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Managing Finances As a New Expat In Australia

January 10th, 2019

Managing Finances as a New Expat in Australia

Golden beaches, blue skies, and the laidback lifestyle are attractive to many who wish to move to Australia. More importantly, a booming economy, which has not witnessed a recession in over 27 years, attracts people from all over the world to the land down under. However, moving to any new country is often a long-drawn and complex process; and once you’ve got your visa processed, found a job, figured out accommodation and landed in Australia, you’re faced with a whole new life, and the intricacies that come with it. As you’re starting your life from scratch, getting your finances in order will probably be the first thing on your mind. Here are a few essential tips to help you get started.

Before you arrive

You may need to Transfer Money to Australia before you move. There are various ways in which you can do that. Via electronic transfer, you can send money from your bank account in your home country to an Australian bank; however, you could lose a significant amount of money to bank charges and exchange rates. You can also choose a specialist foreign exchange company and get better exchange rates than banks. If you still prefer banks to do the job, get a written quote from one of the foreign exchange providers and ask your bank to match the rates. In most cases, this little trick should work as most banks would want to keep your business. You can also bring your money to Australia in cash as long as you declare an amount which is over AE$10,000 to Australian customs. Don’t worry, you will not pay any tax on the money that you bring in.

Bank Account

Australian banks offer a range of accounts and products that suit different needs. To choose the savings and transaction accounts that work for you, consider the ways in which you currently access your money and manage your finances. Speak to representatives from different banks, figure out what they’re offering, and make the decision based on your specific requirements. To open a bank account in Australia, you need an identification (such as passport or driver’s license), an address proof, and in some cases, a reference from your old bank. Some of the bigger banks will also allow you to open an account before you arrive in Australia.

Credit Card

The issuing of credit cards in Australia follows the same identification checks that is required to open bank accounts, in addition to your credit history. Now, as you are new to the country, it will take you a while to develop a credit history. Hence, it is advised that you keep the credit card that you used in your home country for a little while longer and make sure that it is equipped for international usage. You will find it easier to apply for a credit card in Australia if you’ve secured a job. However, we highly recommend keeping your debt quotient to a minimum. So, avoid using your credit card as much as possible. Always remember, your debit card can do the exact same job, without the fear of overspending.

The Tax System

Before you start earning an income in Australia, you need to apply for a Tax File Number from the Australian Tax Office. You can either hire an accountant or familiarize yourself with all of the deductions you can make to get back some of the tax you’ve paid at the end of the financial year. Also, if possible, make a salary sacrifice arrangement with your employer who will pay for things like your car, your childcare costs or other expenses from your pre-tax income. This will effectively bring down your taxable income.


Once you start earning a living in Australia, you may need to send money back to your home country for a number of reasons such as family upkeep or investments. There are various options to send money from Australia to other countries. While sending money, make sure that you use a reputed money transfer service , that offers good exchange rates at low transfer fees. Xpress Money, for instance, offers some of the best exchange rates on outward remittances from Australia. You can visit any of the 149 Xpress Money locations in the country and send money to over 200,000 locations across 165 countries. Xpress Money also offers various payout options such as cash, account credit and mobile wallet credit.

Moving to Australia will be a transformative experience – making new friends, learning about a new culture and a whole new opportunity to design your life. Managing your finances and making the right financial decisions can enhance this experience and ensure that you are headed in the right direction – towards your financial and life goals.