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5 Essential Tips for Opening a Bank Account as a Gambian Expat in Australia

30 Jan 2024


A report by Integral Human Development said that in 2019, about 118,483 Gambian migrants, accounting for about 5.05% of the country’s total population, lived in foreign countries. One of the preferred destinations for the Gambians to work in is Australia. Several Gambian migrants live and work in Australia to earn a living, and they send money to Gambia online from Australia to offer financial support back home to their families.

Given the fact that the culture of using cash is on the decline in most developed countries, including Australia, you have to open a bank account essentially.

However, opening a bank account in a foreign country is a process you might find difficult to navigate. But before setting out to open a bank account in Australia, ask yourself a few questions, including what are the different bank account types, what account you need to open as a Gambian migrant in Australia, and what purpose you precisely want to serve by opening a bank account.

This blog will help you find reasonable answers to all of these questions. Continue reading!

Different Types of Bank Accounts in Australia

Bank accounts in Australia are more or less the same as elsewhere. Opening them can be a complex process, as mentioned earlier, but before opening one, you must determine which bank account type corresponds to your financial needs. Take a look below.

Transaction Accounts

These are the typical everyday bank accounts, albeit with a different title in Australia. Otherwise, this account type is known as the Checking Account. It allows you to deposit and withdraw cash, pay bills, pay for online shopping, and access ATMs.

One of the biggest advantages of having a transactions account in Australia as a Gambian migrant is that if the need arises, you can use this account to send money online to Gambia from Australia to offer financial support back home.

But the question is: Do you need to use your bank account for your online money transfers, and that too when the best and most cost-effective alternatives are at your disposal already?

Well, this important question is addressed in the next section.

Savings Accounts

Savings accounts in Australia are almost the same as elsewhere as they offer higher interest rates than transaction accounts. Some savings accounts restrict you from withdrawing cash and require you to maintain a minimum balance to earn interest.

Term Deposits

In this account type in Australia, you invest a certain amount of money in the account that you cannot withdraw for a fixed time. This allows you to earn a fixed interest rate for a fixed duration. Interest rates and longevity of the term differ from bank to bank.

Credit Card Accounts

These bank account types allow you to make purchases and pay for your online shopping on credit that you pay to the bank over some time in the future, whose interest rate and term length are mutually agreed upon by you and the bank. Credit cards offer benefits and rewards but also come with high fees and interest rates.

Investment Accounts

Through investment accounts, you can invest your money in bonds, stocks, and several other financial products. Although investment accounts offer high returns on your investments, the risk margin is equally high in these account types.

Foreign Currency Accounts

If you open a foreign currency account in Australia, it will help you hold and manage foreign currencies. These account types also help you with your international money transfers. For online money transfers, a foreign currency account is suitable if the recipient also has one.

These are some of the bank account types you can open in Australia as a Gambian migrant.

Should a Bank Account in Australia be used for International Money Transfers?

Well, the advent of online remittance transfer service providers has diluted the power of the banks they wielded for centuries over international money transfers. But still, your trust in the banks, on the one hand, and the rising online fraud in the remittance transfer industry, on the other, can push you towards banks for a money transfer from Australia to Gambia.

After considering a few critical factors, however, you are likely to shy away from sending funds across borders through banks.

Challenges Banks Face in Online Money Transfers at a Glance

The dazzling technology engulfs every aspect of human life, including financial behaviors. But despite this technology’s integration into a bank’s services, some of the challenges banks still face in their remittance transfer operations are discussed briefly below.

  • Banks take several days to transfer funds from one country to another
  • Banks still charge a high fee
  • Banks offer uncompetitive currency exchange rates
  • Banks also charge you for currency conversions
  • Banks involve immense paperwork and commuting hazards, incurring costs

Take a look at some of the biggest risks banks face with their solutions.

Tips to Open a Bank Account in Australia as a Gambian Migrant

Here are the important tips that you must know and follow while opening a bank account in Australia. But remember that you might find some differences in the process, which will depend on the bank you go to and the account type you pick to open.

Choose the Right Bank

Make sure to thoroughly research all the options available to you before choosing a bank. You must also draw comparisons between the services of different banks and analyze their products and features. It will help you choose the right bank for your financial needs.

Check Your Eligibility

Make sure that you are completely eligible to open a bank account with a particular bank you have chosen. Different account types have different eligibility parameters, which can include minimum salary, deposit requirements, proof of employment or student status, and credit checks.

Choose the Right Account

Many bank accounts come with several benefits that you can get carried away with. But first, you must determine your exact financial needs and then check which account type corresponds to those needs and then open one.

Provide an Initial Deposit

Several banks ask you to deposit a certain amount for the opening of a bank account. Therefore, always remember that whichever bank you go to or whatever account you want to open, you must have cash with you for the speedy processing of the account opening process.

Obtain Details and Activate your Account

After your application has been approved, ascertain all the details about your account from the concerned bank and get your questions answered, if any. Once done, place a request to activate your bank account.

Wrapping Up the Discussion

Although opening a bank account is essential for you in Australia as a Gambian migrant, it may not be ideal for your online money transfers for the reasons explained above. Therefore, if you send money to Gambia from Australia with ACE Money Transfer, you will deliver funds safely and within a few hours. You will also get live and market-competitive currency exchange rates and much more from one window in exchange for a low fee, which can still be waived if your amount being sent is below a certain level!

FAQs

What are the main bank account types in Australia?

The main bank account types in Australia are almost the same as elsewhere. These are transaction accounts, savings accounts, term deposits, credit card accounts, investment accounts, and foreign currency accounts.

Which documents are essential to open a bank account in Australia?

The documents you need to open a bank account in Australia vary from bank to bank but generally, they consist of a valid passport or identity, proof of address including utility bills and rental agreements, tax file number (TFN), visa or residency status, initial deposit, proof of income or reference from another bank.  

What are the essential tips to open a bank account in Australia?

The essential tips to open a bank account in Australia are choosing the right bank, checking your eligibility, choosing the right account, providing an initial deposit, ascertaining all the details about your bank account, and placing a request for account activation.

What challenges do banks face in their online money transfers?

Some of the challenges banks still face in their online money transfer operations are the long time to deliver funds, charging a high fee, offering uncompetitive and static currency exchange rates, charges for currency conversions, paperwork, and commuting costs and hazards.

Which financial institution is suitable for international money transfers?

Some of the reputable remittance transfer service providers like ACE Money Transfer are best suited for your international money transfers because they offer you market-competitive exchange rates, charge low fees, swift and safe delivery of funds, and the convenience to initiate, track and complete a transaction right from the middle of your comfort zone.

Resources

  • Gambian diaspora

(The Gambia - Migrants & Refugees Section (migrants-refugees.va)


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