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Vocabulary for Money Management

Getting your finances organised is important when you arrive in Austalia as a migrant or international student. On-going management will help you get ahead in your new life.  Below are some common terms and expressions you will hear in reference to money-management and banking. 

Automated Teller Machine (ATM)

automated teller machine (ATM) (n) = A self-serve bank machine that lets you check your balance, deposit money and cheques, transfer money between accounts, and get money out.

“I need to use an ATM to get some money for the taxi.”


BPAY (n) = A secure bill payment system you access online or over the phone. It is popular in Australia on sites such as EBAY.

“I don’t have a credit card, so I pay for bills online with BPAY.”

Bank Card

bank card (n) = The card you use in an automated teller machine (ATM).

“I left my bank card at the office, so I can’t get any money from the ATM for groceries.”

Bank Draft

bank draft (n) = A type of check where the payment is guaranteed to be available by the bank that issued it. Usually, the banks will review the account of the person who wants the cheque to see if enough money is available for the check to clear. The bank then sets aside the funds from the person’s account so the money will be available when the cheque is cashed. It can also be called a banker’s draft or cashier’s cheque.

“My father always mails me a bank draft for my birthday. That way I can get the money and buy exactly what I like.”

Bank Teller

bank teller (n) = the employee who helps you with your banking inquiries

“I went into my branch and spoke to the bank teller about the deposit, but he said I had to call MasterCard directly.”


bounce (v) = cannot be cashed/processed because the bank account it came from does not have enough money to cover the amount.

“A woman bought my car yesterday, but the cheque bounced.”


branch (n) = one of the many customer service offices of a bank.

“I went to my local branch to pay my bills this morning, but it was closed.”


BSB (n) = bank/state/branch code used to identify your account when transferring money.

“I need to find out my BSB and account numbers so I can send money to my parents.”


cash (n) = casual expression for money

“I prefer paying cash for things. That way I know what I have spent at the end of the week.”

Cash a Cheque

cash a cheque (v) = exchange a cheque for money in a bank

“I’ll give you the money I owe you after I cash the cheque my boss gave me.”

Chequing Account

chequing account (n) = A deposit account that lets you withdrawal money through cheques, automated teller machines, and debit cards.

“I don’t have a chequing account, so I pay my mortgage by direct deposit.”

Cost of Living

cost of living (n) = the amount of money you need to live day-to-day

“The cost of livig is high in Australia, so it is good to have some savings.”

Credit Card

credit card (n) = A card that lets you borrow money free of charge for a certain amount of time. After that amount of time concludes, you pay interest on the money until you pay back the debt. Credit cards also have a spending limit that depends on your income. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are the most popular credit cards.

“I use my credit card for emergencies only. Especially when I need to pay for something overseas. “

Credit History / Fating / Report

credit history/rating/report (n) = the record of any debt/loan that was, or is, in your name, or that you applied for. It is used by banks and lenders to decide if you
will receive a loan.

“I have a good credit history, so I hope I can get the student loan I applied for.”

Credit Limit

credit limit (n) = the maximum amount of money you can access through a loan, credit card, or line of credit.

“John reached his credit limit, so I had to pay for the car repairs.”

Debit Card

debit card (n) = another name for a Bank Card that lets you access linked accounts. You can use it at ATMs.


EFTPOS (n) = Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale. Using your debit card to buy goods/services at a retail point like the supermarket.

“I like using EFTPOS in shops because I can also withdraw some extra money.”


FX (n) = foreign currency exchange

Home Loan

home loan (n) = another name for a mortgage, whic is a bank loan to buy a property


interest (n) = a fee paid on borrowed money.

“I pay 17% interest on my credit card, so I use it very carefully!”

Internet / Online Banking

internet / online banking (n) = using the internet to access your bank account(s). The online banking you can check account balances, transferring money, pay bills, and apply for products and services.

“Internet banking is great when you are travelling. It allows you to keep up-to-day on your finances.”

Managed Fund

managed fund (n) = an investment porfolio (including stocks, etc) that is managed by a professional.

“I have a managed fund because I know nothing about buying and selling stocks.”

Money Order

money order (n) = similar to a bank draft, a money order is a cheque that represents payment of a specified amount of money issued by an institution.


mortgage (n) = a loan granted to buy a property. The property itself is the guarantee so the bank can take possession of the property if you do not make you repayments.”We took out a mortgage for the apartment we bought last year. We go a good rate.”

Mortgagee / Mortgagor

mortgagee / mortgagor (n) = the bank/lender is the mortgagee and the person borrowing the money is the mortgagor.

Non Sufficient Funds (NSF)

Non Sufficient Funds (NSF) (adj) = a cheque is considered NSF when there is not enough money in issuing account to cover the amount of the payment. It is also known as a bounced cheque.

“The cheque from our client was NSF, so we could not cash it.”


overdraft (n) = the bank that temporarily allows you to withdraw more money than is in your account. Banks usually charge a penalty when this happens, and the money must be paid back quickly.

“My account went into overdraft when my health fund payment came out of my account before my salary went in.”

Pay Off in Full

pay off in full (v) = return all the money you owe.

“It felt so good to pay off my car loan in full.”

Personal Identification Number (PIN)

Personal Identification Number (PIN) (n) = the secret number you use to access internet/ATM banking

“I keep forgetting my PIN. I have to write it somewhere in my wallet.”

Savings Account

savings account (n) = a bank account that pays interest on the funds deposited and provides easy access to your money. A cheque book is not provided. The interest is usually very low.

“You should open a savings account for your daughter so she can learn to start saving money.”


superannunation (n) = a mandatory registered savings accounts that allows you to save for retirement. A tax rate of only 15% applies to the money deposited, and then the money is taken out tax-free when you reach retirement age.

“Australians should not rely on superannuation alone for retirement. Having an investment property is also a good idea.”


SWIFT code (n) = a number used by identify international banks when making a money transfer

“I forgot to include the SWIFT code in my transfer to Egypt, so the payment has been delayed.”

Tax File Number (TFN)

Tax File Number (TFN) (n) = an 8 or 9 digit number issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to each taxpayer in Australia. The TFN allows the government to track taxes paid by individuals and conpanies.

“Your TFN is one of the first things you should get when you arrive in Australia.”

Telephone Banking

telephone banking (n) = a service allowing you to do banking transactions by phone.

“I used to use telephone banking, but I prefer to use the internet instead.”


term (n) = a period of time that an investment or a loan is in effect.

“I complained about the term of my loan. Two years is not enough time for me to pay the debt back.”


transaction (n) = activity in a bank account- it could be a deposit, withdrawal, bill payment, service charge, or interest payment.

“I have to pay $5 for any transaction I make in a branch, so internet banking is better.”

Wire / Telegraphic Transfer

wire / telegraphic transfer (n) = sending money from one bank account to another account in the same bank or to another bank/country.

“Fritz wired $2,000 his mother in Germany last week. She should have received it by now.”


withdrawal (n) = money taken out of a bank account

“I made a withdrawal last night, and I have spent all the money already!”


withdraw (v) = take money out of an account

“Sylvia withdrew enough money to pay her rent.”

100 Point Check

100 point check (n) = a points system applied to people opening new financial accounts across Australia. Points are allocated to the types of identity documents you use to show who you are. For example a passport and driver’s license together might equal 100 points.

“I had to do a 100 point check in order to pick up my credit card.”