I know, I know. You’ve heard this before. If you want to manage your money effectively, you need a bank account. The problem is, there is so much bank lingo out there. EFTPOS, interest rates, investment accounts--it can be hard to sort it all out. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back. We’ll break down the important facts you need to know about opening a bank account.
After reading this article, you’ll know exactly what to look for and be well on your way to smarter money management.
The Different Types of Bank Accounts
There are two main types of bank accounts: the everyday banking account and the savings account. Let’s break down what these two are:
Everyday Banking Account - The everyday banking account (also called a transaction account) is what you’d use to handle all of your day-to-day transactions. Your salary would deposit into this account and you would be able to use it to pay for bills, shopping, groceries, etc. You can pay by cheque or use a debit card connected to this account to pay for your various expenses.
Savings Account - A savings account (also called a deposit account or investment account) is an account where you set aside money you aren’t using immediately so that it can earn interest. These accounts tend to earn more interest than everyday banking accounts.
What You Need to Open A Bank Account
To determine what documents you need to open a bank account in Australia, banks go by what is called the 100-point system. Each document type is assigned a certain number of points. The documents that you provide must add up to 100:
Birth certificate, passport, or citizenship certificate (70 points) - you can only use one of these to count towards 100 points.
Drivers licence, public service ID card, shooters licence, a Commonwealth card, state government welfare card, or concession card (40 points) - each of these must have your photo and signature.
A homeowner (or home buyer) land rate form (35 points)
Medicare card, store card, credit card, union membership card, or library card (25 points) - this must have your name on it
Miscellaneous documents - for example, car registration, home rental receipts, power or water bill, or record of any financial institution that has handled your money in the last year (25 points )
Picking the Right Bank for You
There are many different banks in Australia, but the largest ones are ANZ, Westpac, Commonwealth, and NAB. Nowadays, it’s relatively simple to apply online for a bank account. You can also open a bank account by walking into a bank and getting started.
But before you walk into the first branch you see, take some time to shop around and find the right option for you. You’ll want to consider the different fees and restrictions of each bank.
Fees to Look Out for
Banks need to earn money somehow, right? That’s where their miscellaneous fees pop in. Banks will add on small fees here and there for various services. Here are some of the charges that you might expect to see:
- Monthly Fee - Banks may charge you a monthly fee to have an account with them.
- EFTPOS - An EFTPOS fee is a fee you might be charged for using your debit card.
- Internet Transfer Fee - This is a fee you may be charged charged when you transfer funds online from one bank account to another.
- ATM Fees - Many banks will charge a small fee if you use an out-of-network ATM (in other words, an ATM from another bank).
- Minimum Balance Requirements - If a bank has a minimum balance requirement, then you’ll be charged a fee if your account balance goes below that amount.
As you pick the bank account that is best for you, consider which fees might not be a concern for you. For instance, if you are someone who rarely takes out cash, then it’s not a huge deal if the bank charges you for withdrawing money from an out-of-network ATM.
You might also find that there are many accounts that charge no fees; however, if you look closely at the guidelines, you might find there are limits on the number of transactions that you can do.
Bank account requirements vary from bank to bank and account to account. Here are some of the requirements you might find:
Age Requirements - Banks often have age requirements for different accounts. For instance, you might need to be over 18. Or if it’s a pensioner’s account, you might need to be over 55.
Residency Requirements - Not all accounts require that you be an Australian resident, but you’ll find many that do. Some banks also require that you be in Australia for a certain number of months (often 12).
Deposit Requirements - Watch out for minimum deposit requirements that a bank may have. For example, you might need to make a minimum deposit of $500 by a certain date in order to have that account.
All right, we’ve broken it down for you, and now it’s your turn. Take a deep breath, you’ve got this.
First, consider what’s important to you in a bank account. Do you need to withdraw cash often? Do you have a large inflow of money? Will you need to make several transactions? Do you want to stash money away into savings? Once you have a clear picture of what you want, then it’s bank shopping time.
Next, look around at the different banks. Consider the various requirements and fees and select the one that best meets your specific needs.
Once you’ve found your winner, gather together the required documents, submit your application, and that’s it! You’re set to go.
1. https://www.finder.com.au/requirements-to-open-a-bank-account#1 2. https://mozo.com.au/bank-accounts/guides/current-account 3. https://www.finder.com.au/opening-a-bank-account-facts-to-know