Banking and finances

​Opening a bank account

Before you leave your home country

​Did you know that you can open a bank account with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia​ befor​e you leave home? EQI recommends you do this, as you only need your passport as identification and you can withdraw funds as soon as you arrive in Australia, rather than carry around large amounts of cash, which can be a risk to your personal safety.

Once you open a bank account with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia you can transfer funds from overseas to be ready for you when you arrive. Please note you can only access these funds once you have arrived and have provided identification.


After you arrive in Australia

Within six weeks of your arrival:

To open a bank account in Australia you will need to take your passport into a bank. If you do this within six weeks of your arrival, you only need to show your passport.​

Six weeks or more after your arrival:

If you apply for a bank account more than six weeks after you arrive, you will need to take photographic identification into the bank, including your passport. You are required to show 100 points of identification (e.g. passport = 60 points, Student ID = 20 points, credit card = 20 points).


Useful banking information

Minimise fees

​Ask about student accounts which attract much lower account-keeping fees. Some banks will exempt students from fees for the duration of their course. You will need to show your Student Card or letter of offer.

You can also minimise banking fees by checking the fine print of any terms and conditions attached to your account (e.g. transaction costs - check the number of free transactions per month, or any charges for using other banks' ATMs).


Opening hours

Banks in Australia are generally open Monday to Thursday 9.30am-4.00pm and Friday 9.30am-5.00pm (closed public holidays).


​​​​Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs)

Money can be withdrawn from Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) 24-hours a day. There is usually a daily withdrawal limit of around AUD$1,000. We advise you to only carry as much cash as necessary for a few days at a time.

80% of ATMs in Australia accept UnionPay cards for cash withdrawal (Australian dollars). UnionPay cards cannot be used for over the counter transfers and cash withdrawals in Australia.  The following ATM brands all accept UnionPay cards.  Bank of China , HSBC , NAB , CITI (ATMs in branches), NAB (National Australia Bank Ltd).

You can use these machines to withdraw Australian currency and pay at some NAB EFTPOS machines with your card.

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Last reviewed 23 February 2016
Last updated 05 September 2017