Switching bank accounts

Making the switch

There's no reason for you to stick with your bank account if you're unhappy. Here we explain how switching is a simple three step process from 1 July 2012.

Video: Paul Clitheroe on account switching

Australian banking reforms 2012 video

From 1 July 2012, switching your account from one financial institution to another will be a whole lot easier.

In this Australian Banking Reforms video, Paul Clitheroe explains some of the key changes that are designed to make financial institutions do the work for you. 

Find another transaction account

Look for an account that has lower fees, easier access, better service or a higher interest rate than the account you currently have.

If all your accounts are with one bank, check if you are getting their special package rate. If you switch one of your accounts you may lose this rate.

Before you open a new account, read the terms and conditions so you are aware of all the fees and charges. The last thing you want is to open a new account with higher fees than your current one.

Transfer your direct debits and credits

Once you choose a new account you have two options if you switch after 1 July 2012. Ask your new bank to help you switch or do it yourself. 

Ask your new bank to help

If you ask your new bank to help you switch they will contact your old bank to get a 13-month list of:

  • Direct debits (like gym membership or regular utility payments)
  • Direct credits (like your salary) 

Your new bank will give you the 13-month list so you can decide which regular direct debits or credits you would like to move across to your new account. You can ask your new bank for help with this process.

You can also authorise your new bank to give all of the relevant payees your new account details. 

Remember that the 13-month list will not include:

  • 'Pay anyone' payments (like 'fortnightly baby sitter' or 'monthly gardener' payments) 
  • BPAY payments
  • Recurring payments where you have supplied your debit card number

You will need to sort these out yourself and your new bank can show you how.

Do it yourself

If you want to make the switch yourself you should request a 13-month list of direct debits and credits from your old bank and take it to your new bank.

Ask your new bank to inform your relevant payees (i.e. direct debit payees and credit organisations) of your new account details.

Make sure you take across to your new account all the payments you have coming out of your old account, including:

Smart tip

Leave some money in the old account to cover any payments you may have forgotten. If you miss a payment you could be charged penalty fees.

  • Payments for insurance policies, electricity bills and health insurance 
  • Payments for personal loans or store credit cards 
  • Annual subscriptions or membership fees such as gym memberships and childcare fees 
  • Regular charity payments

You should also give your new account details to your employer, Centrelink and anyone else who pays you money.

Close your old account

You can close your old account once you have:

  • Transferred your direct debits and credits
  • Printed out your 'pay anyone' list and BPAY payments from your old online banking account
  • Notified all your merchants of your new debit card number or account number 

It's important that you eventually close your old account because even if it is empty you may still get charged account keeping fees. 

Ring your bank and find out what you need to do to close your account. They normally require you to go to the branch in person.

Switching bank accounts is easy so don't feel like you have to stay with the bank you've always been with. There are plenty of accounts to choose from that may better suit your needs.


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Last updated: 04 Nov 2013

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