Basics of banking in Melbourne



Opening an Account in Melbourne

Expats who wish to open a bank account in Melbourne will need to undergo a ‘100 point check’ wherein essential documents make up a point system depending on the reliability of the required document. While this point system varies depending on the banking establishment, common requirements include valid proof of your current residential address and a bill for utilities in your name. Presenting a valid passport can give you up to 70 points, with additional points being given out if expats can present a drivers license or credit card from their home country. It is not necessary to make an appointment with a banker for the application process, but it is best to apply in person. 

Another requirement in opening a current bank account in Melbourne is an Australian Tax File Number (TFN) which is used for work, lodging tax returns and the administration of tax and other Australian Government systems. It also serves as a form of identification. To get an Australian Tax File Number (TFN) expats will need to apply online through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website. It is worth noting that expatriates who are able to open a bank account within six weeks to 3 months of arriving with the intent to live in Australia will only need to present their passport. A small deposit will also be needed to open the bank account. 

Many Australian and international banks have branches in Melbourne, with popular international banks being HSBC, Citibank, Chase andBarclays. However, the Australian banking sector is dominated by four main banks: ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, National Australian Bank and Westpac Bank. Normal banking hours in Melbourne last from 9.30 a.m. to 4.00 or 4.30 p.m. on Mondays to Fridays. Banks are generally closed on Sundays, so expats who need to make transactions are advised to do so on Saturday at the latest. 

Bank Transfers in Melbourne 

Expatriates who want to make bank transfer transactions will be able to do so in Melbourne, as transfer services are offered in many banks throughout the city. Most bank transfers in Melbourne and the rest of Australia are done electronically, as internet banking does not come with any charges or fees compared to face-to-face transactions. 

To make a bank transfer, expats will need to obtain the recipient’s account name, number and physical address along with the bank and branch number details. Bank transfers may take anywhere from 1 to 10 days to be processed. Expats will need to note that conditions, fees and currency exchange rates differ, so it is best to check with the nearest bank, exchange dealer or financial institution regarding the details prior to making a transfer.  

Debit and Credit Cards in Melbourne 

Once a bank account is opened in Melbourne, expats will also be able to access their account online and receive their ATM bank cards and apply for a credit card. Expats who have established a credit history in their home country may need to present their previous credit history to the credit institution or bank to avail of a credit card. Aside from credit cards, debit cards are often used in Melbourne, due to the availability of cashback features where loading petrol, buying groceries and other goods operate under cashback abilities. 

ATM machines are also widely available throughout Melbourne, and are commonly found in airports, petrol stations, suburbs and in the Melbourne city centre. Although the crime rate in the city is quite low, expats are recommended to exercise caution when withdrawing from ATM machines and using credit cards due to a number of scams that are being conducted in the city by cab drivers.