Bank cheques are an easy and relatively safe way to pay individuals and businesses. They are not to be confused with personal cheques, which have experienced a dramatic dive in usage in Australia in recent years.
People wanting to put a down payment on a property or buy a second hand car often use bank cheques. They are drawn straight from your account, and can be easily purchased online by anyone with a cheque or savings account.
While bank cheques are ideal in situations involving large sums of money, their convenience can be quite costly if you don’t do your research beforehand. Comparison site Mozo conducted a price comparison of bank cheques across 20 different providers and found charges can range from $0 to $15.
Commonwealth Bank and Citi were found to be at the pricier end of the market, with a single bank cheque costing $15. The majority of providers’ fees were at the $10-mark including AMP, Macquarie and Heritage Bank.
Mozo’s comparison found charges among non-banks were relatively lower with Gateway Credit Union, Hunter United and Newcastle Permanent all charging customers just $5 for a standard financial institution cheque.
Bank cheque charges can also vary within providers if certain requirements are met.
We found some banks charge a significantly lower fee for customers who request a bank cheque via internet banking. For instance, a standard bank cheque with Westpac will cost you $10 unless you order the cheque via online banking in which case the fee drops to $5 – a saving of 50%.
In fact, these charges can be completely avoided depending on your choice of provider.
ING does not charge a fee at all unless ordered by Platinum Express Post. For big bank customers, NAB won’t charge a fee if you withdraw $1000 or more from your Reward Saver account (otherwise a bank cheque costs $12).
These fees might seem trivial if you need a bank cheque for a one-off occasion but if you’re paying via bank cheques on a regular basis, a $15 fee every time can add up pretty fast.
The fact of the matter is you shouldn’t be paying any more than you need to so it would be worth checking with your bank to see if you’re able to pay a smaller fee or even dodge the fee altogether by requesting a bank cheque online or meeting other requirements.