Can Centrelink access your bank account?
Yes, Centrelink can access your bank account, but only if you give them a reason to. Centrelink uses data-matching software with other federal government agencies to help it crack down on welfare cheats.
This is why it’s important to give true and matching information to all government agencies.
For example, if you report to Centrelink your annual income is $25,000, but at tax time you report your income as $50,000 with the ATO, it’s likely you’ll be ‘red flagged’.
At this point, Centrelink can legally request that your bank hand over your personal bank account details, to review your finances.
In most cases, Centrelink does not have the authority to take money out of your account. You will usually be given written notice to repay the debt.
However, Centrelink can also reduce your benefits until you’ve paid back what you owe. In extreme cases, Centrelink can garnish your wages and assets (including money in your bank account) until your debt is repaid.
Opening a bank account is one of the simplest online tasks you could perform. The hard part is deciding which type of bank account you want to open.
All banking institutions have a website where you hit ‘apply’ on the account of your choice and step through an application in less than 10 minutes.
Here’s a list of information that is generally required for applications.
- Identification (driver’s licence, passport, proof of age card, proof of citizenship and/or birth certificate)
- Tax file number (so you don’t get charged the highest tax rate)
- Address, contact email and phone number
If you decide to open a new account at the branch, make sure you ask beforehand what information you need to take with you, or take all of the above to be safe.
You can cash a cheque without a bank account if you visit the bank that issued the cheque. For example, if somebody sends you a cheque from Bank X (as written on the cheque) and you visit Bank X, it’s likely that Bank X will let you cash the cheque – provided the person who wrote the cheque has enough money in their account. Bank X would probably charge you a fee for the service.
Transferring money to another bank is often called a bank transfer, and it can be done a few different ways.
Customers generally need three pieces of information to transfer money to another bank account. Customers need the account name, BSB and account number of the account they wish to transfer money to.
One way of transferring money to another bank account is in a branch with the help of a staff member; they will often give you a receipt as well as confirmation of the transfer.
Transfers can be also made via internet banking and phone banking.
Some banks also allow customers to make transfers via partnered ATMs, especially if the account is with the same bank.
Many Australian lenders allow foreigners to open bank accounts in Australia. Often, this can be done before you arrive in the country – with no Australian address required. When you get to Australia, you can pick up your debit card, using your passport as identification.
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