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Every dollar matters when you're a student. Luckily, there's lots of fee-free bank accounts available for Australian and international students that are easy to open online. These accounts charge no monthly account keeping fees, no ATM withdrawal fees and many offer Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay so you can make purchases with your phone.
Compare a range of bank accounts available to students below, and easily open an account online in minutes.
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
- Monthly fees: $0
- No international transaction fees
- Up to 10 currencies
Banks that offer student bank accounts
What are the fees associated with student bank accounts?
Typically the fees you'll need to look out for are the unconventional fees, such as overseas fees and overdrawn fees. Your student bank account shouldn't come with any monthly fees, and it should also give you an unlimited number of transactions, whether they are done online, via phone or in a branch.
In some cases, there may be limits on the number of ATM transactions that can be made per month so you should ensure the permitted number of ATM transactions suits your banking habits. Consider the other features as well, such as the interest rate, Bank@Post facilities, cheque accounts, debit cards, overseas ATMs, overdraw charges and so on.
If your student bank account runs out of cash, you might need to pay a fee. To avoid this you may be able to request an account with no overdraw facility so that you can't accidentally empty it and get stuck with fees.
International transaction fees
If you're travelling or going overseas, using your debit card might incur international transaction fees and foreign ATM fees. These can add up, so before travelling you might want to look into debit cards with low foreign transaction fees.
Overseas or foreign ATM fees
These are fees charged to your account when you use an ATM that's outside your bank's network. To avoid this you might want to look for the banks with the widest ATM networks.
What are the features and benefits of a student bank account?
No monthly fees
One of the biggest benefits of having a student bank account is that you get to avoid monthly fees, so you won't have money trickling out of your account.
Many banks offer student perks, such as retail discounts on a number of different brands, or discounts for related financial products. This is usually available for full-time or part-time tertiary students, as well as students undertaking an apprenticeship.
If you are hesitating signing up with a particular bank because of its lack of branches, Australia Post now offers a wide range of banking services for most of the big banks and financial organisations. So you can deposit cheques, pay bills and do a variety of other transactions using Bank@Post.
Linked Visa or Mastercard debit card
A debit card is used at ATMs and for EFTPOS transactions and should be a standard part of any transaction account package. Most student bank accounts feature a free linked debit card, to make spending easier for you.
Easy banking 24/7
With online banking you'll get unlimited 24/7 access and save time by setting up recurring payments to pay bills or to set up a savings plan.
How are you supposed to live the student life if you have restrictions on your withdrawals? Most banks will offer unlimited electronic transactions, as well as unlimited ATM usage at ATMs within their network. See our guide on who has the biggest ATM network.
Competitive credit card terms
As a student, you are eligible for a student credit card. This type of card delivers advantages with students in mind, such as customisable spending limits and minimal fees.Back to top
What's the best student bank account to use overseas?
In terms of overseas use, a popular option is to opt for a bank account with no international transaction fees. For most of the popular student bank accounts, withdrawing money from an overseas ATM doesn't come cheap, carrying foreign transaction fees of 2-5% and an international ATM withdrawal fee which is typically anywhere from $3 to $15.Back to top
When applying online, you need to be at least 18 years old and a permanent resident of Australia. You also must have an Australian residential address. You need to provide an email address, preferably your primary one, so the bank can send you alerts and maintain contact with you regarding how your application is progressing.
Most banks allow you to apply online for an account. All you have to do is compare your options and then select the account you want, fill out the form with your personal information, check your application and submit it. You will receive the details of your new account and then you will have to go through the identification process.
You will also have to provide your Tax File Number or Tax Exemption. While the latter is optional and can be forwarded to the bank at a later date, if you don't give it to them as soon as possible, they might deduct tax from the interest you earn on the money in your account at the highest marginal rate.
Note that if you want a joint account – in other words an account that belongs to two people – you will both have to apply online at the same time.
Once your application has been submitted, you will receive the new account number and BSB immediately, which means you can start making deposits as soon as you like into the new account. However, note that you will only receive full access to the account once all the account holders have gone through the identification process.
Once you've submitted your application, you will receive instructions regarding the identification process as banks have different requirements in terms of what they will accept as proof of ID.
As a student, you will also have to show at least one of the following, if not more:
- Student Identification Card
- Public Transport Student Concession Card
- A letter from the institution where you are studying on an official letterhead as proof that you are a full-time student
What about student savings accounts?
Student transaction accounts aren't generally known for earning interest, and many have rates of 0.01% on the monthly balance of your account or offer no interest at all. To earn more interest, you'll generally need a savings account. These can be linked to your transaction account, so you can earn interest as well as enjoy the benefits of an everyday transaction account for students.
What is the difference between student saving accounts and bank savings accounts?
The biggest difference between a student savings account and a standard online savings account can be the interest rate earned. A standard savings account generally features a higher rate than a student account, although there are exceptions to this. Take the ING DIRECT Savings Maximiser account that comes with an interest rate of 1.35% compared to Commonwealth Bank's NetBank Saver account at 0.5%. Considering that the latter is the student account with one of the highest interest rates available on the market today, the difference is noticeable.
There are also other restrictions and conditions that pertain to student savings accounts. In some cases, there are age limitations as in the student must be younger than 21, or restrictions such as the customer must be a full-time tertiary student.
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