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Managing your finances

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There are four major banks and a number of smaller banks to choose from in Australia.

These financial institutions are licensed and regulated under Federal or State Government legislation:

Australia also has credit unions and building societies. They’re not banks, although they offer many similar services.

There are banks in cities and towns right throughout the country, but not all banks operate nationally. It’s a good idea to check their website to see if the bank you’re considering has a branch near you.

Opening a bank account

Information on how to open a bank account will be provided at your Getting Started session. If you open a bank account within four weeks of your arrival it is a much simpler process.

Commonwealth Bank and the Australia and New Zealand Bank branches are located on the St Lucia campus, and there are a variety of banks close to the Gatton and Herston campuses.

All banks offer a full range of banking facilities, including savings and cheque accounts, fixed interest deposits, currency exchange, travel services, receiving and sending money, and safe custody for valuables.

Most are open from Monday to Friday during business hours (9am – 4pm, excluding public holidays). However, Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are usually open 24 hours a day for transactions.

Transferring money to Australia

The most common way to arrange the transfer of money from abroad is by electronic transfer to your Australian bank account, which may take one to two days (although please note that, at times, international money transfers can take up to 10 working days).

If you're receiving funds via electronic transfer, you might want to check with your bank overseas to determine which bank in Australia they have an agreement with.

You can also arrange to have money sent by bank draft in Australian dollars; however, you may have to wait some time before you can access the funds.

Do not let family or business contacts abroad send you cheques from their local chequebook.

Bringing cash into Australia

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service does not currently have any restrictions on the amount of money you bring into or take out of Australia, whether it is cash, cheque, money order or any other form. However, amounts of AU$10,000 or more, or equivalent in foreign currency, must be declared on departure and arrival. Failure to declare is an offence and can result in serious penalties.

Exchange rates

What the AU$ is worth in your currency can vary considerably. You can check the current value of AU$ against your currency, and see how it’s varied over time, on numerous foreign currency exchange websites such as XE.com or with your local bank.

UnionPay

The National Australia Bank (NAB) accepts China UnionPay cards. Students can directly access their Chinese bank account in RMB. There is a NAB automatic teller machine (ATM) on the St Lucia campus.

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