Westpac international student account. The steps, fees & requirements

Roberto Efflandrin

Australia is highly popular with students from around the globe, with over half a million international students enrolled in Australian educational facilities as of January 2023.¹

For this reason, international student bank accounts are very popular, and the Westpac Bank Choice everyday bank account is currently available to international students studying in Australia.

In this article, we’ll provide you with all the details on this international student account, including fees, features, and eligibility requirements.

We’ll also compare this account with the Wise Account, an electronic money alternative, showing how you can save money on international transactions.

💸 Hold over 50 currencies in your account and spend at the mid-market rate with the Wise card while studying abroad.

Learn more about the
Wise Account

Why you need a local bank account in Australia as an international student

It’s a good idea to have a local bank account as an international student studying in Australia for the following reasons:

  • Build local credit history — this is particularly useful if you plan to stay in Australia post-education
  • Cheaper cash conversions — with a local bank account, you won’t need to spend high conversion fees when transferring money in the local currency
  • Easier for living expenses — if you qualify for student loans or scholarships, it’s likely that you’ll need a local bank account for these funds to be transferred into
  • Employers may require it — many students have a part-time job to earn extra money while studying; a local bank account may be required by employers when hiring

Westpac Bank international student account

The Westpac Choice everyday bank account is an everyday bank account suited for international students that are visiting Australia to study.

You’ll receive a Debit Mastercard with this account allowing you to shop online and in-store, as well as the ability to access cash via ATMs.²

What are the features and benefits of the Westpac Bank international student account

This account has various features and benefits that you’ll find helpful as an international student in Australia.

The key features and benefits of the Westpac Choice everyday bank account are as follows²:

  • Provided with the account is a Debit Mastercard which enables students to shop online, access cash via ATMs, and use PayPass™ to pay via contactless on transactions under the $100 AUD threshold
  • The account is compatible with Apple Pay, allowing you to pay for transactions via an Apple device
  • Cash can be withdrawn using a phone at Westpac, St.George, Bank of Melbourne, or BankSA ATMs
  • Cards can be locked within seconds via online banking if lost or stolen

Cost, running fees that come with this account

We’ve collated some information on potential costs and running fees with this bank account, comparing these with correlating information on the Wise Account — a hassle-free non-bank alternative.

We’ve displayed the information side-by-side to help you when comparing these two accounts:

Fees Westpac Choice everyday bank account Wise Account — Your non-bank alternative
Account monthly fees $0 AUD for the first 12 months and while you are in full-time tertiary education, $5 per month thereafter² Free to hold up to $23,000 AUD per month. 0.00437% daily holding fee for any amount over $23,000 AUD
International transfer fee (for a sample amount of $1,000 AUD to GBP) International transfer fees are as follows³:
  • $0 AUD when sending in a foreign currency via online banking/mobile app
    • $20 AUD when sending in Australian dollars via online banking/mobile app
      • $32 AUD when transfer is made in branch (either in foreign currency or Australian dollars)

        Fee calculation can be made here.

Small payout fee + 0.45% variable conversion fee (e.g. for a transfer of $1,000 AUD to GBP, the total fee charged is $5.14 AUD) paid by bank transfer to Wise, the total fee charged is $5.14 AUD). .You can make a fee calculation here.
ATM withdrawals in Australia and abroad ATM fees are as follows² :
  • Free ATM withdrawals in Australia
    • $5 for ATM withdrawals abroad (free for Global ATM Alliance and Westpac Group partner ATMs).

      A 3% foreign transaction fee also applies to overseas debit/credit card withdrawals.

      ATM providers may charge fees independently.

You can take out money for free twice a month — as long as the total amount is under $350 AUD. After that, there is a $1.50 AUD per transaction fixed fee. If you take out over $350 AUD in one month, there is a 1.75% on the amount exceeding that. See card fees here.

Note that additional fees may be charged by ATM service providers.

Monthly card maintenance fees No monthly card maintenance fees providing you’re in full-time tertiary education² No monthly subscription fees. Free to hold up to $23,000 AUD per month. 0.00437% daily holding fee for any amount over $23,000 AUD

*Reference rate only - actual rate may vary. Information last checked on 19/04/2023

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

What do I need to open an account? Requirements, documents, and what to know

If you’re a new customer to Westpac Bank, you’ll be required to complete a Westpac Customer Identification Standards form to open a bank account. This can be carried out in-branch or online.⁴

You can apply for this account online or in-branch, here’s a quick summary of what you’ll need⁵:

  • Ensure your mobile phone is nearby

  • Two of the following ID documents:

  • Medicare Card

  • Passport

  • Australian Driver’s License

  • Australian Birth Certificate

  • Tax File Number and foreign tax details if applicable

You’ll also be required to provide certain documents and information including the following⁴:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Occupation
  • Proof of eligibility for student account

It’s worth bearing in mind also that this account is available to personal customers only.⁴

Read more: International student bank accounts in Australia

How to open a Westpac Choice everyday bank account

You can open a Westpac Bank international student account in-branch or online on the bank’s website~~.~~

You must have reached Australia before you can open this account. To withdraw funds from your bank account you will also be required to verify your identity within a Westpac Bank branch in Australia.²

Which documents do I need to open an account?

You’ll need to provide the following documents to complete the ID verification process and open an account⁵:

  • Two of the following ID documents:

  • Australian Driver’s License

  • Medicare Card

  • Passport

  • Australian Birth Certificate

  • Tax File Number and foreign tax details if applicable

Do I need to deposit money to open a Westpac Bank student account?

There is no minimum deposit amount for this providing that you’re in full-time tertiary education in Australia.²

You can find out more by contacting Westpac Bank here.

To find out more about the requirements listed above, you can contact Westpac Bank using the following details:

  • Chat via Virtual Assistant

  • Phone - 8 am - 8 pm Sydney Time 7 days a week:

  • Australia: 132 032 for general inquiries or 1300 655 505, for online/mobile banking queries

  • Overseas: (+61 2) 9155 7700

Alternatives to Westpac Bank

See our reviews of alternative account providers to Westpac Bank abelow:

Wise Account for students

If you want to open one account as a student that allows you the benefits of a local currency account as well as a multi-currency account, the Wise Account is a non-bank alternative that offers many key features that are appealing to students.

The Wise Account allows you to hold, receive, spend, and send money from just one account, and you can hold up to $23,000 AUD for free. This makes it easy to pay for outgoings such as bills, rent, and tuition payments, plus you can pay online or in stores using the Wise debit card (debit card available for a one time fee of $10 AUD).

Wise can also be used to send and be sent money internationally, at the mid-market rate and with low fees shown upfront.

Join over 13 million customers currently using Wise. It’ll only take a few minutes to register and see what’s inside.

Register your Wise account
in minutes

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

Sources:

  1. International Student Data Report 2023 - The Migration
  2. International Student Bank Account - Westpac Bank
  3. How To Send Money Overseas - Westpac Bank
  4. Personal Accounts Terms and Conditions - Westpac Bank
  5. Get Started - Westpac Bank

Sources checked on: 19th April 2023


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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