Bringing a credit card is actually a must if you are going on a backpack adventure. For example, in the Netherlands, we are used to being able to go anywhere with our debit card, but this is not the case everywhere. There are also enough locations in Australia where you have virtually nothing to do with your debit card. Especially, in the less developed areas only debit cards from local banks or no debit cards can be used. Having cash in your pocket is therefore always advisable. With a credit card you always have something in your hand to be able to get money if you need it.
When to use a credit card?
We advise you to use the credit card as little as possible and only when you really need to withdraw money or pay with the card. Using a credit card costs money and especially if you do this often you will see the consequences. Fortunately, credit card applications do not or hardly cost money, so there is no reason not to take one. In many hotels and guesthouses, you can only pay in cash or with a credit card. Also, if you want to book your accommodation online, you can only pay with a credit card. Also, when buying airline tickets for example, only credit cards are often accepted, and you also need them to pay a ticket on the spot. Even if there is an emergency and you have to go home quickly and have to book an additional flight ticket, a credit card is handy.
Getting an Australian Debit card
A lot of backpackers who have a work and holiday visa, get a debit card from one of the local banks (i.e. common wealth, West PAC). I hear you thinking ‘is that possible’? Yes. Foreigners migrating, studying or working in Australia can open a bank account. Opening a bank account with an Australian bank is a simple process given that you’re migrating, studying or working. If you reside in another country and don’t intend to migrate to Australia, you’ll need to speak to a local bank who has international ties with a bank in Australia. Those on a tourist or visitor visa can open an Australian bank account by visiting a local branch and providing your passport.
How do I open a bank account in Australia?
You can open an account online before arriving in Australia, on the phone or in person at the bank once you arrive.
If you do decide to visit a bank, remember to bring valid forms of ID with you. This includes your passport, overseas credit card/student ID and letter (VISA) addressed to yourself proving Australian residence.