Monday, 18 June 2012

Free Visa and MasterCard Debit Cards From Australia Banks

An article by GenX published 
at Melbourne Victoria Australia
Please do not reprint or republish in part or in any form.
I was in Melbourne Australia for about 3 weeks in total and this gave me the opportunity to go get FREE Visa and MasterCard Debit Cards from Australia banks. You see, unlike in Malaysia where non premier Debit Cards can be issued on the spot with pre-printed card numbers, in Australia the debit card number and your name are the embossed type like credit cards and usually need several days for the card to be ready for collection or sent to your mailing address.

Of course, I needed an Australia address too, which was not a problem as I have relatives staying right smack in Melbourne Central Business District where I can just walk to his apartment from my hotel :)

So what do I meant by FREE Visa and MasterCard Debit Cards from Australia Banks?

Most banks in Australia have a account to cater for day to day use which they term as Transaction Account which allows you to deposit and withdraw cash, use to pay bills online, transfer funds online, a debit card for face to face or online purchases and even cheque book. However, most banks charge a monthly fees and only waive it with certain conditions like monthly deposit of AUD2K or maintain a certain fixed monthly balance in the account. The good news is that there are few banks that do issue you FREE Visa or MasterCard Debit Card for FREE and you won't be charge a single sen penalty even if your account balance is ZERO. 

I am pleased to share with you the few truly good Australian banks that are not out to suck your hard earn money (not really applicable to my case since I have no income in Australia, haha).

What you get are:
  • FREE Monthly Service Fee
  • FREE FOR LIFE Visa Debit Card
  • FEE FREE UNLIMITED ATM withdrawals at Citibank, Westpac, St. George Bank, Bank of Melbourne and Bank SA around Australia.
  • FEE FREE Cash Deposit and Withdraw at Citibank Teller in Branch
  • FREE Cheques
  • Minimum Opening Balance AUD0.00
  • FEE FREE ATM Cash Withdrawal at Citibank ATMs Overseas
  • FEE FREE Instant Global Fund Transfer with Citibank Global Transfer
Here's what Citibank shows in their website:

There are two Citibank in Melbourne, one located at 350 Collins Street and another at China Town. Well, I suggest you go to the one at Collins Street to open your account because the one at China Town down have a teller!!!

All you have to do is fill up an application form and within a week, your account number will be created (YES, the account number is not created on the spot and you need wait a few days) and the Citibank Visa Debit Card will be sent to you with all the necessary pins for you to activate the card and sign up for an online account. And since I have a Malaysia Citibank Online Account, I can choose to view my Australia Citibank Accounts without signing into Citibank Australia. I even tried out Citibank Global Transfer upon activating my Citibank Australia online account. And YES, the fund was transferred instantly from my Citibank Malaysia Account to the one in Australia. No need to wait 2 or 3 working days for overseas transfer anymore :) 

So here is a photo of my Citibank Australia Visa Debit Card which looks similar to my Malaysia issued Visa Debit Card.

What you get are:
  • FREE Monthly Service Fee
  • FREE FOR LIFE Visa Debit Card
  • FEE FREE UNLIMITED ATM withdrawals at HSBC, Westpac, St. George Bank, Bank of Melbourne and Bank SA around Australia.
  • FEE FREE Cash Deposit at HSBC Teller in Branch. For Branch Withdrawal or Transfer there is a AUD5 fee!!!!!!
  • Cheque book - FREE???
  • Minimum Opening Balance AUD0.00
There are two HSBC branches in Melbourne CBD, one located at 188 Swanston Street and another at Collins Street. Of course I opened my account at 188 :) The good thing about HSBC account is that your account number is created immediately and you are issued HSBC online security device gadget on the spot. Therefore, you can sign up for online account immediately and perform transactions with your account unlike Citibank.

The HSBC Visa Debit Card and other pin numbers will be sent to your mailing address within a week or so. And here is my HSBC Debit Card where the 16 digits ended with lucky number No.8 :)

What you get are:
  • FREE Monthly Service Fee
  • FREE FOR LIFE Visa Debit Card
  • FEE FREE UNLIMITED ATM withdrawals at NAB or rediATMs
  • FEE FREE Cash Deposit and Withdrawals at NAB Teller in Branch.
  • Cheque option - FREE???
  • Minimum Opening Balance AUD0.00
NAB branches are everywhere and the reception staff where I opened my account was friendly. Like HSBC, your account(s) are created immediately and you can sign up for internet banking immediately too. You can choose to pick up the Visa Debit Card at the branch or have it sent to your mailing address.

And with NAB branches everywhere, it is convenient to deposit or withdraw cash (for free) even if you don't  have their Visa Debit Card.

The thing is, I waited for more than a week for my NAB Debit Card to arrive but it did not. So I called Customer Service and was told that the person who opened my account did not request for one!!! But she can request for one to be sent to me over the phone :) Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to wait for the card and I was flying to Gold Coast the next day.

I will post my NAB Debit Card (edited of course) when I get it.

What you get are:
  • AUD6 Monthly Service Fee, Waived if deposit AUD2K per month.
  • FREE FOR LIFE MasterCard Debit Card
  • FEE FREE UNLIMITED ATM withdrawals at Commonwealth ATMs
  • FEE FREE Cash Deposit and Withdrawals at Commonwealth Teller in Branch.
  • FREE Cheque writing
Commonwealth banks and ATMs are everywhere. As you can observe from above, there is a AUD6 monthly fee if I do not deposit AUD2K per month. Well, that's what I thought too since that is what is clearly stated in commonwealth website.

Since I was damn freaking free checking out Melbourne and got lots of time to waste, I did walk into a Commonwealth Bank branch at Bourke Street within the Galleria. Upon entering the bank, I was promptly greeted by a friendly staff asking if I need any assistance. I said I wanted to open an account and was immediately directed to the relevant person who was equally friendly. I note that within the branch there was a corner for Asian Banking but I guess that's not for me since I can speak and understand English.

So I asked the officer if they have any day to day account that offer free debit card and no monthly fee. She informed me that the monthly fee can be waived by me depositing my monthly salary no less than AUD2K. But the thing is I got no income!!! Surprisingly, she told me not a problem and she can get the monthly fee waived for the next 12 months on condition that I make an online transfer into the account before the end of that particular week working hours (i.e. Friday evening). 

It was a Wednesday that particular day when I walked into the Commonwealth Bank and I had only like 2.5 working days to do an online fund transfer. Luckily, I already got my HSBC Australia online account signed up and could transfer some funds into the account before Friday. 

So, the lady opened the Complete Access account for me and I got the account numbers immediately and a temporary password sms to my phone for me to sign up for internet banking right inside the bank. The lady that opened my account was patient and helpful and taught me how to transfer funds between my Commonwealth accounts online too.

I tell you, Commonwealth Bank service is the best in Melbourne as far as I am concerned. After a week or so, I got my MasterCard Debit Card. When I wanted to deposit more cash into Commonwealth Bank, I just have to go to any Commonwealth Bank branch teller and give them the card to deposit cash without filling any deposit slips like in Citibank, HSBC and NAB. So convenient. 

And best of all, my Commonwealth Bank MasterCard Debit Card 16 digits number also ended with No.8 :) The card is really cool too because it is transparent (something like Citibank Clear Card Credit Card).

As for the other banks, I did check out Bank of Melbourne but they cannot offer me FREE Debit Card. Another bank that has branches everywhere is Westpac. I did walk into one of their branch and the lady at the reception was not courteous and moreover there was no officer to open an account for me because all of them were in or out for a meeting (during operation hours!!!) and therefore did not bother to walk into another Westpac branch on another day. Anyway, with my Citibank and HSBC Debit Card, I can withdraw cash from Westpac ATMs for FREE :)

And since I am showing you guys my free cards, here is another one from Crown Casino where I had my adrenaline rushing thorough out my body as lunch substitute for many exciting hours in Melbourne at the baccarat table  :)

To read my next article titled >>> click here to  KPop in Melbourne and Sydney Australia - Where To Get Them

OR click any links below to go directly to an article that interest you

>>> Melbourne Central Business District - Getting Around 

>>> Melbourne Coffee and Food is Freaking Good

>>> Melbourne Aquarium - An Experience Not To Be Missed

>>> Melbourne Clean Affordable Hotel Accommodation Single Person or Family of Four

>>> Chevron Towers Surfers Paradise Gold Coast Australia

And to read more about Citibank Global Fund Transfer and how to get a Australia Credit Card when you don't have income, click here to my main blog GenX GenY GenZ.

Update October 2012 - Australia Savings Account Interest Rates have been heading South since mid 2012. To see the interest rates of Savings Account offered by Australia Banks in October 2012, please click here to my article Australia Best Savings Account.


  1. Just like to point out: I did the research, and HSBC's cheque book is not fee free. There's a dollar or so fee for each cheque written. Other than that, their account is almost perfect.

    Currently with CBA, because I'm only 16, only them and Suncorp offer Debit[MasterCard/Visas] for under 18s. Will certainly look into HSBC and Citi when I turn 18.

  2. agree that commonwealth bank has the best service,but they dont necessarily have best deposit rate