Up Bank Review: So what’s up with Up bank?

I’ve been meaning to try Up bank for quite some time. If you google reviews for Up Bank you can quickly see that it’s a really polarising bank. People either really love or really don’t love it, and so I decided to try it for myself (and my teenage son).

First off lets cover the history of Up Bank, how your money is secured and more importantly is your money safe?

Brief History of Up Bank

Up Bank entered the banking scene in 2018, and is an Australian mobile only bank (so there are no ATM’s, and no branches). Up has partnered with Bendigo Bank and Adelaide Bank, and so all the products that are released by Up are issued/backed by these banks.

Is my money secure and safe?

All Up products are issued by Bendigo Bank and Adelaide Bank and are covered under the Financial Claims Scheme (FCS), which covers deposits of up to $250,000 per person.

The history of Bendigo Bank and Adelaide Bank’s start over 160 years ago so there is some reassurance from the fact that a mobile only bank Up has partnered up with such established banks.

In addition Up banking uses security technology, including smartphone biometrics and advanced cryptography to keep your money secure (this level of security technology is similar to other transaction and savings accounts).

You can read more about security here.

Now that we have covered off on the history and security of Up Bank it’s time to talk about the features, and why Up Bank may or may not be the right bank for you.

What features does it offer?

The most important feature of Up Banking is that there are no account keeping fees.

Additional features include

  • Savings Features include:
    • Instantly create additional ‘Savers’ which are similar to having additional savings accounts. This allows you to track your savings into these separate savings goal (which you can name whatever you would like).
    • Automate your savings to be transferred to your ‘savers’ according to how you want.
    • Split your pay function which allows you to split your pay by % and send it to your ‘savers’.
    • Set goals for your savings so you can see your progress.
    • Round up function which rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the extra into your savings (they also have a handy pull down function in the app which rounds your account on demand and pops it in your savers).
    • A competitive interest rate on savings up to 1 million dollars provided you make 5 transactions in a month (Current rate is 0.7% at time of publishing make sure you check this before you sign up).
  • Budgeting Features including:
    • Automatic Spending Categorisation
    • Weekly reports and insights into your spending habits
    • Bill prediction (which is helpful for those subscriptions)
    • Helpful labelling of transactions so you actually can understand who the transaction was from (I found this really helpful because sometimes it can be really hard to decipher a transaction to confirm if its fraudulent or you simply forgot you spent the money).
    • Notifications for every transaction (really helpful as I utilised this card to assist my son in learning how to use a debit account).
    • Set trackers on budget categories and set a target amount for them.
  • Overseas Banking Features including:
    • Pay no fees on overseas purchases (including no currency conversion fees)
    • Lock your card in a few taps within the app (no phone call required)
    • Cheaper international transfers (thanks to a partnership with Wise)
  • Other Features:
    • ATM access is free for Up users at most ATM’s including Bendigo Bank, Adelaide Bank, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and Westpac.
    • Apple, Samsung and Google Pay enabled.
    • Compatible with Siri voice commands.
    • Easy to download statements which you can then utilise for Tax or providing for loan applications.
    • The ‘Tree of Up’ – this allows you to see what functionality is planned or in development for the future. You can view the tree here.
    • Free swag when you join (eg stickers and a tracker to encourage you to start saving).
The cute swag from Up Bank when you join. I really liked the Save $1000 in a Year tracker.

Why won’t you like it?

  • If you like to connect your banking and share data to other apps such as WeMoney you will find that you may not be able to. That said Up Bank are working on this as we speak, and you can see their development tree via the link here.
  • It’s a mobile / digital bank and therefore if you like to talk to someone face to face or go into a branch this isn’t the bank for you (You access your account via the app. Support is available via the chat function (preferred), email and there is a phone number you can call.
  • If you require a joint account there are no joint accounts at this stage (but this is planned in the future).
  • The app can be a little busy to the eye and difficult to navigate at first.

My Experience with Up Banking

How did I use Up Banking account during this time?

To make the trial a little more interesting I actually had my 13 year old son test the card, and app on his phone (with me supervising and testing the features from the app on my phone). I set up the account with the aim that the features of Up would assist me in monitoring and supporting my son use his first debit card (and associated banking app). We previously looked at Spriggy, but I wasn’t happy to pay the yearly fees.

I applied for the Up card in my name, and he uses it (you have to be 16 years and older to apply for an Up Banking Account). I have the responsibility of the account, but all the money in the account is his. I deposit his pocket money and bus fare into his Up account each week.

My son has used the card over the last two months to pay for his bus fare as needed, and any small incidentals he wishes to purchase (eg from the Canteen or whilst we are out shopping). He has also used the account to make use of the round up function, add a saver, and set up pay splits to start him saving 20% of his income (pocket money).

Setting up the account

I set up my Up Banking account by downloading the app (via the app store), and providing my drivers license. The set up process for me took approximately 5 minutes and was completely painless thanks to the ID process. I have seen some reviews stating that this process can be difficult, but I didn’t have these issues.

What platform did I use to access Up banking?

My son has an android phone and I have an iPhone. We tested the application on both platforms and there was no discernible differences between the two that we noticed.

How long did we trial Up Banking?

We trialled Up Bank for just over 2 months.

Are you going to continue to use Up Banking?

Yes !!!! My son loves Up and I love it too. It’s been a great platform for him to learn on, and I love that I can assist him whilst he gets his banking training wheels.

I’m actually looking forward to him turning 16 now so I can move him over to his own account, and I can reclaim mine. I really loved all the features they offer, and didn’t miss the features that it’s missing. I’ve even managed to get my husband on board, and he’s been happily using Up for the last few weeks.

Where can I sign up and do you have any referral codes?

You can sign up via this link here and we both will get $5. Its a great way to try out a bank, and referrals like this help me run my site (so thank you).

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