash is important to you, does your bank have plenty of ATMs at convenient locations for you to use?
  • Are you able to use a digital wallet with your account and is your debit or credit card compatible with the digital wallet you’ve chosen?
  • Do you need any of the more involved features of a transaction account, such as a payment calendar, bill predictions, a round up feature or automatic account sweeping above a certain limit into your savings account?

Savings accounts

Your first consideration may be how much interest your savings will earn in your chosen savings account.  Next comes the fees that you’ll be charged on your account.  Ask yourself the following questions to compare the various features of savings accounts:

  • Are there any bonus incentives awarded if I meet certain savings conditions? For instance, an additional 1.5% interest if at least $1,000 is deposited into the account per month
  • Is there an introductory interest rate and how long does it last?
  • Are there any minimum deposit limits that apply to the savings account, or a maximum number of transactions which may take place to qualify for the interest rate offered?
  • How often is my interest paid and can I choose to either reinvest it in the account or withdraw it?
  • Can I link my savings account to my transaction account so I can automate payments between them?
  • Can my savings account act as an offset account to my home loan mortgage account?

Find more answers to frequently asked questions about bank accounts

Is it best to have all my accounts with the same bank?

That will depend on your banking needs and how you use your accounts.  If you have substantial savings, chasing the best interest rate would be most logical, which you can do with a comparison through Savvy.  However, the bank or financial institution which offers the best interest rate for your savings may not offer the most practical features for your day-to-day banking transaction needs, so it may be worth looking at using different banks for different accounts.  Your banking choices will also be determined by whether you’re a single wanting an account for yourself or looking at joint banking solutions for you and your partner.

Is my money just as safe with building societies and credit unions?

Yes – building societies and credit unions are covered by the same government savings guarantee as the major high street banks. They also use the same digital encryption technology to keep your personal information safe and are regulated by the same organisation, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

Is there a catch to cash bonuses offered to new customers?

There isn’t a direct catch, but just be sure that you compare accounts carefully before deciding on which bank to go with.  Make sure the bank offering the cash bonus also offers the most competitive interest rate for your savings or the lowest fees for your transaction accounts. Also, make sure that you’re able to meet the bonus rate conditions which are set so you don’t lose out on the extra interest.

Can I open my bank account online and what ID will I need?

Yes – you can open your account online, whether it’s with an online bank or a bank or credit union with high street branches that you can physically visit.  If you’re a new customer to the financial institution, you’ll need to provide 100 points of ID to open your account.  This could be your passport and driver’s licence or your citizenship certificate plus another document that has photo ID and your signature.

Do I need to have a digital wallet?

Although it’s not compulsory to have a digital wallet, they’re gradually becoming more popular in Australia.  A survey carried out by Savvy in 2021 showed that 47% of Australians prefer paying via a digital wallet.  Half of all respondents used a digital wallet or credit cards and payment instruments stored on a device such as a smartphone.  A digital wallet can store all your credit and debit card details, plus details of many other loyalty cards, store cards and even movie tickets.  Make sure the account you choose is compatible with the digital wallet on your particular brand of phone.

Can digital cards be used in the same way as physical bank cards?

Yes – any transaction that you’d normally do with a physical plastic debit or credit card can be done with the card stored in your digital wallet.  This includes using your digital card to make cash withdrawals at ATMs, making payments using Mastercard’s PayPass or Visa’s payWave, or any other ‘tap and go’ situations where a card is usually required to be shown to a card reader. If you lose or break your phone, you can just set up your digital wallet on another device and your data is safe and ready to go again (assuming you haven’t locked your cards or frozen your accounts when you lost your phone).