Which type of bank account should I open for backpacking in Australia?

Opening an Australian Bank Account from Overseas (Australian Bank Accounts Explained) - Part 3
Australian Banking for the Backpacker

The account of choice for backpackers in Australia is what they call an 'everyday account'. Take a look around at the best deals offered by each bank and compare them against each other. Ideally it should include all of the things listed above for hassle free banking. If you're emigrating, you may wish to get a 'saver account' with it but, for most people backpacking in Australia just one account will do.

How do I open an Australian bank account before I go to Australia?

To open an Australian bank account before you leave home you need to apply online. It works by applying for an account ahead of your departure date which you will then be required to activate in person when you arrive in Australia.

After applying online, you will receive your new bank account details which you can use to transfer your money into before you leave home (preferably at least two weeks in advance). When you arrive in Australia, you take the relevant identification/proof (ID) into the bank to activate your account and pick up your card/internet banking details. For ID, you will need an original bank statement from your bank at home (see section Bank Documents for Backpacking Around Australia) and your passport.

When you arrange a branch to activate your new account in, it's advisable to choose a branch which is close to the hostel you will be staying in when you arrive. This way you can get there easily and activate your account without any stress.

So to oppen your new account, find the website of the bank you wish to use and follow the instructions they give you. Westpac offer a service with some good perks on the 'everyday account' which would be ideal for the backpackers in Australia. You can find more information at their website http://movingtoaustralia.westpac.co.uk/banking-in-australia/everyday-bank-accounts and apply for an account if you want to.

How do I activate/open my bank account in Australia?

The easiest way to get a new bank account in Australia is to visit one of the bank branches in town. If you have applied online before reaching Australia you will still need to visit the bank and active your account in person. This should be one of the first things you do after you have shaken off the jet lag. Without delay go to your chosen bank and make an appointment with the teller (clerk) to get your account up and running.

It's not advisable to get your new card and PIN delivered to the hostel or anywhere else that strangers have access to your mail. Instead, when you make your application tell the bank clerk that you want to collect your new card and details from the branch you opened the account in.

If you don't have the time to wait for your stuff to come through, you can get the bank clerk to send it internally to another branch anywhere in the country. So for example, if you know that you will be in Brisbane a week or two after you open the account, you can ask them to send it to the Brisbane branch closest to where you will be staying. Then when you get to Brisbane take your ID with you and collect your new card and details from there.

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