Australian Bank accounts are slightly different to what you are probably used to. There are three basic types of accounts:
- General: day-tp-day transactions. Will get a bank card to use at ATMs and EFTPOS (like switch in the UK). Uses a PIN number for all transactions. This type of account can also have a chequebook (writing cheques can cost a lot in bank charges though)
- Savings: A higher interest rate account that can also be used for day-to-day transactions. Again, you'll get a bank card that will work in ATMs and in the majority of shops (EFTPOS using a PIN number). Generally, chequebooks are not issued on savings accounts.
- Credit: Credit card account. You will get a card and purchases can be signed for or a PIN number used.
All types of accounts will incur bank charges. You typically can manage your accounts on-line and over the phone.
New accounts can be opened before you get here, but you will need to pass an id check to open an Australian bank account. It is called the 100 Point check.
Tip: When opening an account, specify a branch near to where you plan to stay initially as it makes life a lot easier if you don't have to travel into the city to activate your accounts when you first arrive.