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Best Bank Accounts for International Students in Australia

If you’re heading or are already in Australia to study to then this guide can help you select a bank account that works for you. 

westpacWestpac International Student Bank Account$0 Account-Keeping Fee
ATM network at home and overseas
Apple Pay & Google Wallet integration

Can I sign up for any bank account as an International Student in Australia?

As an international student in Australia, you are eligible to open a bank account with most major banks. However, some banks offer specialized accounts designed specifically for students, including international students. These accounts often come with features tailored to the needs of students, such as low or no monthly fees, flexible transaction options, and convenient online banking services.

What documents do I need to sign up?

The documentation required to open a bank account in Australia may vary slightly between banks, but generally, you will need the following:

  1. Proof of age: Banks require you to be at least 18 years old, if not you will need to go through a legal guardian to open your account.
  2. Current Visa Document: A copy of your current valid visa document offered by the immigration department.
  3. Proof of Identification: This could be your passport, driver’s license, or other government-issued identification documents. Most banks will accept your overseas passport as a form of identification.
  4. Proof of Enrollment: Most banks will require proof that you are enrolled in a recognized educational institution in Australia. This could be in the form of an acceptance letter or a student ID card.
  5. Proof of Address: You may need to provide proof of your current address in Australia. This could be a rental agreement, utility bill, or a letter from your educational institution confirming your address.

What types of bank accounts can you get in Australia?

There are four major banks in Australia (ANZCommBankNational Australia Bank and Westpac Banking corporation) as well as a number of regional banks. However, in recent times Neo Banks have gotten increasingly popular especially with the youth for their attractive features such as cashback offers and zero fee international transactions.

In Australia, international students can typically choose one or more from the following types of bank accounts types:

1. Everyday Transaction Accounts

These accounts are designed for day-to-day banking activities, such as withdrawing cash, making purchases, and transferring money. They often come with a debit card and may offer features like no monthly account-keeping fees or unlimited transactions.

2. Savings Accounts

Savings accounts help you save and earn interest on your money. They usually have higher interest rates compared to everyday transaction accounts but may have restrictions on the number of withdrawals you can make each month.

What are the biggest banks in the country?

The banking landscape in Australia is largely dominated by the “Big Four” banks—Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank (NAB), and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ). These financial giants have a rich history, originating at local levels and expanding their influence through mergers and acquisitions during times of financial upheaval.

BankEstablishment YearKey AcquisitionsNotable Milestones
Commonwealth Bank1911State Savings Bank of Tasmania, various state banks, BankWest, Colonial, Aussie Home LoansFully privatised in 1996. Became the largest bank in Australia through strategic acquisitions.
Westpac1817Commercial Bank of Australia, St George BankRenamed Westpac in 1982 after a series of mergers. Cemented its status as Australia’s second-largest bank through a mega-merger during the 2008 global financial crisis.
NAB1982National Bank of Australasia, Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, Bank of New Zealand, MLCAcquired and divested banking businesses globally.
ANZ1835Bank of Australasia, Union Bank of Australia, English, Scottish & Australian Bank, Bank of Adelaide, Grindlays Bank, PostBankFormed through a series of mergers. Continuously expanded its presence domestically and internationally through strategic acquisitions.
Comparision of the big four banks in Australia

Breakdown of the best Overseas student bank accounts

There are severl number of great bank account options across Australia that all offer different things for students. 

westpacWestpac International Student Bank Account– $0 Account-Keeping Fee
– ATM network at home and overseas
– Apple Pay & Google Wallet integration
Commbank LogoCommbank Student Bank Account– $0 monthly account fee if you’re under 30
– Apple Pay & Google Wallet integration
– ATM network at home and overseas
Bank of Melbourne LogoBank of Melbourne Complete Freedom Student– $0 Account-Keeping Fee
– ATM network at home and overseas
– Apple Pay & Google Wallet integration
Best bank account for International Students

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I open a bank account if I’m still overseas and haven’t come to Australia yet?

Some banks allow you to start the account opening process online before you arrive in Australia, but you may need to visit a branch in person to complete the process and provide the necessary documentation. Most banks will let you open a bank up to 3 months in advance online.

Are there any fees associated with opening a bank account as an international student?

While most banks may waive account keeping fees for students, it’s essential to check the fee schedule of the specific bank you choose as fees may vary. Be aware of all the fees assiciated with your account by reading their policy to avoid paying any unexpected payments.

How long does it take to open a new bank account?

Opening a bank accound should not take more than a day or two. However, due to errors in documentation it may take up to a week to complete the process.

Do I need separate bank accounts for different states in Australia?

No. All banks are shared across all states. Even if a a bank has no branches in a specific state, their services such as ATM withdrawals can be carried out using other bank ATMs.

Can I transfer money to my Australian bank account from overseas?

Yes, you can transfer money to your Australian bank account from overseas through international wire transfers, online money transfer services, or by using a foreign currency exchange provider.

Can I use my home country’s bank account while studying in Australia?

While it’s possible to use your home country’s bank account for international transactions, setting up a local bank account in Australia will likely be more convenient and cost-effective for everyday expenses. Typically making payments using an overseas card will carry out hefty fees. Therefore, it is certainly advisable to have a local account opened with a bank in Australia.

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