Transaction accounts: Fees and spending habits

Co author: Michelle Norton

It’s a fact of life: we all need a good transaction account to manage our daily or weekly spending. Do you know your spending personality?

How and where you spend makes a big difference to the transaction account best suited for you. You may want to be flexible with your transactions, using everything from your EFTPOS card to the ATM. On the other hand, you may be an online shopping junkie who really doesn’t ever visit a branch.

The right transaction account can make a significant difference to your monthly budget, especially if you couple it with an outstanding value savings account to take care of your long-term savings goals. The good news is that making the most of your money without sacrificing convenience can be achieved for those who research their options.

When it comes to transaction accounts that offer consumers outstanding value for money, Canstar assesses the value a product provides against two very different customer profiles, outlined below.

Electronic Transactor

what do your spending habits really mean

If you’re a fan of online shopping and you pay all your bills online via online payments or direct debit, you may be an Electronic Transactor. If you’re under this profile, you’ll make an average of 40 transactions per month.

There are electronic transaction accounts specifically designed for customers who mainly transact online and require full access to the account.

For Canstar’s star ratings, an electronic transaction account must offer full access to the account via a debit card enabled for ATM, EFTPOS, point of sale, and BPAY.

Compare Electronic Transactor Accounts

Full Service Transactor

full service transactor

If you still visit a branch occasionally to deposit a cheque or make a currency exchange before a big trip, or if you still phone up every now and then to pay your bills, you may be a Full Service Transactor. You may make an average of 25 transactions per month.

There are transaction accounts designed for customers who occasionally make transactions at a branch or over the phone, as well as some electronic transactions. Canstar requires that for our star ratings, such a transaction account must offer full access to the account via methods including ATM, EFTPOS, branch, point of sale, and BPAY.

Compare Full Service Transactor Accounts

Watch out for fees

watch out for fees

Transaction accounts, commonly referred to as everyday bank accounts, are a key part of our everyday baking.

But whether it’s staying loyal to the bank you’ve been with since university, or the bank you moved to when you got a home loan,  it is easy to get a bit complacent.

Something to be aware of with transaction accounts, is the various fees you may come up against. The great news is, according to Canstar’s database, there are chances to save money in many areas, with zero charge options across the board with transaction account services.

In the case of monthly account-keeping fees, there is a difference of $15 between the maximum and minimum charge. Over a year, that adds up to $180, so it’s worth looking at what you’re paying for when it comes to maintaining a transaction account.

Being aware of what you might get charged for – and matching this to the type of service you require – means you can stay ahead of the game and keep more cash for yourself. It also gives you a chance to compare providers and products, to settle on one that suits you and your finances.

Common transaction fees

We’ve broken down some common transaction account fees and looked at how charges vary, according to Canstar’s database.

ATM withdrawal own network

This one is pretty explanatory; it’s a charge for taking out money at your own bank’s ATM machine. Fees will apply whether you are taking out $20 or $200, so this is something to watch out for.

Fee range: Minimum: $0.00, Maximum $0.80, Average: $0.18.

ATM withdrawal other network

Again, this is a fee for withdrawing money from an ATM. But, in this case, the fee applies when you take out money from an ATM connected to a provider other than the one you bank with.

Fee range: Minimum $0.00, Maximum: $1.80, average: $1.02.

Monthly account-keeping fee

This fee compensates the bank for the cost of keeping your account open. The good news? Some banks don’t charge anything for this service.

Fee range: Minimum: $0.00, Maximum $15.00, average: $4.71.

Bill payments via online banking

This is a charge in situations where bills have a reference number and a biller code and you pay the bill via online banking.

Fee range: Minimum: $0.00, Maximum: $0.50, average: $0.16

Internet pay anyone fee

This differs from the fee for making a bill payment using online banking. A pay anyone fee refers to a transfer from one account to someone who banks with another institution.

Fee range: Minimum: $0.00, Maximum: $0.50, average: $0.16

PayPass/PayWave fee

PayPass or PayWave is the system that allows you to make contactless payments with contactless cards, by waving it against a contactless machine at the till. Customers may have to pay a charge for this service.

Fee range: Minimum: $0.00, Maximum: $0.50, average: $0.07

EFTPOS transaction fee

As the name indicates, this is a fee for making an EFTPOS transaction, you may get charged for getting cash out when you make a purchase, for example.

Fee range: Minimum: $0.00, Maximum: $0.50 , average:  $0.16.

Branch cash withdrawal fee

If you’d prefer to deal with a human rather than a machine, unfortunately you might get charged for it. But, as with the other services, some banks will waive fees for this service, so it’s worth doing some research.

Fee range: Minimum: $0.00, Maximum: $3.00, average: $0.96

Fees correct as at 15/05/2017, includes accounts rated in Canstar’s 2017 Savings and Transaction Account Star Rating

The fee list is really a reminder to match your account type to how you use banking services and the way you make transactions.

Read Canstar’s latest savings and transactions report, so you can find out more about how providers stack up.

Compare Transaction Accounts

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