Banks offer support for customers affected by NSW floods

Banks offer support for customers affected by NSW floods

With entire regions of central New South Wales being affected by severe flooding, several of Australia’s banks have offered relief and support packages for affected customers.

Australia’s big four banks, plus several other financial institutions, have offered to support customers in NSW whose incomes and livelihoods have been affected by the ongoing flooding.

What flood relief options are the banks offering?

ANZ

  • Pausing payments for up to three months on home loans, credit cards, personal loans and some business loans (interest may still be charged during that period)      
  • Temporarily reducing interest rates on lending for customers experiencing extreme financial distress
  • Waiving fees for restructuring business loans
  • Waiving fees for accessing term deposits early

Commonwealth Bank

  • Offering customised payment arrangements for home loans, credit cards or personal loans
  • Waiving fees and charges
  • Offering temporary overdrafts, additional loans or emergency credit limit increases (subject to credit approval)
  • Waiving fees and notice periods for early access to Term Deposits
  • Offering other individual support options

NAB

  • Providing credit card and personal loan relief
  • Waiving application fees and charges for withdrawing term deposits early
  • Waiving the application fee for restructuring business facilities
  • Offering deferral of principal and/or leasing payments
  • Providing access to complimentary, professional and confidential counselling

Westpac

  • Home loan customers may apply to defer repayments for up to three months
  • Credit card customers can apply to defer repayments for up to 90 days
  • Customers wishing to purchase replacement goods may apply for a personal loan at a discounted interest rate with no establishment fee
  • Waiving interest rate adjustments for customers wishing to withdraw term deposits
  • Business customers may request loan restructuring with no fees incurred

Australian Military Bank

  • Offering financial hardship assistance if you are finding it difficult to make repayments on your loan
  • Offering other options like early access to Term Deposits and waived fees and charges

Newcastle Permanent

  • Offering access to in-advance loan repayments or funds in Term Deposits
  • Restructuring loan repayments to help customers to restore their homes or replace damaged items.

What other relief options are available?

The Australian government is offering relief via Services Australia, in the form of the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP). Those who have been seriously injured, have lost their homes or whose homes have been directly damaged, whose major assets have been directly damaged or are the immediate family members of a person who has died as a direct result of the storms and floods, may claim $1000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child.

Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) may also be available to employees, primary producers and sole traders who can demonstrate they have experienced a loss of income as a direct result of the storms and floods. DRA provides fortnightly payments for up to 13 weeks up to the applicable rate of JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance, depending on the person's circumstances. 

This support may be available to those affected in the following local government areas:

  • Armidale
  • Bellingen
  • Blacktown
  • Blue Mountains
  • Camden
  • Campbelltown
  • Canterbury-Bankstown
  • Central Coast
  • Cessnock
  • Clarence Valley
  • Coffs Harbour
  • Cumberland
  • Dungog
  • Fairfield
  • Hawkesbury
  • Hornsby
  • Inner West
  • Kempsey
  • Ku-ring-gai
  • Lake Macquarie
  • Liverpool
  • Maitland
  • Mid-Coast
  • Nambucca
  • Newcastle
  • Northern Beaches
  • Parramatta
  • Penrith
  • Port Macquarie-Hastings
  • Port Stephens
  • Sutherland
  • Tenterfield
  • The Hills
  • Wollondilly

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Fact Checked -

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Alex Ritchie before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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Learn more about bank accounts

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.

How to transfer money to another bank account

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.

Can I open bank accounts for my children?

A common question for new parents is, ‘Can I open a bank account for my child?’

The short answer is yes – as a parent you can open a bank account for your child.

Once you’ve compared your options and found a bank account that suits your needs, the process is relatively simple.

As the bank account is for your child, you’ll need to provide some documentation such as proof of ID, including your tax file number.

You will also need a copy of your child’s birth certificate, and in some cases you may also need to sign a guarantee of indemnity.

Depending on the bank and whether you’re an existing customer, you may be able to open a bank account for your child online. However, you may still need to go into a branch to prove your identity.

How do you transfer money from PayPal to a bank account?

Transferring money from PayPal to an Australian bank account is simple. Just follow these three steps:

  • Go to your Wallet
  • Click ‘Transfer Money’
  • Follow the instructions

The money will take three to seven business days to reach your bank account.

Once you’ve made the transfer request, it can’t be withdrawn.

How do you set up a bank account online?

Once you’ve compared bank accounts and found the right one, the process of opening a bank account online is quite simple and can be done in around 10 minutes.

To set up a bank account online, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide an approved form of ID as well as your tax file number (TFN).

If you’re a new customer of the bank, you’ll need to verify your identity and potentially upload documents before you can complete your online application.

Once your ID has been verified and you’ve set up your bank account online, you should receive your bank cards in the mail along with your PIN and any other account details.

How can I close a Commonwealth Bank account?

You can close your Commonwealth Bank account at any branch, provided you have appropriate identification. You can also close your account over the phone, by calling 132 221, 24 hours a day.

Can foreigners open bank account in Australia?

If you’re migrating, studying or working in Australia, you’ll be pleased to know that you can open an Australian bank account. For the most part, opening a bank account in Australia is a simple process which starts by comparing the types of bank accounts foreigners can open in Australia.

Once you’ve found a bank account that suits your needs, you can start the application process.

When you apply for the account, you’ll need to provide proof of ID which may include your passport, overseas ID or credit card. You may also need to provide a copy of your visa and proof of address in Australia.

Depending on the bank and the type of account you choose, you may be able to apply for the account online or over the phone before you arrive in Australia.

How do I close my bank account online?

You can usually easily open a bank account online, but you often can’t close it online.

Many banks and credit unions will only let you close an account if you go into a branch or call them on the phone.

However, some banks will let you request to close the account via your internet banking. Check your financial provider’s website for details.

Just remember: If you still have funds in the bank account, transfer them to another account, or withdraw the cash. Also, if you have any payments like direct debits going in or out of the bank account, these will also stop when you close your account.

What do I need to open bank accounts online?

Opening a bank account online is a simple process and only takes between five to 10 minutes to complete. To get started you will need a computer or smartphone with internet access.

Information to have available when you’re ready to apply is:

  • Identification (such as driver’s licence, birth certificate, passport, proof-of-age card)
  • Tax file number
  • Residential address, email and a contact number

In some cases, you might be asked to provide employment details. If you’re not able to verify your identity online, most financial institutions let you provide this in the branch at a later date.

There are some types of bank account that you can apply for only in a branch. However, most bank accounts can be applied for conveniently online.

How do I overdraw my Commonwealth Bank account?

Overdrawing a bank account can happen by accident. It’s often hard to know what your balance is, particularly with direct debits, scheduled repayments and pending transactions competing for cash.

To avoid being stuck with a bank fee every time your account is overdrawn, you can apply for a personal overdraft. This will enable you to overdraw your account up to an approved amount.

A personal overdraft is connected to your CommBank Everyday Account, so you can enjoy easy access to extra funds once approved – anywhere from $100 up to $20,000.

Your overdraft funds can be accessed via your CommBank keycard or Debit MasterCard, or online through NetBank and the CommBank app.

To apply you can either call the Commonwealth Bank directly or visit your local branch.

How do you deposit change into your bank account?

One way to deposit change into your bank account is to visit a branch. Many lenders will also allow you to deposit your change through one of their ATMs.

Can you open a bank account at 16?

Yes, you can open a bank account at 16, or even younger. If you’re 13 or under, you will probably need a parent to accompany you to a branch.

How do you find a bank account number by name?

For privacy reasons, Australian banks won’t hand out account numbers or other details about their customers. However, if you provide a bank with a BSB and account number, they should be able to confirm if those numbers belong to one of their customers.

How do you change your account name on NAB banking?

Changing the name on your NAB bank account is straightforward, as long as you have the right documents.

If you’ve just got married, divorced or legally changed your name, here’s what you need:

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You can take either the original document, or a certified copy, into a NAB branch, where it needs to be sighted by a bank employee and a copy taken.

Your NAB bank account name will be updated immediately. New debit, ATM and credit cards with your updated name will also need to be issued. These usually take between five to 10 working days to be posted out to you. Your existing cards will keep working until you activate your new ones.

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