Using a Bank Account

How to get the most from your bank account in Australia, including banking hours and a general terminology guide...

Banks in Australia are relatively straightforward to use and it is simple to access money and perform transactions. Telephone and online banking facilities are available with most banks.

Bank statements are usually issued on a monthly basis either electronically or on paper. Banks can issue cashpoint cards, debit cards and credit cards, which can be used for purchases without a PIN number. When making a withdrawal however, A PIN number is required. Withdrawals can be made in the following ways:

  • From a branch of the bank
  • From an ATM using a debit card. Withdrawals made from banks other than the bank where the account is held usually incurs a transaction fee
  • With a cashpoint card at a supermarket, petrol station or Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS) facility

When paying for a purchase by cheque, most retailers require proof of identity such as a driver's licence.

When making a purchase with a card, it is usual to be asked which account it is against.

Paying Bills

Direct debits can be set up for regular payments such as utility bills. If the account holder has a cheque facility then bills can also be paid by cheque.

Some bills can be paid using the B-Pay system. These bills have a telephone number on them allowing customers to pay over the telephone. Credit or debit cards account details are required to use this payment system.

Banking Hours

Banks are generally open from 09:30-16:00 from Monday to Thursday, and until 17:00 on Fridays. Some banks and building societies may also be open on Saturday mornings. In more remote areas, banking hours may differ from these. With online banking services though, banking facilities are now generally available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Banking Terminology

100-point check Government requirement for Australian banks to confirm a customer's identity
ATM: Automatic Teller Machine Machine allowing customers to withdraw cash or deposit money or cheques onto their account. Generally accessible 24 hours a day
Credit limit Maximum amount permitted on a credit card or loan
EFTPOS: Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale Term used when paying by debit card. The money is taken out of the account electronically. Cards can also be used to withdraw cash from an account at some retail outlets
Electronic banking Indicates ways of accessing a bank account either online or by telephone. A PIN and password are necessary
PIN Personal Identification Number, used at ATMs and EFTPOS terminals