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Gap Year Australia :: money and banks


If you’re planning on working in Australia, you’ll need an Australian bank account for your employer to put all those dollars into! The main banks in Australia are ANZ, Westpac, Citibank, Commonwealth, National and St George (there are more, just not as big!).

To open a bank account you will need a permanent (ish!) address and your passport for identification. You can only use your passport as ID for up to 6 weeks after arriving in the country, after this you will need Australian identification such as bank cards.

Australia has a service called EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Service) which you will find in most retailers and restaurants. You pay with your bank card and the money comes straight out of your account. The system is very similar to the UK’s chip and pin service but it is even more widespread in Australia.

The ATMs in Oz will accept international Cirrus, Plus and Visa cards, but check with your bank just to make sure! Australian ATMs are owned by each bank, so if you don’t use your own bank’s ATM then you pay a service fee of about $2, which is equivalent to about 80p.

Australians have the colourful, waterproof and generally indestructible Australian Dollar, with 100 cents to the dollar. Usually the exchange rate will get you between $2 and $2.50 for one English pound.

Tax File Numbers (TFN) - These are essential for working in Australia, as it identifies you as a tax payer and therefore you won’t be paying emergency tax, which is around 49%! To get one of these you could get a *starter pack* or you could wait until you get to Australia and go to a Tax Office. You can apply for one there for free but you must have an address for them to deliver it to.

Discount Cards are very useful as you can use them at many hostels and activities. These can get you special deals, money off and even some freebies! These cards include VIP Backpackers, YHA, Nomads or the ISIC (International Students Card). The price of these cards won’t break the bank and usually include one year membership.
Tipping in Australia is at the customer’s discretion, although a 10-15% tip is standard atr a good restaurant with excellent service. Always check the bill as service is occasionally included.

Tipping is expected in bars, pubs and taxis, usually at a rate of around 10%. If you’re staying in hotels, you should also tip hotel staff as their meagre wages rely on top-ups from guests.




    © Gap Year Travel Guide 2011