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Questions to ask when opening an everyday bank account

Not all everyday bank accounts are the same. Many offer a range of other features and services. Here are some tips that may assist you in working out which everyday bank account to go with.

Will I have to pay to use ATMs?

Generally speaking, you should be able to get cash out at any ATM in Australia; however you’ll generally pay a withdrawal fee when using an ATM that isn’t operated by your bank. The trick is to look for an everyday account that is linked to a large ATM network.

With Westpac for example, you’ll get access to over 3,000 ATMs without paying a fee, including Westpac, St.George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne. You’ll also pay no withdrawal fee overseas when using one of over 50,000 Global Alliance ATMs. 1

 

What are the fees?

Most banks in Australia charge a monthly account service fee. However, in some cases this fee can be waived if you meet certain conditions, such as having a minimum amount deposited into your account each month. This could include having your salary paid directly into your account.

With a Westpac Choice account, the monthly service fee is waived if you deposit at least $2,000 each month and it may also be waived in other circumstances, such as if you’re a fulltime tertiary student or under 21.2

 

Does it have mobile banking to help manage money on the go?

These days banking is more about sorting your finances on the go – all with the help of your mobile phone.

Mobile banking apps have become a fairly standard offering for banks these days. However, the features they offer can vary significantly, so it’s worthwhile checking how they could help you bank with ease.

Westpac’s mobile banking app, for example, offers a range of services that go beyond just the ability to check your balance in a hurry and transfer between accounts. Some of its features include:

  • Transfer funds between accounts or to someone else’s account
  • Pay bills, transfer money internationally or make international payments3
  • Quick balance – view the available balance of up to three eligible accounts as well as recent transactions without needing to sign in
  • Get cash out at any Westpac ATM without needing a debit card by generating a code within the app4 (you can also share this code via SMS with someone else should you need to get cash to them)
  • Report a card lost or stolen or lock your card temporarily until you find it5
  • Update your details.

 

Can you open it online?

An everyday account should make your life easier, so opening the account should be seamless as well. These days, there’s generally no need to head into a branch to open an account as it can often be done online. Even your identity verification can be done in an online application.

With Westpac, you can open a Westpac Choice account online in less than 3 minutes. And if you live overseas, you can open an account up to 12 months before you arrive – you don’t even need an Australian address.

Things you should know

This information does not take your personal objectives, circumstances or needs into account. Consider its appropriateness to these factors before acting on it.

1 Other fees may be payable. A 3% Westpac Foreign Transaction Fee applies to overseas debit or credit card withdrawals. A 2% cash advance fee applies to credit card withdrawals where the ‘credit’ option is selected. A list of Global Alliance members is available at westpac.com.au/unstoppableyou.  Excludes American Express® cards.

2. $0 monthly service fee (other fees may apply) whilst you are a full time tertiary student or under 21. Drop into any branch with your full time tertiary student ID to enjoy the $0 monthly service fee. If you are under 21 the $0 monthly service fee is automatically applied until you are 21.

3. The Westpac Foreign Transaction Fee is payable and will be incorporated into the $AUD transaction amount shown on your statement. The fee charged will either be: a) 3% of the $AUD transaction amount where a transaction is made in foreign currency and the merchant or financial institution accepting the card is located outside Australia (comprising of 2% Westpac Processing Fee plus 1% Westpac On-Charged Scheme Fee); or b) 2.2% of the $AUD transaction amount where a transaction is made in foreign currency and the merchant or financial institution accepting the card is located in Australia (comprising of 2% Westpac Processing Fee plus 0.2% Westpac On-Charged Scheme Fee).

4. Get up to $500 per day and a maximum of $1000 per week , subject to account daily maximum limits. Only available at Westpac ATMs in Australia.

5. Available on personal credit and Mastercard® debit cards only. Cards to which a temporary lock can be applied will be listed when you sign in to Mobile Banking or Online Banking and visit Lock a card temporarily under Cards services. Daily and weekly limits apply. See Westpac Emergency CashTM and Westpac Get CashTM Terms and conditions for details.