How do I set up a bank account in Australia as an international student?

Female student smiling in front of ATM holding up a debit card

Having a bank account in Australia is essential for day to day life, allowing you to pay for things like rent, utilities, groceries, and entertainment, plus receive any wages.

Can I open a bank account before I arrive in Australia?

Yes! Murdoch encourages setting up a bank account before arriving in Australia to ensure your transition to Perth is as smooth as possible.

Most banks allow you to apply through their website before your arrival in Australia. During this process, you may be asked to provide information like:

  • Passport number and expiry date
  • Personal details like name, date of birth and residential address
  • A valid email address
  • Details of your expected arrival in Australia
  • Your student visa

Once your application has been approved, you'll be able to transfer funds into your new account - meaning you can access your own money as soon as you land in Australia!

Once you arrive, you'll still need to visit your chosen bank's branch with your passport in order to receive your linked debit card. It's essential you complete this step within six weeks of arriving in Australia, or you'll have to provide additional identification.

If you're unable to set up your bank account before arriving in Australia - don't worry, you can quickly and easily do this by visiting a branch in person once you arrive.

Which banks can I choose from in Australia?

There are a number of banks available in Australia, which offer a variety of products including money transfer services, checking and savings accounts. We've included a list of some banks below:

There are also a number of smaller banks and credit unions in Western Australia. Banks in Perth are usually open Monday to Friday from 9am until 4pm, and some banks open Saturday mornings. You can learn more about banking in Australia on the MoneySmart website.

UniBank has a branch conveniently located at the South Street campus, which is open 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

ANZ, Bankwest, CBA, NAB and Westpac all have branches within a 5km radius of Murdoch University, either at Stockland Bull Creek Shopping Centre or Kardinya Park Shopping Centre.

How do I choose the right bank for me?

When it comes to choosing the right bank for you and your lifestyle as an international student, there are a number of things you should consider.

Monthly fees - Monthly bank fees in Australia can range anywhere from AUD $0 to $5 a month. Many banks offer $0 fees for students.

ATMs - How many ATMs does your bank have? To ensure you're never without cash, it's worth checking how many ATMs your chosen bank has, and how close they are to you. Remember that many banks now do not have their own branded ATMs, and instead cover the cost of using another bank's ATM.

International ATM fees - If you're planning to either head home on your uni break, or explore many of the countries close to Australia, it may be worth considering selecting a bank that offers no fees for international ATM withdrawals.

International money transfer fees - Need to send money back home regularly? Do your research to ensure you're choosing a bank that doesn't charge fees for international money transfers.

Multilingual staff - Many banks have staff that will speak multiple languages. If you feel more comfortable with someone who speaks your first language, it's worth calling ahead to see if your local branch provides this service.

Student discounts or deals - Does your chosen bank offer any deals for students? Be careful with this one. If a bank is offering a $20 reward for opening the account, but charges monthly fees - this will quickly be eaten up.

Required deposit - Some accounts will require you to deposit a certain amount in order to set up or to receive certain interest rates.

Unsure about how much money you'll need to budget for general living expenses? Check out our handy blog on cost of living in Perth.

The information on this website and the links provided are for general information only and should not be taken as professional advice. Murdoch University recommends seeking independent financial advice.

Posted on:

9 Dec 2019

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