Career and Work Language and Culture Lifestyle

Opening your first bank account in Australia

Hi everyone I’m Charlie, I have been in Australia for almost 2 months and I know exactly how it feels when you arrive to a new country, especially where people don’t speak your same language. I still remember how I got lost when I was going back to my house after my first day studying English at GELI (Griffith English Language Institute), don’t worry – I was able to get home safely :). Another one of my not-so-great personal stories, is related to me trying to open my very first bank account in Australia. So this is my story and some tips for you on how to open an account here in Australia.

I created my first bank account with the ANZ bank in Southport, Gold Coast.  This was meant to be something easy to do but guess what?… just after I created my account I forgot my internet password – which meant that I couldn’t activate my card. I thought I needed to go back to the bank to reset my password, however I didn’t know you can actually do it online with your security questions. Anyway, at the bank I found out that I could only make changes if I had my passport with me – what!? Because I couldn’t explain myself clearly, the staff thought I wanted to change my PIN number… but eventually we managed to reset my password.

So here are my tips to avoid ANY problems when opening your first bank account in Australia:

  1. For safety reasons, Australian banks recommend you don’t write down your banking passwords. If you do write down your internet banking password or PIN make sure you keep them separate.
  2. When you open a new account, choose security questions you will remember easily. These are really important because they can help you reset your password online on the bank website.
  3. Different banks use different terminology which can be confusing for example ANZ uses ‘Customer Registration Number CRN’ while Westpac uses ‘Customer ID’ and they are both different to your account number or PIN. Ask staff to help explain anything you don’t understand – they will be happy to help.
  4. If you want to change your PIN number, you can do it online or in store with your Passport.
  5. There are Chinese and Japanese speaking staff member in various banks branches, so ask them to help open your account if is easier for you.
  6. Keep in mind the expiry date of your customer number, passwords and debit or credit cards.

Is also good to change the region of your phone to ‘Australia’. That way you can use finance related apps like ‘GoMoney’ with updated information. If you are yet to arrive in Australia or you haven’t open an account yet here is a list of all the most popular banks that offer great bank accounts for students in Queensland:

  • HSBC
  • ANZ
  • St George
  • Bendigo Bank
  • Westpac

I really hope that my experience is helpful for you, and remember if you ever have problems at a bank, don’t panic – just ask for help and there will be always someone there to help you.   

– Huang (Charlie) Jiaqi

Hong Kong guest blogger current GELI student

charlie-jiaqi_ChinaAbout CharlieHi, my name is Charlie. I’m studying English at Griffith English Language Institute and I’ll study Nursing at Griffith University. My hobbies are really simple—sleeping and watching TV dramas. I hope all of us have a wonderful life in Australia.



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  • Yogeshwaran Jothiraj
    November 27, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Awesome tips!!