Best no-fee bank accounts in Australia 
Nobody wants to spend more than they need to simply to hold and spend their own money. However, finding fee free account options is a tricky business. Bank accounts for most customers usually have monthly fees which are only waived if you keep up regular deposits. On top of that, banks will apply transaction fees when you use their services, which means finding an account with the lowest possible costs is essential.
The good news is that banks aren’t your only option. Specialist fintech companies like Wise or Revolut may offer cheaper overall account fees, while still giving you access to a great range of features. This guide covers all you need to know.
Fee free account options in Australia:
- Accounts from fintech companies
- Bank transaction accounts
Best fee-free account offers in Australia
All of Australia’s major banks have accounts for everyday use which include options to have monthly charges waived. In some cases you’ll be able to get an account with no fixed fees if you’re an eligible concession card or health care card holder, while accounts are also available which waive the charges for people still in education, or retirees aged over 55 for example. However, for most customers, the main way to lose the monthly fees is to make sure you’re depositing enough in your account each month.
As well as monthly fees, all accounts will be subject to a range of transaction charges, which can vary significantly. If you’re looking to cut the costs of managing your money, finding an account with low or no fees for the types of transactions you make frequently is important. To help, we’ve compared a few different options, looking at accounts from both fintech companies and banks, and analysing their products based on whether they have the following:
- Account opening fee
- Monthly charges
- Interest earning opportunity
- ATM withdrawal fees
- Foreign transaction fee
- International money transfer charges
- Account closure fee
Fee-free accounts from fintech companies
Fintech companies offer specialist accounts which you can manage online or via an app. They’re not banks, although they are usually regulated in much the same way as banks are, making them a safe option to consider. Specialist services like Wise and Revolut can also offer flexible account services which cover multiple currencies – something not many basic accounts from regular banks can match. Here’s how Wise and Revolut compare on our key measures:
|Account opening fee||No fee||No fee|
|Monthly charges||No fee||Free standard plans are available – or you can upgrade to a fee paid plan up to 24.99 AUD/month|
|Interest earning opportunity||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|ATM withdrawal fees||
|Foreign transaction fee||
|International money transfer charges||From 0.41%||International bank transfers have a variable fee, usually 0.3% – 2%, subject to minimum and maximum charges by currency
Paid plans may offer discounted transfers, depending on account type
|Account closure fee||No fee||No fee|
|Other notable features||Hold and exchange 50+ currencies||Hold and exchange 27 currencies|
Pros and cons
- Innovative account features like multi-currency access and crypto trading
- Fully digital service, on your phone or laptop
- No minimum balance or minimum deposit amount
- Some accounts have no ongoing charges, with relatively low transaction fees applied to services used
- Not a full bank account
- No in person service or branch network
- You can’t deposit cash to your account
Fee free bank transaction accounts
Everyday accounts are available from all of Australia’s larger banks. Many banks also offer specific accounts which have no fixed fees for people holding concession or health care cards, retirees and younger people who may be opening their first bank account.
If you’re not eligible for an account which has no monthly charges at all your next best bet is to find an account which makes it easy to have the monthly fee waived. In many cases this will involve depositing funds into your account monthly, although you won’t necessarily have to keep a minimum balance in your account for the entire month.
Here’s a summary of the key features of basic bank accounts from some of Australia’s largest banks.
|Bank/service||Westpac Choice Account||NAB Classic Banking Account||Commbank Smart Access Account|
|Account opening fee||No fee||No fee||No fee|
|Monthly charges||5 AUD/month
Fees waived for customers under 30 or in full time education, as well as concession or health care card holders
Fee waived for 12 months for immigrants arriving in Australia
Fees can be waived if you deposit at least 2,000 AUD/month
|No fee||4 AUD/month
Fees waived for customers under 25, students, and customers meeting other eligibility criteria
Fees can be waived if you deposit at least 2,000 AUD/month
|Interest earning opportunity||Link your account to a savings product to earn interest||Depends on account balance||Not applicable|
|ATM withdrawal fees||In network withdrawals can be free
5 AUD international fee
|In network withdrawals can be free
5 AUD international fee
|In network withdrawals can be free
Up to 5 AUD international fee
|Foreign transaction fee||2.2% – 3% depending on transaction type||3%||3%|
|International money transfer charges||10 AUD – 20 AUD for online payments, depending on the transfer type||10 AUD – 30 AUD for online payments, depending on the transfer type
Up to 15 AUD fee to receive an international payment
|6 AUD for most online payments
Up to 11 AUD fee to receive an international payment
|Account closure fee||No fee||No fee||No fee|
|Other notable features||Account comes with linked debit card||No overdrawn fees||Lots of ways to have the monthly fee waived, including holding a minimum balance in eligible Commbank accounts|
Pros and cons of bank checking accounts
- Reliable and familiar
- Branch service if you’d rather talk to staff directly
- Lots of different account options, many with ways to waive monthly fees
- Full range of account services from the same provider
- Fees can be fairly high – especially for international transactions
- Not all everyday accounts are interest earning
- Limited currency options – usually accounts can only hold AUD
To sum up: Whether or not you can get an account with no monthly fee from a traditional bank will depend a lot on your personal circumstances and whether you’re able to make minimum monthly deposits. While all the major Australian banks do have accounts which have ways to cut out monthly fees, they’re not always the most accessible, requiring around 2,000 AUD a month in deposits to be eligible. On top of that, there are transaction fees to consider, which can be pretty steep, especially if you’re transacting internationally.
Use this guide as a starting point to research which account will suit you best – you might find that an account from a fintech provider like Wise or Revolut is more flexible with lower overall fees.
How to choose a fee-free bank account?
Finding an account which is entirely fee free is going to be tricky. However, it’s still important to look for an account which will allow you to waive monthly fees, and which has low or no transaction fees for the specific services you need. The different banks have their own policies on fee waivers, so shopping around can help you pick the right one for your situation. You’ll also need to look carefully at transaction fees which can be steep, especially for any transaction involving currency conversion.
If you’re travelling frequently, or if you need to send and receive payments in a foreign currency, you’ll probably find an account from a modern specialist service like Wise or Revolut will serve you better. Accounts can hold and exchange multiple currencies, and the exchange rates used are usually far better than a bank rate, too.
Documents and eligibility
To open a bank account in Australia you’ll need to produce some documents for verification purposes. All accounts will need you to show your basic documents, but if you’re looking to get a fee free bank account on the basis of fulfilling additional eligibility requirements you’ll have to also bring along all the relevant evidence to back up your application.
Different banks do have their own application processes – however, normally to open a fee free account from a regular bank you’ll need:
- Proof of identity
- Proof of address
- Tax identification numbers for any country you’re tax resident in
If you’re applying for an account from a specialist online service like Wise or Revolut you’ll need to provide proof of ID and address. If you’re not based in Australia you may be able to use a foreign proof of ID to get your account set up.
When you might need a fee-free basic bank account
Everyday bank accounts which have no monthly charges – or easy ways to avoid monthly fees – can be especially handy if you’re new in Australia, if you have a fixed income, or if you’re a student for example. In fact, anyone who wants to bring down the costs of managing their money may find that a fee free everyday bank account is a useful tool for basic transactions. It’s just worth remembering that these accounts often don’t offer interest on your balance, which means they may not be suitable for people looking to invest and grow their assets.
Options when we can’t get a fee-free with your bank
If you’re planning to move to Australia then you’re probably looking for a fee free account to manage AUD. However, most Australian banks won’t let you get your account fully set up until you’ve arrived in the country – even if you can start your application in advance.
One good option in this case is to get an online account from a provider like Wise or Revolut. Depending on where you are in the world, you may be able to apply online with your normal ID and proof of address from your home country, to access an AUD balance, send and receive payments, and carry out a range of transactions. That can make the transition to your new life in Australia far easier – and may also cut your costs, too.
In reality, fee free banking doesn’t exist. It costs banks and providers when they offer financial services, and this cost is passed on to customers in the form of fixed account charges, transaction fees, or both. If you’re in Australia and want an everyday account from a traditional bank you may be lucky if you’re able to fulfil one of the criteria for a fee waiver. However, there are still transaction fees to think about, which can push up overall costs.
Alternatively, you may consider a modern specialist service like Wise or Revolut, for accounts with plenty of features, but relatively low fees. Depending on the account you pick you may also be able to avoid ongoing charges, minimum deposits or balance amounts. Easy.
Which banks have no monthly fees?
All of Australia’s major banks have everyday accounts which have ways to waive monthly fees. To avoid ongoing charges you may need to make regular deposits, often in the region of 2,000 AUD a month. If you don’t want to make regular deposits to your AUD account, check out online alternatives like Wise and Revolut which can often offer cheaper and more flexible options.
How to keep a transaction account fee free?
Even if you manage to have your monthly fees waived, you’ll likely need to pay charges for some transaction types. These fees are often high whenever there’s a different currency involved – for example, when you send money internationally or spend with your card overseas. To make sure you’re not paying unexpected charges you’ll need to review the fee information for your account, and avoid transactions which come with high charges.
Do transaction accounts pay interest?
Everyday bank accounts often don’t pay interest, although banks can link your day to day account to a savings account to give you more flexibility and options.