International Student Banking in Australia: A Complete Guide

International students are comparing the best Australian banks and credit cards for students in Australia.

 

Australia is a friendly country that offers many national and International student opportunities. If you are planning to study in one of the top universities in Australia, there are plenty of things you need to know before moving to the land of Kangaroos.

 

One of the most important things you'll need to understand is the Australian Banking System. In Australia, you will get a wide range of choices to manage your finances, from local credit unions and building societies to banks. Many banks in Australia also offer banking options for international students.

 

So, if you are looking for the most straightforward ways to set up your bank account in Australia to pay tuition fees, manage your everyday finances and more, then keep reading this post until the end.

 

 

1. Choosing a Bank

 

Australia offers various banks for International students to choose from. The top banks for students in Australia include the following:

 

 

Note: Several other regional banks can help you to open an account in a particular area.

 

 

2. The Right Type of Bank Account

 

Opening a bank account is one of the most important things to consider when moving to Australia. International students can use a bank account for paying bills, international money transactions, and managing student accommodation in Australia.

 

There are three international student bank accounts available: Transaction accounts, Savings accounts, and Student accounts.

 

  • The transaction account is the most common for daily expenses, deposits, money access, shopping, paying bills, and withdrawing money from an ATM.

 

  • The savings account is a ready-to-go account linked to your everyday bank account. It differs from the transaction account as it allows you to earn interest on your balance.

 

  • The student account has the same features as a transaction account but has some extra perks. For example, you don't pay any fees when you deposit cash or withdraw from an ATM monthly or annually.

 

In Australia, most international students prefer to open a transaction account as it is easy to maintain. It gives them the freedom to access the account and manage their finances easily without any hassle.

 

If you are trying to figure out which are the best student bank accounts in Australia, check out the list of the top Australian banks below:

 

 

NAB - NAB Classic Banking

 

The National Australian Bank offers classic banking accounts that charge no overdrawn fees, monthly account fees, or direct ATM fees on withdrawing money from any rediATM or NAB ATM. It allows you to access your account through phone or internet banking services easily. 

 

Furthermore, you can apply for a VISA debit card at no extra cost and shop anywhere where VISA is accepted. You can also do your usual banking with the NAB classic account from any Australian post office.

 

It is important to note that the NAB student account has an overseas ATM withdrawal fee of $5 and a foreign exchange commission of 3%.

 

Additionally, it features NAB defence, which protects your account from fraud. Lastly, you can always link your account to NAB iSaver and transfer money whenever required.

 

 

Westpac - Westpac Choice Student

 

The Westpac Choice Student account is perfect for full-time international students who want to open up a fee-free account with a prominent bank in Australia. 

 

There are several benefits of having this account. It enables you to transfer money from anywhere around the globe, open an account almost a year before your arrival, manage your money on the go through mobile banking services, and shop safely online with a debit MasterCard, which is linked to your Choice account.

 

The best part about opening a Westpac student account is that you won't pay any withdrawal fees when using the ATM facility of major banks of Australia, including Westpac, NAB, ANZ, BankSA, St. George, Commonwealth Bank, and Bank of Melbourne. Additionally, you will enjoy free unlimited transactions over the phone, online, via BPAY, or in-branch.

 

The account fee for overseas ATM access is $0. However, it will cost you a 3% foreign exchange commission and a $5 ATM fee if you want to withdraw money overseas.

 

 

Commonwealth Bank - Student Smart Access

 

The Commonwealth Bank is one of the largest and oldest banks in Australia. It offers Student Options for full-time and part-time tertiary students, allowing students to benefit from exclusive discounts on a range of banking products.

 

International students can open their Commonwealth Bank Student Smart Access account three months before arrival. It has no monthly fee, making it perfect for students who want to use a transaction account daily. You can also use a debit card with this account to shop in-store or online and get free access to special deals and offers.

 

Commonwealth student banking also offers a free health check that lets you find the best banking services to meet your requirements. In addition, you can use the CommBank app to organise and track your money from anywhere in the world and use Spend Tracker to monitor your student expenditure.

 

 

ANZ - ANZ Student Access Advantage

 

The ANZ Student Access Advantage provides students with simple banking options and no account fees, making it the best bank account for a teenager in Australia. It keeps your funds safe and gives the holder easy access to everyday transactions.

 

To open an ANZ student account, you must be a full-time student and show your valid student ID to the ANZ bank agent at the beginning of every academic year.

 

Furthermore, the ANZ Student Access Advantage account has several other advantages, including unlimited transactions, zero minimum balance, zero withdrawal fees, the goMoney mobile app, and an Access Visa Debit card.

 

Holding an ANZ international student account means using a debit card for overseas withdrawals. However, you must remember that it will cost you a 3% foreign exchange commission and a $5 ATM fee.

 

 

Citibank - Citibank Plus Everyday Account

 

Citibank is one of the best banks in Australia, with a vast network of ATMs across the country. The Citi Plus account is ideal for students as it has no monthly account fee and allows you to withdraw money within the Citi ATM network (which includes banks like BankSA, Westpac, Bank of Melbourne, and St George).

 

You can use its Debit MasterCard worldwide to withdraw cash from ATMs. Also, the Citi Plus transaction account allows you to instantly transfer money from any country to your Citi account or any other bank account worldwide for free.

 

 

3. How To Open A Bank Account in Australia?

 

Opening a bank account in Australia is a simple and quick process. You can visit a bank or open it online before coming to Australia. Most banks in Australia allow you to open an account up to three months before you arrive in Australia through an online application form on their website.

 

To open a bank account online, you only need a passport, a valid email address, and the date of arrival (three months before) in Australia.

 

You will need to fill out the form on the bank's website and add details like passport number and expiry date. Once you receive the new account details, you can transfer money into your account.

 

Pro Tip: Keep a close watch over exchange rates and make sure to transfer money at the time when you will get the maximum value for your currency. Also, changing some of your cash into Australian dollars before your arrival is a good idea, as you might need it in an emergency.

 

Upon your arrival, you might have to book an appointment at the local branch to prove your identity and to access your money. You'll need to bring your passport and address proof in Australia, like a tenancy agreement or a utility bill.

 

As soon as you arrive in Australia, make an appointment with your local branch. Complete this process within the first few months to avoid the hassle.

 

You can even open a bank account in person, but make sure to do so within the first 1 to 6 weeks of your arrival.

 

 

4. Documents Required

 

In Australia, banks use a points system for documentation to open an account. You will need to present documents that can add up to 100 points. Below is the list:

 

Points Documents Required

70 Points


Note: You can only get points for one item in this section



40 Points

Note: These cards must have a photograph or signature


25 Points

Any card with your name on it:

  • Store account card
  • Library card
  • Credit card
  • Union card
  • Medicare card
  • Video Store Card

 

25 Points

Other documents on which your name and address appear:

 

  • Car registration
  • Rental receipts
  • Utility bill

 

Here are a few other essential things to note:

 

  • The points mentioned above may change at any time.

 

  • You will require your passport if you open an account within six weeks to three months of arrival. This concession depends entirely on the institution and only applies to banks, not credit unions.

 

  •  After your account has been opened, your debit card will arrive in your mail within a few weeks.

 

 

5. Things to Consider When Opening a Bank Account in Australia

 

 

Service Fees

 

  • Many banks charge monthly service fees to maintain your account. This often adds up in the long run. So, before you choose a bank, inquire how much it charges!

 

  • If you are an international student, choose an account with Citibank Plus that allows you to withdraw money from all ATMs of Citibank worldwide for free, and they will not charge any fee on international money transfers.

 

 

ATMs

 

  • When choosing a bank, ensure the bank's ATM is available near your locality and across campus.

 

  • You can also choose banks offering free ATM services, like Bankwest and Commbank, the largest bank ATM networks in Australia with over 4,000 ATMs.

 

 

Debit Cards

 

  • After opening a bank account, you will receive a card with your welcome kit. You can withdraw money from ATMs or use it while shopping. Visa Debit or Mastercard debit can be used all over Australia and overseas.

 

  • An EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale) card does not work for online shopping and can only be used in Australia, so international students have better options. Therefore, choosing an account that offers a card at no extra cost is crucial.

 

As an international student, when choosing a bank in Australia, make sure your bank offers the following features:

 

  • Online and mobile banking

  • No international fees for ATM withdrawals

  • Competitive interest rates

  • Unlimited deposits and withdrawals

  • No minimum balance

  • Speedy transfer time

  • Extensive ATM network

  • Fee-free International Money Transfers

 

 

Moving to Australia for further studies can be a stressful period. So, applying for a bank account before your arrival is wise. If you do so, you can easily access your money without problems. 

 

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