Generally, your employer will want to pay you directly into your bank account, but before they can do this they'll need your account details. Bank accounts come in two categories - savings and transaction accounts. It's this second type that's best suited to have salary paid into.
Think about your transaction account as your everyday account - not only will you get paid into it, you'll also be accessing your money from it, whether it's getting cash at an ATM, paying your bills with BPay® or shopping online with a Debit Mastercard.
Not all transaction accounts are the same though, so it's worthwhile finding one that suits your needs. Take a look at any fees for the account - some accounts will waive the monthly service fee provided you deposit a minimum amount each month (such as your salary). You'll also need to consider how you'll be accessing your money, as there may be fees or charges.
Accessing your money
It's your money, so you'll want to be able to access it the way you want, with as little effort as possible. Look for a transaction account that will let you do the following:
- Withdraw cash from ATMs - generally, you won't pay anything to withdraw money from ATMs belonging to your own bank. However, you're likely to pay a fee each time you withdraw money from ATMs belonging to a different bank. Westpac has an extensive, nationwide ATM network, which includes Westpac, St.George, BankSA and Bank of Melbourne machines. That's more than 3,000 in total, and they are all free of ATM operator fees.
- Paying bills and transferring money online - paying bills can be a hassle. But with the right account you'll be able to pay bills online or from your mobile when you need to. You can also schedule regular payments to go out on a regular basis (such as paying rent or gym membership) or on the due date (such as your mobile phone bill). Look for an account where you can also transfer money to friends and family should you need to.
- Shopping online with a Debit Mastercard - if you want to shop online, it's worthwhile choosing an account with a Debit Mastercard linked to it. Not only will you use this to access your cash at ATMs, it'll also mean you can shop online using your own money.
Keeping tabs with digital banking
The easiest way to keep tabs on your finances is through digital banking. At its most basic level, digital banking will let you check your balance and transaction history whenever you need. But you'll also be able to do a whole lot more, find out by clicking on these links:
Other things to consider
Superannuation is a type of long-term investment held for your retirement by your superannuation fund. Early understanding how your super fund works enables you to get the most out of it, and gives you a far better chance of growing and protecting your savings for retirement.
With super, many people can choose which fund they want their employer contributions to be paid into. However, before you make any decisions, you should know what to look for. The time you spend now looking at your options can pay off in the future.
Getting your tax file number
It's important you give your employer your tax file number (TFN) - if you don't you could be taxed at the highest marginal tax rate, which can eat away at your earnings (and potential savings).
If you need a TFN, contact the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). It's a straightforward process and will help make sure you're being taxed the right amount.
Your employer will ask you to fill out a tax file number declaration form.
Getting into a regular savings habit
If you can, it’s often a good idea to get into a regular savings habit from the beginning of your working life, even if you start with a small amount on a regular basis (you can always change the amount later). Think about looking for a savings account that pays bonus interest. For example, a Westpac Life account offers both a competitive base rate as well as bonus interest when you make regular deposits andthe account balance has grown by the end of the month.
Things you should know
It's important to read the detail about the conditions and any fees or charges that apply to any financial product before you decide to apply for it. Check the eligibility criteria too. Ask the product issuer for a copy of these. Credit criteria apply to approval of credit products.
St.George Bank, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA are divisions of Westpac Banking Corporation.
BPay® is a registered trademark of BPAY Pty Ltd ABN 69 079 137 518.
Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 997 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714
This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general in nature. It is intended as an overview only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.