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Banking options in Australia

 Written by Razali Norazmi, August 2018

Banking is an important aspect for students studying overseas, unless of course you’re planning to store all your money under your mattress. Students are often fazed by which bank they should set up with, what account they should apply for and more importantly how do they go about all of it. In this article, I’ll share some of the more commonly found banks in Australia and how you can go about applying for the accounts. 

They are several banks available in Australia. The most commonly found banks are dependent on the state that you will be studying in. However, ANZ Bank and Commonwealth bank are the two banks that you will definitely see while you are in Australia. I would suggest going with the bank that is most assessible to you. The bank should either be in the school campus or within a proximity of your house. If you are more particular in a savings plan, it’s better to read up and compare the banks rates before deciding on one. 

In terms of accounts, student usually set up a Student account, which comes with a debit card and an online account. It is common practise in Australia to use the online banking system. Students especially find it useful when you need to transfer money over dinner or even bill payments. Some bank even allow monthly payment to an organisation which is useful for payments to Telcos for example. Student accounts also allows student to have access to a debit card. Australians uses EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer Point of Sale) to make payments at most of their retail outlets. It’s similar to Paywave in Singapore where you just tap your card to make a payment. With all these services, who needs cash. Which is another function of the debit card. 

Setting up a bank account is relatively simple, you can pop by any of the branches closest to your home and request for an opening of an account. You can even set up a bank account even before you arrive in Australia although this service is limited to some banks. For online application, you will be required to select a branch that you will visit to collect your debit card. It’s best to check which is the nearest branch to your accommodation or if they is one within your campus. To set a bank account you will require the documents below;

1. Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCOE)

2. Passport

3. Residential Address in Australia

4. You may also need an Australian Tax File Number (TFN) (www.ato.gov.au)

If you are ever in doubt about opening a bank account, feel free to liaise with your counsellors who will be able to assist you in setting up a bank account even before you arrive in Australia!

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