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When you’re studying, every dollar makes a difference. That’s why it’s important to make sure you are managing your finances, and taking advantage of any student discounts you can.
Many banks offer student bank accounts so you can easily manage your money, track your spending, and pay your bills. If you’re currently studying and looking for a bank account that will reduce your costs
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What is a student bank account?
A student bank account is a transaction account that has been specifically designed for students who are currently studying.
Student bank accounts can help you whilst you are completing your studies, as they tend to have certain benefits including:
- Low or no account keeping fees
- Low or no ATM fees
- Digital banking features
- Discounts on banking products
How is a student bank account different than other bank accounts?
Student bank accounts are designed with students in mind. While they can vary from bank to bank, student accounts usually have lower fees than your average bank account. This might mean they slash the monthly fee to make it more affordable for students. Banks may also offer benefits or discounts for students.
These benefits can differ greatly, but they’re typically linked with bank products. You may have access to a $0 annual fee credit card or get a student card to get discounts on other products from partner companies or other financial products offered by your bank.
Typically, student bank accounts function in the same way that normal accounts do. This means that you can still make cash withdrawals, make everyday purchases and deposit funds.
What should you look for when choosing a student account?
If you’re a student who wants to open a bank account, it’s not required that you open one that’s specifically for students. However, if you choose to open a bank account that is not designed for students, you may end up paying fees that student accounts typically avoid.
Most student bank accounts prioritise affordability, to help you manage your finances while you complete your studies. As such, you’ll find many student accounts cancel the monthly fee and other bank fees like ATM fees, but not all student bank accounts are fee free.
What fees are charged?
The first thing to consider as a student is the fees associated with a student bank account.
- Are you happy to pay a monthly fee? If not, you can avoid student accounts that require monthly payments.
- Do you withdraw cash often from different locations? If so, you might consider looking for a student account with minimal or no ATM fees.
- Do you purchase products from overseas retailers? If you travel overseas often or are an online shopping aficionado, you will want to look at whether your bank account offers no foreign transaction fees.
What benefits are offered?
When you’re looking for a student bank account, there are things you should consider other than the fees they charge, like the benefits offered.
These benefits might include;
- Student discount offers
- Fee-free credit cards
- Fee-free loan offers
- Free financial planning and advice
What happens when you stop studying?
If you plan on keeping your student account even after you stop studying, it might be beneficial to speak with your bank about what happens next.
- How the account will transition from a student bank account to an everyday transaction account?
- Will you be charged fees as soon as you stop studying?
- Do you have an obligation to inform the bank of when you stop studying to transition the account manually?
It’s possible certain fees will be added, or you bank may require you to open a new non-student bank account. Be sure to take this into consideration when making your decision.
How do you open a student bank account?
Many lenders offer student bank accounts, and the process is very similar to that of opening a regular bank account.
If you already use a bank, you may choose to open a student account by calling them directly, or by applying online. However, if you find that you want to open a student bank account with a different bank, you will need to look at their process for application.
After you’ve chosen the student account for you, you will need to start the application process with the bank. This process will collect your details and verify your identity before opening your account. While the application may sometimes be completed online, you may need to visit a bank branch to apply.
Do I have to prove that I’m a student to open a student bank account?
Proof of study and identity documentation required to open a student account may vary from bank to bank.
Typically, your bank will require the following documents:
- Proof of study: Student card or other document to prove your studies
- Identity documents: these can include documents such as a passport or driver's license
- Physical proof of address: you may need to prove your address by providing documents like utility bills
Every bank may have a different application process and require different documents, so be sure to check with the bank what documentation they need before you apply.
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Rachel Wastell is an award-winning writer with a knack for translating complicated subjects. She is a strong environmental advocate, and is as passionate about the planet as she is about finance and open education. Writing professionally for almost ten years, Rachel's work has been published across the Australian media landscape including the Australian Financial Review and The Guardian, and she regularly contributes to Business Insider and Lifehacker.
Frequently asked questions
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 I close a bank account?
Closing a bank account is one of those tasks that’s easy to put in the too-hard basket. There are quite a few steps involved, some which may require you to hang on the phone for a while.
Here’s a handy checklist of items to tick off, so the job gets done quicker. If you don’t do your banking online, the following steps can also be done at a branch.
- Cancel any scheduled or recurring payments
- Update your direct debit details (such as loan repayments) with creditors
- Export your payee address book (to keep a record of saved third-party bank account details)
- Transfer the balance of your account (to the new bank account)
- Close your account online, or by calling the bank or visiting a branch
How do I open a bank account if I'm under 18?
The good news for savvy young folks like you wanting to take charge of your finances is that there are many bank accounts available for under-18s.
For bank accounts that require you to be 18 or older, you’ll have to rope in a parent or guardian to open the account for you.
Otherwise, you can apply by yourself online or at the branch of the bank, credit union or building society that has the account you would like to open.
If applying online, you might be asked for a form of identification. For under-18s, this could be a Medicare card you’re listed on, your birth certificate and/or your current home address.
In most cases, you can verify your identity online (at the time of applying) or at the branch afterwards.
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.
Can you find your bank account number online?
If your bank offers online services, you should be able to find your bank account number online by logging into your account on your bank’s website and checking your details there.
Keep in mind that each type of account you have with a bank comes with a unique account number. This means if you have a bank account as well as a savings account, for example, your bank account number and your savings account number will be different.
If you don’t have access to your bank account online or can’t login, you should be able to find your account number on a mailed bank statement, if you have one.
Alternatively, you can call your bank’s customer service number or visit a branch to retrieve your account number.
How do you delete your bank account from PayPal?
Deleting your bank account from PayPal is a simple three-step process:
- Go to your Wallet
- Choose the account you’d like to delete
- Click ‘Remove bank account’
How do I open a bank account for a child?
There are few better ways for a child to learn about money management than through savings. And there’s a plethora of bank accounts designed specifically for young people and children.
A bank account for a child can be opened online, over the phone or in a branch in a few easy steps. The minimum age a child can open a bank account for themselves usually ranges between 12 and 14.
If the child is too young to open the account, you can do it for them as their legal parent or guardian.
To do this, you would need to be over 18, have an Australian residential address and currently reside in Australia (or have proof of residency).
You would also need to provide:
- Identification for yourself and the child
- Your tax file number (TFN) or TFN exemption
Depending on the bank account, you might be able to choose what level of access the child has to their bank account (online and via the phone).
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 open a new bank account?
There are a number of ways to open a new bank account – online, over the phone or in the branch. The trick is to decide what type of bank account you want beforehand.
It might sound like a simple enough task, but there are literally hundreds of bank accounts to choose from. And each offer their own banking features and benefits.
A comparison site like RateCity can help you work out what bank account product matches your needs.
Once you’ve made up your mind what you want, it’s advisable to have the following information ready for the application process.
- A couple of forms of identification (such as driver’s licence, Medicare card, passport)
- Tax file number
- Residential address, contact phone number and email (though email is not essential)
Can British expats still open bank accounts?
As a British expat, you can open an Australian bank account, and you can apply for an account the same ways an Aussie would. You can even open an account online from the UK prior to relocating.
If you’re overseas, the bank you choose to open an account with may call you to provide you with our new account details beforehand. You can then have your ID verified within a branch once you’ve arrived.
And if you’re already living down under, the following list outlines the types of information required by most banks when opening an Australian bank account.
- Australian residential address
- Tax file number (TFN) or a TFN exemption
- Identification (this can be your passport)
Can you open another account at the same bank?
Yes, you can open another account at the same bank if you already have an account there, but some banks place a limit on how many specific accounts you can open.
Generally, though, it is possible to have more than one everyday account, one personal account and one joint account, or have different types of accounts – such as a transaction account and a savings account.
Keep in mind that some bank accounts come with fees, so you could be charged twice for having two types of the same account at the same bank.
Also, if you have more than one high-interest transaction account at the same bank, only one account will be able to earn the highest rate of interest.
Can I close my bank account over the phone?
In most cases, you can close a personal or business bank account over the phone. In fact, this is the best way to ensure you’ve closed an account properly.
By speaking to a banking representative, you can capture and close out any pending transactions, or interest owing/payable on the account being closed.
In the instance where the account is a joint account, or you have multiple bank accounts you want to close, your bank may send you a form that you need to fill out and return.
Either way, you would be advised over the phone of the steps you need to take. Calling your bank ahead of closing an account is often a smart course of action.
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 open a bank account in Australia?
Opening a bank account in Australia is usually a straightforward process. Some banks give you the option of opening an account online, while others require you to visit a branch.
Different bank accounts offer different features, so it’s best to compare your options to find one that suits you.
All banks require you to pass an identity check to open a bank account. Australia uses the 100-point identification system, which means you’ll need to show a number of forms of ID that, together, add up to 100 points.
Common ID types include a driver’s licence, passport, Australian visa in a foreign passport, and Australian Medicare card. You’ll find out what types of ID are accepted when you go through the sign-up process online or at a branch.
Once your account is open, you’ll be given or sent a debit card that you can use to make purchases and withdraw money from your account.
Are bank accounts frozen when someone dies?
Yes, Australian bank accounts are frozen when someone dies. If you want to close the account of somebody who has died, you might have to provide proof of death and a copy of the will. You might also have to prove your relationship to the deceased person.
If you have a joint bank account with somebody who has died, you will generally be entitled to all the money in the account. Again, you might have to provide proof of death if you want to change the bank account from a joint account to a one-person account.
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.
Do I need to open a business bank account?
Just because you’re in business doesn’t necessarily mean you need a business bank account. You could be a sole trader not registered for GST, and use your personal bank account for business.
If you do want a business account, there are plenty of benefits attached to business transaction and savings accounts, as well as business term deposits.
There are business bank accounts designed for businesses with a high volume of transactions, and those for start-ups with a small amount of trade. You could also include an EFTPOS service with your account.
Some business bank accounts charge for the number of transactions per month, while others offer a pay-as-you-go fee structure, where you only pay fees for transactions you make.
It’s up to you whether your priority is mainly transactions, or earning the maximum amount of interest on your principal. There’s a business banking solution for you if you need one.
Do you need a bank account to sell on eBay?
You don’t need a bank account to sell on eBay. But if you don’t have a bank account, you must provide either a credit card or debit card.
Can I have a PayPal account without a bank account?
You don’t need a bank account to send or receive money through PayPal. However, you do need a bank account if you want to withdraw money from your PayPal account.
Can I open a bank account in another country?
Despite having a bad rap for facilitating tax evasion, it is possible and legal to open a bank account in another country, also known as an ‘offshore account’.
Some people choose to open a bank account in another country to invest overseas, for higher interest-earning potential or to access foreign banking services.
The process for opening an offshore bank account differs depending on the financial institution and country in which you’re opening the account.
Typically, you will need to provide identification such as a passport, a local bank statement and a signed declaration proving the source of the money being used to open your account. Usually, deposits into offshore accounts can be made by international money transfer.