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Banking in Australia - Frequently Asked Questions

Can I organise my banking before I arrive in Australia?

Yes.  A Commonwealth Bank (CommBank) Everyday Account for students can be opened up to three months before you arrive.  As soon as your account is opened online, you’ll be able to transfer money into it straight away.  A transfer fee may be payable.

Once you’ve been identified at a CommBank branch in Australia your account will be active allowing you to use all of its functionality.

Can I open an account without an Australian address?

Yes.  You can open an account without an Australian address.

To gain full access to your account, an Australian residential address will need to be provided when you’re identified in branch.

Do I have to pay fees on my student account?

No.  The monthly account fee will be waived for the duration of your studies once you show CommBank your confirmation of enrolment or student identification when you visit in branch.

What are the benefits in organising my banking prior to arrival?

  • If you’ve transferred money before you arrive, you’ll be able to access funds after you’ve been appropriately identified at a CommBank branch, minimising the amount of cash you need to carry.
  • You or your parents/guardian can send money to help with monthly living expenses and tuition fees.  A transfer fee may be payable.

My English is limited, can I ask someone else to help me set up my banking on my behalf?

No.  You must fill out any banking application forms by yourself to protect your privacy and security.  However, IDP counsellors can guide you upon your request.

Can I see CommBank’s website in a different language?

No.  CommBank’s website is in English.  However, you may wish to consider viewing it in other languages using Google Translate. CommBank doesn’t take any responsibility for the accuracy of the translation using Google Translate or other translation services.

Visit translate.google.com and follow the instructions to instantly translate text and web pages. Your browser may also let you change to another language under the browser settings.

CommBank has other foreign language services to help you with your banking once you’ve arrived in Australia, such as:

  • Multilingual staff at some branches, or over the phone.
  • ATMs with foreign language capabilities.

What information is required to set up my banking before I arrive?

1. You’ll need to provide your full name and date of birth as per your passport, current address (at home country or in Australia), email address, mobile number and nominated arrival date.

2. You’ll be prompted to register for online banking (NetBank) access which requires you to create a security password. Please remember your password as this can only be reset after you have been identified in a branch in Australia.

How do I choose a safe security password for online banking access?

  • Use a mix of letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Use as many characters as you can – a longer password is harder to decipher.
  • Avoid anything that can be easily guessed such as your address or birthday, or common quotes and phrases.
  • Consider a passphrase: similar to a password, but instead of creating a string of letters, numbers and symbols, use words that tell a story. For example: MyPetGo@tHa$@PhD. It tells a silly story that’s easy to remember, while increasing the unpredictability of your password and making it difficult to guess.

How do I keep my password secure?

  • Don't share your passwords with anyone.
  • Don’t write your passwords down anywhere.
  • Make them unique – reusing a password multiple times makes it less secure, as it only requires one breach to compromise all the accounts with the same password.
  • If you have many accounts, setting alphanumeric passwords for each can become a difficult exercise for your memory. In this instance, you may want to consider using passphrases instead.  See previous question for an example of a passphrase.
  • Change your passwords regularly.

Can I get access to my account before I arrive in Australia?

After opening your account you’ll be able to log in, see the account balance, print your welcome letter and transfer money into your account, but you won’t be able to withdraw money or transfer it to another account until you have been appropriately identified in a CommBank branch.

What do I need to do once I arrive in Australia?

Visit the CommBank branch mentioned in your Welcome letter to confirm your identification and CommBank will activate your account.  You can find the CommBank branch here.

You’ll need to bring the following documents with you for the identification process:

  • Current passport (original document required).
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN) for each country of foreign tax residency.
  • Student ID or letter of enrolment.
  • Copy (physical or digital) of your visa document.

Students won’t receive their debit card in branch. Instead CommBank asks you to confirm the address you’d like your card sent to after you’ve been appropriately identified in branch.

Once CommBank has confirmed your identity you can withdraw money from the account and will have access to all of their digital features like NetBank and the CommBank app.

What if my documents required for the identification process aren’t in English?

If any of your documents are in a foreign language you’ll need to get them translated into English when you arrive in Australia by a translator who is accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).

What information do I need to transfer money into my CommBank account?

You can transfer money from your bank account in your home country, usually via your financial institution’s online or mobile banking portal, or by visiting a branch.

You’ll need:

  • The Bank name: Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
  • Your Account name: your full name (if it is a joint account, you’ll need both account holders' full names).
  • BSB (Bank-State-Branch): the six-digit number that identifies banks and branches across Australia.
  • Branch name: the branch where the account is located.
  • BIC/SWIFT code: CTBAAU2S.

All the information that you’ll need to transfer money is available in your account Welcome letter that you’ll receive after opening your CommBank Everyday Account.

Download your Welcome letter from NetBank, print out and keep for your reference as it contains the information for the CommBank branch you’ve nominated to visit.

What is NetBank?

A secure, online place for you to manage your finances with CommBank.

You can manage all your accounts from one place, and do your banking whenever or wherever it suits you.

Can I still open a bank account after I arrive in Australia?

Yes. You can use this link <INSERT IDP DEDICATED URL> or visit a CommBank branch once you arrive in Australia.

Are there CommBank branches close to where I will be living or studying in Australia?

CommBank has the largest branch network in Australia.  You can find your closest branch here.

Commonwealth bank of Australia
About Commonwealth bank of Australia

Why Commonwealth Bank?

  • Australia’s largest bank
  • Join more than 5 million Australians who bank on the go with the CommBank app
  • Bilingual staff in some branches and language-enabled ATMs
  • An extensive Branch and ATM network available across Australia – including on some student campuses
  • A range of special offers are available for students
  • Tips and guidance about moving to, and studying in, Australia available on their website

Things you should know:Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 is a company incorporated in Australia with limited liability and subject to Australian regulation.

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