Every self managed superannuation fund needs a bank account. So which is the best SMSF bank account?
Considerations when looking for the best SMSF bank account
A self managed super fund needs a bank account purposely designed for SMSFs. The needs of an SMSF and those who work with them are different compared to a personal transaction account or a business account.
It’s also important to understand that an SMSF isn’t restricted to one bank account, it can have multiple bank accounts for different purposes (i.e. regular income and expenses, savings and investing / trading).
A trustee of an SMSF needs to weigh up the these requirements and make a decision.
Best SMSF bank account: Macquarie CMA
The Macquarie Cash Management Account in my opinion is the best SMSF bank account available for self managed super funds and their advisers / accountants.
Some of the key features that make Macquarie a winner for me include:
- Easy to set up
- No monthly fees
- No adviser commissions (or commissions rebated)
- Links with most popular stockbroking and investment platforms
- Widely used by fintech providers like Stake (for trading US Stocks)
- Optional linked ‘high interest’ Accelerator Account
- Seamless integration with SMSF accounting software
- Reliable data feeds
- Great accountant and adviser access (under the control of the SMSF trustees)
- Macquarie mobile bank app is great
- Interest rates (we are in a low interest rate environment – 0.90% on the Accelerator Account as at 31 July 2020 and can be changed without notice)
- Australian customer support and call centres!
Most popular SMSF bank account
According to data from Macquarie themselves and data from the ATO, 1 in 3 SMSFs use the Macquarie CMA.
That works out to be approximately 200,000 SMSFs across the country using the Macquarie CMA. This is not surprising as Macquarie has always worked closely with intermediaries such as accountants, financial adviser and stockbrokers and these professionals influence the decision on what bank account an SMSF trustee should use.
In addition Macquarie has put a lot of effort into ensure their bank account integrates easily into the systems of these professionals, including through data feeds and the Macquarie ESI (External Systems Interface) – which provides many ‘open banking’ features many years before open banking and the new payments platform was a thing.
Making SMSF administration easier
With an SMSF less is often more. An SMSF needs a good bank account to act as the cash hub. With Macquarie the administration, accounting and audit of an SMSF becomes very easy. At any time an accountant or SMSF administrator like Grow SMSF can pull through up to 3 years worth of transactions, and any new transactions come through on a daily basis. This helps make the SMSF accounting process quick and easy with no manual data entry.
In addition Macquarie also enables very strong, but flexible third-party access to adviser and accountants. The amount of access (e.g. read only versus transaction authority) is controlled by the SMSF trustees as account owner. For example an SMSF administrator could be granted read-only access to the account which enables transactions to be feed through into the SMSF accounting platform and also enables online access to download statements or reports for the SMSF auditor when needed, all without the ability to transact on the account.
Some SMSF auditors, including the ones used by Grow SMSF, have even undertaken their own independent audit testing on the Macquarie CMA and its data feeds into SMSF accounting platforms like Class Super to enable them to place reliance on the data feeds. This means less paperwork each year and that SMSF accounts are completed faster and more seamlessly.
Setting up an SMSF account
Another reason the Macquarie CMA is my pick for best SMSF bank account is the ease of set up. Even if you’re not an existing Macquarie bank customer (which you likely aren’t because they’ve never had a large retail bank branch network) setting up a new SMSF bank account with Macquarie is easily completed online. An adviser or accountant can complete most of the steps for you and you then receive an email to confirm a few details and authorise the account opening an viola! New account opened.
Could the Macquarie CMA be improved for SMSFs?
There is always room for improvement, even with the best SMSF bank account.
The main drawback currently with the Macquarie CMA is that it’s not been moved onto Macquarie updated banking platform, whereas the new transaction accounts and credit cards are already running on this platform). This means that at this time, you’re unable to use some of the New Payments Platform like Osko and PayID on the Macquarie CMA.
Macquarie does however undertake ‘sweeps’ multiple times per day, meaning transactions often clear quite fast between the CMA and other banks as well as between Macquarie accounts. No doubt once the Macquarie CMA is moved onto their new platform then Osko / PayID will be available.
Can I just bank with my normal bank for my SMSF?
Although most people like the convenience of having all their banking in one place, some bank products simply are not suitable for SMSFs. For example Suncorp is popular with many customers (especially in Queensland) however they don’t provide a data feed for transactions, therefore SMSF accounting fees need to increase to compensate for the additional time it takes to prepare the accounts each year.
Also, it’s good to have the SMSF bank account with a different bank to ensure monies are not accidentally (or intentionally) intermingled with personal funds or business monies.
Macquarie has lots of great information on their website in regards to their Cash Management Account.
If you would like to know how Grow SMSF uses the Macquarie Cash Account and how it can help make the management of your SMSF cheaper and easier, Cash Management Account.