WestPac Bank Review – How Does it Measure Up?

Westpac, one of Australia’s Big 4 banks, is worth checking out for personal and business banking. It has accounts such as transaction, credit card and loans easily accessed by app and online services. Westpac is also committed to sustainability as part of its business model. Check out the full Westpac Bank review.

The Good

  • One of Australia’s ‘Big 4’ banks – strong reputation
  • User-friendly phone app and online banking portal
  • Fee-free transaction accounts, when you satisfy conditions
  • Handy tools for budgeting
  • A range of website calculators for things like borrowing capacity, early repayments
  • Commitment to sustainability woven into their business model
  • Access to interpreters if needed
  • Variety of accounts and products available

The Bad

  • Past and present ethical considerations to think about
  • Not the most competitive home loan rate
  • Mixed reviews online
  • Bad reviews highlighting customer service that can be unreliable
  • Recent negative news coverage regarding ‘compliance failures’

Verdict: Lots of pros for using Westpac Bank, as well as mixed reviews. There are more competitive banks out there.

CaptainFI is not a financial advisor and this article is not financial advice. This website is reader-supported, which means we may be paid when you visit links to partner or featured sites, or by advertising on the site. For more information please read my Privacy PolicyTerms of Use, and Financial Disclaimer.

IntroductionWestpac Bank review

Westpac started out in Sydney in 1817 as the Bank of New South Wales. The Westpac name is a combination of ‘Western’ and ‘Pacific’.

Westpac, Australia’s first and oldest bank, as would be expected, has experienced highs and lows in its time. However, Westpac has survived in various guises over the past 200yrs and has built itself into one of Australia’s ‘Big 4′ banks.

Westpac is a serious contender for Australians to consider when deciding where to stash their cash, or apply for loans. This review will look at the key considerations Aussies should think about when deciding whether to use Westpac banking.

Is Westpac one of the ‘Big 4’ banks?

Alongside NAB, Commbank, and ANZ, Westpac is known as one of Australia’s ‘Big 4’ banks.

When it comes to being a ‘Big 4’ bank, it’s useful for banking customers to understand that there are three main parts that come into play when a bank is named one of the ‘Big 4’. These include the bank’s total earnings, market capitalization and the total number of customers.

It’s no accident that Australia has 4 main banks, thanks to Australia’s federal government’s ‘Four Pillars Policy’. This policy means the ‘Big 4’ cannot merge with each other, however, they can merge with other banks. The Four Pillars Policy aims to provide stability to Australia’s financial markets.

Is Westpac a good bank?

As with the other Big 4, Westpac customer reviews are mixed and skewed into the negative. With an average score of 1.5 out of 5, there are plenty of warnings from existing customers – apathy, stress-inducing, dehumanizing.

The Westpac experience of family and friends has been varied to match customer reviews of having room for improvement when it comes to customer service. Like the other Big 4, Westpac seems to swing between getting it right, with customers happy with the service received or, unhappy, depending on the staff they dealt with at the time, how their complaint was handled or issues with a loan application process.

I often wonder how balanced the online reviews are, and if they are truly representative of a mainstream customer’s experience. To be honest, if I was seriously peeved over something, I might be motivated to write a review to vent. However, when it comes to the usual hubbub of the day, if my accounts are working and I’m having no problems, I’m hardly going to jump online to do a customer review on a bank whose systems are working just fine. 

Deciding whether Westpac is a good bank for each individual, probably comes down to customer experience – which can be a bit hit and miss, which means Westpac probably has some work to do when it comes to improving customer service, for all customers.

Recent news coverage has been widely circulating regarding Westpac’s compliance failures and they were fined $113 million for allegedly charging fees for advice to many customers who had already passed away. This certainly leaves many Australians with a deep concern about the reliability of the bank giant and whether they can expect the best in terms of safety, ethical conduct and customer service.

A wide range of accounts, products and services are available, as you can see on the website.

Who owns Westpac?

Westpac is a public company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. This means the shareholders own Westpac.

Is Westpac a safe bank?

Westpac Bank takes its customers’ data security very seriously, as does any financial services company in this day and age. Westpac’s security applies to areas such as customer information, access to accounts and software that looks at your transaction history to identify any unusual purchases.

Despite Westpac’s security efforts, the bank, and its customers have been victims of cyberattacks in the past. In 2019, the private details of up to 100 000 Westpac customers were compromised with a cyber attack on Westpac’s PayID real-time payments platform. In 2021 Westpac, along with other customers such as Coles and the Australian Defense Department, were impacted when Infinite Recruitment’s system was compromised with personal details of job applicants getting exposed.

Coles, Westpac, AMP and Department of Defence caught up in ‘significant’ data breach of Finite Recruitment – ABC News

 Westpac has learned from the breaches, and put in place stronger security measures, making the bank safer. Westpac claims protecting customers’ personal and financial information is their top priority.

Westpac also offers phone apps for iPhone and android, as well as MAC and PC, meaning no matter what platform you use, you are protected.

Finally, through the FSC (Financial Claims Scheme) the Australian Government provides a guarantee on deposits up to $250,000 per person. This money can be reimbursed to the customer if something disastrous happened to the bank.

Security | Westpac

 What kind of accounts does Westpac bank have?

Westpac Bank has a range of bank services for personal, business and corporate clients. Banking products for personal use include:

Westpac have a variety of different accounts available including accounts for students, those who have retired and those who are looking for long term savings

Bank Accounts

  • Westpac Choice – $0 fees and you receive a Debit Mastercard, with deposits over $2000 per month
  • Youth Bank Account – for students under 30, $0 fees and Debit Mastercard
  • Westpac 55+ and Retired – $0 fees and Debit Mastercard
  • New Arrivals Account – 0% fees for the first 12 months for those new to Australia, includes Debit Mastercard
  • Life Saver – up to 0.25% paid on savings
  • eSaver – 0.05% Interest Rate, with 0.25% for the first 5 months when you meet certain requirements
  • Bump Saver – up to 0.25% paid on savings, designed for kids and teens
  • Term Deposits – All very low but ranging from 0.07% for 3 months to 0.25% for 12 months. Current special offer,  0.30% fixed rate for 5 months,

When comparing the Westpac savings accounts make sure you read the fine print so you can meet the bonus interest requirements

Credit Cards – Westpac offers a range of Mastercards with fee-free and cashback offers at times, depending on whether you meet the eligibility criteria. Interest rates range from 0% to 19.99%.

Personal Loans – $4000-$50,000 available over a 1-7-year term with rates from 9.18% to 18.62%

Homes Loans – A range of home loans to match your circumstances, ranging from variable 2.19% owner-occupier, 3.79% fixed term, 3.29% variable with an offset account.

Super (including SMSF’s) – superannuation product on offer, and can accommodate SMSFs

Investments – Westpac’s investment branch is BT, which offers a range of portfolios to invest in

Insurance – Westpac offers a range of insurance products including home, car, travel, boat and life insurance  

International banking is available if required, for those in a foreign country

Westpac also offers a Private Banking service offering discounts and reduced rates to high net worth individuals.

Can a Westpac customer use an App for internet banking?

Westpac has a user-friendly app that makes banking easy.

Once the app is set up and verified, usually with an SMS text, you can log in using your personal four-digit passcode. The app shows all your accounts and provides an easy-to-use view of your accounts and balances.

The app’s layout is clear and functions are straightforward, such as paying bills and transferring money.

Does CaptainFI have an account with Westpac?

No, I currently don’t have any accounts with Westpac, but some of my family do. I’m considering some of the everyday bank accounts for my regular banking or some of the business banking options for later in the year as the website business continues to grow.

Westpac Margin Loan

Westpac offers a simplified margin loan that can link with a share trading account. Once set up, it provides a streamlined view of your loan and shares in one place. A margin loan allows you to borrow to invest in shares. The downside to investment loans is when the share market falls, you may be required to pay in more cash or sell some shares, at the worst time.

Westpac Online Investment Loans | Westpac

Advantages of using Westpac bank

  • Fee-free transaction accounts when meeting certain conditions
  • Easy to use phone and web app
  • Sustainability is part of their business model
  • Full range of budgeting tools and calculators
  • Account for new Australians, including interpreter service for those with a first language other than English
  • Comprehensive range of products
  • Plenty of branches for those that prefer dealing directly with bank staff
Budget calculators, home loan calculators and other handy tools are available on the Westpac website.

Disadvantages of using Westpac bank

  • Unethical conduct identified in the Banking Royal Commission
  • Not the most competitive rates for home loans
  • Interest rates on savings accounts are low
  • Reviews are not very flattering
  • Variable customer service
  • Recent news coverage regarding Westpac being charged $113 million over compliance failures

FAQ’s about Westpac Bank:

Is Westpac bank good for home loans?

Westpac offers a range of home loans to meet most people’s requirements which include fixed term and variable, no-frills loans, to loans with bells and whistles such as mortgage offset. Westpac also offers split loans.

Like other Big 4 banks, Westpac also offers a range of strategies and advice for first home buyers saving a deposit and getting into the property market. This includes the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme and the First Home Buyer’s Grant.

First Home Buyers Grant | Westpac

Westpac’s home loan interest rates are not the most competitive out there

Is Westpac bank ethical?

In 2022, consumers are more aware of company conduct and are holding companies to account for the ethics underpinning their business practices.

In terms of ethical business practices, Westpac scores 75/100 in the Standards and Poor’s Global Environment, Sustainability and Governance Score (S&P ESG Score), which is on par with other Big 4 banks.

Westpac scores a B on the Carbon Disclosure Project (CSP) which requires companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and provide evidence of the same. This includes evidence of disclosure, awareness, management and leadership.

Westpac also scores well on renewable energy use, based on Greenpeace’s Re-energise Campaign to see companies commit to 100% renewable energy use by 2030. In 2021, Westpac’s energy portfolio contained 80% renewable energy business, such as wind and solar farms.

Westpac also scored 64.2% in Newsweek’s Green Rankings in 2016, which looks at the world’s largest companies when it comes to things like water, waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy.

On the downside, Westpac still finances the use of dirty fossil fuel, extreme fossil fuel, land grabs and nuclear power.

On balance, Westpac is committed to improving sustainable outcomes. Westpac may not be the most ethical bank, but they are moving in the right direction.

 Can I open a Westpac account online?

Westpac let you open an account online via their website and on their phone app.

Is Westpac the biggest bank in Australia?

No, Westpac isn’t the biggest bank in Australia, it probably sits about second after CommBank, but it is the oldest, stretching back over 200 years.

Conclusion – Westpac Bank Review

In conclusion, Westpac is one of the Big 4 banks in Australia. Westpac offers a range of personal banking products. It also offers web and phone app banking platforms for easy access to accounts and banking services. Westpac offers transaction, savings, credit card, personal and home loans. As well as personal banking products, Westpac also caters to business and corporate customers.

Westpac banking may have some room for improvement when it comes to ethical considerations. However, they take customer security seriously and have implemented improvements after previous hacking episodes.

While online customer feedback indicates there is room for improvement when it comes to customer service, Westpac has been part of Australian banking for over 200 years, making it a well-known brand, that many Aussies feel comfortable with. 

When trying to decide on a bank or financial institution to use, have a think about what your personal objectives are or what products or services you are looking for and do a little comparison.

You can use comparison sites such as Finder or Choice to compare banks, accounts and products too, for Westpac or any other banks.

You can find some Westpac group reviews here: https://mozo.com.au/rate-and-review/westpac/reviews

You can take a look at the Westpac website for more information on what they provide, or you could always drop into a branch and speak with a customer service representative who will likely answer any questions you may have, or talk with you about what they can provide, based on your needs.

You can read my other bank reviews here:

Further reading – other Bank reviews

Check out my list of bank reviews here to see how the competition stacks up, and to find the right bank for your journey to Financial Independence

Financial Disclaimer

Financial Disclaimer: CaptainFI is NOT a financial advisor and does not hold an AFSL. This is not financial Advice!

I am not a financial adviser and I do not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). In this article, I am giving you factual, balanced information without judgment or bias, to the best of my ability. I am not giving you any general or personal financial advice about what you should do with your investments. Just because I do something with my money (or use a particular service or platform) doesn’t mean it is automatically appropriate for your personal circumstances. I do not recommend nor endorse any financial or investment product, and my usage or opinion of any product should not be interpreted as an endorsement, advertisement, or intent to influence.

I can only provide factual information based on my journey to Financial Independence, and that is provided for general informational and entertainment purposes only. I make no guarantee about the performance of any product, and although I strive to keep the information accurate and updated as it changes, I make no guarantee about the correctness of reviews or information posted.

Remember – you always need to do your own independent research and due diligence before making any transaction. This includes reading and analysing Product Disclosure Statements, Terms and Conditions, Service Arrangement and Fee Structures. It is always smart to compare products and discuss them, but ultimately you need to take responsibility for your use of any particular product and make sure it suits your personal circumstances. If you need help and would like to obtain personal financial advice about which investment options or platforms may be right for you, please talk to a licensed financial adviser or AFSL holder – you can take the first steps to find a financial advisor by reading this interview, or by visiting the ASIC financial adviser register and searching in your area. For more information please read my Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Financial Disclaimer.

CaptainFI is reader-supported, which means we may be paid when you visit links to partner or featured sites.

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One thought on “WestPac Bank Review – How Does it Measure Up?

  1. Hi Captain Fi.
    Thanks for your website overall.
    It contains so much Interesting and Informative Information.
    Thanks Mate

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