ME Bank, also known just as ME, has its roots in Australian industry superannuation funds. It was founded in 1994 by a group of industry super funds primarily to provide home loans to industry super fund members. Changing its name from Super Member Home Loans (SMHL) to the Members Equity Bank in 1999, it received its banking licence in July 2001, before being sold to the Bank of Queensland in 2021 for $1.35 billion.
It now offers a range of ‘no-frills’ banking products including transaction and savings accounts, term deposits, home loans and credit cards. Savvy can help you decide if a digital online bank is right for you by offering comprehensive comparison information, enabling you to compare the features, services and costs of various bank accounts in Australia.
*Please note that Savvy does not represent ME Bank for their banking products.
An Everyday Transaction Account from ME has no account keeping fees and no transaction fees. Their linked Mastercard debit cards, called Buck cards, come in a range of five colours which you can choose from: pink, yellow, green, red and blue.
If you choose a pink debit ‘buck’ card, ME donates 1c to the National Breast Cancer Foundation every time you use your card. This donation is made by the bank and does not come from the customer’s money. Through this scheme, more than $1.3 million has been donated to breast cancer research via pink debit card holders.
There are no limits to the number of everyday transaction accounts you can open with ME, so you could order different coloured debit cards for different purposes. The ME online and mobile banking app is simple to use and allows account holders to personalise their accounts by giving them nicknames and different icons.
Concession card holders (such as a seniors health card, health care card or pensioner concession card) can access an everyday transaction account with no overdrawn account fee, no cheque dishonour fee and no payment dishonour fee.
As can be expected with a digital bank, its mobile app is fully compatible with all digital wallets including offering Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, plus Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay for wearables.
ME offers an online savings account with a base interest rate of 0.05% p.a. but a bonus rate of 0.75% p.a. if you have a linked transaction account and make four tap and go purchases a month. The full interest rate of 0.80% p.a. applies for balances up to $250,000, which makes it one of the highest interest rate savings accounts currently on offer in Australia.
There’s no limit to the number of online savings accounts you can open, so it’s possible to have multiple accounts for different purposes. You’ll qualify for the bonus interest rate on each individual account as long as they all have an associated and linked transaction account and card which is used at least four times a month. Even if you miss out on four transactions on one of these accounts, this won’t affect any others you have. There are no withdrawal or deposit requirements but ME Bank imposes a minimum age limit of 16 years.
ME offers a range of term deposits with very competitive interest rates for lump sums starting from $5,000. The interest you’ll receive will not only depend on the sum you have to deposit and the length of time you want to lock up your savings but also on whether you choose to receive your interest monthly, at the maturity of your deposit or annually.
The highest interest rate you’ll receive on your savings is for interest paid either at maturity or annually. For example, for a deposit of two months, the interest rate is 0.15% p.a. for interest paid at maturity, but 0.10% for interest paid monthly.
Other common terms for deposit (with interest paid at maturity) are:
The 60-month interest paid at maturity rate is one of the highest term deposit interest rates available in Australia at present (mid-2022). If you do need to withdraw your savings before the end of the term deposit, you’ll need to give 31 days’ notice and will lose a sliding percentage of your interest, depending on how long your term deposit still has to run. Partial withdrawals are not permitted.
To apply for a ME bank account, you’ll need to be at least 16 years old and produce either your passport, your Australian driver’s licence or your Medicare card for ID. The bank claims its application process takes just five minutes and it’s very simple to open an account online.
If your identity cannot be verified online, you’ll need to visit an Australia Post office to get your identity verified. Applicants will need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident (or resident for tax purposes). As with all banks, notification of your tax file number is recommended but not compulsory for tax purposes.
No ATM fees in Australia
ME Bank will instantly refund any ATM fees you may be charged for using any ATM in Australia, including private ATMs in service stations and convenience stores
High interest rates on savings
The interest rates offered by ME Bank on their savings accounts and term deposits are amongst the highest on offer in Australia and compare very favourably with the interest offered by other competitors
Digital and smart watch-friendly
ME Bank appeals to Gen Zs and millennials with their range of coloured debit cards and sophisticated digital wallet compatibility. There’s no card replacement or fee to change card colours, either
No accounts for children or retirees
There are no provisions for transaction bank accounts for children or youths under 16 years old, which is the minimum age to open an account with ME. There are also no combined savings and transaction accounts for retirees
Overseas transaction fees on cards
ME charges 1.5% of any foreign currency transaction converted into Australian dollars or 0.8% of any transaction where the merchant’s account is not held in Australia, so watch out for fees if you’re online shopping
Feature-light mobile app
There are no split accounts, ability to create multiple sub-accounts or transaction summaries available, which is surprising given digital banks are often online market leaders for new innovations