Mozo guides

Bank Account Features

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Person using smartphone to pay an eftpos bill.

With so many banking institutions around – from online banks to neobanks and the bricks and mortar versions – offering so many different features, products and conditions, it's easy to end up with the wrong transaction account, and pay for the privilege.

Here are some of the key features you should consider before opening a bank account:

  • Bank account interest. Most transaction accounts offer the grand interest rate of 0.00% on your monthly balance. Which means you're more likely to find savings in your armpit than in an Australian bank account. Check out Mozo's savings account comparison for a place to store your rainy day fund.
  • Online bank accounts. These days, very few banks don't offer online access. But some accounts offer reduced fees or fee-free banking for online-only accounts. Our handy guide to online banks will help you investigate your options.
  • BPay is an easy payment facility using your transaction account, and should be available with all online bank accounts.
  • Mobile paymentsThis includes things like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, as well as independent apps from banks and other independent providers. Basically, mobile payment platforms allow you to use your smartphone to make transactions so you don't have to tote your wallet around constantly.
  • Branch access transaction accounts. The modern world hasn't totally eliminated the need for bank branches. Some accounts have, however. So unless you're positively sure you'll never need to visit a bank in person, better check up on some access features.
  • Bank@Post. Australia Post now provides various banking services for most major banks and financial institutions, so if you don't have branch access, Bank@Post could be your answer for depositing cheques, paying bills and other in-person banking activities.
  • Checking accounts. There's nothing like signing your name with a flourish, ripping out a cheque, perhaps waving it a little in front of the payee before handing it over. You can forget the separate cheque account nowadays. Many bank accounts will offer chequebook facilities.
  • Bank cards, cash cards, debit cards. These all essentially refer to your ATM/EFTPOS thingumijigs that you use to make payments or withdraw money. They should come standard with any transaction account and function like credit cards, but spend your savings rather than racking up debt. You can compare debit cards with Mozo.
  • ATM/EFTPOS & overseas ATMs. ATM access is standard with most transaction accounts, although a range of fees from your provider (or the bank which owns the ATM you're drawing money from) can apply. EFTPOS is near-universally available and is either free, limited or charged depending on the transaction account. Overseas ATM access is typically available for most bank cards, but the fees vary wildly.

Bank account tips:

  • Keep your cash in a linked high interest savings account with instant transfers.
  • Don't bother with cheques unless you're in regular need of them, or are happy to pay for the pose.
  • Check up on your regular activity before signing up for a banking account with limited transactions, as these fees will add up. If you find a shedload of activity there, it's better to bite the bullet and take up unlimited transactions for a monthly fee if necessary.
  • Check out free transaction accounts - yes, they do exist - to see if they fit the bill.
  • Keep a record of direct debits expected for each month: credit cards, utilities, rent and so on. Set up an electronic reminder ahead of the debit.
Olivia Gee
Olivia Gee
Money writer

As a personal finance writer at Mozo, Olivia investigates insurance, banking and property. After completing a double degree in journalism and media and communications, Olivia became a lifestyle editor at Time Out Sydney and freelanced for notable publications such as Guardian Australia and SBS News. Now she is Mozo’s resident car insurance enthusiast, and is certified (ASIC RG146 Tier 2) to provide general advice in general insurance. She also creates audible finance adventures as co-host of Mozo’s podcast, The Finance Burrito.

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