Used: 2008/2009

Banking in Australia was very smiler to New Zealand, but just for some reason, not as good. I joined Commonwealth Bank because it was just easy to open an account with my sister bank from New Zealand but when I was there, as far as I could tell, there was no free account option at any of the banks, which annoyed me right off the start. I only paid $4 for my account per month, but it was still annoying. They have EFTPOS in Australia, but it wasn’t as wide spread as it was in New Zealand and if they did accept it, almost every place (except for huge companies) charged a fee for the privilege, which sucked. Same with credit cards, but I was trying very hard not to use my cards because of the small fees and why should I when I was earning local money? I ended up paying cash for almost everything in Australia and was always going to the ATM, which thankfully are everywhere. I never had a problem with Comm Banks ATM’s except in Airlie Beach when it was out of money and I had to go to Cannovale to take out a wad. My EFTPOS card in Australia had my name on it, though they were used the same way. One thing I did at Comm Bank was open a savings account where I could get interest paid into my account. Since I saved so much in New Zealand and transferred it all over to Australia and put most of it in my savings and accumulated a little bit in interest in the 8 months I was there, which was kind of nice and sort of paid for the fee I had to pay for the accounts, is the way I looked at it.

Like New Zealand, everything was done online but I didn’t have to do anything to change it over, which was nice. It was also super easy to close my account, but I kept my card and chopped it up myself. I didn’t feel as attached to it, as I really didn’t use it that often, only to take out cash and rarely in my everyday life. Paying cash for everything was just easier in Australia so you didn’t have to worry about minimum charges or fees, which was annoying as a traveler to walk around with all that cash. Well, I would just take out enough cash for my time in each town as well as my first night in the next hostel and then decide how much I would need pay off the balance and just take out more. I knew the ATM like the back of my hand.

Moral: Australia was a slap in the face after coming from easy easy New Zealand. Between New Zealand and paying for everything on my (EFTPOS) card and in the US where I pay for everything on my (credit) card, having to pay cash for everything sucked. Australia is easier then the US in a lot of things, but not when it comes to paying for stuff.