How To Open A Student Bank Account In Australia

Opening a bank account in Australia is a relatively simple affair – even for international students! Here’s everything you need to know about finding the right one for you…

Have you booked your accommodation in Australia yet? has fantastic student accommodation available in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and many more cities. If you’re going to another city in Australia, check out all of the locations where we offer student accommodation in Australia.

The four major banks in Australia are ANZCommonwealth Bank of AustraliaNational Australia Bank, and Westpac Banking Corporation. There are also lots of regional banks for you to choose from, which could be the best option in your particular region.

Types of accounts

There are a few different types of bank accounts in Australia, but they don’t all do the same thing. Here are some of the most common account types.

Transaction accounts

A transaction account is the most common type of account, which you can use for day-to-day expenses. You can safely deposit and access your money, pay off your bills and use your debit card to shop or to withdraw money from ATMs.

Student accounts

Most banks offer student-specific accounts, which give you all of the same things as transaction accounts with the added perk of generally being fee-free for everyday operations. If you open one, you might get to skip the monthly or annual account fees, deposit cash for free or withdraw from an ATM without worrying about being charged.

If you’re an international student, you’ll also find lots of special accounts aimed at you with banks like Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac. Some will give you access to a banker who speaks your language. We’ve got a run down of great bank accounts for international students below.

Savings accounts

Once you’ve opened up an account to manage your everyday expenses, it’s a good idea to also open a savings account if you’ll have access to larger sums of money. Putting a bit of your money away each week is a really good habit to get into, and having a separate savings account will mean you won’t accidentally spend it on your next shopping trip.

These accounts usually come with a higher interest rate than transaction accounts, so you’ll also earn more money on what you put into the account than you would normally.

Things to keep in mind


Banks in Australia can charge non-customers a fee for using their ATMs. When choosing a bank, make sure they have a wide spread of ATMs available right across campus and near your home, so you won’t have to go too far when you need to withdraw money. You can also choose a bank that offers a wide network of free ATMs – Bankwest has Australia’s largest bank ATM network with over 3,500 Bankwest and Commbank ATMs.

Service fees

Many banks charge monthly service fees for maintaining your account. This can add up in the long run, so make sure you choose an account that doesn’t charge as much or waives the fees completely.

If you’re an international student, you can choose an account like Citibank Plus which will let you withdraw money from all Citibank ATMs for free worldwide and offers fee-free international money transfers.

Debit cards

When opening an account, you will probably receive a card you can use when you’re shopping or to withdraw money from ATMs. An EFTPOS card can only be used in Australia and it doesn’t work for online shopping, so it’s not a great option for international students or those who like to buy stuff online. Mastercard Debit and Visa Debit can be used in Australia, overseas and to buy online.

It’s important you choose an account that will let you use your card at no extra cost, so make sure you look around for the best option so you won’t incur additional charges.

Opening an account

With most banks, you can already set up a student account online up to three months before you arrive in Australia. Fill out the application form on your chosen bank’s website, which will typically need information like your passport number and expiry date, and pay money into your account once you’ve received your new details.

Upon your arrival, you just have to book an appointment at your local branch to prove your identity so you can access your money. Bring along your passport as well as proof of a permanent address in Australia, such as a utility bill or a tenancy agreement. You’ll usually need to do this within the first few months, so make sure you don’t forget after all the excitement of moving!

You can also open a bank account in person if you prefer, but make sure you do it within the first six weeks of arrival – after this point, you might have to provide more identification. Make an appointment with your local branch as soon as you arrive in Australia, and take along your passport, university acceptance letter, and proof of a permanent address so that a consultant can open your account for you. Your debit card will probably arrive in the mail within a few weeks.

Great accounts for students

Some of these don’t charge fees, others have extensive ATM networks, while a few offer useful discounts…


With Bankwest’s Student Account, you won’t be charged monthly account maintenance fees and will benefit from discounts on Apple Store for Education, McDonald’s and Ally Fashion among others. You’ll also have access to a wide array of ATMs, as well as unlimited domestic electronic withdrawals.


Westpac disregards most standard fees for their student customers. The bank is also part of a global ATM alliance, which means you can use 50,000 ATMs across the world for free. Another great perk you’ll get with this account is the cardless cash scheme, which will let you withdraw money without your card using the Westpac Mobile Banking app.


This account is free of any monthly account fees, and you can use the bank’s ATM network for free. You’ll also have no overdrawn fees if you happen to overdraw your account balance.

Have you booked your accommodation in Australia yet? has fantastic student accommodation available in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and many more cities. If you’re going to another city in Australia, check out all of the locations where we offer student accommodation in Australia.

Now you know how to open a bank account, here’s how you can keep it on a healthy balance:

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