Heading to the promised land that is Australia for a year come November. Have opened up a travellers account with Citibank but as the saying goes copper wire was invented by two Scots fighting over a penny, so you'll understand my dissatisfaction to discover that the bank charge me $1 every time i take cash out of an ATM.
Anybody suggest a bank that's good for setting up an account with if you only have a working holiday visa? any suggestions would be much appreciated!
$1 per withdrawal actually seems pretty reasonable to me. Even if you had an Australian bank account (which would require some messing around with addresses and an international transfer of cash), they would charge about 40c per withdrawal. Mind you, they would let you have about 10 free per month generally.
Still, when we go overseas we just withdraw money from our regular account back home - the fees are about $4 per withdrawal! The simplest trick is to limit withdrawals and take out large chunks at once..
There may be a better answer if you plan to spend some time here though - do a search for 'poste restante' in the forum and you might come up with something.
Another option might be to open, if you haven't already a Nationwide Flex Account as they let you withdraw your money WW without charge and in Europe you usually get a better rate than from the bureaus which might be the case in Oz too.
I have used this in Spain, Italy, Maderia, Greece and found the above to be the case each time.
The problem with a bank account from back home is that it's impossible to get salaries deposited on it.... which is pretty essential if you are working while you are in Australia. If you aren't working, it could be easier to stick to no bank account and continue to use yours from back home, especially if it has free withdrawals. Often free withdrawals mean a worse exchange rate though, so you still end up paying the same.
A lot of travellers I know are going with ANZ. Good nationwide coverage and a few free withdrawals per month. The same used to apply for Commonwealth bank accounts. Both of these you can't set up untill you arrive down under.... but they do have the benefit of actually having offices which Citibank doesn't!
I would recommend Nationwide Flex Account as you are able to access it i have been told in Australia. In Singapore at the moment and it works ok and get best exchange rate and no commision to pay heard alot of people who have gone travelling recommend the Flex account as well as credit card. Just need to make sure u get the debit card as it gives you more flex ability compared to cash card.
You can also access it on line which makes it very handy to manage and i guess they will be able to pay your wages into it in Australia but you would need to check that out
Cheers for the responses folks!! much appreciated!
Hi Stuart, the problem with Citibank is that they have very few of their own ATM's; therefore, basically sub-let them off other banks so attracting higher fees. The trick in Oz is to avoid as much as possible going into the bank as this will usually cost you about $2.50.
So, I recommend the Westpac classic account or the Commonwealth bank streamline account. EFTPOS is 50cents per-transaction (supermarkets, gas stations etc) and ATM withdrawals are 65 cents. BUT! if you use a non-Westpac ATM they will slug you $1.50 per withdrawal. So you need to work out if $1.00 for every ATM is such a bad thing.
As you have probably realised by now Westpac ATM's are everywhere.