Set up an Australian bank account before you arrive in Australia. You’ll have enough to in the first few days and have a local bank ready and wait for you will make it all much easier. Plus, leaving it till you get here can make it harder to give proof of address, making things harder still, at the time when you most need things to be easy.
You’ll probably need to settle at least a small sum of money in your new Australian bank, even if you establish your account from overseas. Once you’re here, most ATM cards access nearly all banks. And most of the country is wired for EFTPOS.
There are four main banks (NAB, Commonwealth, ANZ & Westpac), which are more or less everywhere where people are. They’re big and will definitely provide most services required by most people. These days, one of the main differentiators of banks (besides their interest rates) is the quality of their online offering. And that includes mobile offerings. Check out their apps.
In addition, Australia has a large number of smaller banks, most of which are either regional or have transitioned from a prior existence as either credit unions or “friendly societies” (private insurance schemes of old). Most of these now offer full-service consumer banking, and many do so under a shared ownership model, which purportedly keeps costs down.
Some people also appreciate the core values of these organisations, although in some cases their online services or branch access might not be so comprehensive.
Plus there are local Australian branches of dozens of the world’s major banks. But don’t forget, we’re a big place. In some cases, your “local” branch may be further away from you than the HQ in your own country! Seriously, it’s possible. You’re going to need a local bank account, ready for you when you get here.
MoveList puts you in touch with up to three leading banks that have services for new migrants and international workers. All of the banks with MoveList allow you to open your bank account before you arrive in the country.