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.
Ready to start comparing Aussie bank accounts?
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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