TRANSACTION ACCOUNTS INFORMATION

Please see information on Transaction Accounts below.

        

What are Transaction Accounts?

A transaction account is the most commonly used bank account and is offered by most banks and building societies in Australia. It offers a straightforward way for you to access and manage your money and when it is 'in credit' then it will earn interest.

When looking for a transaction account, there are one or two things to look for and compare like how can you access your account? Are you able to make ATM withdrawals? What type of card is offered with the account?

Who can Get a Transaction Account?

This depends on your personal circumstances. If the bank thinks that you won't be able to cope with some of the aspects of a transaction account, it might offer you a more basic version.

To open an account, you MAY need:

  • to be at least 18 years of age.
  • to be a full Australian resident.
  • to provide ID (with photo) issued under Australian State or Territory Law.
  • to provide proof of address.
  • might undergo a credit check.

Please note that terms of use vary according to financial institution and account type this also applies to any eligibility rules.

How do I open an Account?

Most Australian banks and building societies will offer to help you open a transaction account online, over the phone or in person at your nearest branch.

When you request to open an account, the bank representative will go over their transaction accounts and should explain what each one offers. They should be clear and happy to explain things that you don't understand. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

They will help you to choose the right account for your personal circumstances and will then ask you for the necessary documents and proof of identification (as mentioned above).

How can I Access my Money?

To gain access to your money, your account provider might offer you a debit card or credit card. A debit card is simply a way to make payments online, in stores and restaurants and to make ATM or EFTPOS withdrawals.

A credit card will only be offered to you if you meet with certain criteria following a credit check as it allows a person to access a line of credit (borrowing).

What are the Fees?

A transaction account might carry a monthly fee called the maintenance fee. This varies according to account but can be as low as under $4. Some accounts offer zero monthly fees just shop around.

Here are some other fees you might encounter:

Personal Honour Fee this is charged if you make a payment while your account has insufficient funds within it.

ATM, withdrawal fees and transaction fees you might be charged for withdrawing money from ATM or EFTPOS machines or for making transactions between your account and another. Check what these are and if there are ways of avoiding them.

How can I manage my Account?

Once you have found an account which suits your spending habits and needs, you can manage it quite easily. You might opt to receive paper statements on a regular basis, or you might prefer just electronic online statements.

It is wise to regularly look through your bank statements and account activity. This is the first step to preventing fraud.

For instance, you might notice that some small transactions have taken place which you didn't carry out how did they get there? Contact your bank or building society immediately if you notice anything strange about your account balance.

Online banking is a very popular way to manage your account, and it allows you to access your money from anywhere in the world. Your bank will give you an online facility which has a secure log-in system. From your online account you can make transactions/payments, request a credit card and many more features.

Account Terms

By opening an account, you are effectively setting up an agreement with the bank. They will set out their terms and conditions make sure you read ALL of the small print and you should be clear about what charges are involved.

To prevent any mishaps or fees, try to keep within your account limit and make sure you have sufficient funds within it to make payments.

This is especially important if you have automatic payments coming out of your account on a regular basis.

The bank might make changes to their account terms but they must inform you in good time.

What are Savings Accounts?

Many people in Australia want to make their money grow and accumulate over the years. They might do this for a variety of reasons maybe you want to have money put aside for your child's education, or perhaps you want extra security for when you reach retirement.

Whatever your reason, there are lots of ways of adding to your personal wealth. You could invest it directly by trading shares, or you could put a portion of it into an investment fund. These carry a constant risk to your money as they rely on the ever-changing financial market.

By far the most 'safe' way of accumulating money is by putting it into a savings account. A savings account will look after your money and allow it to build up interest over time. At the same time, that money is protected by a 'tax wrapper' it is not subject to capital gains tax.

Where can I get a Savings Account?

Savings accounts are offered by many of Australia's banks and also by some independent providers. They might even have a range of savings accounts, with differing features such as a fixed interest rate or term. Take your time and weigh up the options to get the best deal.

What Account Types are there?

You can generally choose from two main savings account types:

  • Fixed Term Deposit.

A fixed-term deposit is a savings account which offers a higher rate of interest than a standard one. In return for this, the account holder has to commit their money to that account for a set period of time and generally the longer this period is, the higher the rate of interest earned. During that period, the money in the account cannot be accessed or withdrawn.

  • At-Call Savings Account.

An at-call savings account allows the holder to access the funds any time. However, some financial institutions might restrict the withdrawal access and you may only be able to access funds during opening hours. Withdrawals can take up to 24 hours to process or the company might allow ATM withdrawals for instant access and even internet access.

You'll notice that banks and other financial institutions that offer savings accounts might give them their own brand name (such as the 'HSBC Serious Saver') but they will mostly fall into one of the two categories above.

However, they will carry varying features, plus- and minus points, extras and so on so do spend some time shopping around.

Who can Apply for a Savings Account?

Opening a savings account is like opening any regular transaction account at the bank.

  • You will generally need to be at least 18 years of age to open an account, although you might be able to open it on behalf of someone else a child, for example.
  • You may need to be able to link your savings account to another Australian deposit account with the same company though this may not always apply.
  • You will probably need to be a full Australian resident.
  • You might need a minimum opening balance or there may be no minimum. Check this with the provider.

Are there any Account Fees?

This varies according to company and account type. Some providers might charge admin or management fees, others will charge nothing at all. Another aspect to add to your comparison check list when looking for an account!

How does the Money earn Interest?

Interest on your savings is usually paid on a monthly basis. If you make a withdrawal or account closure, interest will not necessarily be payable that month.

So, as every 28th of the Month falls, interest is paid on your savings (the date changes when a public holiday or weekend falls on the 28th). Interest is calculated daily per a certain amount say, $1,000,000.

What are the Benefits of Savings Accounts?

A savings account carries many benefits:

  • Building up existing money and making it grow over time.
  • 'Safe' way to invest/save money.
  • Large variety of account types.
  • Can fix interest to protect against rate changes.
  • Extra money aside for when you need it later.

Savings accounts provide one of the safest ways to grow money. Unlike trading on shares or derivatives or putting money into a collective fund, your money is not at risk of losing value. It is not exposed to the volatile financial markets it can just sit undisturbed and collect up interest until you need it.

Are there any Disadvantages?

Savings accounts do not provide much in the way of disadvantages, but there are one or two drawbacks:

  • You might not earn that much interest not much growth.
  • Interest rates change.
  • You could make more significant growth with investment plans.

Savings accounts are useful but they may not accumulate a significant amount some accounts don't earn that much interest, and if your rate is not fixed then the funds will earn less or more interest as the base rate changes.

You might opt for a fixed term account and then regret it but it is locked away so remember to think carefully before you choose an account.

Putting your money in investment plans or trading might be more risky, but the rewards can be much more significant than from a savings account. What you choose to do with your personal wealth is up to you if you are less prepared to deal with risk then a savings account is a much safer option than other investment instruments.

        


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