Currency and banking

The currency of Australia is the Australian dollar. It’s listed using the $ symbol and you may also see it noted as A$, AU$ or AUD.

There are 100 cents in one dollar. You may see ‘cents’ abbreviated with ‘c’ – for example, ‘50c’ is 50 cents.

Our coins vary in size and shape depending on value. They’re commonly referred to as ‘silver’ and ‘gold’ coins based on their colour. ‘Silver’ coins come in values of 5c, 10c, 20c, and 50c. ‘Gold’ coins come in values of A$1 and A$2.

Our notes come in values of A$5, A$10, A$20, A$50 and A$100 and vary in size and colour depending on value.

In Australia, prices are listed using a decimal point to distinguish between dollars and cents, and commas are commonly used to mark intervals of 1 000. For example, the price A$1,234.56 equals 1,234 dollars and 56 cents.

Because we don’t have any units of currency smaller than 5c, you’ll find that when paying in cash your purchases will be rounded up or down to the nearest 5c. If you’re paying electronically, you’ll pay the exact price.

Before you leave your home country

Did you know that you can open a bank account with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), National Australia Bank (NAB) or Westpac Bank before you leave home? We recommend you do this, as it means you can withdraw funds as soon as you arrive using your passport as identification. This can be safer than carrying around large amounts of cash. Of these three banks, only Westpac has a branch on the Melbourne (Bundoora) Campus.

Once you open an account, you can transfer funds from overseas to be ready when you arrive. Before transferring funds, you need to be 100 per cent sure that you’re coming to Australia, because you can only access your transferred funds once you’ve arrived and have provided identification.

If you open a NAB bank account before leaving your country and you have a card with China Union Pay access, you’ll be able to withdraw funds from any NAB ATM without paying a withdrawal fee.

After you arrive in Australia

We recommend you open a bank account within six weeks of arrival in Australia because during this period most banking institutions will accept just your passport and proof of date of arrival.

After this time you may be required to take additional identification into a bank branch, such as your student card, confirmation of enrolment, credit card, or lease agreement and other forms of identification with your name on it.

Money can be withdrawn from Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) 24 hours a day. There is usually a daily withdrawal limit of A$800 – A$1,000. EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale) also allows you to withdraw cash at the point of purchase. We advise you only carry as much cash you need for a few days at a time.

You may want to consider using your bank card to pay for shopping purchases. Major credit cards (Visa and MasterCard) are also widely accepted to pay for products and services in Australia.

Banks are generally open Monday to Thursday 9.30am - 4.00pm and Friday 9.30am - 5.00pm. Be aware that while some branches do open on weekends, most are closed on weekends and all branches are closed on public holidays.

Certain banks will offer student accounts with lower account-keeping fees or exempt students from fees entirely. We recommend talking to your chosen bank about the options available to you. You may be required to show your student identification card or letter of offer to open a student account.

To help you plan your finances, we recommend reading our useful tips about estimated living costs in Australia.