Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

How to open an international bank account

What you need to know about opening an international bank account.

1 - 11 of 11
Name Monthly fee Govt. Guarantee Own network ATM fee Card type
HSBC Everyday Global Account
HSBC logo
Finder AwardApple Pay Google Pay10 Currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
$0
Card type
Visa
Go to siteMore Info
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases.


Bank of Sydney Foreign Currency Transaction Account
Bank of Sydney logo
Apple Pay Google Pay Samsung Pay3 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
Visa
NAB Foreign Currency Account
NAB logo
Apple Pay Google Pay Samsung Pay Fitbit Pay Garmin Pay16 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
$0
Card type
Visa
Commonwealth Bank Foreign Currency Account
Commonwealth Bank logo
Apple Pay Google Pay Samsung Pay Fitbit Pay Garmin Pay14 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
Visa
Westpac Foreign Currency Account
Westpac logo
12 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
No Debit card
HSBC Foreign Currency Bonus Savings Account
HSBC logo
Apple Pay Google Pay10 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
Visa
St. George Foreign Currency Account
St.George Bank logo
14 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
No Debit card
ANZ Foreign Currency Account
ANZ logo
Apple Pay Google Pay6 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
Visa
Suncorp Treasury Foreign Currency Deposit Account
Suncorp Bank logo
Apple Pay Google Pay19 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
Visa
Arab Bank Foreign Currency Statement Account
Arab Bank Australia logo
Apple Pay Google Pay4 currencies
Monthly fee
$4
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
Visa
Bendigo Foreign Currency At Call Deposit Account
Bendigo Bank logo
Apple Pay Google Pay Samsung Pay Fitbit Pay Garmin Pay9 currencies
Monthly fee
$50
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
Mastercard
loading
Showing 11 of 11 results

How to open an international bank account

Opening an international bank account will vary depending on the financial institution you choose, but typically these are the steps to opening an account:

1. Research the best international bank account for your needs.

Choose an international bank account that's right for your purpose: whether you're thinking of investing overseas or you travel and spend a lot overseas.

2. Check eligibility.

Some international bank accounts require you to be over a certain age. If you're opening the account from Australia you may also need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

3. Apply online.

Due to the international nature of the bank account you will typically need to submit an application online, but you may be able to visit a branch to provide proof of ID.

4. Submit the required documents.

You will need to provide proof of identification such as a driver's licence or passport.

5. Fill out personal details.

You will need to provide information such as your full name, date of birth and address.

6. Submit application and wait for approval.

You will typically be contacted within a couple of business days with the details of your new account and a card will be sent out to you.

Five reasons to open an international bank account

International bank accounts are an option for combining a lot of different benefits into one package. Do any of these sound good to you? It might mean that an international bank account is the right choice.

  • Foreign currency use

Domestic banking in Australia is typically done all in Australian dollars, but international accounts let you use overseas currencies more easily, often with more preferable exchange rates and fewer fees. International banking can get you more value for money if you use a lot of foreign currencies. International bank accounts can get you similar benefits to multi-currency bank accounts, with other useful differences too.

  • International money transfers

If you frequently send money overseas then an international bank account might be able to get you better rates, lower fees and more benefits. Enjoy some perks of international money transfers with more ease and convenience.

  • Access to foreign markets

Having a domestic bank account only might inhibit you when making foreign investments, while an international bank account may let you more easily access this part of the market. If you have a keen interest in forex trading or international share trading then it may be worth considering an international bank account.

  • Overseas investments

Are you making investments overseas? Some Australians, feeling squeezed by the domestic market, are buying property overseas and enjoying the benefits. If you are interested in doing this then opening an international bank account is worth consideration.

  • Tax advantages

International banks bring opportunities to enterprising account holders in the form of applied local tax laws, or “loopholes” as some might call them. If you want to manage your bank account for optimal returns then an international bank account, rather than a domestic one, provides more options.

Which banks offer international accounts?

Two of the most widely known international banks operating in Australia are HSBC and Citi, both of whom offer options to facilitate offshore banking. Compare the benefits of their international accounts to see which might be more preferable for your needs.

FeaturesCitibank Plus Everyday AccountHSBC Everyday Global Account
Monthly fee$0$0
Overseas ATM accessNo fee at overseas Citi ATMsNo fee for overseas ATM withdrawals (may depend on ATM provider)
International transfer feeFree transfers to Citi accounts in many countriesTransfer money anywhere for $8
Overseas shoppingNo fee charged on international purchasesNo fees charged on international purchases
Interest earntEarn interest with linked Citi savings accountsEarn interest with linked HSBC savings accounts
Currency optionsAll major international currencies, and moreBuy, hold and spend in AUD, USD, GBP, EUR, HKD, CAD, JPY, NZD, SGD, CNY (currency restrictions apply to CNY)
Learn moreLearn more

What are the benefits of having an international bank account?

  • Tax: Take advantage of overseas tax rates, conditions and privacy laws with an offshore bank account. For example, you might open up an international bank account based in a country that has lower tax on investment income than Australia.
  • Privacy: Sensitive financial information may be safer overseas, in an anonymous account, than in a standard domestic bank account.
  • Multiple currencies: International bank accounts typically use more types of currency with more fluidity, saving you the fees and exchange rates you'd pay with a standard account.
  • International money transfers: An international bank account typically lets you transfer money with preferable rates and at a lower cost.
  • Linked accounts: Depending on your preferences, you may link other accounts to your international bank account to earn interest on them or enjoy other benefits.
  • 24-hour service: Domestic Australian banks usually run on standard business hours, but international accounts need to be manageable and accessible 24 hours a day.

What are the risks of having an international bank account?

  • Different laws: It is your responsibility to remain within the applicable laws when holding overseas accounts. It may be advisable to use an experienced tax accountant to help you.
  • Fewer guarantees: Money held in Australian bank accounts is protected by the Australian Government Guarantee Scheme, but money held overseas does not have that protection.
  • Fees and rates: There may be additional costs involved with international banking, and these can vary between providers.

Moving to Australia from Eastern Europe

Given the ongoing unrest in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, moving to Australia may be something many are considering. While the National Bank of Ukraine is encouraging Ukrainians to put their cash into bank accounts and use their cards overseas, you can also open up an account in Australia.

While many banks will require you to have a residential address in Australia, some will allow you to open a new account before you arrive.

Take a look at Finder's list of bank accounts for overseas arrivals.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades. Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) for the product on the provider's website.

More guides on Finder

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms Of Service and Finder Group Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    NaserNovember 18, 2018

    Hi,

    I want to know about best International bank that I can open online with high interest rates .
    Thanks

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiNovember 19, 2018

      Hi Naser,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      You may refer to our list of offshore bank accounts that you can apply for online. You can use our comparison table to help you find the account that suits you. When you are ready, press the “Go to site” of your preferred account to apply.

      As a friendly reminder, review the eligibility criteria of the card before applying to increase your chances of approval. Read up on the terms and conditions and product disclosure statement and contact the bank should you need any clarifications.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Best,
      Nikki

Go to site