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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there. I'll be moving to cairns come December. Wondering if you all may help me determine a good and worthy bank. I'd like to open an account and transfer u.s. funds and use an Australian credit card tied to the bank. I'm not sure of a good and well credited bank. I only need simple banking functions and a credit card to use for the predominance of my transactions. Do most people use credit cards or cash?

As well if anyone would like to recommend the simplest phone service. Just for texts and phone calls. I don't use many minutes and it's more to be in contact. No need for data or Internet plans. Just voice and text.

Thank you kindly.
 

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For a reliable bank go for Commonwealth Bank - I find their Netbank (online banking) service extremely accessible and functional. However, they do charge a monthly account keeping fee $10/month, but you can get this waived if you deposit A$2000 a month (i.e. your salary). They also have tons of ATM machines everywhere. For international money transfers, they charge $10 per transaction (for receiving money into your OZ account).
If you prefer not to pay account keeping fees, go for NAB, which waive all fees. If you transact a lot, watch out for their transaction fees though (ATM withdrawals, transferring funds between accounts, etc.)
Most people in Australia use a payment method called EFTPOS - it is essentially a Direct Debit card that is linked to one of your savings/transaction accounts. The catch is that you must have funds in your account for the purchase to go through, as it deducts your account immediately. You can also "withdraw" cash from any outlets that accept EFTPOS, saves you from having to go to an ATM machine.

For a no-frills, basic phone service, I recommend Virgin Mobile's Big Plan $29 (provides $450 worth of credit), currently one of the more value-for-money plans available. Signal strength and service is also good and stable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks a bunch for all the info. In the u.s. the similar transaction would be a debit card and or debit transaction.

I still don't understand the $29 purchase and have $450 worth of credit. U.s. plans work as follows generally. Pay a certain amount and receive X amount of minutes per month. Different plans offer different amounts, add data and other options etc. use the allotted minutes within the month and you are ok. Go over and pay an additional charge.

So for a $29 purchase in oz, how many minutes does that equate to? Or does that varry based on...???

I'll check into the banks mentioned. Thank you for that. Do most stores poses a debit eftpos for easy transactions?

Again many mahalos for your assistance.

-Shane
 

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$29 the jumpingkoala mentioned will get you circa 400 mins talk to any phone mobile and unlimited talked to your carrier (I.e. virgin to virgin)
If you are a heavy talker Vodafone $45 provides unlimited talked to any phone, but, allegedly, there signal is crap.
Concider Westpac as a bank as well, second biggest, excellent customer service and no fees as long as you do the banking online and deposit your wage into the account (check website for full T&C and PDS).
Also there are a range of website which will compare banks for you based on what user you are.
 

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Majority of stores accept EFTPOS, bigger stores take credit cards as well. These days the big 4 ( Commonwealth, Westpac, NAB , ANZ) issue eftpost cards with MasterCard / Visa debit card in it. Kinda like 2 in one
 

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+1 to what Boboa has mentioned.
I find it extremely annoying when the phone companies make it so confusing.

Yeap it is pretty similar to US, only difference is that your 'allotted minutes' are counted using 'credits' instead.. Each minute on the phone, or each text, will cost a certain amount in 'credit's'.

Basically $29/month = $450 credits
Calls and text get deducted from your available credit
(rough example: if a 10minute call is charged @ $1 credit/minute, you get charged $10 out of your available credit, that leaves you with $440 of credit left). Text gets deducted similarly from your available credit, but data is entirely separate. Like the U.S., if you go over the available 'credit' limit, you get charged extra in DOLLAR terms (it adds up QUICKLY!)

The catch is when different providers charge different 'credit' amounts per minute/per text, makes direct price/value comparisons almost impossible.
Hope that makes sense :S

However, having said that, I find Virgin still to be one of the more competitive ones in terms of pricing, Boboa also mentioned Vodafone which are one of the cheapest but I know friends who have had bad signal quality and call drop-outs.

Westpac is another bank that I have heard good things about. Yes most stores do accept EFTPOS transactions. Another side note is that you won't be able to apply for a credit card until you get employment in OZ, so it's a good idea to bring one from home for emergencies.

Do check out my website (in my signature) for more tips on moving to Australia :)
Good luck and all the best!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Awesome awesome. Thank you kindly to all of you. The information is great. I had assumed that oz's phone contract money allotment is set up that way. Thanks for the confirmation. What does westpac stand for? Western pacific? West pacific? Or is it simply just westpac?

I'm going to review your site and tha you ahead of time for putting that up for all of us to use. Mahalos.
Shane
 

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Westpac is just Westpac, it is among of the top 20 Banks worldwide by capitalization. Used to be called Bank of New South Wales till it went global and changed the name to Westpac. Unofficially it stands for Western-Pacific, but that just a rumor, bank never confirmed it :)

Website is Westpac - Australia's First Bank Search migrant banking and you will able to open a bank account from overseas so you don't have to worry about it when you come here
 

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All good mate :), all the best in your venture
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Alright, I now have another question. Car registration and road worthiness.

I'm looking to purchase a simple get around car. Cheap. Reading the ads on gumtree and some have rego for another month or so, some in different states. Is it hard to register one? Approximate cost? What is roadworthy? Must a car pass and have a road worthy cert? If a car is not road worthy, is it worth looking at?

Another thing, this one is large. I have a job offer and accepted. But curious to know of the tax system. I've tried contacting the tax office for QLD and am awaiting their response. About how much in percentage can I expect to be taken out? Will I get any of that back? I tried using the tax offices calculator and have zero dependents and am not a resident. It appears they will hold more from me for not being a resident than if I were a resident.

Many mahalos
 

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Yes, residents pay a bit lower tax if they are on lower salary. Hower on top of tax resident pay medicare levy, Queenslad recovery levy (Nationwide not only queensland) and a number of other federal nonsense. Tax system in australia is tiered to your income. For example (very roughly) if you are a resident and receive around $50K a month you will pay about 26% in taxes. If you are on $400K salary you will pay 46% in tax.
The good thing the tax system is quite generous in refunds, a lot of expenses are tax deductible so most people end getting some tax back (non residents included)

My personal opinion non roadworthy car is worthless unless used for spare parts. Repairs, Complience with environment laws,Insurance, rego and slips will cost a fortune.
 
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