How to avoid bank penalty fees

The announcement of a class action against Australia's big banks for fee gouging reinforces why customers need to scrutinise their statements.
Learn more

03.How to avoid penalties

Here are some tips for avoiding fees:

  • Choose an account that doesn't charge penalty fees. Check the table for the big four banks.
  • Contact your bank and ask for penalties to be reversed. Many consumers have been successful at getting their penalty fees reversed or waived as a result of our campaign. Use our Letters and forms if you need help.
  • Know your account or card. Be familiar with how penalty fees are applied so you’ve better odds of avoiding them.
  • Know your incomings and outgoings. Check that expected payments have been made into your account, and be aware of the timing of direct debits, so that you have enough in your account to cover them.
  • Arrange for automatic payments to your credit card. They can be handy to ensure you at least pay your minimum monthly amount due each month, to avoid late payment fees.
  • Choose an account that charges lower penalties.
  • Open a basic account. If you’re eligible for a concession account, you can lower your general transaction fees, and some banks reduce your penalties too. Check what your financial institution offers. A number of banks have lower penalties for concession accounts.

Fair go on fees button 'Fair go on fees' is a joint campaign by Consumer Action Law Centre and CHOICE to end unfair bank penalty fees.


Sign up to our free

Receive FREE email updates of our latest tests, consumer news and CHOICE marketing promotions.

Your say - Choice voice

Make a Comment

Members – Sign in on the top right to contribute to comments