Factsheet: Banking

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Banks are places where you can keep your money safe.

What is a bank account?

A bank account is where your money is kept at the bank. It is in your name. When you put money into your account it is called a deposit. When you take money from your account it is called a withdrawal.

How does a bank account work?

Your bank records the money you deposit (put in) and withdraw (take out). Your bank balance is the amount of money you have in your account at that time. When you open an account at the bank you will be given a debit card and a Personal Identification Number (PIN).

What is a debit card?

A debit card is a plastic card used to take cash out of your bank account, or to pay for goods and services. It is linked to your bank account and uses your money only.

What is a PIN?

This is a 4-digit personal number you use to access your bank account.

How to access your money?

You will need your debit card and your PIN to take money out from your account.

  • Automatic Teller Machine: An ATM is a machine that lets bank customers get money from their accounts without going to a branch.
  • Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale: EFTPOS is a way you can pay for goods or services without needing to carry money with you.


  • Banking is when you keep your money safe in a bank, credit union or building society.
  • A PIN is the personal number you use to access your bank account.
  • Do not tell your PIN to anyone.
  • Do not keep your PIN with your bank card.

For more information about your bank account and fees, you can call your bank or visit your bank's website.

Liza gets charged bank fees

On Monday Liza needs money to buy a train ticket to get to her English class so she takes out (withdraws) $20 from an ATM at the Commonwealth Bank where she banks. On Tuesday she needs to buy a book for her studies so she withdraws $20 from the Westpac ATM outside the book shop. On Wednesday she goes to the cinema and withdraws $30 from the ANZ ATM at the cinema.

Liza knows her Centrelink money is due in her bank account on Thursday. She goes to the Commonwealth Bank's ATM at her local shopping centre to check that the money has been put into her account. Liza is surprised when she has less money in her account than she was expecting. She is worried because she needs the money to pay her rent and buy food.

Liza does not understand why she does not have more money in her account and she wonders if the ATM made a mistake and told her the wrong amount. So she visits her bank and speaks to a person who works there named Sandeep. Sandeep explains to Liza that the amount in her account is correct. He also explains that Liza has less money because she has paid fees to take money out of some of the ATMs she has used.

Sandeep explains that Liza has to pay fees when she uses an ATM that does not belong to her bank and also when she takes money out of her ATM too many times a week.

Sandeep suggests that Liza does a budget to find out how much money she needs for the week. Then he suggests Liza withdraw the money from an ATM in one transaction. This is one way to avoid being charged for many transactions.


Last updated: 08 Sep 2015