Challenger banks are the way of the future, and it looks like we aren’t turning back anytime soon. Among the new slew of digital banks making waves in the banking community is none other than Australian-made Volt Bank. But with so many new challenger banks to choose from, it can be hard to know which bank to use as you jump from traditional banking to online.
With our Volt Bank review, we’ll guide you through the pros, cons and offer a general review of Volt Bank so you can make an educated decision on whether you’d like to use Volt Bank. But before we dive into the nitty-gritty, here’s our verdict at a glance:
Because of its excellent saving features, low rates, and zero fees, Volt Bank is an excellent tool for those looking to amp up their savings. However, Volt is a relatively new digital bank, which means fewer features. If you like to have extensive banking features, some users may find Volt a little too new or limited.
About Volt Bank
Helmed by Luke Bunbury and Steve Weston, Volt Bank is one of the newest challenger banks on the market.
But don’t let that fool you. Though Volt came to the market in 2017, this Australian-neobank became the first Australian digital bank granted a Restricted Authorized Deposit-Taking Institution (RADI) license from APRA (the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority). Then, a mere two years later, in 2019, Volt became the first neobank to be granted a full license to operate as an ADI.
What exactly does all that mean? When it comes to regulation and products, Volt Bank is just like any brick and mortar banking establishment in that it can receive deposits and can even provide loans (such as personal or home loans) later down the line.
Volt Bank is also by the people, for the people. They are renegade, maverick, and independent, and are backed by over 250 independent investors. Redefining the very idea of banking, Volt Bank is a critical player in the banking revolution to deliver more valuable insights, better customization, and banking innovations to its Australian customers.
- Easy To Use App
- Excellent Customer Service (key for mobile banks)
- Great interest rates
- Zero fees
- Limited features
- Statements lack information and come out sparingly (once every six months)
- Volt restricts users to the amount you can withdraw (caps users at 20,000 per day)
Fees and Interest Rates
Volt sets itself apart from other banks with its unique design: there are no fees for opening a Volt Savings account. In the same vein, Volt does not charge a monthly account fee or fees for domestic transactions.
Where does Volt have fees? In foreign payments and transactions, card replacements, or direct debit dishonors. For a complete detailing, you can find all of this information in their Spend Terms and Conditions.
As for earning interest rates, the rates are variable for both their Spend accounts and their Savings accounts. Their interest rate is calculated daily over a month and then paid on the first day of the following month.
Who Can Apply for a Volt Account?
To open a Volt Save account, you need to be at least 18 years of age and an Australian resident for tax purposes. Because they are still new, only individuals can open accounts. This means that businesses, trusts, and companies cannot open accounts just yet, but that seems like it may change in the near future.
For opening a Volt Spend account, you need to have an established Volt Save Account. If you wish to open a Volt Spend account, you must wait until the testing period is over or be one of the lucky few invited to test the Spend account during its beta testing. Volt sends all invitations through their app.
How to Open a Volt Account?
Opening an account with Volt is simple. To download their app, click on their website and submit your name and email address. Once you complete this step, Volt will send you an email to a link with an Apple or Google Play store to access their app.
Download their app, and then sign up for an account. When you sign up, you’ll need to input some personal details, so be prepared. You will need to include personal details regarding your identification, such as passport, driver’s license, medicare card, and tax file number.
Volt currently has one main account type, with another one coming out soon.
- Volt Save
Their premier feature, Volt Savings redefines what it means to create a savings account by the people, for the people.
Users benefit from various features when they choose Volt Save, as Volt makes it easier than ever to save and boost accounts continually.
For example, their “no strings attached” philosophy allows users to benefit from a 0.90% ongoing interest rate (up to $245,000). And unlike other traditional banks, users avoid pesky account fees that typically null the interest bank customers own.
Below is a full list of features for the Volt Save account:
- All Savings Accounts come with a 0.90% ongoing rate (on balances of up to $245,000)
- Zero account fees
- Can move money in and out of the account with unlimited free transactions
- Deposits made into a Volt Bank Savings Account are guaranteed up to $250,000 per person under the Federal Government’s Deposit Guarantee Scheme.
- Volt Spend (Coming Soon)
Volt Spend is the everyday user account that allows users to access and hold funds. Volt Spend will enable users to access funds anytime, anywhere. Plus, their flexible methods make both payments and withdrawals easy and stress-free.
With a Volt Spend account, Volt gives users a debit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, ATM, Pay Anyone, and BPay. Additionally, users can easily transfer between Volt accounts.
While this account is still in its beta testing phase, some Volt members can access the Volt Spent account as Volt needs users to beta test this account before they roll it out to the public.
- The ability to withdraw or transfer between accounts up to $20,000 per day by Pay Anyone or BPAY
- spend up to $10,000 per day on your debit card for any purchases (including any ATM withdrawals)
- Withdraw up to $5,000 per day from any ATM (although users are subject to a $1,000 limit for each ATM transaction).
For now, Volt caps balances to $50,000, although users can deposit the remaining amounts into their Save accounts, which has a cap of $245,000.
Of course, since this account is in its testing phase, these features are likely to change based on customer feedback. Check back continually for updates.
Volt Bank offers some features that set it apart from other banks. Learn more about Volt’s Savings Challenge and Spend Wisely below.
- Saving Challenge
Volt uses bold visual design and psychology to guide users to better savings habits with their Savings Challenge feature. According to Volt, saving more often with fewer amounts is better for your wallet and better for your brain, as smaller increments help your brain form stronger saving habits.
Their savings challenge nudges you to meet savings goals (however small) six times over six weeks. Volt designed their saving challenge by creating six saving circles (one circle per week). The more you save, the more the circles are filled. This visual representation pushes you to save more since you can see it visually.
According to Volt, six is the magic number when it comes to forming a positive habit.
Through its use of digital design and helpful notification nudges, Volt challenges users to save more and boost their accounts. After all, every little bit helps.
- Spend Wisely (Coming Soon)
While they haven’t rolled out this product (yet), they’re in the beta testing phase, so it’s likely to come within the next few months or years.
Volt plans to unveil a spending option similar to their saving challenge that helps users stay on track with their spending. It will even come with your very own debit card.
Protection and Ethics
Volt goes above and beyond to protect its customers. With Volt Bank, customers have protection under the Australian government’s Financial Claims Scheme. What does this mean? That your money is safe and deposits are protected. Deposits are guaranteed up to $250,000 per customer.
Volt also put together an Ethical Framework, meaning that their company abides by a strict code of ethics.
Is Volt Right For You?
Although Volt is one of the newer digital-only banks, it comes with complete protection and great perks to help you save more money. Their low fees, 0.90% interest rate (balances up to $245k), and smartphone convenience has brought Volt worldwide acclaim.
However, they do have limited features. Not only are there limited features because it is a digital bank, but they also have limited features amongst other challenger banks since Volt is such a young business model. While this seems likely to change in the future, users are a bit restricted as to what they can use and manage.
If you’re the type of person who likes their hands in everything, Volt’s limited feature rollout may be a little too limited for you.