Money and Finances


Australia uses a dollars and cents system of decimal currency with 100cents in a dollar. The bank notes in use are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins used are the silver coloured 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent and50 cent and the gold coloured $1 and $2 coins.


It is a good idea to set up an Australian bank account. You will need to provide your visa and evidence of residency. Over 20 local and numerous international banking groups are represented in Australia. All major banks have a branch in cities and regional centres.

Most shopping centres have Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) facilities. These machines can be used for deposits and, in many instances, withdrawals 24 hours a day. Many department stores, supermarkets and specialist shops have electronic transfer terminals (EFTPOS) where cash withdrawals can also be made in addition to purchasing goods.
Be aware most banks usually charge a fee –anywhere from $1 to $3 - if you use an ATM from another bank.

For Bank trading hours and loans visit one of the websites below.


Commonwealth Bank



Credit Cards

Credit Cards are widely accepted around Australia. The most commonly accepted credit cards are American Express, Diners International, MasterCard, Visa and their affiliates.
To report a card lost or stolen, call your bank or credit card provider. Check here for phone numbers you can call both in and outside Australia if your card is lost or stolen.

Personal Bank Loans

International students studying in different universities in Australia need money for financing their tuition and living expenses. There are a number of banks and financial institutions extending personal loans to international students. These loans are typically secured loans backed with a guarantor but you could also be eligible for some short-term unsecured loan without any guarantor. Not all banks and lending companies would be extending this kind of personal loan and you may have to look around to find the one that does that.


Tipping is not the general custom in Australia and service charges are not added to accounts by hotels and restaurants.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a 10% tax on the supply of most goods and services in Australia. The GST does not apply to fresh food, your education, or international airfares.

By law, an advertised price must include GST.

Under the Tourist Refund Scheme, if you purchase new or second-hand goods with a total minimum value of $300 from one shop, no more than 30 days before you leave Australia, you are entitled to a GST refund. It excludes beer, spirits and tobacco, which can be bought duty-free.

For more details, contact the Australian Customs Service on 1300 363 263 or 02 6275 6666 or you can visit Customs website.


Living on a student income is challenging - especially if this is the first time you have lived away from home. Think carefully about how you will support yourself while you’re here, and your expenses.
This website provides information on how to budget in Australia
The Commonwealth Bank has a useful Student Budget Calculator.

Trouble managing?
Debt can be a serious problem for some students. Make sure you talk to someone who can help.

Consumer Affairs Victoria can refer you to a financial counselor who can negotiate on your behalf with your creditors.

Call 1300 55 81 81 or check Consumer Affairs Victoria

Leaving the Country?

Before leaving Australia make sure any Debts/Bills you have incurred are PAID IN FULL, failure to do so could affect your re-entry to Australia.

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