Everyday Bank Accounts

Take a look at everyday bank accounts with Savvy to compare features and find the best available to you in Australia.

Last updated on May 3rd, 2022 at 09:27 am by Cate Cook

Compare everyday bank accounts with Savvy to find the best in Australia

When it comes to your everyday bank account, the one you choose will make a great deal of difference to the ease and convenience of your life.  Whether you’re a set-and-forget type of person or like to check your bank account balance several times a week, there’s sure to be an account that meets your everyday banking needs.  Compare bank accounts with Savvy to give you easy-to-understand comparison information and help you make the best choice for your banking needs.

What are everyday bank accounts?

These bank accounts are the ones you use for your main banking needs, such as paying your rent or mortgage, paying bills and shopping.  They’re also known as cash transaction accounts and current accounts.

They’re often linked to a credit card or debit card to enable the account holder to use tap and go services such as payWave or PayPass.  Contactless payment methods such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay are all means of paying for goods by transferring money out of your account.

The other main type of bank account is a savings account, which comes in the form of term deposit accounts and offset accounts.  These accounts are designed for more long-term saving, as the name suggests, and aren’t as suitable for everyday usage.

What features are available for everyday transaction bank accounts?

Transaction accounts fulfil several basic banking functions.  These are:

  • receiving money from your employer or customers
  • allowing you to transfer money from your account to others to pay for goods and services using systems such as BPAY, EFTPOS and QR codes
  • allowing you to pay your bills for utilities and items such as your phone, internet and Pay TV services
  • withdrawing cash from ATMs both in Australia and overseas
  • making purchases at EFTPOS terminals using PayWave or PayPass
  • setting up automatic payments for regular items such as your rent or mortgage
  • transferring money between your bank accounts, such as making regular payments to your savings account or offset account

There are many variations and ways to carry out these basic banking functions and as digital banking matures in Australia, many innovative new products are being introduced.  For example, small online digital banks (known as neobanks) are now offering accounts which are linked to sophisticated applications which can predict when your utility bills are due and help you put money aside to pay your bills.  They can organise your household budget for you, and automatically transfer money from your account to a savings or offset account once a certain limit is reached.

It’s important to know the areas to look for when comparing transaction accounts. Some of these include:

  • Fees: some banks charge fees for their services, whilst others offer fee-free accounts.
  • Account requirements: is there a minimum deposit required each month to maintain its lack of fees?
  • Account linkage: do you have to link a savings account?
  • Joint ownership: can it be opened jointly?
  • Special offers: cashback offers and introductory fee-free periods are examples of the special offers made from time to time to entice new customers

For this reason, it’s important to compare bank accounts with Savvy before choosing which account is right for you.

What types of everyday account can I choose from?

There are a variety of different types of everyday bank accounts depending on the demographic of the customer.  Special accounts exist for the following categories:

Babies, kids, children, youth and teens

Some accounts are for under 18’s only, while others allow customers up to the age of 21 or even 25.  Some special kids’ accounts are a hybrid between a transaction and savings account and offer the ability to make cash withdrawals but also award interest for money deposited.

Students

These can offer features such as free international transfers, multiple currency transactions, free use of ATMs overseas and no account-keeping fees are offered on student accounts

Businesses

Small businesses can benefit from linked accounting tools which help make reconciling a transaction account easier.  The best small business bank accounts come with multiple accounting tools which can help the small business owner reconcile their account, prepare their BAS statements and even submit their tax returns online

Pensioners

Having your aged pension paid into some transaction accounts can result in fee-free banking for pensioners, with account and transaction fees waived.  Accounts with no fees are a boost for aged pensioners who may be struggling with the rising cost of living in their retirement years.

Couples

Choose between ‘one to sign’ or ‘both to sign’ options.  This refers to the way the account operates, and whether one person can authorise transactions or if both parties need to give their authorisation for any given transaction.  You can also choose who receives bank statements (one or both) and by which means (paper statement or emailed statements). Compare accounts with Savvy to find the best joint bank account for a couple

All transaction accounts can be linked to a debit card, enabling the account holder to withdraw money and make payments whenever a card number is required.

 

Frequently asked questions about everyday bank accounts

What ID will I need to open an everyday bank account?

If you’re new to a particular financial institution, you’ll have to provide 100 points of ID to open an account.  This could be your passport and driver’s licence or any other forms of ID including at least one form of photo ID and one showing your signature.

How old do you have to be to open a bank account in Australia?

The minimum age to open a bank account in Australia is 12 years old.  A child younger than 12 can still have a bank account, but it must be a joint account with a parent or guardian.  From the age of 12, a debit card can be issued to a young person with parental permission and at 14, a teenager can get a debit card in their own right.  By the age of 18, a young person is considered an adult and can be offered credit facilities in the form of a credit card.

Is it possible to have more than one transaction account?

Yes – many people have more than one of these accounts.  Some people wish to have a personal account and another joint one with their partner or spouse, or different accounts for different sources of income.  There’s no legal limit to how many bank accounts an individual can open.  However, be mindful of account fees, which may make multiple accounts not worthwhile.

What are digital wallets and are they safe?

A digital wallet is an application program which allows you to record and store all your cards, such as credit cards, debit cards, membership cards and loyalty cards, in one digital location on your phone.  It means you no longer have to physically carry plastic cards around with you.  They’re a very safe method of making payments as long as you keep your phone safe and have strong security to gain access to your phone’s apps.

Do I have to be an Australian citizen to open an account?

No – you don’t have to be an Australian citizen to open a bank account.  In fact, you don’t even need to be resident in Australia.   Overseas students intending to travel to Australia for study, for instance, can open an Australian account up to three months before they arrive in the country and can let their bank know their residential address once they have their accommodation sorted out. 

Do round up accounts make saving money easier?

Round up accounts are smart accounts which round up each transaction you make and transfer the rounded amount into a savings account.  For example, if you buy a cup of coffee that costs $4.80 and you’ve set your rounding amount to the nearest $1, $0.20 from this transaction will be transferred to your savings account.  How effective these accounts are at building up savings will depend on where you set your rounding amount.  Transactions that are rounded to the nearest $1 will increase your savings more slowly than accounts rounded up to the nearest $5.

Is it best to have my everyday account and my savings account with the same bank?

It can be more convenient to have both your transaction and savings account with the one bank, building society or credit union, particularly if you regularly transfer money between your various accounts. However, no rule says you must keep your accounts with the same institution, so it’s worth comparing your options with Savvy before you change your bank account to see if you can find a better deal.