Ask LH: What’s The Best Bank Account For A New Worker?

Dear Lifehacker, Can I ask you (and Lifehacker readers) if anyone knows the best bank account to open. I am starting my first job and I am still in high school and won’t be earning huge bucks, so the less I have to pay to the banks for looking after my money the better. Thanks, Cashed-Up Noob

Dear Cashed-Up Noob,

Hope the new job goes well. Financial comparison sites such as Mozo offer useful lists of savings accounts to help you narrow down your choices, so that might be a sensible place to start.

NAB has made a big noise recently about not charging any account fees on its standard accounts, so that’s an obvious option to consider if you’re keen to use one of the ‘big four’ banks (NAB, ANZ, Westpac or Commonwealth). Credit unions often don’t have account-keeping fees either, though you’ll need to pay a membership fee on joining.

To keep fees minimal, you need to ensure that you only use ATMS that don’t charge additional fees — if there’s an ATM you expect you’ll use regularly near where you live, work or shop, that can be an influencing factor. (We’ve got a list of which financial institutions offer free access to ATMs.)

If you’re planning to save your money over an extended period, then an online-only savings account will offer a much better interest rate than a standard transactional account and generally won’t have fees. Most banks and credit unions offer an online-only option, sometimes under a different brand to their main operation. However, withdrawing cash is often restricted to transferring it into a different bank account, so this isn’t great if you’re going to want occasional EFTPOS access.

With those thoughts, I’ll turn the question over to the masses. Any good bank account suggestions for a new worker, dear readers?


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