Banking & Credit Cards

  • Opening a bank account

    To open an account in your own name you will need to be a minimum of 16 years old. You will need to go the bank, credit union or building society of your choice and will be asked to supply identification to open the account. (See SkillBot Identification)

    You will fill out an application form, and sometimes a small deposit will be required to start up the account. This can be as little as $1.00. You will be asked how you will be using your banking facilities and the most suitable method to access your account, this could be a passbook or debit card. Online banking facilities can also be set up at this time.

    Ask your bank what fees and charges will apply to your account. Ask your bank teller for more information or to explain anything you don’t understand. The bank will send your new debit card to your home address, which will have activation instructions. The pin number will be sent separately or you will need to go into the bank to set your PIN up. Never give your PIN number to anyone or keep it in the same place as your card.

    You’re now ready to make deposits, withdrawals, auto debits and arrange your pay to be deposited into your account.

  • Youth accounts

    Many people will have a bank account opened for them when they are young. These accounts are often called youth saver accounts and have a parent or guardian as a signatory.

    Once you turn 16 this account can be changed over to be solely in your name. To do this you will need to go the bank with the person who opened the account and request the changes to be made. Some identification may need to be provided to make this change.

  • Credit cards

    Credit cards are pretty easy to get once you have a steady banking record, but can be extremely hard to pay off and get rid of. You can apply for a credit card through your bank.

    If your application is successful you will be offered a credit limit. Eg, $1000, $2000 or more. The major cards offered are Mastercard, Bankcard and Visa. The best way to use a credit card is to pay the full amount you have used on it before the end of the interest free period (usually monthly).

    There is an option to pay the minimum payment per month but you will be charged high interest and fees on the amount you owe. Example: if your closing balance (amount owed) is $475, the minimum monthly payment might be around $35. When you pay that $35 some $$ will pay interest and some off the amount you owe. So next month you will still owe about $450 ($10 will have gone to paying interest). If you pay only the minimum payment you will be paying your credit card off for a very long time and pay a huge amount of interest.

    Note: Credit card – cash withdrawals attract a higher interest rate compared to making purchases with your card. Be warned: If you miss a payment or pay later than the due date, you will be charge a late fee as well as interest for both months. Also you will risk earning yourself a bad credit rating which might affect your chances of getting a home or car loan later in life. Interest rates vary, but credit cards usually attract some of the highest rates.

  • Bank statements

    You will receive a statement from the bank to inform you of your transactions either monthly or quarterly, keep these in a safe place at home. You can also access your statement online if you have set up online banking. It is a good idea to read through your statement. If there are transactions you did not make contact the bank immediately. There are many scammers that trade in account details and may access your information without your knowledge. Bank statements can also be used as a form of identification.

  • Loans

    • What is a loan?

      A loan is a financial transaction between two parties. One party, (the lender) who agrees to give another party (the borrower) a certain amount of money with the expectation of total repayment.

      The specific terms of a loan are often spelled out in a contract. The lender can ask for interest payments in addition to the original amount loaned (principal). If the borrower wants to go ahead with the loan they must agree to the repayment terms.

      Repayment terms can include, the amount owed, interest rate and due dates. There may also be hidden costs and fees, so read the fine print.

      Keep in mind that missed or late payments can attract penalties and also damage your credit rating.

      Types of loans you can apply for are: Home loans, car loans, and personal loans to name a few.

    • Applying for a bank loan

      When you apply for a bank loan, you will be asked to fill in an application and provide evidence such as payslips and or an employment contract. Your credit rating and any other debt you have will be taken into consideration along with your ability to pay the loans repayments.

      Types of loans you can apply for are: Home loans, car loans, and personal loans to name a few.

    • Instant loans (as seen on TV)

      Beware! These loans might be easy to get, but most often have very high interest rates, fees and penalties attached. Ensure you have the ability to pay these loans  back at or above the specified rate and on time.

    • Centrelink loans

      If you are on a Centrelink payment you may be eligible for a Centrelink loan. You need to apply for these at a Centrelink office.

      They are no interest loans and an arrangement for repayment will be made as a deduction from you regular Centrelink payments for a specified time.

  • ATM's

    You will find ATM’s in many places such as banks, petrol stations, shopping malls, clubs, and pubs. Each ATM will display the name of the institution it is managed by.

    Generally if you use the ATM of your own banking provider you won’t be charged a fee, however, if you use another providers ATM, you may be charged a fee.

    To operate an ATM:

    • Check that the ATM looks normal and not tampered with
    • Insert or swipe your cards magnetic strip in the card slot
    • Follow the prompts
    • Enter your pin number (make sure you cover the key pad from anyone else’s view while you do this)
    • From here ATM’s steps may vary slightly.
    • You will get options for cash withdrawal, viewing balances etc
    • Choose the amount of money you want to withdraw
    • You will be notified of the ATM fee and be prompted to agree or decline
    • Your cash  and receipt will be dispensed
    • Ensure you take your card, cash and receipt
    • Always give people using ATM’s enough space to maintain their privacy

  • Using your banking cards overseas

    You will need to inform your bank if you are planning to travel overseas and use your cards. They will need to know the dates you intend to leave and return. If you don’t do this they may suspend your account when foreign use transactions begin to show on your account. They can also tell you what fees will apply for international transactions and give you options for safe banking overseas.

  • Email banking scams

    Beware of scams.

    Email scammers sometimes target people by using banking logos. If you receive emails that appear to be from your bank asking for your log on details, don’t reply, call your bank instead to check.

  • Lost or stolen cards

    If you lose your card contact your bank straight away. You will find their details on your statement or the banks website. If you think your card is stolen contact the police and the bank immediately.