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Transaction Accounts

Find out what features to look for when opening a new transaction account and compare your options with Savvy.

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, updated on July 31st, 2023       

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Compare transaction accounts

Finding the best bank account can save you hundreds on fees and connect you with the very latest in smart banking technology.  Compare bank accounts from a wide variety of providers with Savvy to find the very best offers available on the market right now.

site-logos Up Everyday Account
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $0
  • PayId,
  • Osko,
  • Samsung Pay,
  • Apple Pay,
  • Google Wallet,
Mastercard $0 0%
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Use invite code SAVVY10 for $10 upon successful sign-up. (Refer to offer T&Cs on Up website)

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site-logos ING Orange Everyday
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $0
  • PayId,
  • Apple Pay,
  • Google Wallet,
Visa $0 0%
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Rebates on ATM fees anywhere in Oz. No ING international transaction fees. Zero monthly fees.

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site-logos NAB Classic Banking Account
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $0
  • PayId,
  • Samsung Pay,
  • Apple Pay,
  • Google Wallet,
Visa $0 0.01%
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No monthly account fees ever, with no conditions. Free use at over 7,000 ATMs around Australia. No overdrawn fees if you happen to go over your account balance. Open an account in less than 7 minutes.

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site-logos St.George Complete Freedom Account
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $0
  • Samsung Pay,
  • Apple Pay,
  • Google Wallet,
Visa $0 0%
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Get $40 with a new Complete Freedom everyday bank account.

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site-logos Westpac Choice
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $5
  • Samsung Pay,
  • Apple Pay,
  • Google Wallet,
Mastercard $0 $0
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Westpac Choice for easy day-to-day banking

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Transaction accounts explained

Standard transaction accounts have been around for as long as banking itself.  Now there’s a whole range of new transaction account features being introduced both by the big banks and by digital online banks.  Find out what transaction accounts are used for and why it’s so important to compare your options before signing up for an account.  Compare different banking features with Savvy to find a bank account that will best suit your personal needs.

What are transaction accounts?

Transaction bank accounts (also known as everyday accounts) are the financial backbone of every Aussie household.  They’re the accounts we use to have our wages paid into, to pay our bills and buy our groceries.  There are transaction accounts available for almost every type of customer, from young children to students, teens and young adults, right up to retirees and those over 65 (as well as special business transaction accounts and those intended for self-managed super funds.)

For this reason, it’s important to choose the right account for your personal needs and make sure the account you have is the best one possible. Savvy can help you decide which transaction account is best for you by providing clear and easy-to-understand bank account comparison information.

The functions carried out by a transaction account include:

  • a secure place to have your wages or salary paid into
  • a means to pay others for goods and services using BPAY, EFTPOS, PayID and QR codes
  • an account to link to a debit or credit card so you can use PayPass and PayWave in stores and purchase goods online
  • an account to set up auto payments so your regular bills are paid on time
  • an account to use as a first landing point for your income before you distribute the money to pay your rent or mortgage, set aside funds for savings and allocate a budget for household and grocery spending
  • an account that allows you to set up a digital wallet or use cardless cash withdrawals at ATMs

Which transaction account features should I compare?

Some of the key features you should think about when comparing transaction accounts are:

Fees and charges

Is there a monthly account-keeping fee?  Many smaller and digital banks now offer no-fee banking, but some of the big banks in Australia still charge a monthly fee, which is typically $3 to $6 per month.  This may only add up to around $60 a year, but it’s money you wouldn’t need to pay if you chose a no-fee account. Most banks offer fee-free bank accounts for children, students, pensioners and retirees.  Also, keep an eye out for package offers that give you free banking if you have a home loan, or if you link a savings account or take out insurance with the same institution.

Look at other fees: are there transaction fees or a charge every time you go into a bank branch to ask for assistance? Some banks charge $2.50 for ‘teller-assisted enquiries’.  This means if you bank your shop’s takings every day, you could be charged $12.50 a week just for depositing your cash. You may want to find a bank that doesn’t charge for cash deposits if you use this feature frequently.

Compare ATM accessibility and cash withdrawal charges if you often take out cash, as well as overseas transaction account charges if you frequently travel, send money abroad or buy goods internationally.  Business transaction accounts tend to come with more and higher transaction fees, but some banks do charge a fee for everyday transactions on personal accounts too.

A detailed list of bank fees can usually be found on the bank’s website in their terms and conditions or on a ‘rate and fee chart’.  You may have to dig around at the very end of a banking page (in the small print) to find this detailed information, as most banks don’t like to advertise the fees they charge.

Functionality

Are you an active account user or more of a ‘set-and-forget' type of customer?  If you’re the former and like to monitor your account balance and be aware of when money is going in or coming out of your account, the advanced features a mobile banking app can offer may be important to you. 

Some of the best transaction accounts allow you to set alerts so you receive a message whenever money goes in or out of your account.  Some offer ‘auto-spending categories’, where the app automatically categorises your spending into groups and shows you how much you’ve spent in each category.  Think carefully; do you need to see at a glance how much you’ve spent on takeaway food this month?  If this type of detailed account information is of interest, look at the banks who advertise a wide range of features on their mobile app.

Compatibility

Look at what systems you already know and are familiar with and make sure your new transaction account will fit in.  For example, if you have an iPhone, make sure the bank’s mobile app works with Apple Pay or your chosen digital wallet.  Similarly, if you have a Samsung phone or smartwatch, you may need to check for Samsung Pay compatibility. If you have a preference for Visa or Mastercard, look at which type of card is supplied and linked to your new transaction account.

For a business transaction account, check that your accounting software will work with direct data feeds from your bank account of choice.  There’s nothing more frustrating than setting up a new bank account only to find it’s not compatible with your existing software or accounting package.

What new features are available in 2022 in transaction accounts?

Some of the new transaction account features to look out for include:

  • Account splitting – where you can create numerous named sub-accounts under the one main account number. For example, you could split your savings account up into separate funds for ‘new car’ or ‘Christmas’ and put a certain amount into each account each payday
  • Bill prediction – which predicts when the payment for a scheduled bill is due and sends you a notification the amount is coming out of your account on a certain date. You can also get notified if the payment of a bill will send your account overdrawn
  • Account sweeping – a feature that automatically transfers excess funds to your savings account when a certain limit is reached. For example, if you set your sweeping limit to $1,000, any extra money over $1,000 will be sent to your savings account so it can earn interest. This will happen each time your transaction account goes above $1,000
  • Rounding up – this feature allows you to round up all transactions on a linked debit card to either the nearest $1 or $5 and automatically transfer the rounded-up amount to your savings account. For example, if your morning coffee costs $4.50, the app will round this up to $5 and send the additional $0.50 to your savings account
  • Auto-donations to charity – if caring for your community is high on your priority list, look at accounts that aim to give something back.  Some banks donate money to charity for each transaction you make on your linked debit card. For example, ME Bank donates one cent to the National Breast Cancer Foundation for each card purchase you make when you choose a pink debit Mastercard.

How do I choose which transaction account will be best for me?

The trick is to look at a range of the best transaction accounts and compare their features and fees side by side.  Don't be afraid to open more than one transaction account to take advantage of the different features offered free of charge.

Savvy presents you with this detailed comparison information, looking at a range of account features from many different banks, building societies and credit unions.  You can access this information free of charge so you’re able to more confidently make the best choice of account for your family circumstances.

Types of bank account

Why compare bank accounts with Savvy?

More frequently asked questions about transaction accounts

What is the difference between a transaction and a savings account?

A transaction account helps you spend your money, pay bills and buy goods and services.  A savings account doesn’t normally have the same ability to make payments to anyone but its main function is to house your money and earn you interest on your savings, which isn’t usually offered on transaction accounts. In addition, debit and credit cards are more frequently linked to transaction accounts, but they rarely allow you to access your savings accounts.

Do I have to have separate savings and transaction accounts?

No – you don’t have to have separate accounts: there are accounts that are a hybrid between a savings and a transaction account.  These accounts are often aimed at either children, pensioners, older retirees or those over 65 who don’t wish to have multiple accounts.  However, the interest rate offered on savings in these accounts isn’t usually competitive, with a better return offered on a dedicated savings account.

How many transaction accounts can I have?

There’s no legal limit to the number of transaction accounts you can have at the same time.  Some online banks even encourage you to have multiple accounts for different purposes, while others allow you to split your one account into several sub-accounts, each with a different name and icon in your mobile banking app.

Is rounding up a good idea for my transaction account?

Automatic rounding is the modern-day equivalent of a big jar to throw your spare coins into.  It may not be the fastest way to save up money but at the end of the year, when the jar is full, it offers a surprise nest-egg which you didn’t realise you owned and may help pay for a few holiday luxuries or additional Christmas presents. 

Is an offset account a transaction account?

An offset account is an account which is linked to your home loan or mortgage account.  In theory, any transaction account can be turned into an offset account.  For every dollar in your offset account, you pay interest on one less dollar on your home loan, so in this way your savings offset the cost of your mortgage, potentially saving you thousands of dollars over the life of your home loan.

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