The main types of financial institutions in Australia offering banking and financial services are banks, credit unions and building societies. Banks are licensed and regulated under Federal or State Government legislation whilst credit unions and building societies are registered and regulated through Government legislation in each State and can vary from state to state.
Most of the banks located in the City are:
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)
National Australia Bank (NAB)
Bank of Melbourne
Opening an account
You will need to show your passport and any other identification when opening an account. Every bank has an account suitable for your day to day needs, a key card account. Key card accounts allow you to deposit, withdraw cash and transfer money from any automatic teller machine (ATMs) or use EFTPOS (electronic funds transfer at point of sale).
This allows for any goods or services, including petrol and groceries, directly from your bank accounts or credit card. You can usually withdraw cash at the same time, so you don’t have to go to a branch or ATM. You use the same PIN (Personal Identification Number) for both ATMs and EFTPOS, leaving you only one number to remember. You are normally given a limited number of free ATM and EFTPOS transactions.
If you exceed that amount, charges will apply. All bank charges and transaction fees should appear on your bank statement. Regardless of which bank you choose, you can usually withdraw your money from another bank’s ATM, although bank fees will always apply unless stated by the bank.
Interest on accounts
Interest earned in accounts is regarded as income and will be taxed if you earn more than a certain amount per month. You will be asked to give your tax file number to the bank when opening a term deposit. For more details visit the ATO.
Transferring money from overseas
The safest way to receive money from your home country is by sending it via a Telegraphic Transfer, which is an electronic method of transferring funds. It is safe because the funds are cleared upon receipt and deposited directly to your account. This eliminates the chances of lost drafts in the post, and being fraudulently amended as well as giving you immediate access to your funds once received in Australia. A cheaper alternative for the sender is an international bank draft.
Clearing the funds will take three days if the draft has been issued in AUD and drawn on an Australian Branch of a recognised bank. If the draft is however drawn on a foreign bank and in a foreign currency, banks usually place a 20 working day hold on the funds until the cheque has been paid.. Students can pay for their tuition fees via credit card, bank draft or telegraphic transfer.
Foreign currency restrictions
There may be currency export restrictions in certain countries. If so, you will need to obtain a letter to prove your status as a student and itemized amounts for your tuition fees and living expenses. It is always advisable to clarify information from the bank in your home country before requesting the letters.
(The following are extracts from “Budgeting – Making it easy ‘published by Credit Union).
Budgeting is the best way for you to take control of your finances, save money and plan for the future. To avoid the pitfalls of overspending and be able to handle the unexpected bills which occur from time to time, a budget is an essential part of everyday living. Financial planning – budgeting – is the best way to achieve your short and long term goals.
Benefits of good money management
• You will have more control and direction over your personal affairs.
• You will be able to trim those trivial purchases and concentrate on your most important goals.
• You will achieve savings to carry you through any emergencies.
Setting short and long-term goals
At the start of your BUDGET plan you should ask yourself “What are my short-term and long-term financial goals?” Making these choices will give you a number of targets incentives for drawing up your budget. It is important to be REALISTIC. Once you have worked out how much you have left to spend, set aside a certain amount for savings towards your goals. You may be able to arrange a special saving account by having your savings specially allocated towards buying your new computer or overseas holiday.
Control your spending
Deciding to budget does not mean that you have to completely cut out spending on optional items that are important to your lifestyle. However, it is important to be realistic about optional items and become a disciplined shopper as well as a disciplined budgeter.
Tips for shopping on a budget
With a little bit of planning beforehand, wise shoppers should keep the following rules to get the best value for money:
Make a list of needed groceries and only buy the items on your list. Keep a note of items which run short each week and add to your list.
Have a meal before going shopping. Hungry shoppers are tempted by food delicacies which can make holes in the budget
Plan a weekly household menu which takes account of individual preferences, nutrition and value for money
Scan newspapers and ‘junk mail’ for weekly grocery specials and compare
Prices in shops and supermarkets in your area. Fruit and vegetables in season are much cheaper than those ‘out of season’.
Beware of impulse buying. You are less likely to buy on impulse if you get to know where goods are placed on your local supermarket shelves and organize your shopping route in the store in a regular pattern. You will be less likely to find tempting items while searching for needed products
The cheapest brand may not always give the best value. Read labels carefully to compare contents, quantity and weight • Learn to estimate the price per unit (or even carry a small calculator) of products to determine value for money
Be careful not to buy more than you need in perishable items such as meat and fresh vegetables or they could become stale and need to be thrown out before they are used
Always check the ‘Use by’ date on the item being purchased. The ‘Use by’ date is an indication of the freshness of the item and, whilst some supermarkets offer low prices for out-of-date items, it is not always advisable to buy these as they may be stale or contaminated.
Supermarket shelves usually have the higher priced items placed at eye level. Check the lower shelves for lower priced items of similar quality
Check with senior students for information regarding the best places to shop for certain goods
Get together with friends and form a food cooperative. This can result in lower prices for you. For example, some butchers offer cheaper prices for bulk orders of meat
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