The most outrageous bank fees
The banking royal commission exposed some dodgy practices in Australia and made it clear profits were often put before customers.
But Australians are relying on banks more than ever as electronic banking continues to grow, making it almost impossible to avoid them if you want to access your pay and to buy goods and services.
While it's clear some of the worst practices have been exposed, it pays to be careful who you bank with.
News.com.au has looked into bank fees as part of its series Rip-off Buster, which provides readers with practical cost-of-living advice and hacks on how to help get a better deal - all with the goal of helping you to become financially fit.
Here are some of the most unfair fees to watch out for.
These fees are generally charged every month, but most banks waive them if you meet certain conditions - such as depositing a certain amount of money into the account every month.
Consumer Action Law Centre chief executive officer Gerard Brody said these fees were usually fine as long as they were clearly stated.
"There is a cost to a bank for running an account, and that's what this fee is for," he said.
However, banks also profit when people leave money in their accounts and usually only offer nil or low interest rates to customers on these amounts, which is why it's also justified for banks to waive account-keeping fees sometimes.
OVERDRAFT USAGE FEES
Some people find it useful to be able to go into negative balance on their accounts, but they pay a high price for it.
Banks will often charge you a fee, for example $10 a month, if you use it, as well as interest on the money.
Mr Brody believes these fees can be unfair, especially if the account holder is not told about the costs.
Some banks have given customers "informal overdrafts" that allow them to go into negative balance without getting their permission first.
During the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, it was revealed ANZ allowed customers on Centrelink benefits to go into negative balance and then charged them up to $60 a month in overdraft fees as well as 17 per cent interest.
Customers were not asked if they wanted access to the overdraft and didn't always know the fees involved.
The commission recommended that banks not charge dishonour fees, overdrawn fees or allow informal overdrafts on basic bank accounts.
Mr Brody believes fees should be waived for those on low incomes.
"I also think people should be asked whether they want to proceed with a transaction (and incur the fee)," he said.
"I think many people would be prefer to have the transaction denied so the are not charged extra or at least to have the opportunity to accept them."
When you don't have enough money in your account to meet a scheduled payment or for a cheque, you can be charged a dishonour fee.
The royal commission has suggested dishonour fees should not be charged for people on low incomes using basic accounts.
"The cost of a payment being dishonoured is not very much for the bank, but they can charge you up to $30 and I think that is unfair," Mr Brody said.
LATE PAYMENT FEES
This is often a feature of credit card accounts, which sometimes charge you about $30 if you don't pay your bill on time.
The main unfairness of these fees is that they are often higher than what the transaction would cost the bank.
"The evidence suggests it only costs the banks a few dollars, but they charge customers $30 instead and often charge interest on those amounts as well," Mr Brody said.
"These fess can be appropriate but they should be set at a reasonable rate and shouldn't be much higher than the cost incurred by the bank."
FOREIGN EXCHANGE FEES
When you are overseas and withdraw money from an ATM, or use your credit card to buy something, you can be charged a fee. You'll also be charged for online transactions that use a foreign currency.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is currently looking at these fees and why Australians seem to be paying more for this.
The World Bank found Australia was the third most expensive G20 country for consumers and small businesses to send money from.
"If you send $1000 overseas from Australia, on average you'll pay $9 more than if you sent an equivalent amount from the United Kingdom and $23 more than if you sent it from the United States," ACCC chair Rod Sims said last year.
"We will be examining why major companies in Australia, including the big four banks, seem to be able to consistently charge high prices."
If your bank is charging you for taking money out of your account then maybe you should be taking your money elsewhere.
"Charging a fee for someone to access their own money seems to me to be an inappropriate or unfair fee," Mr Brody said.
At the very least, customers should be able to make a certain amount of withdrawals or transactions every month without being charged.
It's very rare for accounts to have transaction fees, and this is another unfair fee to watch out for.
This fee can be charged when you are transferring money from one account to another or when paying bills.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission announced this week it would take legal action against ANZ for charging customers when they made regular payments from one account to another and a second dishonour fee if there was not enough money in the first account to complete the transfer. These fees were not listed in the terms and conditions of the accounts.
Mr Brody said customers should not be expected to read the terms and conditions to find out about unfair fees.
"I think it's better that banks don't charge transaction fees and if they are going to, to disclose that clearly upfront," he said.
These fees have mostly been eradicated as the four major banks no longer charge customers extra for using ATMs from different banks.
However, some of the smaller ATM operators will still charge you about $2.50 to access your money.
Mr Brody said it was understandable ATM operators that were not part of a bank needed to make a return on their services but believes the fee charged should be reasonable.
"I think fees should be set at a level that is fair and relates to their costs of providing the service," he said.
"In some remote areas I heard of $5 or even a $10 fee," he said. "I think that's unreasonable. The evidence shows it costs less than $1 (for each transaction), but it's common for $2 to be charged.
"I don't think it's fair that ATM operators unreasonably profit from those fees."
What's the rip-off that drives you mad? Comment below | firstname.lastname@example.org