Western Australia offers an efficient and modern banking system catering to the needs of individual residents, visitors and businesses, both large and small.
There are four major banks in Western Australia:
There are also a number of banks with main headquarters in the eastern states of Australia. Financial services can also be obtained from non-bank financial institutions, which include building societies, credit unions and mortgage providers.
Banks are generally open from:
- Monday to Thursday 9.30 am – 4.00 pm
- Friday 9.30 am – 5.00 pm.
Some community banks are open on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings.
Automatic teller machines (ATMs) are plentiful and can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Banks provide a full range of financial services, including currency exchange – all at nominal rates. Electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) machines are commonly used at most retail outlets, as well as in taxis, restaurants and hotels. They can be used to access many types of bank accounts and credit cards.
Opening a bank account
In order to open a bank account and deposit your money in a bank or credit union, you will need to complete an application form and provide identification. If you open a bank account within six weeks of arriving in Australia, you may need only your passport as identification. However, after the six week period, you will need additional documents.
Choosing a bank account
Most people have an account with a bank, credit union or building society to receive pay or basic benefits, take out cash and pay bills. These are commonly known as savings accounts.
When choosing an account, find an option that suits your everyday spending habits, including how you prefer to access your money. Also ensure you:
- compare fees and charges;
- consider using a debit card instead of a credit card;
- keep your bank account details private.
Comparing fees and charges
Different accounts charge different fees. Your bank may charge you:
- monthly account keeping fees;
- ATM fees (for your bank's ATMs and even more for using another bank's ATMs);
- phone banking fees;
- EFTPOS fees;
- internet banking fees; and
- branch fees.
For more information on banking and for financial guidance, visit the
Australian Securities and Investments Commission website.
Internet banking in Australia is generally very secure. To use internet banking, you must register with your bank. Standard online banking functions include checking account balances and transaction history, transferring money between accounts, making loan repayments, paying bills to third parties, and ordering statements and cheque books.
Obtaining a credit card
To apply for credit card you need to be at least 18 years old and have a good credit rating.
You can apply for a credit card through a bank/financial institution. Approval for a credit card is dependent on a credit assessment which takes into account your income, assets, debts and liabilities.
It is important that you understand the terms and conditions that apply to your credit card.
Exchanging your money
You can exchange foreign currency for Australian currency at banks and foreign exchange branches. Some hotels and resorts will also offer currency exchange; however, be sure to compare rates with banks and exchange centres to ensure you receive the best rate.
Australia has a decimal currency system. Notes are manufactured in a high quality polymer-based synthetic material and come in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coin denominations are 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent, $1 and $2.
Prices under five cents are rounded up or down to the nearest five cents.