Currency & Banking
Australian Dollar (AUD) and Cents - Australia’s national currency is the Australian dollar which comes in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. Coins come in 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and one and two dollar denominations.
Bringing money into Australia -
There is no limit to the amount of currency you can bring in or out of Australia, however, if you plan to arrive in Australia with more than $10,000 in cash (Australian dollars or foreign equivalent), you must declare it at the Border when you land.
The Australian banking system is one of the safest and most stable around. And, when it comes to getting your finances organised, it’s also extremely convenient. Currently, the Australian banking sector is dominated by four major banks: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corporation. In addition, there are over 100 Australian customer owned banking institutions (credit unions, building societies and mutual banks) that offer banking services to their members.
Trading hours may differ between banks however generally trading hours are:
Monday to Thursday: 9.30am – 4.00pm, on Friday until 5.00pm
Saturday and Sunday: Some banks offer weekend trading hours at selected branches.
With telephone banking, electronic banking and ATMs, you have access to your money 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
All banks in Australia offer a variety of products including:
Ideal for day-to-day banking. When choosing the right transaction account make sure you look at account keeping fees, cost of monthly statements, minimum deposit amounts and overdraw fees and consider how they might suit your needs.
Specifically designed to help your savings grow faster, some savings accounts offer a higher interest rate than basic transaction accounts and make it harder for you to access your money so you are not as tempted to dip in.
Credit cards give you options to pay for goods and services via EFTPOS terminals and can be used to pay bills online or over the phone. There are many to choose from, with varying interest terms, annual fees and awards programs. But keep in mind that a minimum monthly payment is mandatory and the balance will be required to be paid in full, in some cases with added interest.
A personal loan can be a fast and convenient way to raise finance if you’re buying a car, making home renovations or planning a holiday. They generally have a lower interest rate than credit cards and automated direct debits can make repayments easy.
Most banks also offer access to the following products:
- Student Bank Accounts
- Home Loans
- Insurance (Personal and General)
- Specialised Accounts e.g. Foreign Currency Accounts, Online Accounts
- Investment Accounts/Managed Funds
- Business Banking Products
Opening an account
You can choose to open an account in any Bank, Credit Union or Building Society in Australia. Because fees and charges vary greatly between institutions, make sure you do your research to get the best deal.
To open a bank account you will need to go into a branch and provide:
- Several forms of identity (originals and copies) including your passport (with arrival date stamped by Australian immigration), Visa and Birth Certificate.
- Money to deposit into your account (this can be as little as $10)
- Tax File Number (TFN) (can be provided after you have opened an account)
- Student ID card if relevant (this can be produced after you have opened an account so that you can benefit from fee discounts. Your Offer letter can be used as initial proof).
With electronic banking, accessing your accounts and making transactions is easier than ever. But there are a few things you need to consider before using this service:
To prevent fraud and identity theft when using online or mobile banking, never use public computers or free wireless hotspots. When you access your bank accounts make sure you completely log out. Always check your credit card and bank statements for unauthorised or mistaken transactions. And if you have access to mobile banking services, make sure you secure your phone.
Your bank will advise you on tips and strategies to secure yourself against fraud or theft.
Compare BPAY fees
BPAY allows you to make payments to stores and businesses online through your bank. Some banks may charge you a fee for each bill you pay using BPAY, so shop around to make sure you get the best deal.
Check the BSB
When transferring money to other people or companies through online or mobile banking, always double check that the BSB number (which stands for Bank State Branch) and account numbers are correct to avoid mistaken transactions.
Choosing a bank
Finding a bank that is right for you is pivotal to good financial organisation. Because fees, charges and banking products vary, it’s important to shop around.
The four major banks in Australia are ANZ, National Australia Bank (NAB), Westpac and Commonwealth, with branches all across Australia. Other banks, building societies and credit unions that have branches in Canberra include:
- AMP Bank
- Bendigo Bank
- Beyond Bank
- Community CPS
- Credit Union Australia
- HSBC Bank
- Macquarie Bank Limited
- Members Equity Bank Pty Limited
- Service One Members Banking
- St George Bank
- Suncorp-Metway Limited