Show Me The Money

23 April 2020

Perth is consistently ranked as being among the most affordable cities in Australia in which to live – in a recent survey, we were even ranked as the second-most livable city in the country!

But unless you’re one of the lucky few in the world that doesn’t need to work and has someone to manage your finances, you will need to know a bit about money and banking when you arrive in Australia, to help you manage your money.


Australian dollars and cents

Firstly, you should familiarise yourself with the Australian currency. Comprising of notes and coins, our money features significant Australian flora and fauna, and prominent Australian figures.

  • Note denominations - $5 (pink), $10 (blue), $20 (red), $50 (yellow), $100 (green)
  • Gold coin denominations - $1, $2
  • Silver coin denominations – 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c


Opening a bank account

We would recommend you open a bank account within the first six weeks of arriving in Australia. You will need a bank account to keep all your money safe, be able to pay bills and to get paid, if you decide to work while you are here. Here’s how you open a bank account.

There are banks in most Perth suburbs. Australia’s biggest banks include:


Once you have selected the bank you want to use, visit the bank in-store, present your passport to the bank staff and let them know you’d like to open a bank account. Then, you will need to complete the relevant paperwork given to you by the bank staff. And now you have a bank account.

Using ATMs and debit cards

When you open your bank account you will be issued with a Debit Card (bank card). This will allow you to purchase items with the card in-store or online using your own money. You will also be able to withdraw cash at an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) with this card.


We recommend that you use your bank’s ATMs when withdrawing cash as other banks will charge you a fee of up to $2.50. However, some banks do partner to offer their customers more convenient and free cash withdrawals. Check out these banks partner ATMs below!

  • Commonwealth Bank and Bankwest
  • Westpac and St George
  • NAB and RediATMs


Ways to pay

In Australia, you have different ways in which you can pay your bills, and in-store. Below explains the difference between each:



BPAY is an electronic bill payment system in Australia which enables payments to be made through a financial institution’s online, mobile or telephone banking facility to organisations which are registered BPAY billers.



EFTPOS stands for Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale and it is an electronic payment system involving electronic funds transfers when you use your bank card, such as debit or credit cards, to pay when you buy something at a store.


Direct Debit

Direct debits are generally used for recurring payments, such as rent and utility bills, or your mobile phone bill. You can set this up through your online banking, and it allows you to directly transfer money to pay a bill.


Credit Card

If you plan on having a credit card you should speak to your bank to determine which card suits your needs. If you are using a credit card from your home country you may be charged an international transaction fee, so you should contact your home country bank to confirm all the possible charges before you use it in Australia.


Of course, your other alternative is to pay in cash.


Apply for a Tax File Number

Finally, our last bit of advice is that if you intend to work while in Australia, apply for a Tax File Number (TFN). This will ensure you get taxed at the correct rate for the amount of work you are doing.


The easiest way to apply for your free Tax File Number is to submit an online application through the Australian Taxation Office website.

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In collaboration with governments, educational institutions and stakeholders, StudyPerth provides a leadership role in building the profile of international education in WA and overseas.