We arrived in Adelaide on Monday and went to Westpac to activate our accounts which we opened in the UK before we left, on arrival there we were advised that because of our visa status we were unable to have a mastercard debit card and were only allowed a handycard. Having checked other banks they all advise that Australian residents aged over 18 can apply but when I called Commonwealth bank they told me that this meant permanent residents (which is not what I understand from the terminology).
Has anyone in the same position found a workaround for this? We really want a visa or mastercard to be able to pay for things online etc and use overseas. We do not want a credit card which we have been told we can have as soon as we get a job. Seems bizarre that we have a large sum sitting in an Australian account which I cannot access with a debit visa card but they would be happy to let me spend their money instead! This can't be right?!
Would be grateful for any help/advice.