Know your bank fees, then save

Bank fees are a fact of life these days but taking a little time to understand how they are applied can help customers compare different accounts and keep fees to a minimum. Unfortunately the task has become a little a harder with a number of institutions, notably the National Australia Bank, implementing fee rebate schemes which have changed the way they charge fees on transaction accounts. Depending on the bank, transactions fees may now be subject to an overall monthly free-transaction allowance. And this allowance may vary depending on how important a customer is to the bank.AMP Banking, Advantage Credit Union (VIC), Adelaide Bank and Illawarra Credit Union (NSW) have also implemented similar fee structures. NAB still offers a number of free transactions each month, but rather than specifying how many of each type are free, (eg. four ATM withdrawals, two over-the-counter) customers are given an allowance each month to cover transactions. Customers pay for the value of any transactions once this allowance is exceeded. NAB allows $6 worth of transactions each month on some accounts. At the end of the month the bank will rebate the account up to $6 as an offset against any transaction fees incurred. As before, each type of transaction has a set fee attached: Over the counter withdrawals are $3 per transaction so a customer could use the allowance to make two free branch withdrawals per month. But an ATM withdrawal attracts a fee of just 60c so a customer could alternatively make ten free ATM transactions – or five ATM and one over-the-counter. And it doesn't stop there. For every $5000 held in loan and deposit accounts NAB customers will enjoy a further $1 in rebates. Other institutions offer similar concessions. The Commonwealth Bank offers its home loan customers full rebates on certain transaction account fees in addition to the normal quota of free transactions offered on the account. Fees also apply for phone banking, internet banking and EFTPOS transactions. See our comparison table on transaction account fees. for further information. Read BankChoice's Tips & Tricks on ways to identify the account that best suits you, reduce fees or avoid them altogether.