International Student Banking In Australia: A Complete Guide

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International students want to know how to open Australia's best student bank account.


If you're considering studying in Australia, it's important to know how their banks work.


Australia has different options for managing money, like local credit unions, building societies, and banks. Some banks are designed especially for international students.


Keep reading to find out how to easily set up your Australian bank account to pay tuition and everyday expenses.


1. Choosing a Bank


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


  • NAB

  • Westpac

  • Commonwealth Bank

  • ANZ

  • Citibank


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.


Once you receive the new account details, you can transfer money into your account. Opening a bank account in Australia can be a breeze– even for overseas students! You can open a local bank account in Australia in simple steps.



Here are Five Simple Steps To Open A Student Bank Account in Australia:


Step 1: Visit your chosen bank's website.


Step 2: Choose the bank account of your choice. 


Step 3: Fill out an account opening application form online (by providing your visa expiry date, passport number, and other information)


Step 4: Book an appointment with your local branch upon arriving in Australia. Provide the following documents so a consultant can verify your identity and open your account.


  • Australian residential address 

  • Australian phone number

  • Australian Tax File Number (or Tax Exemption)

  • University acceptance letter

  • Two types of ID (a Medicare card, Australian driver's license, Passport, age proof card, utility bill, or a tenancy agreement)



Step 5: Fund your new bank account via cash or money transfer from another bank account. You will receive your debit card in the mail within a few weeks.


You can also perform the entire account opening process in person; however, ensure that you do it within the first six weeks of arrival, as you might need to provide more identification proofs later.


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.



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 that allows you to withdraw money from all ATMs worldwide for a low fee. Further, make sure the fees are low for international money transfers.





  • 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.



6. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Can International Students Borrow Money From Banks in Australia?


 Yes. International students can get a loan from a bank if they meet the following conditions:


  • Be at least 18 years (If you are below 18, you may require your parent or guardian as the official account signatory to open the account).

  • Hold Australian citizenship, permanent residency, or eligible visa. 

  • Work on a permanent (full-time or part-time) basis.


Other requirements that vary between lenders:


  • Fulfil a minimum annual income criterion

  • Have a good credit rating 

  • Enrolled in an approved institution/ course

  • Meet specific study-load requirements.


Overseas students must consider the key loan terms, such as interest charges and repayment obligations, before taking out a student loan in Australia.



How Much Bank Balance Is Required For A Student Visa in Australia?


Regardless of your travel purpose, you may require to show evidence of adequate financial means when you visit Australia. The Department of Home Affairs specifies the bank balance you need when arriving in Australia.


Failing to meet the bank balance requirements and verifying access to the money may cause application rejection. So, if you receive money from another person or a loan provider (the loan agency or a company), you must provide proof of the relationship with them in your application.


Generally, students need adequate money to cover expenses in Australia. For a 12-month stay, you may need $21, 041 to meet the below requirements:


  • Your travel expenses inside and outside the country

  • 12 months of course fees

  • 12 months of living costs

  • Any school fees for dependent children who come with you to Australia


If your parents or child accompany you, the living costs may increase by $7,362 and $3,152, respectively.


Note: You must check the Department of Home Affairs website for the latest requirements to prepare for the travel accordingly.



Can A Student Save Money in Australia?


Tuition fees and accommodation expenses are the two highest spending for overseas students studying in Australia. It makes it essential to save money to pay for these expenses.


Helpful tips and tricks that may benefit you:



  • Consider opening a student-specific account as they give you the benefits of a transaction account without incurring fees for everyday operations such as cash deposit, ATM withdrawal, monthly or annual account fees, etc.


For more money-saving tips, check out detailed posts on tips and tricks to save money as an overseas student in Australia.



Can International Students Have A Bank Account in Australia?


Yes. Overseas students can open a local bank account in Australia. They can open a local bank account before or after settling in Australia. The latter option is more suitable as it helps relieve stress and save you money and time.



Do University Students Need A Student Bank Account?


A student bank account can benefit university students in the following ways:



On top of it, some best student bank accounts offer budgeting tools and cashback perks without charging account-keeping fees.



Which Banks Are Acceptable For an Australian Student Visa?


All four Australian big banks, such as ANZ, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Westpac Banking Corporation, provide student loans to overseas students in Australia. They can use this money to pay their tuition fees.


However, to approve the loan, banks require documents such as your visa details, payslips, and employment and employer information to evaluate your eligibility. Students will need a cosigner to apply for a higher loan amount.


Type of student bank accounts for overseas students in Australia include:


  • CommBank's Everyday Smart Access account

  • Westpac Choice account

  • NAB Classic Banking account 

  • ANZ Student Access Advantage



Is A Student Account Better Than a Normal Account?


A student account offers the same features as a transaction account and provides additional perks. You don't have to pay any charges on cash deposits or ATM withdrawals monthly or annually.


A savings account is ideal for saving and offers interest on your money; it doesn't come with a debit card. A student bank account is designed for everyday spending and comes with a debit card. It is a secure place to receive regular deposits like pay and make timely bill payments.



What Is The Best Bank To Have as A Student?


The best bank for a student depends on their individual needs and preferences. Examining the features and benefits of different student bank accounts is beneficial to decide the best bank in Australia.



CommBank's Everyday Smart Access Account


  • Students can open this account up to 3 months before arriving in Australia.

  • Access to the CommBank App

  • Exclusive benefits and student discounts 

  • No account maintenance fee for the initial 12 months if applied through the CommBank website

  • Cardless ATM withdrawals in Australia

  • Open your account instantly in around 5 minutes and receive your bank details immediately.

  • Unlimited free transactions from network ATMs, counter deposits, phones, EFTPOS, and the internet. 



NAB Classic Banking Account


  • Students with valid visas can apply online for this account up to 12 months before arriving in Australia. 

  • Zero withdrawal, overdraft, or account maintenance fees

  • Facility to link a NAB iSaver account 

  • Access to NAB mobile app and online banking

  • Unlimited internet and phone transactions making it perfect for easy bill payment

  • Access to more than 7,000 ATMs within Australia, with no ATM charges. 



ANZ Student Access Advantage


  • Students can open this account before they plan to arrive in Australia.

  • Able to transfer money before you reach Australia (however, you need to activate the account at a local branch to use the money) 

  • Access to ANZ Access Visa Debit card

  • No account maintenance fees for the first 12 months

  • 24*7 fraud monitoring

  • Free ATMS withdrawals within the ANZ network



ANZ Progress Saver Account


  • It is ideal for students who have savings or plan on part-time employment during their studies. 

  • The savings account offers bonus interest on the balance to help students grow their savings while studying. (T&C apply.) 

  • There is no monthly account service fee. You can link it to your Access Advantage account to seamlessly transfer the funds.



Westpac Choice Account


It is an everyday transaction account that students can set up for a maximum of three months before reaching or after reaching Australia.


  • No account maintenance fees for students enrolled in a full-time course or under 30

  • Access to Westpac Debit Mastercard and digital wallets such as Google Pay and Apple Pay

  • Cardless ATM withdrawals are allowed at specific ATMS in Australia

  • No ATM withdrawal fees on domestic withdrawals 

  • Instant card lock and fraud protection assurances

  • Instant Account Opening within 5 minutes 



Which Is Better, Rabobank or ING? 


Both ING and Rabobank offer savings accounts with comparable benefits.


ING Orange Everyday Account is superior to Rabobank regarding built-in safety, international fee, and app performance. It is ideal for people sick of paying high ATM fees for overseas transactions as they are waived off on meeting certain conditions.


Rabobank Bank, on the other hand, is suited for those looking for a flexible account that pays a decent interest rate without regularly depositing money. Also, account holders can link any Australian transaction account to it to transfer money back and forth without opening a new transaction account.


Here is a comparison of both student accounts to help you decide which would be a better option for you:


Features ING Orange Everyday Rabobank High-Savings Account
Eligibility 18 years and above  
Interest Rate Though you don’t earn interest on your account, if you link your account to the ING Savings Maximiser and meet account conditions, you can earn a bonus rate of 5.25% on your bank balance. 5.15% for the first four months (with no conditions) later base rate of 4%
Fee No monthly fee No monthly fee
Available options One (Orange Everyday Account) Variety of savings accounts to meet various saving styles.
Branch Access No No
Online and Phone access Yes No
Apps Yes (ING app) Rabobank AU app (but has a poor rating)


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