To assist with your adjustment to living in Australia, it is recommended that you learn about everyday services, including:
Public transport types, prices and methods of payment vary between Australian states. Most major cities use a combination of bus and train systems, while smaller cities may only have buses. It is important to get to know your local public transport system so that you can get around your new city quickly and easily. Select your city from the list below for more information:
Before you arrive, or shortly after your arrival, you should open a bank account so you can easily access your money. There is a range of banks to choose from in Australia and most offer student accounts with low or no fees. The main banks are ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac.
The Commonwealth Bank provides specialised information for people moving to Australia and you can even set up your bank account before you depart your home country. If you set up an account before you arrive, once you are in Australia, you will need to visit the bank to confirm your identity and activate your account. Take your passport, student ID card or COE and your address information with you.
Choosing a Bank in Australia
When you arrive in Australia, one of the first things that you will need to do is open an Australian bank account. This will allow you to be paid for any work that you do and have easier access to your funds without international transaction fees.
Commonwealth Bank and ANZ have online banking and in-person branches Australia-wide. They also allow students to open bank accounts from overseas.
Note: You must activate your account in-person once you arrive in Australia, which usually requires a passport and a student ID for identification.
Other popular Australian banks with in-person branches include: Westpac, National Australia Bank (NAB) and Suncorp.
Popular online-only Australian banks include: UBank, ING Australia, ME Bank.
Types of Accounts
In Australia, most people have an everyday transaction account and a savings account. By signing up for a transaction account, you will usually have the option of linking a savings account at the same time.
A transaction account is where you receive payments from your job. It is connected to your bank card or bank app and can be used to make purchases online or in-store.
A savings account is the account used to grow your savings and put aside money for large purchases (e.g. a car, a holiday, tuition fees).
It is important to spend time researching the best banking option for you, as banks differ on:
- Savings interest rates (these can change over time)
- Special discounts or features
- Online banking/app designs
- Access to support
EFTPOS – Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale is widely accepted in Australia. Using EFTPOS reduces the need for you to carry large sums of cash (Please check with your bank regarding fees and charges for this service). Contactless payment options such as PayWave and PayPass are becoming increasingly popular.
In Australia, you can withdraw money from ATMs. Some ATMs will charge fees if they are not linked to your bank (e.g. RediATM), while others may not. Some banks will refund a certain number of ATM fees per month.
Money can be withdrawn from ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) 24 hours a day. There is usually a limit of AUD$1000 per day. Never disclose your pin number to anyone. When you withdraw money at any ATM, be sure to put the money in your bag or wallet before walking away.
You can also withdraw money for free at most supermarkets (Woolworths, Coles) or at Australia Post.
If you need to deposit cash into your account and your bank has an in-person branch, you can visit your bank and use a deposit ATM or speak to one of the bank tellers on-site.
If your bank does not have an in-person branch and you need to deposit money, you will need to visit Australia Post to use Bank@Post.
Keeping Your Money Safe
Unfortunately, international students are sometimes the targets of financial scams. We recommend downloading and reading the free pdf The Little Black Book of Scams from the ACCC.
To keep your money safe, please ensure that you are following these basic instructions:
- Never provide your bank account or CQUniversity ID or password to anyone.
- CQUniversity and your bank will never contact you via Whatsapp, Telegram or other social media such as Instagram and Facebook.
- CQUniversity and your bank will never email or text you without using your name. Do not trust messages that do not address you by name (e.g. Dear member).
- CQUniversity and your bank will never ask for your login details or password.
- The safest way to pay your tuition fees when paying from an Australian bank account is via the MyCQU student portal Finances section.
- The safest way to pay your tuition fees when paying from an overseas bank account is via Flywire.
- If you are unsure or concerned, call your bank directly via the number on their website and check first before providing details or sending money.
Australia has a range of mobile phone and internet providers to choose from. Make sure you compare prices and inclusions before signing a contract.
It is best to purchase a SIM card or Australian mobile number when you arrive in Australia, as using your home phone number may incur high costs. There are two types of mobile phone accounts you can choose from:
Prepaid - allows you to control how much you spend and you can stop using the service at any time. Prepaid SIM cards and recharge vouchers are sold in many shops, such as newsagents and convenience stores and supermarkets.
Contract (Postpaid) - If you will be using your mobile a lot, a contract might work out cheaper for you. There are many mobile phone providers in Australia. Once you choose your phone plan, you will pay a fixed price per month for a certain amount of calls, text messages and data.
To make an international call from within Australia, dial:
- International access code (0011)
- The country code
- The area code (if required)
- The local phone number
Example: 0011 91 xxxxxxxxx
It is usually cheaper to use a pre-paid international calling card as they offer cheaper rates. Alternatively, you can keep in touch with family and friends overseas by using many apps and online services such as Skype, Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp.
The University offers free Wi-Fi for all students. You can access this using your University log-in details. Click here to learn more about accessing eduroam.
If you are an international visitor on a student visa, and you hold a current overseas driver licence you do not have to obtain an Australian drivers licence so long as:
- You remain a visitor
- Your overseas licence remains valid and current
- You have not been suspended or disqualified from driving in Australia or elsewhere
- You have not had your licence suspended or cancelled or your visiting driver privileges withdrawn
- Your licence must be either written in English or, if the licence is not in English, you must carry an authorised English translation.
Road laws in Australia are very strict and can differ from state to state. Before attempting to drive on any road in Australia make sure that you have a valid licence and you know the road rules.
There are certain criminal offences, such as drink driving, where the police can suspend your licence on the spot. You cannot drive while your licence is suspended. We drive on the left-hand side of the road in Australia and it is a legal requirement that seatbelts must be worn by the driver as well as all passengers.
For more information on driving in Australia including licences and road rules, please visit the following websites in your state:
- Queensland – Department of Transport and Main Roads
- New South Wales – Transport Roads & Maritime Services
- Victoria –VicRoads
- South Australia – Driving and Transport
- Western Australia – Department of Transport