If you go to Australia on a Working Holiday you have to open a bank account in order to receive money. By having a bank account in Australia you also cut down fees of your home bank account for withdrawing money abroad and unfavorable currency exchange rates. From our own experience we can certainly say, that the National Australia Bank (NAB) is the best option.
IMPORTANT: Open Bank Account within 6 Weeks after Arrival in Australia
This is very important to follow, otherwise it can become a pain to open a bank account.
Do keep that in mind! If you open one within 6 weeks after your arrival in Down Under, all you need is your passport to identify yourself. In this case you can just go into any branch with your passport, visa confirmation and tax file number if you already have one, and you will be able to open an account. If you are longer than 6 weeks in the country, you have to undergo a process and reach 100 identification.
For backpackers it is really difficult to reach 100 points. A passport for example brings 60 points and a birth certificate 35 points. But no backpacker will take a birth certificate a long and furthermore, there is another 5 points missing. These 5 points you could get via your phone provider, but only if you have a contract – not for prepaid services.
What is the best Bank Account for Backpackers?
This is a very common question backpackers ask us all the time. Most banks in Australia charge small fees, however, there is one major bank, which does not charge anything for a bank account including debit card. Therefore there is only one single right answer: National Australia Bank (NAB).
Why National Australia Bank?
NAB offers a wide range of convenient services, which are of particular interest for backpackers.
No monthly fees
Most banks charge a small monthly fee, but your bank account is absolutely free with the National Australia Bank. It doesn’t matter how much money you earn on a monthly basis or how much you have deposit in the account. Also to open a bank account is free of charge. So far we have never paid a single cent for our account.
Free Debit Card
With NAB you get a free debit card, which you can use free of charge to withdraw money at branches of the National Australia Bank and at rediATMs. It is fully functional, so you can also use it to shop online, just like a credit card (the amount will be charged immediately on your account, unlike with a credit card).
Branches and ATMs all across the country
NABs network is spread all across Australia. You can visit any branch in any town to get the assistance of one of its friendly employee. In literally almost every single town you find either a branch or at least an ATM of NAB. As mentioned before you can also use the network of rediATM free of charge.
High Interest Rates for new Customers
With NAB you are guaranteed to get the highest possible interest rate. They are much higher than anywhere else in the world. This is why many backpackers decide to keep their NAB bank account after leaving Australia.
You have one main account, which is also connected to your debit card. All purchases and withdrawls made with your debit card, are charged with that account. You are not going to receive any interests on this account.
Together with your main account, you can also open a savings account, a “NAB iSaver account”, which you should definitely do. You get paid out interest rates on your iSaver account. If you open a new iSaver account, you get even higher interest rates for the first 4 months.
NAB deposits your earned interests every month in your bank account and not every quarter. This way you are earning every month interests on your interests.
By opening a bank account with NAB you get even higher interest rates for the first 4 months. We are going to show you how you can extend that!
Earn higher Interest Rates for More than 4 Months
The best thing is, that you can benefit from the higher rates, even if you are a NAB customer for more than 4 months: You can simply open a new iSaver account every 4 months absolutely free of charge. If you transfer your funds to the new one, you get a higher interest rate for another 4 months – and that from the first day you transfer money to the account.
Attention: In order to use the money on your iSaver account, you have to transfer it first to your main account. That can be easily done via online banking, where your transfers within your own accounts are immediately executed.
LEARN MORE: The NAB iSaver Account (official site)
Great Service with NAB
NAB and its employees offer a great customer support. The online banking is easy to handle. Employees at branches are very nice and helpful. You can ask questions any time via your online banking dashboard, which are answered quickly.
And just in case you do have to call the customer support, they offer great help, even if you are outside the country.
You can also transfer money abroad. For that you need provide a password which is sent to your phone number. If you need to change that phone number, you can do that easily by calling NABs customer support. Call +61386419886 and after some identification questions they will quickly and professionally help you.
Open Bank Account before you Travel to Australia
With NAB you can even open your bank account before you set foot on Australia. It is a very easy process, which you have to do online. After you have done so, you can transfer money to this account.
Keep in mind: You only gain access to the account (and the money on it), once you are in Australia and you confirm your identity in a branch of the National Australia Bank. Therefore you have to visit a branch in any case. The advantage is, that you have immediately access to an Australian Bank account with money on it, without having to wait until it is opened.
The whole online application takes only about 10 minutes and you can apply for a bank account from abroad here.
Keep your Account after you left Australia
Since it’s free you can keep your account at the National Australia Bank. You won’t pay any fees for that and if you leave a couple of Dollars in your iSaver account, you can even earn some interests.
Oh, and did we mention already that your NAB account will always be free?