When it comes to stashing away your money in a safe place, getting a loan, credit, or investing, there are a litany of options available today.
- Award Winner 2022
With a high number of long-standing customers, some dating back to the bank’s opening in 1971, member-owned Queensland Country Bank has a dedicated number of satisfied customers.
- Transparency 4.7 (388)
- Customer Service4.8 (419)
- TopicsATM Experience (52), New Account (120), Loan Application (123), Credit Card Application (26), General Transactions (244) and Business Banking (35)
- Award Winner 2021
100% customer-owned Qudos Bank offers a broad range of financial products, with branches operating in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
- Transparency 4.7 (453)
- Customer Service4.8 (514)
- TopicsATM Experience (9), New Account (68), Loan Application (116), Credit Card Application (28), General Transactions (296) and Business Banking (35)
- Award Winner 2022
Previously named Mecu, Bank Australia is a customer-owned bank with 14 branches across Australia, full online and mobile banking options - and an incredibly high overall customer satisfaction rating.
- Transparency 4.7 (953)
- Customer Service4.7 (1,053)
- TopicsATM Experience (23), New Account (455), Loan Application (472), Credit Card Application (85), General Transactions (312) and Business Banking (51)
With a focus on crafting relationships with Australian businesses, Judo Bank specialises in business lending, and has mixed reviews from customers.
- Transparency 4.4 (329)
- Customer Service4.2 (346)
- TopicsATM Experience (1), New Account (229), Loan Application (1), Credit Card Application (2), General Transactions (111) and Business Banking (10)
An overwhelming majority of 5-star reviews awarded to Auswide Bank help support this 50+ year-old bank’s claim that while it’s a smaller bank, it makes a big difference when it comes to helping customers and communities.
- Transparency 4.0 (53)
- Customer Service4.0 (58)
- TopicsNew Account (15), Loan Application (32), Credit Card Application (3), General Transactions (20) and Business Banking (3)
- Transparency 3.4 (310)
- Customer Service3.5 (326)
- TopicsATM Experience (2), New Account (7), Loan Application (9), Credit Card Application (4), General Transactions (24) and Business Banking (4)
Latest review: I had decided to close my UP account, the reasons aren’t relevant, I sent a message on the app and was told there was a longer wait time then usual of about 14 days and I would get a message to u
- Transparency 3.2 (110)
- Customer Service3.1 (113)
- TopicsATM Experience (13), New Account (54), Loan Application (2), Credit Card Application (1), General Transactions (70) and Business Banking (4)
- Transparency 3.3 (85)
- Customer Service3.3 (90)
- TopicsATM Experience (2), New Account (15), Loan Application (41), Credit Card Application (3), General Transactions (47) and Business Banking (7)
Latest review: Waiting times are now way over 1hr in order to just get access to my funds. ING used to have great customer service when they were recruiting new customers, its such a shame to see them fall to
- Transparency 2.0 (342)
- Customer Service1.8 (362)
- TopicsATM Experience (23), New Account (58), Loan Application (76), Credit Card Application (20), General Transactions (210) and Business Banking (22)
ME (Members Equity) Bank offers a suite of banking products and services, including bank accounts, home loans, and personal loans.
- Transparency 2.3 (245)
- Customer Service2.3 (279)
- TopicsATM Experience (26), New Account (48), Loan Application (70), Credit Card Application (25), General Transactions (164) and Business Banking (15)
Latest review: On hold for ages, then they’re totally unhelpful when I did get through. Proceeded to read my recent purchases out to me, totally unprompted and irrelevant to what we’re talking about, and in what cam
- Transparency 1.9 (149)
- Customer Service1.8 (160)
- TopicsATM Experience (13), New Account (24), Loan Application (26), Credit Card Application (12), General Transactions (96) and Business Banking (29)
Latest review: Customer service is rubbish to country people. I have sat on the phone trying to contact the 24 hr line for over three quarters of an hour and still didn't get answered. Who do you think you are?
- Transparency 1.9 (93)
- Customer Service1.8 (103)
- TopicsATM Experience (6), New Account (14), Loan Application (40), Credit Card Application (6), General Transactions (53) and Business Banking (8)
Latest review: Applied for a credit card in January online. I was then offered loan refinancing that I agreed to look into. The card was put on hold whilst processing this. Months past with little to no follow-up
- Transparency 2.0 (65)
- Customer Service1.9 (74)
- TopicsATM Experience (5), New Account (10), Loan Application (39), Credit Card Application (7), General Transactions (37) and Business Banking (9)
Latest review: Terrible. Took 2 years to close an account, incompetent bank. Calls not returned, sat on hold for hours and hours until i hung up. Been hung up on, asked to speak to managers and told no. I was
- Transparency 3.3 (18)
- Customer Service3.2 (19)
- TopicsATM Experience (1), New Account (1), Loan Application (14), General Transactions (9) and Business Banking (2)
Latest review: The GOOD: competitive rates and the staff if you could be so lucky as to actually speak with someone are pretty personable. The BAD: shockingly bad communication, won’t email anything and so you have
- Transparency 2.6 (14)
- Customer Service2.5 (15)
- TopicsATM Experience (1), New Account (3), Loan Application (10) and General Transactions (2)
Latest review: Came across Ubank, the app is fine, the account linking is great, like the projected expenses etc, so I opened a new Spend/Save account with Ubank few days ago and deposited my savings, based on the
- Transparency 2.0 (273)
- Customer Service1.7 (291)
- TopicsATM Experience (7), New Account (75), Loan Application (94), Credit Card Application (1), General Transactions (149) and Business Banking (11)
Latest review: -I have been a greater building society member for over 20 years. I recently had to initiate a charge back for an item I purchased online (the first chargeback I have ever had to do) and had all the
- Transparency 1.4 (31)
- Customer Service1.5 (35)
- TopicsATM Experience (1), New Account (5), Loan Application (9), Credit Card Application (2), General Transactions (21) and Business Banking (4)
Latest review: I understand fully the difficulty in obtaining staff during Covid. What I can't understand is how the bank with all its resources can't deploy necessary staff to the Woodside Branch when there are no
- Transparency 1.8 (44)
- Customer Service1.8 (53)
- TopicsATM Experience (4), New Account (10), Loan Application (19), Credit Card Application (7), General Transactions (23) and Business Banking (5)
Latest review: Bankwest is been a trusted reliable bank over last more than 25 year and has changed my life for better and always had an extraordinary customer service . Today I received an extraordinary customer
- Transparency 1.7 (211)
- Customer Service1.6 (238)
- TopicsATM Experience (7), New Account (42), Loan Application (42), Credit Card Application (41), General Transactions (136) and Business Banking (42)
Latest review: Their customer service is appalling. Over a 4 month period I emailed and called my loan manager at the Bendigo Branch about my new loan and a redraw facility, but she never responded. Once lockdown
- Transparency 1.6 (110)
- Customer Service1.7 (122)
- TopicsATM Experience (6), New Account (18), Loan Application (44), Credit Card Application (26), General Transactions (50) and Business Banking (13)
Types of Banks
Also called digital-only banks or neobanks (meaning 'new banks'), online-only banks are rightly a newer addition to the banking market.
It's important to note that online-only banks are designed to be 100% online - they have no physical branches you can visit. This also differentiates them from online banking options offered by traditional banks, such as Netbank and Westpac online banking.
- Transaction accounts and savings accounts
- Digital payment and money transfer
- Home loans or other small loans are sometimes offered
Services often unique to online-only banks
- Instant loan approval
- Digital wallets such as Samsung Pay, Apple and Google Pay
- Virtual cards
- Online sign up vs in-branch sign-up
- Spending trackers and budget setting
How safe are online only banks?
Online only banks are as safe as traditional banks and customer-owned banks. This is because to trade as a bank, they're required to be licensed by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority as ADIs - Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions. This means deposits of up to $250, 000 are protected under the government's Financial Claims Scheme - and that your dealings with licensed online-only banks are safe.
Online-only banks tend to use similar security measures as the internet banking portals of bigger banks, such as multi-factor authentication and biometrics. Since most online banks are still pretty new, they are often designed with advanced digital security measures.
Privately Owned Banks
Privately-owned banks are also known as traditional banks, chartered banks, retail or commercial banks. They’re probably also what first springs to mind when you think of a bank.
They include the ‘Big 4’ Banks - Commbank, NAB, Westpac and ANZ. These banking giants have the lion’s share of banking customers in Australia, and they also own smaller subsidiary companies. For example, Westpac owns both St. George Bank and RAMS, and Bankwest, including the Bankwest online banking portal, is owned by the Commonwealth Bank.
Privately owned banks offer a diverse range of banking services, often thanks to a combination of physical bank branches and online banking options.
These services include: Bank accounts and savings accounts, home loans, credit cards, reward credit cards, term deposits, personal loans, car loans, online banking portals, debit cards and international money transfer.
There are also plenty of smaller privately owned banks, which often service a particular state, such as the Queensland Country Bank.
Local banks often have more of a community focus than big banks, and while their profits aren’t shared by members, sometimes their benefits are reported to be more similar to customer-owned banks rather than big banks.
Customer-owned banks include mutual banks, credit unions and building societies.
While a mutual bank has taken the administrative steps required by APRA to be called a 'bank' instead of a credit union, these three bank sub-types are very similar in operation. Importantly, they’re all owned by their customers or members, rather than private investors or shareholders.
The ethos of customer-owned banks is that profits go into improving products and customer service, rather than solely making a bank’s private stockholders and Board of Directors richer.
Customer-owned banks usually offer the same range of banking services provided by the bigger players, including lending products (home loans, personal loans, car loans and credit cards) and deposit products (savings accounts and term deposits).
In addition to reinvesting profits back into benefitting members, often customer-owned banks adopt more of a community focus in a broader sense.
For example, Bank Australia - the top rated bank on ProductReview.com.au - has a 927 hectare Conservation Reserve in Victoria, created for the purpose of wildlife and land conservation.
A fair few customer-owned banks also actively avoid lending money to the fossil fuel industry unlike the Big 4 Banks.
Teachers Mutual Bank was even recognised in 2019 as one of the ‘World’s Most Ethical Companies’ by the Ethisphere Institute.
What else to look for in a bank
Competitive rates and fees
- Interest rates: There will likely be a number of complex variables to consider, such as the way interest is charged (e.g. fixed rate, variable rates, partially-fixed rates, etc.) However, generally, the interest rate should be high for a return on savings and other investments, and low if you're purchasing a lending product - for example, a home loan.
- Account keeping fees: Many banks today have zero monthly account-keeping fees. This should especially be the case if you're a full-time student. While some banks have a seemingly low fee of around $5 per month, this can add up over time ($300 in 5 years). You'll likely be happier keeping this money in your proverbial pocket.
- Other conditions, fees and charges: These can include penalty fees for an overdrawn account, phone banking fees, ATM fees and overseas transaction fees. In terms of conditions, you may only qualify for bonus interest rates for a savings account if you meet the minimum monthly deposit amount, don't withdraw any money, and have a linked transactions account with the same bank.
If customer service is important to you, it can be helpful to do a bit of research and read reviews, to find out which banks perform the best in this area.
If talking to a person to help you with your banking is a priority to you, you might prefer banks with physical branches and a reliable phone banking service. Online-only banks mainly have chatbots, so it's up to you whether this counts as a personalised customer service experience.
Convenience is subjective. For some people, being able to do all their banking on a smartphone app is convenient, and to others, popping into a bank branch on their lunch break is more convenient. Banks with a healthy number of ATMs also get extra points for convenience, as you won't be hit with annoying transaction fees each time you withdraw.
If you have a wealth portfolio - for example an investment property - you may like to take advantage of private banking services, and a traditional bank may be more convenient for you.
In short, consider what would be convenient for your banking purposes and your lifestyle, and factor this into the decision of which bank to go with.
How transparent and open a bank is about its business practices is important. According to the ABA'a Banking Code of Practice 2020, transparency for a bank mainly involves: clear and timely communication, as well as engaging in accountable dealings with customers.
What this involves will depend specifically on the time of service offered. For example, according to the Code of Practice, customers should be notified of transaction fees before they're incurred. For credit cards, customers should be reminded when an introductory offer is about to end, and credit-card holders should be able to reduce credit limits or close their accounts online.
To get a better overall picture of a bank's transparency, reading real-to-life reviews from customers of Australian banks can be helpful.Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general information only. It should not be taken as constituting professional advice from the website owner - ProductReview.com.au. ProductReview.com.au is not a financial adviser. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the website information relates to your unique circumstances. ProductReview.com.au is not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information provided directly or indirectly, by use of this website.