Although this may not be the most exciting part of your trip, creating a budget before starting out of your Australian adventure can ensure a much more enjoyable and stress free holiday. This also is a great starting point when planning your itinerary and accommodations.
If you have a bank-issued debit card or credit card on one of the major international banking networks, you will have no problem accessing your money in Australia from overseas. Bear in mind though that if you plan to work or ‘receive’ funds here you will be well advised to apply for an Australian bank account.
If you are planning to stay in Australia for more than a short vacation or work (see the Finding a Job section for more details) while you are here, it’s a good idea to open a bank account with one of Australia’s banks, building societies or credit unions. National chains, including ANZ, Commonwealth, National Australia Bank, St George, and Westpac can be found in all major cities and most smaller towns around the country. Commonwealth Bank (or CBA) is the largest bank in Australia and for your benefit has the largest network of ATMs. This is important as most banks, building societies or credit unions charge a fee for using another ATM. The alternative is to use your cash access (or debit) cards to make purchases from stores (this is called Electronic Funds Transfer Point of Sale or EFTPOS here) and ask to make a ‘free cash’ withdrawal at the same time.
To open a bank account you will have to provide 100 points worth of identification, if you open a bank account within the first six weeks of your stay in Australia, your passport along with proof of your arrival date in Australia can act at these 100 points. After this time, more forms of identification may be necessary. Students should show their Student ID, as certain banks offer ‘Student Accounts‘, which provide more flexible and cheaper options.
Bank branches in major cities are generally open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm — although hours can depend on the bank and the branch location. Most ATMs, are open 24 hours. However, when using an ATM Machine, always be sure to protect your pin number, be conscious of who is around you, and do not withdraw money alone in dark areas. More Money Safety!
All major credit cards (American Express, MasterCard and Visa) are accepted at most places around the country.
Lost or stolen credit cards should be reported immediately to reduce the risk or fraudulent use.
American Express (24 hours) 1800 230 100
MasterCard (24 hours) 1800 120 113
VISA (24 hours) 1800 805 341
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