Fee-free banking can be hard to find, but that’s exactly what Savings.com.au has managed to do.
No one likes paying fees, and you shouldn’t have to on your bank accounts. Last year, Australian households forked out $3.9 billion in banking fees according to the Reserve Bank of Australia. That equals around $425 in bank fees per household, or $35 a month.
To put that into perspective, it’s more than what we spend on coffee and tea ($1.6 billion), tech gadgets ($2.7b) and public transport ($2.7b) each year. That’s too much, so we’ve scoured the Interwebs far and wide to track down the highest rate savings accounts that don’t charge you any of the most common banking fees. Hooray!
Compare savings accounts with no fees
The savings accounts in the table below, sorted from highest to lowest interest rate, don’t have any account keeping fees, phone transaction fees, ATM withdrawal fees, EFTPOS fees, over the counter withdrawal or deposit fees, overseas EFTPOS fees, or internet transaction fees.
Common banking fees
It can be difficult to completely avoid banking fees because there could always be obscure fees such as paper statement fees, card replacement fees or account closure fees which you can easily never pay.
But there are some common banking fees you should try to avoid, such as late payment fees, overdrawn account fees, transaction fees, withdrawal fees, ATM withdrawal fees, over the counter deposit/withdrawal fees, phone or internet transaction fees, foreign exchange fees, EFTPOS fees, and account keeping fees.
According to Savings.com.au’s research, the highest EFTPOS fee found on the market is $1.50 but the average fee is $0.85 per transaction. If you were to make 20 EFTPOS transactions in a month, you could be forking out up to $17 per month in transaction fees alone, and if your bank charges the upper end of $1.50 that’s $30 a month! This research also found that the average ATM withdrawal fee is around the $0.85 mark, but there are now debit cards that reimburse you for ATM fees.
Meanwhile, account keeping fees are another hidden fee that can seriously erode your savings. Most account keeping fees can be as high as $5-$6 each month, which means you could be wasting as much as $60-$70 per year in account keeping fees. Nowadays most savings and transaction accounts either charge very little for account keeping fees or nothing at all.
How to avoid bank fees
Choose the right account for you
If you know you regularly make EFTPOS transactions or ATM withdrawals, it wouldn’t really make sense to choose a bank account that charges you a fee for doing so. When you’re comparing savings accounts, always check the bank’s fee schedule which can be found on its website or in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).
Regularly check your balance
If you’ve ever had an automatic bill payment but there wasn’t enough money in your account to cover it, you’ll know the sting of an overdrawn bank fee. However, this is a fee that can be easily avoided if you regularly check your balance and set reminders for upcoming payments, like your weekly gym membership. This could stop you from being caught out and left to pay not only the overdrawn bank fee but also the late payment fee to the gym.
Ask if you’re eligible for fee waivers
Savings.com.au’s two cents
Bank fees can be a nasty surprise if you’re not aware of them, but if you understand what the common fees are by doing your research and comparing savings accounts, you can avoid most of these costs.
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