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Australia has modern banking institutions and is in many ways ahead of other developed countries, so you can count on conveniences like managing basic transactions through a mobile app.
Sydney has dozens of banks and credit unions, but as you walk around the city it's clear there are the "big four": Westpac, National Australia Bank (NAB), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ). There more or less that same, but there are some slight differences.
Westpac offers online and mobile banking and charges a $5 monthly maintenance fee unless you deposit at least $2,000 a month, are under the age of 21, are a full time tertiary student, a pensioner, or during your first 12 months as an expat. You can apply for an account online before you arrive in Australia.
NAB offers online and mobile banking and is the only major bank that doesn't charge a monthly fee regardless of account balance. NAB also supports opening an account online from overseas.
Commonwealth offers online and mobile banking. A $4 monthly account fee is charged, but will be waived if you deposit at least $2,000 per month (or $1,000 if you’re aged 21 to 24). They are the only major bank that does not support opening an account from overseas.
ANZ offers online and mobile banking and charges a $5 monthly fee that is waived if you deposit at least $2,000 a month or are under 25. You can open an account online before you arrive in Australia.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED TO OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT
To open a bank account you'll need to pass a 100 point check to prove your identity. Different types of documents are worth varying amounts of points (it's like a video game, but not fun). The points break down as follows:
For example, you could provide a passport (70 points), a credit card (25 points), and a foreign driver license (25 points) to get a total of 120 points and qualify to open a bank account. If you apply online to open a bank account, you'll still need to provide this documentation.
Helpful Money Resources
Tips for expats on foreign currency exchange.
Living Away From Home Allowance (LAFHA). How to get this extra money from the government.
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