Australia’s best bank accounts for 2021
While a shoebox under the bed may have seemed a logical place to store your pocket money as a kid, you’ll undoubtedly need a bank account to function in 2021.
A transaction account is generally a necessity for making online payments and using your money day-to-day, whether that’s via mobile payments, through a linked debit or credit card, or by withdrawing good old fashioned cash.
However you use it, you want the absolute best bank account to suit your circumstances. Luckily, the Mozo experts are here to help you find that glass slipper fit for your banking needs.
Each year we go on a fact-finding mission to uncover the best bank accounts in Australia in the Mozo Experts Choice Bank Accounts Awards^. In 2021, the expert judges assessed 144 personal transaction accounts from 81 financial institutions.
At the end of their research expedition, they uncovered an impressive contingent of bank accounts across the award categories of Exceptional Everyday Account, Student Bank Account and Pensioner account.
So you can start comparing bank accounts for yourself, we’ve done a wrap-up of some of this year’s winning everyday accounts.
Exceptional bank accounts in 2021
Suncorp Everyday Options
- 9 sub-accounts to help manage cash
- 0.05% interest on all sub-accounts
- No account-keeping fees
The standout feature of Suncorp’s award-winning Everyday Options account is undoubtedly its sub-account system. Users can create up to 9 sub-accounts to divide savings and spending goals. These are all accessible online, have no account-keeping fees and have unlimited withdrawals to and from the main account. And as a bonus, you can earn up to 0.05% interest on each sub-account. Interest-earning capability is an unusual feature for a transaction account, so this is handy if you like streamlined banking (keep in mind interest is paid half-yearly). Other great features include fee-free EFTPOS, phone and internet banking, as well as branch and RediATM access.
Citi Global Currency Account
- Stores 10 currencies in the one account
- No monthly fees or overseas ATM fees
- Up to 0.75% p.a. interest on AUD balances above $25,000
The Citi Global Currency Account provides an everyday bank account and a multi-currency travel card all-in-one. It can hold up to 10 different currencies which you can switch seamlessly between for complete control over your money no matter where you are. There are no monthly fees and no overseas ATM or transaction fees as long as you are withdrawing a currency which you hold in the account. There’s also no foreign exchange fee, but if you are withdrawing cash in a currency that’s not in the account, you will pay a 2.50% foreign exchange fee. As an added bonus for keen savers, there’s also 0.75% interest up for grabs on Australian dollars in the account for balances over $25,000.
ING Orange Everday
- No monthly account fees (with conditions)
- No ATM withdrawal fees overseas or in Australia
- Round-up feature for savings goals
If you're a fan of the ING Everyday Orange bank account, you'll be are big on convenience and love avoiding fees. This account has no ongoing fees and as long as you deposit at least $1,000 a month into your account (from an external bank account, like your salary) and make at least 5 card purchases each month using your ING debit card. By satisfying this criteria, you also won't have to pay any ATM fees in Australia or overseas, and you'll even be reimbursed for any external bank ATM fees. You can also opt-in for the everyday round-up feature, where purchases you make on your card are rounded up to either $1 or $5. Then, the remaining dollars and cents are deposited into your chosen ING savings account where they can earn interest.
What to look for when choosing the best bank account for you
Fees, accessibility and features are some things to consider when choosing a bank account. To evaluate each of these, you will want to consider how you are going to be using the account. Will it be credited with a regular paycheque? If yes, you may not need to worry about a monthly account keeping fee, as there’s a chance the bank will waive it. Although we would definitely recommend checking whether or not the bank does do fee waivers, before opening an account.
Accessibility is important too, especially if you intend to use this bank account for your everyday transactions. Cash users may want access to a wide ATM network, while those who prefer checking their balance online will likely be after a decent internet banking experience. A lot of bank accounts also come with useful features to help you save money. These can include reminders to transfer money into a linked savings account, a round-up tool and spending insights.
What will the best bank accounts offer?
While no one bank account can be called the ‘best’ for everyone, some may come with more perks than others. These could include low fees, internet banking and ATM access and savings tools. Ideally you will want an account that offers all of these things. However, it’s probably not realistic to expect any account to be a perfect match. For this reason, you may need to weigh up what matters most to you.
How to choose the best bank account
So we’ve established that no one bank account can be called ‘the best’. However, there may be one that is more suited to your individual needs. To compare bank accounts, you will want to decide on what matters most to you. Things to consider might be:
- Fees, e.g. monthly account keeping fees, transaction fees and so forth
- Accessibility, i.e. via internet banking, bank branches or ATMs
- A smooth banking app, e.g. one that has lots of useful tools and insights
- International fees, i.e. the foreign exchange commission, overseas ATM fees etc.
- Potential savings accounts that can be linked to the bank account
Once you know what you want from an account, you can then evaluate each one. Your criteria can be used to make a shortlist of bank accounts to consider.
Are these bank accounts best for me?
We have provided some of our information about products which have been given Mozo’s seal of approval through the Mozo awards. Ultimately, you will need to consider your priorities and financial needs to identify which options are best for you. Be sure to read the information provided on a product issuer’s website before making a decision.
How does Mozo decide on the best bank accounts?
For the Mozo Experts Choice Award for Exceptional Everyday Account our research team scored transaction accounts available in the Mozo database against a long list of criteria. To be considered for the award, bank accounts had to charge no account-keeping fees, ATM or electronic transaction fees when used as a main account with regular monthly deposits.
The judges also took note of bank accounts offering extra customer value. Things such as a 0% foreign exchange commission, rewards points, platinum benefits and a fee waiver set some accounts apart from the rest. Using these findings, the team drew up a shortlist of bank accounts and then evaluated which on the list came with even more value than the rest.
Other award-winning 2021 bank account options
The accounts listed above weren’t alone on the winner’s podium. Other bank accounts which also took home gold in the Exceptional Everyday Account category this year were:
- Macquarie Transaction Account and Platinum Transaction Account
- 86 400 Pay Account
- Australian Military Bank Military Rewards Account
- BOQ Specialist Everyday Plus Account
- Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account
- Citi Transaction Account
- CUA Everyday Snap Account
- UBank USpend Transaction Account
- Up Everyday Account
Macquarie also took out the Mozo title of Everyday and Savings Bank of the Year in 2021, with numerous award wins across banking and savings award categories.
Student Bank Accounts
So students can kick-off their banking journey on the right foot, Mozo also investigated accounts specifically for students aged under 24. The expert judges took careful consideration of things like low international transaction fees, as many students and younger Aussies shop at online stores from around the world, and are looking for an affordable way to make these purchases.
Pensioner Bank accounts
Pensioner accounts were also assessed in their own award category, so retirees can manage their balance and pension income while earning some interest and using the account for daily banking needs. The five gold medal-winning pensioner accounts in 2021 are:
^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Bank Account Awards
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