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Banks rake in $4.19 billion in fees from households - featured image
By Brett Warren

Banks rake in $4.19 billion in fees from households

Banks charged customers an eye-watering $4.19 billion dollars in bank fees last year, according to the latest figures released from the Reserve Bank of Australia. analysis shows this equates to $441 per household in bank fees a year. Money Kids

While the overall total fees paid by households is down from the previous year, credit card fees have clocked in at $1.71 billion - an increase of $36 million from the year before and the highest annual total on record.

The biggest drop was in fees from transaction accounts, following the scrapping of ATM fees by Australia’s major banks in late 2017.

These  figures show a 20.4 per cent drop in transaction account fees from the year prior, a decrease of $223 million.

How much Australian households spent on bank fees in 2018:

Key categories


Change from

last year

Credit cards

$1.71 billion


Home loans:

$1.17 billion


Transaction accounts

$869 million


Personal loans

$341 million


Other deposit accounts

$42 million



$4.19 billion


 Source: RBA domestic banking fee income 2018, released June 20, 2019 research director Sally Tindall said:

“Australian households are throwing $441 a year down the drain in bank fees, despite the fact there are good, fee-free products on the market.

“People often see fees as annoying but unavoidable. That’s not necessarily true. In most cases you can escape paying fees by picking fee-free products or haggling with your bank to have them waived,” she said.

“Credit cards are the worst offender and today’s data shows the problem is growing. Firstly, the fees can climb as high as $1,200 a year and secondly, a lot of Australians have more than one card burning a hole in their pocket,” she said.


  • Call your bank and ask them to waive any fees you are paying. Arm yourself with three examples of low or fee-free products before you call.
  • When shopping for a home loan, check the comparison rate of any potential home loan to give you an indication of hidden costs.
  • When taking out a new loan or refinancing, ask your lender to waive any fees. Chances are they’ll want your business enough to say yes.
  • If you have a rewards credit card, assess whether you are getting enough value out of the program to cover the costs of the annual fee (and any other charges you might be paying).
  • Opt for a low-fee transaction account that offers ATM rebates and waives overseas transaction fees.


Around 27% of home loans have no upfront fees and around 8% of home loans on the database have no upfront or ongoing fees.

Fee free options:



Upfront fees

Ongoing fees

Ongoing variable rate

Macquarie Bank

Basic Home Loan





Variable Home Loan





Back to Basics





Flexi First Option Home Loan




CREDIT CARDS data shows there are 28 cards with no annual fees.

Some cards with no annual fee:



Annual fee

Interest rate


American Express

Low Rate



Low rate


No Annual Fee Mastercard



Rewards points


Premier World (Rewards Plus)



Rewards points


Transaction accounts with no fees or low fees 



Monthly fee

Other fee waivers

ING Direct

Orange Everyday


No ATM fees in Aus or overseas. Third party ATM fees rebated. No currency conversion fees.

Macquarie Bank

Transaction account


No ATM fees in Australia or overseas. Third party ATM fees waived but only in Australia. No currency conversion fees.

ME Bank

Everyday Transaction Account


No ATM fees in Australia. Third party ATM fees waived. International fees to apply however.

Sources:, RBA domestic banking fees income, ABS household projections.

About Brett Warren Brett Warren is National Director of Metropole Properties and uses his two decades of property investment experience to advise clients how to grow, protect and pass on their wealth through strategic property advice.
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