After trying to find an Apartment, this will be the second most shocking item of setting up housekeeping to most of you- setting up a bank account. Not far off Neanderthalic- lately it has gotten a little better- but not much. The banks in Oz are some of the most profitable businesses in the country- and all at your expense. The Aussies still firmly believe in bank fees for everything!
To help battle the fees, a few pioneering banks have established “All You Can Eat” accounts which they class as a savings account…??? Strange as that is- it works basically as a checking account allowing you unlimited atm usage for around $5/month…as long as you use their ATMs only. (This is not so convieniant at a nightclub or at 3 am when you are trying to get a taxi) There are nice hefty fees if you use a competitiors atm. Look around- but at the moment- ANZ and WestPac have the best deals I know of. ATMs are available 24 hours a day- but banking hours are highly desireable- I’d love to work 10-5 every day. Lush.
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Forget getting a local credit card unless you are a permanent resident or make over $70,000 per year. Just because you have an account with the same bank overseas- doesn’t mean they will recognize it here. Make arrangements to transfer money to your credit card back home before you leave. There are a few accounts available from your home countries that may allow you to make payments with local banks- but you will need to sort that before you get to Oz. With all the new terrorism threats it has become very difficult to pay on an account from overseas.