Saturday, October 1, 2011

Finances : Opening a Bank account ..

Moving and starting a new life in any new country requires a significant amount of finances and getting ready access to your money is crucial to settling in smoothly. 
ATM Banking

Naturally, one of the first things you would want to do after arriving in Melbourne would be to open a banking account and apply for an ATM card to get cash conveniently. Having a bank account also means you can electronically transfer money from overseas.

Here are some quick facts and tips to help you along with the process:

  • The four main banks in Australia are – Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, ANZ and Westpac (also known as Bank of Melbourne).
  • There are a number of smaller banks and financial institutions but I would recommend starting with the Big 4 for convenience because of the coverage of their branch and ATM network.
  • To avoid delays, you can apply for an Australian bank account online before you leave your home country. After you arrive, all you need is to visit a branch and use your Passport to identify yourself and activate the bank account.
  • I would recommend with starting with a no-frills transaction account. There are fee-free accounts available from most banks if you meet certain easy conditions.
  • Being new to the country and not having a credit history, getting a credit card might be hard. A better bet would be to get a Visa / MasterCard scheme debit card linked to your bank account.
  • You don’t need a Tax File Number (TFN) – which you will have to apply and get from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) – to open an account but it means that any interest will be charged at the highest tax rate until you provide one. Tax in Australia is a massive discussion topic in itself which I will cover in future blog posts.


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