Banking in Australia

1 March 2012
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Overview of Banking

This section gives a basic overview of the Australian banking system and provides links to banks and internet sites where you can get more detailed information. Please read our disclaimer statement below.

The Banking System

Australia has an advanced banking system, with various types of institution: large, Australia-wide banks, smaller state-specific banks, a number of credit societies/credit unions and a few other financial organisations, such as insurance companies who have diversified into banking.

Banking for New Migrants

The banking needs of new migrants differ from those of established Australian customers. Some banks, in particular Westpac, have dedicated Migrant Banking teams, branches and specialists who can help you set up your banking before you even arrive in Australia.

As Australia's first bank, Westpac has nearly 200 years experience in helping migrants create a new life in Australia, making them one of Australia's largest, oldest and most reputable financial institutions. Westpac also has specialist bankers who understand the challenges and needs of new migrants and our staff diversity means that we can speak in your native language.

Typical Facilities

Obviously each bank will offer their own mix of accounts and facilities, but here is a list of typical facilities offered:
  • Transaction Account for day-to-day transactions. Usually zero or very low interest paid for credit balances.
  • Savings Account which can be "at call" (ie. no notice required to withdraw funds), or a fixed notice period for withdrawal or a term deposit (fixed interest rate, fixed term).
  • ATMs (automatic teller machines) - are located at most shopping centres. Usually free if you use a machine linked to your bank's network, otherwise a fee can be charged.
  • EFTPOS (electronic funds transfer at point of sale) - ie. paying for goods using your bankcard. Most banks and retail outlets offer this facility and the funds may be taken from your current, savings or credit account. The larger retailers normally let you draw extra cash out as well, with no charge.
  • Credit Cards Mastercard, Visa and American Express cards are commonly available, with a variety of features, such as zero annual fee, so many days interest-free, rewards points etc.
  • Internet Banking is now offered by most banks, enabling you to check balances, transfer money between accounts, pay bills (BPAY system) and so on
  • Telephone Banking

Fees and charges

It is common for there to be a monthly fee on transaction/cheque accounts, with a certain number of free transactions per month. There are many variations, though, such as zero monthly fee if a certain balance is maintained.

You may incur charges if you withdraw cash from an ATM outside of your bank's network and of course, you will normally be charged for overdrafts or other transactions like bank cheques.

Government taxes: If you've heard of something called FID (Financial Institutions Duty) and BAD (Bank Account Debit) tax, don't worry because they've been abolished.

Disclaimer

Information on this website is intended to give the reader an overview of many aspects of life in Australia, such as healthcare, real estate, tax, superannuation etc.

While we at Aussiemove.com have performed a large amount of research on each subject area, we do not claim to be experts in those fields and we recommend that migrants discuss their requirements with companies specialising in those fields before making purchases, investments or other decisions concerning their move.

The content of this website is general in nature - no specific advice is intended.

We provide links to other companies as a service to our readers. We have taken reasonable care to ensure that each linked website does not contain offensive or inappropriate material. However, we are not responsible for the accuracy of any of the material in any linked website, or the advice that may be contained therein.