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International students: How to open a bank account in Australia

Are you planning on studying in Australia? Having a local bank account will make your life easier and even save you money.

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If you're moving to Australia to study, one of the first things you need to get organised is your bank account. While you might be able to use your existing overseas account, having one in Australia will make things much easier, particularly if you're paying rent and other bills.

Here, we look at your options and the steps on how to open your Australian bank account even before you land in the country.

Promoted
Bank account offer
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Promoted
$0
monthly fee
$0
ATM withdrawal fee
  • Google Pay, Apple Pay
  • Monthly fees: $0
  • No international transaction fees
  • Up to 10 currencies

HSBC Everyday Global Account

Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases. T&Cs apply.
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases. T&Cs apply.

Compare student bank accounts below

1 - 4 of 4
Name Product Contactless Payments Instant Payments ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly account fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Google Pay, Apple Pay
N/A
$0
$0
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases. T&Cs apply.
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.

MyState Bank Glide Account
Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay
Osko, PayID
$0
$0
Simplify your everyday banking with these sleek digital features.
$0 monthly account fee.
Choose the way you pay with access to Google, Samsung and Apple Pay plus Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay. Send and receive money in less than 60 seconds with PayID.
Westpac Choice Student
Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay
Osko, PayID
$0
$0
$0 account keeping fee for students and customers under 30
Make purchases 24/7 using your Westpac Digital Card in the Westpac App.
Students will pay no monthly account keeping fee with no deposit conditions to meet. Pay with your phone or wearable device anywhere and anytime, and access cash without your debit card using Cardless Cash.
Great Southern Bank Everyday Youth Account
Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay
Osko, PayID
$0
$0
Designed for young Australians between 10 and 17 years old, a Great Southern Bank Everyday Youth Account is designed to make everyday banking easier.
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Compare up to 4 providers

1 - 3 of 3
Name Product Contactless Payments Instant Payments ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly account fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Google Pay, Apple Pay
N/A
$0
$0
If you live in a country that is part of HSBC's global network, visit a local branch to open this account prior to your arrival in Australia. Hold up to 10 currencies at a time and instantly transfer funds from one to the other at HSBC's competitive foreign exchange rates.
Westpac Choice
Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay, Digital Card
Osko, PayID
$0
$5
Open a Westpac Choice account up to 12 months before arriving in Australia. Enjoy $0 monthly account fees for the first 12 months, and withdraw money after completing an identity check at any Westpac bank branch in Australia.
HSBC Day to Day Transaction Account
Google Pay, Apple Pay
N/A
$0
$0
Apply for an Australian bank account in person at one of HSBC's global branches and get exclusive shopping deals at over 1,500 retailers worldwide through HSBCS home&Away privilege program.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

1 - 4 of 4
Name Product Contactless Payments Instant Payments ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly account fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Google Pay, Apple Pay
N/A
$0
$0
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases. T&Cs apply.
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.

MyState Bank Glide Account
Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay
Osko, PayID
$0
$0
Simplify your everyday banking with these sleek digital features.
$0 monthly account fee.
Choose the way you pay with access to Google, Samsung and Apple Pay plus Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay. Send and receive money in less than 60 seconds with PayID.
Westpac Choice Student
Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay
Osko, PayID
$0
$0
$0 account keeping fee for students and customers under 30
Make purchases 24/7 using your Westpac Digital Card in the Westpac App.
Students will pay no monthly account keeping fee with no deposit conditions to meet. Pay with your phone or wearable device anywhere and anytime, and access cash without your debit card using Cardless Cash.
Great Southern Bank Everyday Youth Account
Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay
Osko, PayID
$0
$0
Designed for young Australians between 10 and 17 years old, a Great Southern Bank Everyday Youth Account is designed to make everyday banking easier.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Can I set up an Australian bank account from overseas?

Some banks require you to be in Australia and have an Australian residential address before you apply. However, there are banks that let you apply online before you're in Australia. Typically, you will then need to visit a branch when you arrive in the country to verify your identity before you can deposit money into the account.

How do I set up a bank account online from overseas?

Setting up an account is simple. If you have all the information in front of you, it should only take minutes to complete.

1. Find the right bank account

There are several banks in Australia that let you open an account before you're in the country. If you're still a little way off entering Australia, look out for banks that specifically call out students. You likely won't have to provide an Australian residential address and they are less likely to charge you monthly fees. You may need to be entering Australia within a certain time frame. For example, Commonwealth Bank requires you to arrive in Australia within 3 months.

2. Complete online forms

You may need the following when filling out the online application:

  • Current phone number, email address, residential address and other contact details
  • Personal details such as your name and date of birth
  • Date of when you expect to arrive in Australia
  • Visa type and the Australian state you're migrating to
  • Your expected yearly salary in Australian dollars (if you know)

3. Provide proof of ID

You need to provide documents such as your birth certificate, passport or driver's licence. Some banks may allow you to do this online, but some may need you to visit a branch when you arrive in Australia. If you need to visit a branch, make sure to bring the following with you:

  • Your passport
  • Your Australian residential address
  • Your valid visa documents
  • A letter from the institution where you are studying on an official letterhead as proof that you are a full-time student

4. Receive your bank card

Once your identification has been verified and your account approved, you should receive your bank card. Transfer money into your new account and then you can spend away as normal.

What types of accounts are available for international students?

As an international student, you'll be happy to know that you have lots of short-term options to choose from for your banking needs, each with different features and benefits. You can choose from 2 account categories: a transaction account or a dedicated student account.

Transaction account: A transaction account is a basic account for daily expenses. You can use it to pay your bills, deposit your income, pay for goods and services or make daily transactions. With this account, you'll receive log-in details for online and mobile banking and a debit card to withdraw money at ATMs (cash machines) and make everyday payments.

International student account: Most banks also offer an account specifically designed for people moving to Australia to study. This account gives you a lot of the same things as a transaction account, with some added benefits. If you open an account and you're a full-time student, you are most likely to skip the monthly and/or annual account fees. Many dedicated student accounts also provide student rewards.

Do student bank accounts have fees?

Your student bank account shouldn't come with any monthly fees for at least the first 12 months. It should give you an unlimited number of transactions, whether you make a transaction online, via EFTPOS or in a branch.

You need to look out for unconventional fees, such as the following:

  • Overdrawn charges

If your student bank account runs out of cash, you can expect to pay a fee. To avoid this, you may request an account with no overdraw facility so you can't accidentally spend more than what's available in your account 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 often fees charged to your account when you use an ATM that's outside your bank's network. To avoid this, look for the banks with the widest ATM networks. Some banks may also have a limit on the number of ATM transactions you can make per month.

What is the best Australian bank for students?

There is no single best Australian bank for students. The best bank for you may not be the best for someone else. Here are some factors to consider:

  • How many ATMs and branches does the bank have in your local area?
  • What options does the bank have for transaction or student accounts?
  • What are the fees attached to each account?
  • Is there a banker who speaks your language?
  • Are you required to deposit a certain amount in order to open the account or is there a minimum ongoing account balance requirement?
  • Does the account offer any special discounts or deals for students?
  • Does the bank offer any other services you might need, such as international money transfers and savings accounts?

You should compare a range of accounts when deciding which provider is best suited to your everyday banking needs.

The following are the biggest banks in Australia:

Other major banks include Bendigo Bank, BankSA, Bankwest, St.George and Bank of Queensland. There are also a number of community-owned banks. Some international banks also operate in Australia, including ING, Citi and HSBC.

Who can open a student account?

  • Registered student at an Australian university
  • In Australia or arriving in Australia within the next 12 months
  • Able to complete an identity check at a bank branch

What features come with Australian transaction and student accounts?

  • Debit cards. Once you sign up with a bank, you'll be issued a debit card linked to your account so you can access your funds while you're out and about. You can use this card to pay for goods and services in stores and online. In Australia, you can use PayPass, which allows you to make contactless payments of up to $100.
  • Online and mobile banking. Most Australian banks allow you to manage your finances via online and mobile banking. You can also set up recurring payments to pay bills.
  • ATM network. Australia has an extensive network of ATMs (or cash machines). You can use your debit account to take out cash. Depending on which bank you choose, you may be charged an additional processing fee.
  • 24/7 access. With online banking, you'll get unlimited 24/7 access to your account online.

How can I transfer money into my Australian bank account from overseas?

The following are a few of the available options to transfer money:

  • Electronic funds transfer with your bank

Also known as an international money transfer, a telegraphic transfer (TT), a wire transfer or a SWIFT transfer, your money can be sent to your Australian bank account and converted into AUD. However, most banks charge additional fees and poor exchange rates.

Companies such as OFX, TorFX, and InstaReM will quote an exchange rate, convert the funds and send them to your nominated bank account. You need to set up an account, but these services are often much cheaper to use when you are receiving between $1,000 and $1,000,000. These almost always offer a better exchange rate than the banks too.

Not the safest way to transfer money, international money orders are similar to paper cheques but the amount is paid for in advance and so the order cannot bounce.

For more ways to send money overseas, check out Finder's comparison on money transfers here.

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