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How to open a bank account in Australia for foreigners

If you're migrating, studying or working in Australia, you open a bank account. It's even possible to open an Australian bank account before you arrive.

If you're coming to Australia to work, study or migrate you can open a local bank account. You'll need to verify your identity in a bank branch when you arrive before you can activate and start using the account.

What type of account do you need?

  • Transaction account. This option is an everyday bank account to make daily purchases, pay bills, send and receive money and manage your daily expenses. You can link a debit card to your transaction account.
  • Savings account. A savings account pays you interest on the money in your account: the more you have, the more interest you earn. You have to pay tax on the interest you earn, so banks require an Australian Tax File Number to open these accounts. And you may need to be an Australian resident for tax purposes.

Transaction accounts are the easiest accounts for new arrivals to open because there are no tax considerations.

How to open a bank account in Australia as a foreigner

Some Australian banks let you open an account online before you arrive, then require you to visit a bank branch to establish your identity after you arrive. Some banks will only create your account if you visit a branch in person.

To open a transaction account after you arrive in Australia, you will need the following documents:

  • Your passport (the original, current passport, not a copy).
  • Details of your Australian visa. Your passport may contain these details, including an arrival stamp.
  • You need to provide a Tax Identification Number for the country (or countries) you are a resident of for tax purposes.
  • Your student ID or a letter of enrolment (if you're on a student visa).

If any of your documents aren't in English then you'll need to bring along translations completed by an accredited translator.

How to compare bank accounts

If you want to open an Australian bank account as a non-resident, you can start by researching different options online. Here are a few of the main things to consider as a when choosing a bank account:

  • The fees. Look for an account that charges low or no account keeping fees or ATM fees.
  • Branch access. If you'll be making regular in-branch transactions (such as depositing foreign cash or cheques), make sure you select a bank with branches in your local area. Some banks are online only with no branches.
  • International transfers. If you'll need to send money back home, check what the fees are for transferring money internationally, as well as the exchange rates.
  • Multiple currencies. Some bank accounts let you hold several foreign currencies in the one account, which could be handy if you're going back home regularly and need the local currency there.

Benefits to foreigners of opening a bank account in Australia

  • Immediate access to your money. If you transfer money to your Australian bank account before you leave, you'll be able to withdraw from your account as soon as you land in Australia and verify your identity with the bank.
  • Lower fees when using domestic services. Moving or withdrawing money between international and Australian accounts incurs high fees, whereas you'd pay low transaction fees when using a local account.
  • Professional advantage. When you open an account before leaving, you can provide your future employer with your bank details ahead of time, saving yourself time on administration.

Frequently asked questions

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To make sure you get accurate and helpful information, this guide has been edited by Richard Whitten as part of our fact-checking process.
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Written by

Editor

Alison Banney is the money editorial manager at Finder. She covers all areas of personal finance, and her areas of expertise are superannuation, banking and saving. She has written about finance for 10 years, having previously worked at Westpac and written for several other major banks and super funds. See full bio

Alison's expertise
Alison has written 656 Finder guides across topics including:
  • Superannuation
  • Savings accounts, bank accounts and term deposits
  • Budgeting and money-saving hacks
  • Managing the cost of living

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62 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    KeithOctober 5, 2023

    I am not an Australian and am not intending to stay in Australia. I have a property in Australia which is collecting rent and I would like to open a bank account for this monthly rentals. What are the bank accounts which I can apply? And if I am physically at the bank for the application, how long is the process for the approval?

      AvatarFinder
      ShubhamOctober 24, 2023Finder

      Hi Keith,
      Thankyou for your question.

      However, as a non-resident who owns property in Australia and collects rent, you can open a bank account to manage your rental income. Refer to our guide above will give you a basic idea about various accounts and requirements on the same.

      The approval process usually involves verifying your identity, and this can be done at a local branch after you arrive in Australia. The time it takes for approval may vary depending on the bank and your individual circumstances, but it’s typically a straightforward process.

      Keep in mind that each bank may have specific requirements, so it’s a good idea to contact the bank of your choice and discuss your situation with them to ensure you choose an account that suits your needs and to get more precise information about the application process.

      I hope this helps.

    Default Gravatar
    GudiMarch 18, 2023

    I was working and living in Australia for 10 years, and had my bank account at ANZ. I moved back home and still have my account open. If changing my address and mobile number online, will I be able to keep my account open and thereby keeping my savings safe? I would like to transfer my savings with an international transfer, and I am wondering if I can change my daily allowance and change my mobile number without running into difficulties. Please advise.

      AvatarFinder
      RajApril 3, 2023Finder

      Hi Gudi,
      Thanks for contacting Finder.

      One of ANZ requirements for a bank account is customers will need an Australian residential address. If you’re changing your address to a New Zealand address, then it goes against their requirements. It would be best to contact ANZ and speak to them about your specific needs in keeping the account open and transferring the money.

      Thanks
      Raj

    Default Gravatar
    PeterFebruary 22, 2023

    I am an Australian citizen with dual citizenship and passports. Can i open a bank account using my foreign passport for use when travelling overseas with my foreign passport?

      AvatarFinder
      RajFebruary 28, 2023Finder

      Hi Peter,
      In the case of using just your foreign passport, you’ll need to speak to a local bank that has international ties with a bank in Australia for you to be able to open an account. Ideally, the same country as the country of your foreign passport.

      Usually, most Australian banks require Australian documentation and residence to open an account.

      Thanks
      Raj

    Default Gravatar
    ShishMay 13, 2022

    Hi,
    I live in Australia, my mom visits every 2 years. Can she open an account and keep it open/active during the time she is not residing in Australia?

      AvatarFinder
      AlisonMay 20, 2022Finder

      Hi Shish,

      Yes, your mom can keep an account open even when she’s overseas. Her account can only become dormant/inactive if the account has not received a deposit or a withdrawal for seven years. When this happens, it will be taken over by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

      Best,
      Alison

    Default Gravatar
    JoyceFebruary 20, 2022

    I will send my daughter to Sidney to study. Now we live in Indonesia.
    Can I open bank account in Sidney although I don’t have Australian Tax File number and residential address?
    I’d like to be able to transfer money from Indonesia to Sidney each month as low cost as possible. I’ll use this bank account also to auto debit my daughter’s credit card account.
    What bank is recommended?

      AvatarFinder
      AlisonFebruary 26, 2022Finder

      Hi Joyce,

      While an Australian address and foreign tax details may be required, you can reach out to some banks to see if you can have an account set up without these details. Most banks in Australia will allow you to open an account up to three months before your daughter’s arrival in Australia through an online application form on their website. Please feel free to check our guidelines for opening a bank account for the list of the requirements needed.

      When it comes to choosing the best bank, it would depend on the factors that are most important to you and your daughter and your current circumstances. There’s no one account that is considered best. You could utilize our comparison table to check and compare banks.

      I hope this helps.

      Best,
      Alison

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