Money Matters

Welcome to Money Matters - your guide to everything you need to help you manage your finances while studying in Australia.


The Australia currency is based on a dollar and cents system, with 100 cents is one Australian Dollar. Currently the following currency is used:

  • $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 in bank notes
  • 5, 10, 20, 50 cent silver colored coins
  • $1 and $2 gold colored coins

To calculate money equivalents, please use this tool

The Insider Guides Cost of Living Calculator is also a useful tool to help estimate the average cost of living or other expenses you might encounter while studying in Australia.

Student Visa Financial Capacity Requirements

Students must meet financial capacity requirements. This means they must have enough money that is genuinely available to pay for travel, course fees and living costs for the period of stay in Australia

Read further information about the financial requirements you must meet in order to receive a student visa for Australia on the Department of Home Affairs.

Living Cost in Brisbane

From 1st February 2018 the 12 month approximate living cost is:

  • You – $20,290
  • Partner or spouse – $7,100
  • Child – $3,040
Course Fees

Calculate the first 12 months of your course fees or include the total cost of your course if it is for a duration of 12 months or less. Deduct any prepaid costs (initial deposit) and provide evidence of these payments (this should be on your Letter of Offer or provide receipts).

Bank Accounts

Within the first few days of your arrival, you may want to open a savings account with a bank near your campus. We encourage students to do this to minimize overseas transfer fees. You may directly arrange for a wire transfer from your bank (home country) for a fee. Typically, you may make an unlimited number of additional deposits or withdrawals thereafter.

Have a look around for the best banks for you- Remember to check if the bank has high ATM transaction fees, Do they offer student discount fees?

Some financial institutions offer basic bank accounts with:

  • No account-keeping fees
  • Free monthly statements
  • No minimum deposit amounts
  • No overdrawn fees.

You will most likely need some form of identification to open a savings account. The bank representative may ask you for your visa and passport as proof as residency before they will provide you with an account. The bank may ask you for a tax file number (TFN). You can apply for a tax file number online. Check with your chosen bank for details.

These financial institutions are licensed and regulated under Federal or State Government legislation:

Note that the insitute does not endorse any of the above banking institutions, we encourage students to compare banking products when opening an account.

When you return to your home country after studies, it is important to close your bank account or you will be charged an account keeping fee even if you have no funds in the account. Please note that overseas students/non-Australian students may not be eligible for any loans or credit cards.

You will find more valuable information about financial products such as bank accounts on the Australian Security and Investment Commission site.


For your reference, here are some of the costs associated with living and studying in Australia (all costs are in Australian dollars).The costs below are an approximate guide only. Students should be aware that these costs can vary depending on your study location in Australia.

Typical weekly accommodation expenses (approx):

  • Shared Rental – $85 to $215 per week
  • Homestay – $235 to $325 per week
  • Rental – $165 to $440 per week

Other student living expenses (approx)

  • Groceries and dining out – $80 to $280 per week
  • Gas, electricity – $35 to $140 per week
  • Phone and Internet – $20 to $55 per week
  • Public transport – $15 to $55 per week
Student Discounts

Did you know that your student card can unlock some great savings? These discounts are available to you while you study. From cheap eats to movies and comedy, Choose Brisbane has the city’s best student discounts.

Earning while studying

If you are a student visa holder, you and your dependant family members have permission to work included with your visa. You

Your student visa permits you to work:

  • up to a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during the academic term
  • unlimited hours during vacations

For more information about permission to work while studying, please check the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website.

FairWork Ombudsman  gives you information and advice about your workplace rights and obligations.

Tax File Number

A tax file number (TFN) is your personal reference number in the tax and super systems. The ATO classifies international students studying in Australia for 6 months or more as residents for taxation purposes.

You must obtain a Tax File Number to be able to work in Australia. This is available from the Australian Tax Office.

Protecting yourself from Scams

Scammers know all kinds of tricks to get you to hand over your money, protect yourself from online scams and reduce cyber risk. Read about some practical things you can do to protect yourself and stay one step ahead of the scammers on

The Australian Government provides information and guidance on managing your finances. You can read more at in a new window)

Watch this short video that will help you keep a track and in control of your money.