Student Accommodation Blog

Top Banks in Australia for International Students

Top Banks in Australia for International Students

One of the most important things to consider if you’re moving to Australia is the best student bank account. 

You’ll need to have an Australian bank account to receive international money transfers, to pay your bills such as rent for your student accommodation, and you’ll also need a bank account if you’re considering part-time or casual work.

Finding the best banking partner as a student involves careful research and determination - thankfully, we’ve rounded up the best banks for students in Australia, to help make the research a little easier.

Here are some of the top things to consider when choosing a banking provider and setting up a student bank account in Australia.

What banks are there to choose from in Australia?

While there are a range of banking providers in the market, most people in Australia have a bank account with one of the ‘big 4,’. 

These four major banks are Westpac, Commonwealth Bank (commonly referred to as ‘Commbank’),  Australia New Zealand (ANZ) and National Australia Bank (NAB). 

What are the different types of student bank accounts available?

When it comes to bank accounts for students, a number of Australia’s leading banks offer the following bank accounts and benefits, to suit your stage of study and budget. 

We’ve done the leg work for you and analysed the best student bank accounts from the ‘big 4’ major banks:

Westpac Student Choice Bank Account: 

  • Designed for full-time students, this account includes no ATM withdrawal fee at Westpac Group ATMs in Australia and over 50,000 ATMs globally via the Global ATM Alliance, as well as $0 monthly service fee as long as you are a full-time student or under 21.
  • Westpac allows international students to set up their bank accounts up to three months before coming to Australia, or once you have arrived. No Australian addresses are required when opening from overseas prior to arrival, and you can open an account in less than five minutes.
  • About Westpac: This bank is Australia’s first bank and oldest company,  and is one of four major banking organisations in Australia. Westpac has banks in all capital cities, making it easy to withdraw cash and speak to a local banking consultant.

ANZ Student Access Advantage: 

  • To help make the process of opening a bank account easy, ANZ allow you to apply for a Student Access Advantage bank account online before you arrive in Australia. Once you've arrived you can activate your account at one of the in-store branches.
  • If you have savings or are planning on part-time employment while studying, ANZ also offers an ANZ Progress Saver account that can help grow your savings while you study. This saver account allows you to earn bonus interest when you make at least one deposit of $10 into your account and don't withdraw any balance each month (relevant T’s & C’s apply). 
  • The ANZ Progress Saver account has no monthly account service fee and can be linked to your Access Advantage account, making the process of transferring funds seamless.
  • About ANZ: ANZ is one of Australia’s leading financial institutions with banks in most urban and regional centres. The bank also has its own ANZ Foreign Exchange Service, which allows international students to exchange your foreign currency into Australian Dollars at any ANZ branch, and deposit foreign currency directly into your ANZ account.

Commonwealth Bank - Student Smart Access

  • This is an ideal choice for many international students, as the Commonwealth Bank Student Smart Access account includes no monthly account fees as well as unlimited free transactions from network ATMs, EFTPOS, counter deposits, phone and internet. The foreign exchange fee, however, sits at 3.00%.
  • Importantly, CommBank allows you to open an account up to three months before you arrive. You can open an Everyday Account with Student Options online in around 5 minutes and get your bank details straight away.
  • About Commonwealth Bank: The Commonwealth Bank is Australia's largest retail bank and offers customers a range of products and services, including transaction and savings accounts.

National Bank of Australia (NBA) - Classic Bank Account: 

  • This account includes no monthly account fees and unlimited phone and internet transactions perfect for easy paying of bills, however $5 fee for overseas ATM fees applies.  You also have access to over 7,000 ATMs across Australia, with no ATM fees.
  • You can open a NAB Classic Banking account online before you arrive. You’ll need to apply via Moving to Australia on their website.
  • About NAB: This bank is widely available throughout Australia, and includes online customer support and all major Australian cities have branches within CBD and surrounds

What do I need to set up an Australian bank account as an international student? 

Most banks will require you to verify your identity at a branch in Australia before you can withdraw funds.

As an international student, be prepared with relevant proof of identity documentation on hand, including a passport, proof of residence, birth certificate, driver’s license.

In addition to being of legal adult age (18), you may also need to provide your intended arrival date  and the name of the Australian city you're arriving into, as well as ensuring you arrive in Australia within 6-12 months of opening your bank account.