International Students Prepare to arrive Currency and opening a bank account

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Currency and opening a bank account

Australian currency is the only legal tender in Australia. When you first arrive, you can exchange foreign currency at exchange facilities located at international airports, banks and some hotels. Please note there are no exchange facilities at the Townsville airport. There are Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) at all Australian airports where you will usually be able to withdraw cash on arrival. Check with your banking institution in your home country about using your bank card internationally.

To help plan your budget and convert currency from your country of origin to Australian dollars, use a currency exchange calculator such as XE.

Opening an Australian Bank Account

It is recommended that you set up an Australian bank account soon after your arrival, particularly if you are going to be living in Australia for some time. There are many banking institutions in Australia which offer special student accounts. You can compare banks and the accounts they offer at Normal bank trading hours are 9:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Thursday, and 9:30am to 5:00pm on Friday. Some banks are open on Saturday mornings, but all banks are closed on Sundays and public holidays.

For further information about banking in Australia, visit one of the following banks: ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Bank of Queensland, Westpac Bank, or National Bank of Australia.

24 hour Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are available throughout Australia for your convenience with terminals available at both campuses. Many department stores, supermarkets and specialist shops have Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS) terminals where cash withdrawals can also be made in addition to purchasing goods.

Credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted for purchasing goods, as well as getting cash advances over the counter at banks and from many ATMs.

There are ATMs on-campus in Townsville behind the JCU Student Association and at the Clinical Practices Building.


Many international students can find the responsibility of paying for rent, electricity, food, transport and other living costs difficult to manage. The best way to avoid falling into financial stress is to develop a budget, further information and tips on budgeting can be found at Understanding Money or ask your financial institution.