Whether you’re a sole trader, running a limited liability business, or sorting out the finances for a huge multinational, one thing is always the same: you need a decent business bank account. Every single business owner needs to have confidence they’re banking with the institution that’s best suited to them.
One option that many Australian businesses consider is Commonwealth Bank, also known more briefly as CommBank. One of Australia’s “Big 4” banks, CommBank offers financial products from personal and business accounts through to help with home buying, financial planning and much else. But how do their business accounts stack up?
This article will tell you what you need to know about CommBank’s business accounts.
CommBank keeps things relatively simple when it comes to business bank accounts. There are 2 primary offerings to choose from:¹
- Business Transaction Account
- Premium Business Account
Those 2 are both current accounts. As you’d expect, there are also business accounts for savings – a Business Online Saver and a Standard Term Deposit account – and there are some more specialised products available too: a FarmManagement Deposit Account and a Society Cheque Account.
But, chances are, you’ll already know if you need one of those more specific types of accounts. In this article, the focus will be on the main, everyday accounts for businesses with relatively conventional demands.
CommBank’s most popular account for businesses is the Business Transaction Account. It’s designed for businesses with relatively simple accounting needs, although it’s not just for beginners. Here are some of its key features.³
- If you’re a sole trader or if you direct a private company, you can open it online. You can expect an especially fast opening time if your business is already with CommBank.
- The account costs $10 monthly.
- You get 20 free transactions (e.g. cash deposits) per month, after which you have to pay per transaction. (Electronic transactions are unlimited.)
- The account comes with a business Visa debit card that you can use with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.
- There are various other perks including accounting software integration and business insights. You can do mobile banking via the app.
As the name suggests, the Premium Business Account is a step up. It’s designed for larger businesses, with higher volumes of transactions. Here’s what you get:⁴
- As with the Business Transaction Account, it’s possible to open online if you’re already with CommBank and it’s just you in charge of the business. Otherwise, you should head into a branch.
- It costs $15 per month, but only if your balance is below $15,000 – otherwise, it’s free.
- You get 40 free transactions a month instead of 20. (And again, electronic transfers are unlimited.)
- Your account will earn interest on balances over $5,000. You can link it to a Business Online Saver account to increase your interest yield over $10,000.
- This account also gives you the same additional perks as the Business Transaction Account.
Both the business accounts mentioned above come with a debit card. CommBank also offers a range of credit cards to businesses. Depending on your business’s needs, you might be interested in a Low Rate, Awards, Interest-Free Days or Corporate credit card.⁵ Or, of course, you might be fine with just the debit card.
CommBank have plenty of options, but they’re not the only place you can look. If your business operates across borders, then TransferWise for Business could be worth a look too. There’s no monthly fee at all, but you can hold money in not just Australian dollars but 40+ currencies, and you even get account details in 5: Australian, New Zealand and US dollars, British pounds, and euros.
Because TransferWise always offers the mid-market rate, international payments are always great value. You can integrate with Xero, set up batch payments, and use the open API, too.
Anyhow, back to the CommBank business accounts.
In order to get your account, you’ll need to do the following:
- Provide details about you and your business: who you are, and what your business does.³
- Give contact details for directors and owners, which CommBank will follow up on.³
- You’ll need to provide different documents depending on what sort of business you have. A sole trader needs to provide business name, address, ABN (if you have one) and your industry type or code, plus some personal ID.⁶ A listed public company, on the other hand, will need to provide the ACN, and the company will need to have all the appropriate registrations.⁷ Make sure you have the appropriate business licenses and so on.
The fees that you’ll be charged by CommBank naturally depend on what sort of account you use, as well as what you end up using the account for. If you’re likely to get through more than 20 or 40 non-electronic transactions per month, you’ll need to make sure you know exactly what each transaction will cost.
Here’s an overview of the key fees you’ll face with either a Business Transaction Account (BTA) or a Premium Business Account (PBA).⁸
|Electronic transactions fee||No fee|
|Paid-for transactions fee (including quick deposits, cheque transactions and assisted transactions)|
|International money transfers⁹|
The international money transfer fees quoted above are CommBank’s standard international transfer fees – they’re not specific to business accounts. But they’re worth taking a look at if you’re likely to need to send – or receive – a lot of these.
Even the international transfer fees quoted above may not be the full picture, because often there are correspondent bank fees that also come out of your transfer amount. CommBank offers a fixed price per currency for upfront payment of such fees, which can take the stress out of the transaction. Better to avoid having to pay these fees altogether, though.
As one alternative specifically in regard to international transfers, take a look at TransferWise’s pricing and coverage.
Here are the easiest ways to get in touch with CommBank.
- Call them
- Find your nearest branch and pay them a visit
- Search their business support area online, where you might find the answer to your problem.
If you’re tempted by TransferWise but still have questions, you can check the website's help center page.
Good luck exploring your options for a new business bank account. CommBank’s accounts are well worth considering, and especially if you already bank there, should be helpful when it comes to setting the account up.
Don’t forget to shop around a little and see if any other banks offer fee schedules that are even better suited to your needs. Business and commercial banking always ends up costing something, but overall you shouldn’t feel like your bank is charging you too much. Find the bank that you think offers you the fairest deal – there’s no need to settle for less.
Sources accurate as of 21 August 2019
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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