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Student Bank Accounts

Take an in-depth look at student bank accounts and the features they have to offer by comparing them with Savvy.

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, updated on July 31st, 2023       

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Compare bank accounts for students

Finding the best bank account can save you hundreds on fees and connect you with the very latest in smart banking technology.  Compare bank accounts from a wide variety of providers with Savvy to find the very best offers available on the market right now.

site-logos Up Everyday Account
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $0
  • PayId,
  • Osko,
  • Samsung Pay,
  • Apple Pay,
  • Google Wallet,
Mastercard $0 0%
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Use invite code SAVVY10 for $10 upon successful sign-up. (Refer to offer T&Cs on Up website)

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site-logos ING Orange Everyday
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $0
  • PayId,
  • Apple Pay,
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Visa $0 0%
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Rebates on ATM fees anywhere in Oz. No ING international transaction fees. Zero monthly fees.

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site-logos NAB Classic Banking Account
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $0
  • PayId,
  • Samsung Pay,
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Visa $0 0.01%
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No monthly account fees ever, with no conditions. Free use at over 7,000 ATMs around Australia. No overdrawn fees if you happen to go over your account balance. Open an account in less than 7 minutes.

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site-logos St.George Complete Freedom Account
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $0
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  • Google Wallet,
Visa $0 0%
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Get $40 with a new Complete Freedom everyday bank account.

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site-logos Westpac Choice
  Monthly Account Fee Features Card Type ATM Fee Interest Rate  
site-logos $5
  • Samsung Pay,
  • Apple Pay,
  • Google Wallet,
Mastercard $0 $0
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Westpac Choice for easy day-to-day banking

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More about student bank accounts

Bank accounts for students come with a range of features to assist with banking needs, whilst at the same time encouraging good savings habits.  Find all the detailed information you need about the best account features available for students by comparing offers all in one place with Savvy.

What are the eligibility criteria for student bank accounts?

To be eligible to open an account as a student, you’ll need to satisfy the following criteria as a minimum:

  • be at least 18 years of age and usually under 30
  • be a permanent resident of Australia
  • have a residential address, an email address and a phone number
  • be able to supply adequate proof of your ID
  • prove that you’re a full-time tertiary student at either a university, TAFE, college or other tertiary learning institution

What useful features are available for student bank accounts?

These accounts are all about flexibility and accessibility.  Many don’t charge any ongoing account-keeping fees, just as most transaction accounts for children and young people are almost fee-free (however, watch out for steep international ATM transaction fees if you intend to travel and use your card overseas).

Compare the best account features for students with Savvy to help you find one which provides you with all the features you need.  Available account features include:

  • digital wallet compatibility – so you can link your Visa or Mastercard debit or credit cards to your phone to give you a variety of payment options at the click of a button
  • seamless transactions across multiple devices – access your account information online, through ATMs, on your phone or smart watch
  • automatic payments and transfers – the ability to automate your linked accounts so money is ‘swept’ from your transaction account to your savings account when set dollar limits are reached
  • additional enhanced account security options – for example, receiving a text notification every time money leaves your account, or the ability to put your card on hold from any device just in case you lose your physical card or phone
  • bonus interest can be earned if certain deposit or savings conditions are met, resulting in a higher interest rate to boost your savings faster. However, high interest rates are less common for these accounts

What payment options do banks offer with student transaction accounts?

There are now numerous ways to ‘pay on the go’ with your bank account.  This includes using Mastercard PayPass or Visa PayWave or linking your debit card to another payment program such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay or PayPal, or other mobile payment apps such as Beem It. 

In addition to digital wallets and payment apps, payment transactions are also possible using direct debit, EFTPOS and BPAY, with QR code payments linked to smartphones becoming more popular as an emerging payment trend in Australia. 

Some of the larger banks now have sophisticated online banking apps offering bill calendars and predictability, which can warn you when a regular bill is about to come up and estimate how much you’ll need to cover your bills in the next pay period.  These bill prediction systems are based on pattern recognition from your transaction account.  In this way, they assist youth and students in helping them manage their money and keep up to date with bill payments to ensure none are missed.

What forms of ID can students use to open their own bank accounts?

In Australia, any person over 18 opening a new bank account with a financial institution for the first time has to provide 100 points of ID.  This can be done online, and there isn’t any need to visit a branch in person.  You’ll either have to enter in details of your ID, such as your passport number or, more frequently, scan your licence or passport for automatic photographic recognition.  Some banks and institutions will require you to verify your student ID to qualify for student account-specific features, such as no account-keeping fees.

You’re required to provide a total of 100 points of ID through a combination of primary and secondary documents.  Primary documents are worth 70 points, and secondary documents can be worth either 25, 35 or 40 points.  At least one of these forms of ID has to include your photograph and signature. 

Primary forms of ID include:

  • passport (either current or expired within the past two years)
  • birth certificate (or birth card issued in NSW)
  • citizenship certificate

Secondary forms of ID worth 40 points include:

  • driver's licence
  • student identity card
  • state or territory government license or permit

Secondary forms of ID worth either 25 or 35 points:

  • a letter from your educational institution on letterhead
  • marriage certificate
  • Medicare card
  • credit or debit card from another financial institution

As you can see from the above examples, to achieve the required 100 points of ID you could, for example, show your passport (70 points) plus either your driver’s licence or student ID card (40 points) to satisfy the requirements for identification to open a bank account.

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More of your questions about student bank accounts

At what age can students get a credit card in Australia?

The minimum legal age to be offered credit in Australia is 18, therefore you have to be at least 18 years of age to apply for a credit card. You are permitted to have a debit card linked to your transaction account without parental permission from the age of 14 (or 12 if a parent accompanies you to apply for your debit card).

What safeguards are available if I lose my debit card?

Many banks, building societies and credit unions allow you to suspend or lock your card from a variety of mobile devices if you lose your debit card or phone.  If you do suspect your card has been stolen, you should report the theft to your bank and the police as soon as possible so your funds can be protected. If you’re a victim of fraud or identity theft, you can contact the government’s IDCARE service to work out a plan to limit the damage of your identity theft. 

Are round up savings accounts a good idea for students?

Round up accounts involve a debit card that is linked to a savings account (or another type of bank account).  When you make a purchase using your debit card, the amount withdrawn is rounded up (often to the nearest dollar) with the rounded difference being transferred to your savings account.  For example, if you make a purchase that costs $7.85, that transaction will be rounded up to $8 with the additional 15c transferred to your savings account.  For this reason, they can be a great way to keep digital small change – the cashless alternative to a piggy bank for small coins.

Can I open a bank account as an international student before I arrive?

Yes – up to three months before your arrival, you’re able to open a student bank account in Australia.  If you choose one of the Big Four banks once you arrive in Australia, you may be required to visit your local branch so your identity can be verified. 

You won’t be required to provide an Australian address when you first open the account but will need to provide your residency details once you land.  Make sure you compare the fees charged for foreign currency deposits, international transfers and for using your debit card in an overseas ATM, as these can vary enormously between different banks.

How do bank accounts earn interest?

Interest on savings accounts is calculated daily on a compound interest basis and is most frequently credited to your savings account every month. In this way, you’ll earn interest on the principal sum in your account plus on the interest you’ve earned in previous months, which will help your savings account grow rapidly over time.  Compare savings accounts with Savvy to make sure your savings are earning the best interest rate possible.

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