Financial institutions have a range of cheap and simple banking solutions tailored for students, so you can focus on studying.
As a student, you have access to a wide range of benefits and perks when it comes to having a bank account. Usually, you'll receive exclusive discounts on a ranking of banking products and it's available for full-time and part-time tertiary students who are studying at an Australian educational institution or undertaking an apprenticeship.
So why are student bank accounts so great? Students get to enjoy a range of exclusive discounts such as $0 monthly fees on bank accounts, $0 annual fee on student credit cards and other benefits.
Student bank account offer
The St.George Complete Freedom Student doesn't charge monthly fees for under 18s and full time tertiary students, including apprentices.
- Mobile and Phone banking available
- Waived monthly account fees on monthly deposits of minimum $2000
- Free ATM withdrawals from from St.George, BoM, BankSA and Westpac ATMs
Banks that offer student bank accounts
finder.com.au featured student bank accounts
|Product name||Benefits for students|
|St.George Complete Freedom Student Account||$0 Monthly fees for under 18s and full-time tertiary students (including apprentices)|
|CommBank Everyday Account Smart Access (student option)||$0 Monthly fees if you visit a branch within 12 months and show your current student ID|
|Westpac Choice for full-time tertiary students||$0 Monthly fees for full-time tertiary students if you visit a branch and show your current student ID|
|Bankwest Student Account||$0 Monthly fees and get discounts from McDonald's Hoyts or Apple Store for education|
|Bendigo Bank Student Account||$0 Monthly fees for full-time tertiary students (including apprentices). If you're over 18, you need to provide proof of ongoing enrolment by 14 April every year|
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 have access to 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 which can be made per month. Ensure the permitted number of ATM transactions suits your banking habits. However, there are other things to consider 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 can expect to pay serious penalties, so you really want to try to avoid overdrawing your account. It may even be an idea to request that your account can't be overdrawn so as to avoid these charges.
International transaction fees
If you're travelling or going overseas, using your debit card might incur international transaction fees and foreign ATM fees. These fees can add up and hurt your wallet, so you may want to consider a debit card with low foreign transaction fees when you travel.
Overseas or foreign ATM fees
These are fees charged to your account when you don't use an ATM within your bank's network. To avoid these fees, you can only withdraw from an account specific within the network, for example, Commonwealth Bank and Bankwest.Back to top
What are the features and benefits of a student bank account?
No monthly fees
As mentioned above, one of the biggest benefits of being eligible for a student bank account is that you get discounts off the monthly fee.
Many banks offer student perks, such as discounts off retail items or discounts off a range of banking products. It's usually available for full time or part time tertiary students, as well as student undertaking an apprenticeship. Other perks include: $0 annual fee of a student card, $0 establishment fee
If you are hesitating signing up with a particular bank because of it's lack of branches, Australia Post now offers a wide range of banking service 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 with 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.Back to top
What's the best student bank account to use overseas?
In terms of overseas ATMs, a popular option to avoid paying international ATM fees is the Citibank Plus everyday account. This could be a suitable account for overseas travel for the fee conscious. For most of the popular student bank accounts, withdrawing money from an overseas ATM doesn't come cheap, charging foreign transaction fees (of 2-5% of the withdrawal value) and charging an international ATM withdrawal fee (of anywhere between $3-$15) which are both waived for the Citibank Plus account. This account is also ideal for students who regularly shop online at outlets which don't accept Australian dollars.
Do you have a high transaction volume?
You need a bank account with flexible payment options and an unlimited number of free transactions if you have to make a large number of payments every month. The NAB Classic Banking account offers just that. It also comes with BPAY and PostBill payment features at no cost, which will definitely prove helpful when it's time to pay those bills.
Another option is the Commonwealth Bank Everyday account. It doesn't require a minimum balance nor are there any monthly deposit limitations. Even better, you get a complimentary MasterCard debit card with PayWave technology.Back to top
How do I apply for a student bank account?
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 also 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 get 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?
So, how important is interest on your bank account? The fact is that the majority of current transaction accounts offer an interest rate of 0.01% on the monthly balance of your account. Some don't offer any interest at all.
This means that there is little chance of you making any substantial savings with a student bank account. However, you could get around this by depositing your money in a student savings account that you link with your current account and that features instant transfers.
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 2.75% compared to Commonwealth Bank's NetBank Saver account at 2.70%. 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.
The best way to compare savings accounts to find the best option for your particular circumstances is to use a financial comparison website like finder.com.au. Make sure that you read all the terms and conditions, including the fine print, when conducting the comparison.