Manage your money in Australia



  • Open a bank account in Australia
  • International money transfer from/to Australia
  • Some prices

1.Open a bank account in Australia

This topic is particularly important since you won’t be able to do anything without money. Moreover, opening a bank account is not that easy in an unfamiliar country. All the financial and banking information about Australia you need to know can be found here.

Opening a bank account in Australia is often a compulsory step in your expatriation, especially if you are intending to work there. It can also be useful when you stay for a long time, in order to avoid exchange rate fare for each purchase or withdrawal.

The most convenient solution tested by the Australiance Team, is opening an online bank account before your departure. Indeed, this solution will save you time because you can transfer your financial resources on your Australian account before you leave. We have chosen Westpac for our bank account in Australia.

Why Westpac?

  • Westpac is Australia’s 3rd bank. With more than 3000 ATM across the country and 50 000 ATM via their partners. You’ll be sure to find a Westpac ATM wherever you go! 
  • Westpac is the only bank that offers a special bank account for foreigners that you can open for free before your departure and within less than 3 minutes!  It’s very easy and you have no fees during one year.
  • Westpac has a partnership with French bank BNP Paribas. It allows BNP customers to be free from bank charges when withdrawing at an ATM.*
  • Westpac’s mobile app is very convenient. You can check your cheque, savings and current account.

*It is not the case for transfers. But you can still withdraw your money in an ATM and then go to the bank agency to make the money deposited into your Australian account.

Opening your bank account online:

Westpac offers you to open simultaneously:

  • The ‘Westpac Choice’, the credit account: If you are under 21,  a full-time student, or transferring more than AUD2000 per month into your account more, you are exempted from monthly bank fees. Otherwise, bank fees are $ 5 AUS / month.
  • The “Westpac eSaver”, the savings account with an interest rate of 3.92% per year (+ 1.42% bonus for the first three months). Interest is paid monthly.

Do not forget to tick the Westpac eSaver box if you want to open a savings account as well as a current account (highly recommended).

The procedure is simple and takes only 5 minutes since it will ask you just the following information:
– Title
– First Name
– Birthdate
– Type of VISA
– Telephone number
– E-mail
– Current address
– Arrival date
– Arrival point
– The nearest Westpac branch for you in Australia.
– Your type of job
– The amount of your annual salary (optional)
– How did you know Westpac

Once your online application has been confirmed, Westpac will send you an email confirming that your account has been opened and providing you with your IDs within 5 to 15 days. Administrative and confirmation documents will also be sent to you (home country address).

Once you’ve received your login details, you will be able to call Westpac’s hotline (+61) 2 9293 9270 to activate online access to your accounts. The activation is immediate.

You can transfer money to your account as soon as it is activated, or leave it empty (but be careful to turn $ 5 minimum before the end of the month).

However, you will not be able to withdraw money until you have finished your identification. For this, you must go in a Westpac agency, once you arrived in Australia with an identity document, within a period of 90 days.

Once identified, you will be able to withdraw money at the counter and apply for a credit card. A MasterCard debit card will be sent to your Australian address within 15 days, or you can pick it up at the agency within 7 days.

It is unfortunately not possible to get your debit card before arriving in Australia and identifying yourself.

Caution :
– You can only open your bank account up to 1 year before your arrival in Australia (maximum time to complete your identification procedure in a Westpac agency once in Australia).
– You need a postal address in Australia. No worries, you can give a temporary address that you can then modify.

Good to know :

Withdrawing money from another Westpac group’s bank or member of the International Alliance Global ATM will not cause any extra cost if you are travelling abroad with your Westpac card. The banks are St George, Bank of Melbourne Bank SA.

Only for French citizens, to avoid extra bank fees due to international transfers, you simply need to withdraw money from a Westpac ATM with your BNP card and then make a deposit at the counter. Don’t forget to check your payment limit with your French bank before leaving.

For all European citizens, if you want to make an online transfer, your European bank will ask the IBAN of your Australian account. However, the IBAN is a European standard. Therefore, to make a transfer to your Australian account, you simply need the following numbers: BSB (Branch Number) + Account Number + SWIFT code. They will be provided by Westpac. 


2. International money transfer from/to Australia


When you open your bank account in Australia, you may wish to transfer funds from your account back home. You can organise a transfer between banks, however, costs vary from bank to bank and include a fixed conversion fee and a variable commission fee for the transferring institution.

The transfer generally takes two to five working days. Here is a great piece of Australiance’s advice: a good alternative to consider would be to open an account with OzForex.
OzForex is a secure website where you don’t pay any bank fees and you typically save an additional 3% over your banks or cards exchange rate. OzForex also offers the advantage of on-line payments. OzForex payments are accepted at all major retailers online, therefore it can be used to purchase from e-commerce websites.

3. Some prices

Your main expenses will probably be the rent, the food and phone bills.  The clothing should be almost the same price as in Europe, and the electronic devices are a little cheaper. The imported products are of course much more expensive because of the taxes.

Below you will find some Australian prices* to compare with those in your home country, and get an idea of your budget down under. Remember that for example, according to a UBS research named “Prices and Earnings” (April 2016), the prices in Sydney not including housing are 6,6% higher than in Paris.

Food prices


Average AUD$ price                  Average  € price
Loaf of bread AU$3.00 to AU$4.00 2,00 to 2,70 €
1 litre of milk AU$0.90 to AU$2.00 0,50 to 1,30 €
Box of breakfast cereal AU$3.00 to AU$4.00 2 to 2,80 €
Jar of instant coffee AU$3.00 to AU$4.00 2 to 2,70 €
Bottle of soft drink AU$1.50 to AU$3.00 1 to 2 €
an apple AU$0.50 to AU$0.80 30 to 60 cents
a banana AU$0.60 to AU$0.90 40 to 60 cents
Beef (500 grammes) AU$4.50 to AU$8.00 3 to 5,60 €
Chicken (600 grammes) AU$7.00 to AU$8.00 5 to 5,60 €
Cadbury Ice-cream 2L AU$6.90 5,85 €
Butter 250g AU$1.40 1 €
Parmesan 250g AU$5.00 3,70 €
Eggs x12 AU$2.50 1,60 €
Zucchini 1kg AU$3.50 2,45 €
Green Beans 1kg AU$5.00 3,50 €
Mushrooms 1kg AU$9.50 6,70 €
Potatoes 1kg AU$2.70 1,90 €
Oignons 1kg AU$3.00 2 €
Carrots 1kg AU$1.20 0,80 €
Tomatoes 1kg AU$4.80 3,20 €
Pork Sausages 1kg AU$7.90 5,55 €
Lamb chops 1kg AU$11.00 7,70 €
Juice 1L AU$4.00 2,80 €


Health and Beauty prices in Australia

Bottle of shampoo

AU$2.50 to AU$7.50            1,75 to 5,15 €
Bar of soap AU$1.50 to AU$2.50 1 to 1,75 €
Toothbrush AU$3.25 2,30 €
Toothpaste 120g AU$2.70 1,90 €
Roll-on Deodorant 50mL AU$4.35 3 €
Face Wash 150g AU$14.15 9,95 €
Tampons x16 AU$4.80 3,40 €
Sunscreen 200mL AU$14.95 10,60 €


Alcohol and cigarettes

Rhum 700mL                         AU$40 to AU$41.5                28 to 29 €
Malibu 700mL AU$40.35 28,35 €
Tequila 700mL AU$36.20 25,45 €
Vodka 700mL AU$38.20 26,85 €
Whisky 700mL AU$50.00 35 €
Bourbon 700mL AU$38.70 27,20 €
Baileys 700mL AU$39.55 27,80 €
Marlboro 25 Pack AU$22.60 15,20 €


Newspaper AU$1.50 to AU$3.00     1 to 2 €
Phone AU$60 minimum Min. 40 €
Prepaid card: 1.5 Go internet, calls, sms et MMS illimited           AU$30 20 €


Shared-room in Sydney                AU$170280 per week                    120 to 185 €
Own room in Sydney AU$270400 per week 160 to 240 €

The cost of living in Australia is estimated at approximately AU$20,000 per year including accommodation, food, textbooks, health cover, phone/internet, transport and excluding tuition fees, buying clothing, medicines etc. However, the cost of living in Tasmania, for example, is estimated at between AU$12,000 – AU$14,500 a year.

* All prices are approximate and may vary.

You may also be interested in : 

Open your bank account in Australia
Visas in Australia
Checklist before your departure