Your Guide to Choosing a New Bank Account
There is such a huge variety of accounts available from Australia’s banks that choosing the right one for you can seem like a bewildering task. Our comparison tables are designed to make the job easier and faster, presenting all the best bank accounts currently available, curated into account types and featuring all the essential information so you can compare and select the one that suits your financial requirements.
If you are sensible with your money, you are likely to use a combination of accounts to manage your finances: an account for everyday transactions and payments, a savings account to earn interest on money put aside for the future, and perhaps a term deposit generating a fixed rate income on a lump sum of money.
Transaction accounts are the type of account most of us are familiar with for dealing with everyday transactions, receiving earnings and paying bills. This type of account generally allows you to set up direct debits to pay regular bills, rent or home loans. They also usually feature cash or debit cards so you can make electronic payments and withdraw funds from ATMs. When comparing transaction accounts you should consider the various interest rates, fees and extras to find the most rewarding package.
Savings accounts offer the opportunity to earn interest on your money deposited with the bank. These accounts help separate out everyday transactions and your savings, and usually allow you to access your money when you need to. Unlike other types of investments, savings accounts provide flexibility along with earning interest. When you are comparing savings accounts you should select one with a high interest rate so you can get the biggest returns, but also look out for any fees and extra charges, and the level of accessibility the account offers. Banks often offer introductory promotions to new customers, so you may be able to find a deal that pays interest at a special high rate for an initial period.
Term deposits are a special type of bank account that allow you to deposit a sum of money and earn a high rate of interest at a fixed rate for a fixed period of time, which can be anything from days, months or several years. You can choose whether to receive the interest at regular intervals or in total when the account matures. At maturity you can either collect the interest and your original deposit, or reinvest and continue to earn interest. Term deposits generally have a higher interest rate than standard savings accounts, but offer limited accessibility. If you need to withdraw funds before the end of the agreed term you usually need to give the bank advance notice and you will likely lose interest and may be charged penalty fees. If you can afford to make a large deposit and leave it untouched for the fixed period, a term deposit can be a great way of earning high interest on your savings.
Most bank accounts of all types now feature internet banking, so you can manage your money online, make payments, transfer funds and pay bills all at your own convenience. When you have selected the best account you can complete a simple online application and open a new bank account today.
Four Simple Tips for Maximising Bank Account Benefits
Use your accounts for their proper purposes: To get the most out of your bank accounts you should use and manage them correctly. Transaction accounts are essential for everyday transactions, and are likely to be your most used account. You should ensure that you have enough funds in the account to cover these expenses, but you should not have large sums sitting in your checking account when it could be earning more interest in a savings account. Similarly, savings accounts do allow access to your money, but you should try to deposit more than you withdraw to get the most returns. If you are investing in a term deposit, always avoid withdrawing funds before the account matures.
Pay off debts before you start saving: If you have any outstanding debts such as credit card debts or bank account overdrafts, it is important to focus on clearing these before you start saving. The interest you pay on these debts is almost always more than you earn on savings, so negating the value of investments.
Regularly review all your bank accounts: You should regularly check that you are getting the best value for money. Online banking allows you to easily monitor your finances, and you should also periodically take the time to see what deals the banks are offering. If you find a package that is more rewarding than your accounts, it could be time to move your money and enjoy better rates.
Don’t forget inflation: As shocking as it may seem, your savings could actually be losing you money by paying you a rate of interest below inflation. So if you haven’t kept an eye on the return you’re getting with your existing savings account, it could well be time to move your hard earned cash to a more profitable home like one of the high interest online savings accounts we offer. It makes sense that your money is actually working for you!
Most Common Bank Account Features
Interest rates: These are the interest rates that you earn on money in your account, or that you pay if your account is overdrawn. All the various rates are advertised as an annual percentage rate (APR). Typically the APR is calculated on a daily basis and applied to your account once a month.
Monthly account fees and transaction charges: Some banks charge a monthly fee for maintaining accounts or charge for making certain types of transaction. Always study the small print for all the applicable charges, fees and penalties before opening an account.
Debit cards: Most transaction accounts provide access to your money with a debit card so you can make electronic payments, withdraw funds from ATMs and make payments online and by telephone. Debit cards work in much the same way as credit cards, but unlike credit cards you are not borrowing credit for payments – debit cards are linked directly to your bank account so you are only spending your own money.
Minimum balance and deposit: Some accounts feature restrictions such as a minimum deposit or balance, while some savings accounts reward monthly deposits above a certain threshold with a special bonus interest rate.