Visa and MasterCard Debit Cards For Your Bank Account

Rates and Fees verified correct on July 6th, 2015

Enjoy the convenience of a credit card without the temptation of borrowing money.credit-vs-debit

A debit card is a linked card that sources its funds from your everyday transaction account. Because you're using your own money, these accounts are quite easy to open and to use. You don't need to worry about credit checks, interest repayments and interest free days.

If you'd like to learn more about these products, you can refer to the information below - or if you'd like to get started on your comparison right away, you can compare a range of products in the blue table below.

Compare transaction accounts

Rates last updated July 6th, 2015
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Savings Account Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Interest Rate p.a. Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
Citibank Plus Everyday Account
No monthly fee, a linked Visa Debit card and unlimited transactions.
Yes, Visa $0 0.00% $0 No ATM fees using Citibank, Westpac, BankSA and St .George branded ATMs. No international ATM or purchase fees. Open More
ING DIRECT Orange Everyday Account
Use every ATM in Australia for free (conditions apply) with no monthly fees.
Yes, Visa $0 0.00% $1,000 No monthly fees, and you can use any ATM in Australia for free when you deposit $1,000 each month e.g your salary. Open More
ANZ Access Advantage
Enjoy unlimited transactions using ANZ ATMs, ANZ Phone & Internet Banking, plus branch, cheque and EFTPOS. Conditions apply for monthly fee concession.
Yes, Visa $0 0.00% $2,000 No monthly account fee when you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Open More
HSBC Day to Day Transaction Account
Enjoy no monthly account-keeping fees, unlimited ATM transactions at over 3,000 HSBC, Westpac, St George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne ATMs, with no ATM fees.
Yes, Visa $0 0.00% $0 No ATM fees at over 3,000 HSBC, Westpac, St.George, Bank of Melbourne and Bank SA ATMs. Open More
Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account
Earn Qantas Points on your daily balance and eligible purchases and get a Debit MasterCard.
Yes, Mastercard $0 0.01% $2,000 *Pay no monthly account fees when you deposit at least $2000 into your account each month. Open More
Bankwest Easy Transaction Account
No monthly account fees when you deposit at least $2000 per month (e.g. salary). Plus $0 ATM fees at all major bank ATMs Australia wide. Fees, T&C's apply.
Yes, Mastercard $0 0.00% $2,000 Minimum deposit of $2,000 per month needed to waive the monthly account fee otherwise $6 monthly fee applies. Open More
QT Mutual Bank Everyday Account
Get a $50 cash back note when you open an account. First 100 customers only.
Yes, Visa $0 0.00% $2,000 No monthly fees when $2,000 is deposited into this account per month. No ATM fees when using the 3000 rediATMs in Australia. Open More
Westpac Choice
Deposit at least $2,000 per month and enjoy no monthly service fee. No ATM withdrawal fees charged by Westpac via their Global ATM Alliance partners.
Yes, Visa $0 0.00% $2,000 No ATM fees when using St.George / Westpac / BankSA ATMs. No monthly service fee if you deposit a minimum of $2000 per month. Open More
BankSA Complete Freedom Account
Enjoy a flexible transaction account with a linked Visa debit card and free unlimited transactions.
Yes, Visa $0 0.00% $2,000 No monthly account keeping fees when you deposit at least $2,000 in the account each month. Free access to BankSA, St.George, Westpac and Bank of Melbourne ATMs. Open More
St.George Complete Freedom Account
No account-keeping fees, if you deposit $2,000 per month plus no minimum balance required.
Yes, Visa $0 0.00% $2,000 No account keeping fees, if you deposit $2,000 per month plus no minimum balance required. No ATM fees when using St.George / Westpac / BankSA ATMs. Open More
St.George SENSE
Two joined accounts which together allow you to earn interest, save money and access funds through a Visa debit card.
Yes, Visa $0 1.95% $2,000 No ATM fee when using St.George, BankSA, Bank of Melbourne and Westpac ATMs (in Australia). No monthly service fee if you deposit a minimum of $2,000 per month. More
Bank of Melbourne Complete Freedom Transaction Bank Account
A flexible transaction account with optional VISA debit card which can be used at Westpac, St.George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne ATMs for free.
Yes, Visa $0 0.00% $2,000 No ATM fees when you use Bank of Melbourne, BankSA, St.George or Westpac ATMs. No monthly fees when you deposit at least $2000 into this account each month. Open More
BankSA Express Freedom Account
A transaction account with Visa debit card and no monthly fees if $1,000 is deposited into it each month.
Yes, Visa $0 0.00% $1,000 Avoid ATM fees when using BankSA, St.George, Bank of Melbourne and Westpac ATMs. Avoid the monthly fee if you deposit $1000 into this account each month. Open More
Bank of Melbourne Express Freedom Transaction Bank Account
A low fee transaction account with free unlimited banking transactions.
Yes, Visa $0 0.00% $1,000 No ATM fees when you use Bank of Melbourne, St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. No monthly fees if you deposit $1000 into your account each month. Open More

No fee transaction accounts and bank accounts

You may have an everyday transaction account and a savings account with the same bank, but your debit card is just linked to your transaction account. You can set your debit card to access your everyday transaction account by pressing the 'savings' or 'credit' option at an ATM or EFTPOS facility. Pressing 'credit' adds a level of security to your purchase, if your financial institution supports this feature.

Prepaid debit cards work in exactly the same way as a regular debit card in terms of making payment; however, the difference is that a prepaid card doesn’t access your bank accounts. Instead, you need to load cash into the account before you can make any payments. Any money you spend comes out of the funds you deposited, and not out of your regular bank account.

A prepaid debit card can be ideal for those intending to travel and who want an extra level of security for their bank accounts. The money you spend while on holiday is limited to the amount you deposited. If your card is lost or stolen, no one can access the cash you have remaining in your bank account – only the amount you’ve loaded into your card.

Click here to learn more about prepaid cards.


Debit cards vs credit cards in Australia

There are some strong debates about whether a debit card is better than a credit card for consumers within Australia. Using a debit card is a great way to avoid building up expensive credit card debt, as you’re only able to use your own money to pay for the things you need.

However, once you run out of cash you’re left short until next payday, unless you have an overdraft agreement in place with your card provider. This can be financially limiting for some people, especially if an unexpected bill or expense arrives and you really need the cash right now.

Paying for things on a credit card is the same as borrowing money at very high interest rates. If you’re not able to repay the amounts you spend, chances are you’ll end up paying a lot of interest every month, which increases your costs and makes it harder to pay off. For many, this can lead to a growing debt spiral that can be hard to regain control of.

Since debit cards were released in Australia, the Reserve Bank has reported an increase in the percentage of transactions being made using these accounts. At the same time, the percentage of transactions being made using credit card accounts is slowly declining.

This is a good indication that more Australians are actively trying to pay for their purchases using their own cash rather than relying on credit card debt.

For anyone who wants to stick to a budget and not build up credit card debt, using a debit card is a great option. You still have the flexibility of using your card to pay for transactions at ATMs, via EFTPOS transactions and you can use it to make remote payments as well, such as over the internet or the phone. If you’re actively trying to ensure that you never spend more than you earn, a debit card certainly helps you stay on track as you can only ever spend what’s in the account.

However, those who are financially disciplined can take advantage of paying for purchases using a credit card and pay no interest as long as they repay their balances in full before the due date. These types of customers can benefit by earning rewards points on the money they spend. They also know they won’t pay interest on money they borrowed from the bank, which allows them to keep their income and savings working harder for them during that time.

There may also be a benefit for some customers in using a credit card to purchase flights or to pay for travel expenses. Some credit cards offer generous travel insurance and purchase protection insurance policies as part of the account.

In more recent times there are some debit cards available that also offer these types of complimentary policies and some even offer the ability to earn rewards points too, so this advantage is less pronounced.

Click here to learn about reward transaction accounts.


Pros and cons

While there are some significant benefits to using a debit card, there are also some disadvantages to take into account. Here is a quick look at the pros and cons of using a debit card.

Advantages
  • Flexibility: you’re able to use a debit card to withdraw cash, pay for EFTPOS transactions or make remote payments over the internet or telephone
  • No interest charges: you won’t pay huge interest charges on the money you spend on a debit card
  • No debt: you only access your own cash with this type of account, so you’re not accumulating debt
  • ATM access: you’re able to withdraw cash from an ATM without fees.
  • Increased security for your cash: if your debit card is ever stolen or lost, you know that only the amount of money in your account is at risk.
  • Improved budgeting skills: if you’re trying to stick to a budget, a debit card is a great solution as you’re only able to spend the amount of money you have in your account. This is a good motivator for spending wisely.
Disadvantages
  • Limited to your own funds: some people may find it terribly inconvenient to be limited to spending only the amount of money they have in their account, especially if unexpected bills arrive and the account is empty.
  • Overdrawn account fees: if you’re not careful about monitoring the amounts you spend, it can be quite easy to overdraw your account. The fees charged on overdrawn accounts can become expensive.
  • Overdraft fees: if you regularly find that you spend all the money you earn and end up using your overdraft to pay for other items, the fees and charges on your overdraft can get expensive.

Even though there are some downsides to using a debit card, for most people they are much safer than using a credit card. As you’re only accessing your own cash, you have no risk of building up debt. You also don’t have to worry about the cost of high interest charges being added to your account on any money you can’t afford to repay, as you would with a credit card.

Overall, choosing to use a debit card can be the ideal way to develop some responsible financial habits. It is also an excellent way to motivate many people into learning how to stick to their budget.


How do debit cards work for businesses?

Many business owners take advantage of the interest free days available on their credit cards to improve business cash flow. Paying creditors at the beginning of the month keeps accounts in good standing order and gives the business owner a few weeks to repay those amounts. As long as the amounts spent are repaid in full before the statement due date, that business credit card account shouldn’t accrue any interest charges.

Aside from this, having access to funds on a business credit card can improve the purchasing power of some businesses. They’re able to pay for stock right now without having to wait for customers to pay money into the business.

However, if that business can’t repay the entire amount owing it will accrue interest charges that eat into the overall profitability of that enterprise. Likewise, if that credit card debt starts to spiral out of control during quiet seasons or slow cash flow periods, it can be difficult to find excess cash flow to start paying down that balance again.

Once that credit limit is maxed out, the business owner is forced to rely on cash flow coming into the business to keep operating – or apply for more credit, which is a risky alternative.

This is where business debit cards may offer some advantages to business owners. Any money used to pay for purchases or expenses comes out of the business transaction account. There is no debt accumulating and no interest charges eating into the business’s profits. You also still get the benefit of being able to make payments globally on your debit card, as Visa or MasterCard will process your payment in exactly the same way they would with a credit card payment, only the funds come out of your business transaction account instead.

Almost all businesses will need access to additional funds from time to time, but setting up an overdraft on a debit card can help with this factor. It’s still possible to pay for additional expenses that regular cash flow can’t cover, but the account will be put back into the black as soon as any payments are received into the business account.

Using a business debit card responsibly can greatly reduce the risk for business owners. Learning to operate the business accounts within only the amount of cash it earns keeps the business out of debt. Likewise, it forces business owners to consider purchases and expenses very carefully.

With all that in mind, there are some businesses that may not want a debit card due to the lack of flexibility it provides.

Businesses often spend more than a regular consumer. This allows them to take advantage of rewards programs attached to many cards. It also allows them to issue individual cards to employees, which can be the ideal way to track and monitor spending.

Banks are very aware of their business customers’ needs when it comes to credit and reporting. For this reason, many banks will issue credit card statements that make bookkeeping and records simpler and more streamlined for that business. Most allow you to import statements directly into your bookkeeping software to further streamline the reporting process. This can save an enormous amount of time and effort when reconciling accounts and adding up and accounting for business expenditure.

There is also the factor of building up a good credit relationship with a bank. Any business planning to borrow money in the future as part of a planned expansion may benefit by being able to show responsible conduct with a business credit card. This can lead to the bank issuing further lines of credit or increasing business overdraft facilities over time. With a business debit card, the issuing bank doesn’t actually have any knowledge of whether that business is able to responsibly repay a larger loan amount over a period of time.

Click here to learn more about business banking.


Things to watch out for when using a debit card

While debit cards are a convenient way to pay for things you want, there are still some things you need to watch out for.

You have the benefit of not building up any credit card debt. However, if there is no money left in your account, you’ll be unable to make any more purchases until you next get paid. For many, this can be the ideal motivator to avoid impulse spending. It also offers plenty of incentive to stick to your budget and avoid spending more than you earn.

If you’re not careful about monitoring your account balances, it can be easy to overdraw your account. If you don’t have an overdraft in place, the overdrawn fees can be costly. Likewise, if you often find that you’re spending your overdraft this should be a clear sign it’s time to cut back the spending a bit.

Some banks may also issue a ‘dual purpose’ card. This is a debit card that can also be used as a credit card. You’re given an approved credit limit that is called an overdraft that you can spend if you happen to run out of your own money. For those who are tempted to impulse shop, this type of dual account can make it very easy to start building up credit card debt all over again. Aside from this, the fees and interest charges on an overdraft are often higher than you would pay on a regular credit card.

Another thing to watch for with debit cards is how careful you are when shopping online or buying things overseas. Banks don’t offer the same level of fraud liability coverage for debit cards as they do for credit cards. This means if your account has fraudulent transactions and activity showing on it, you may find it can take a bit of time to prove these things to the bank and get your money back.


Using your debit card online or overseas

Using a debit card to pay for purchases when you’re overseas can be a great way to avoid carrying foreign currency with you. However, far too many people underestimate the actual cost of converting the Aussie dollars you have in your account right now over to the local currency of wherever you’re travelling.

Fees can be charged in either a percentage amount, a dollar amount or a combination of the two.

It is possible to obtain debit cards that won’t charge you a foreign transaction fee on the money you spend. However, you should also keep in mind that if you use your debit card to withdraw cash from an ATM overseas, the bank that owns the ATM may charge fees at their end anyway.

When it comes to shopping online, you can use your debit card in the same way as you would use a regular credit card. This lets you pay for items from international websites and get them shipped to Australia for you. Once again, most banks will charge you a foreign transaction fee for converting your Australian dollars over to another currency to pay for your purchase.

Always check your own bank’s fees and charges to confirm exactly how much you could be paying in international and foreign transaction fees on your debit card.

Click here to learn more about overseas-friendly debit cards.


How to make sure your debit card is protected

Keeping your card safe

Most people will find that the best way to protect their debit card is to keep it safe and make sure you always keep it in sight when using it at ATMs or when paying for things with merchants.

However, even the most vigilant cardholders can still fall victim to fraud and theft. To help you keep your debit card protected, here are some things you should consider:

Banking alerts: most banks will offer you the ability to receive a text message or an email alert any time your card is used to make a purchase. This might seem annoying if you make a lot of purchases on your card. However, it can also be excellent if you start noticing amounts you didn’t authorise being spent. Ask your bank if they can place a qualifying limit amount on your notifications. For example, you might only want to be alerted for any transaction over $50.

ATM skimming devices: criminals are notoriously clever about getting your card information even without you knowing it. In fact, there are numerous reports about skimming devices being fitted to ATMs around the country. These are sometimes very difficult to spot, but once you put your card into the machine, your information is being ‘skimmed’. While these skimming devices aren’t always easy to identify, keep your eyes open for any ATM that looks a bit odd or broken or unusual in any way.

Carry bank contact info: keep your bank’s contact information in your wallet or somewhere handy. If you ever find that your card has been lost or stolen, it’s important you contact the bank immediately to help protect your account.

Update your contact info: if you move or change your contact details, it’s important to inform your bank of those changes as quickly as you can. If they happen to notice fraudulent or suspicious activity on your account, they need to be able to contact you right away. As an example, many banks will immediately suspend an account if they notice that overseas transactions are being made on it and they haven’t been informed that you’re going away. They’ll just assume your card details have fallen into the wrong hands and they’ll do what they think is right to protect your account.


Other things you need to know about debit cards

  • No PIN and no signature debit cards. Some merchants have payment facilities that don’t need you to enter a PIN or sign a receipt in order to authorise your transaction. In most cases, these are limited to low value transactions of usually around $35 and under.
  • Chargebacks. If you find that you’ve paid for an item with your debit card and you don’t receive the goods, you may be able to request a chargeback from your bank. This means the bank will attempt to get your money back from that merchant for you.
  • You may also be able to request a chargeback if you find that you were charged twice for the same item. Keep in mind that you may not be able to ask your bank to arrange a chargeback if you paid for an item using BPAY.
  • Cash withdrawal. When you pay for goods using your debit card, some merchants may allow you to take cash out as part of the same transaction. For example, you might pay $72 for groceries and request that the transaction total comes to $100. This means the merchant will take $72 to cover the cost of your purchase and give you $28 in cash back. Your transaction figure on your statement will show $100.
  • Fees and charges. You should find that you’re able to make a number of free electronic transactions on your account each month. If you use your card more than this and you exceed your allowed transaction limit, you may be charged excess transaction fees.

Keep in mind that different fees may apply for different types of transactions. For example, transactions for ATMs and EFTPOS facilities may differ from online or phone banking transactions. Any transactions you make through the branch or over the counter may be charged at slightly higher fees.

Always check what fees and charges may apply to your own account, as these can vary wildly between banks.

Another fee that most people don’t take into account is the fee charged by another bank’s ATM. For example, if you have your debit card with Commonwealth Bank and you access a Westpac ATM, you may be charged a fee through your CBA account for accessing someone else’s machine, while the owner of the machine may also charge you a fee for using someone else’s card in their ATM.  The best way to avoid being charged this type of fee is to find an ATM owned by your own bank.

In some instances, you may find that banks have affiliations with other banks. This can extend the number of ATMs you can access without being charged foreign ATM fees. For example, if you have a Westpac debit card you’ll be able to access their ATMs, but also any St.George and BankSA ATMs around the country without incurring fees.


 

Debit card extras

Some banks are beginning to offer some of the same perks and benefits available on credit cards. If you shop around, it’s possible to find debit cards that let you earn rewards for each dollar you spend using your card. It’s always a nice idea to be rewarded for spending your own money.

Other cards are starting to include some of the complimentary insurance policies that are usually reserved for premium credit card accounts. These can include overseas travel insurance and purchase protection insurance.

It is always important to compare the options that will apply to your new debit card. Start a comparison today to find the best debit card for you.

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This page was last modified on 1 July 2015 at 9:44.

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18 Responses to Visa and MasterCard Debit Cards For Your Bank Account

  1. Default Gravatar
    Phil | June 10, 2015

    I am concerned about introduction of Pay Wave and Pay Pass
    functions by the card operators.
    Is there any that are available without these functions?

    • Staff
      Belinda | June 12, 2015

      Hi Phil,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      Pay Wave and Pay Pass functions offer the same level of security compared to conventional cards. However, if you’d like to enquire about accessing a debit card without these functions, you’ll need to contact your lender directly.

      Thanks,
      Belinda

  2. Default Gravatar
    WENDY | May 15, 2015

    will be in New York in July and looking at a debit card or travel card the will not attract fees, that i can add to before we travel . can you suggest something

    • Staff
      Belinda | May 18, 2015

      Hi Wendy,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      As finder.com.au is an online comparison service, we cannot recommend specific products.

      However, you may be interested to read more about travel cards with minimal fees.

      I hope this helps.

      Thanks,
      Belinda

  3. Default Gravatar
    Sue | March 19, 2015

    which banks offer business debit cards without having a transactional account for small business

    • Staff
      Shirley | March 19, 2015

      Hi Sue,

      Thanks for your question.

      To our knowledge there are no banks that offer business debit cards without a transaction account. This is because the funds need to come form a source, which is your transaction account.

      There are other options available – namely a business credit card or prepaid card.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  4. Default Gravatar
    Riki | February 5, 2015

    for the visa debit card do you have to take the card with which bank you have an account??

    • Staff
      Shirley | February 5, 2015

      Hi Riki,

      Thanks for your question.

      That’s correct, because your debit card is linked to your transaction account that is held by the bank.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  5. Default Gravatar
    John | November 21, 2014

    I am retired … have over 500,000 in various banks yet can not get a credit card due to yearly income requirements. Is there a Credit card out there for me?

    • Staff
      Shirley | November 21, 2014

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately most financial institutions require that you have a steady income stream or that you’re employed full time to be eligible for a credit card.

      You may want to opt for a low rate credit card, or speak to one of your banks that you currently hold money with to see what options are available for you.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  6. Default Gravatar
    Elvia | November 19, 2014

    I would like to know how long does it take to received the debit card, after application has been sent out.

    • Staff
      Shirley | November 20, 2014

      Hi Elvia,

      Thanks for your question.

      It typically takes between 1-2 weeks for the card and PIN to arrive. Please note that both are sent separately for security reasons.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  7. Default Gravatar
    | September 25, 2014

    Hello, I have a small business and am after debit/credit cards for my staff. Can I get 5 or 6 generic cards without having them individualised?
    My staff often travel in regional areas requiring fuel and accommodation. It is very difficult to personalise cards as staff come and go. Can you advise?

    • Staff
      Shirley | September 26, 2014

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately most card providers print your business name on the credit card underneath the cardholder’s name. You could possibly set it up so only the business name is printed on the card.

      Please get in touch with the credit card provider that you’d like to apply for to see if this is an option for you.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  8. Default Gravatar
    judi | October 2, 2013

    Citibank Plus Transaction Visa debit a/c.

    This is attached to a savings a/c, are there any fees associated with this attached a/c?

    • Staff
      Marc | October 3, 2013

      Hello Judi,
      thanks for the question.

      The Visa Debit is offered with the Citibank Plus Transaction account, and this has no monthly account keeping fees, nor fees for foreign transactions or withdrawing money from an international ATM.

      Cheers,
      Marc.

  9. Default Gravatar
    Simon | December 21, 2012

    Is there a debit card that offers frequent flyer points?
    Simon

    • Staff
      Adrian | December 21, 2012

      Hi Simon. There aren’t any cards I am aware of that offer points towards flights.
      All the best.

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