bank-accounts

Can foreigners open a bank account in Australia?

Foreigners migrating, studying or working in Australia can open a bank account.

Australia enjoys an excellent reputation as one of the top destinations for holiday-making, but also for foreigners considering studying and/or working overseas. Foreigners in Australia constitute 28% of the general population, which includes 1.2 million from the UK.

Opening a bank account with an Australian bank is a simple process given that you’re migrating, studying or working. Those on tourist or visitor visa generally can’t open a bank account in Australia.

If you reside in another country and don’t intend to migrate to Australia, you’ll need to speak to a local bank who has international ties with a bank in Australia.

Thanks to the sheer volume of emigrants studying and working in Australia, banks often have migrant services to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

How do I open a bank account in Australia?

You can open an account online before arriving in Australia, on the phone or in person at the branch once you arrive.

If you do decide to visit a branch, remember to bring valid forms of ID with you. This includes your Passport, overseas credit card/student ID and letter addressed to yourself proving Australian residence. r. For more information, please see our 100 points ID article.

Rates last updated December 10th, 2016
$
Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
Westpac Choice – for migrants
Suitable if you're arriving in Australia within 12 months and intend to make a deposit within 6 months.
Mastercard $0 $2,000 No monthly fee for the first 12 months, unlimited and free electronic transactions. Open More

Do Australian banks have migrant services?

Most major Australian banks have migrant services with staff who can speak a range of languages. This makes it a lot easier to open a bank account and avoid miscommunications.

These banks include (but are not limited to): Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB, ANZ, Citibank and HSBC.

Moving to Australia? See our comprehensive guide here. 

Which kinds of accounts are available to foreigners?

The type of account depends on your personal situation, your reasons for being in Australia and how much you’re willing to pay for additional services and add-ons. Students pay little or no withdrawal and/or management fees since their accounts are quite basic. Professional people would require more elaborate account types, like those that allow for joint accounts and access to loan and investment facilities. Here are a few of the account types available to foreigners.

Transaction accounts

Also known as a current or cheque account, this option is an everyday account from which to pay bills, send and receive money, and manage your daily expenses.

Rates last updated December 10th, 2016
$
Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
Westpac Choice
$0 ATM withdrawal fee at 50,000+ ATMs globally.
Via Westpac's Global ATM Alliance. Get Cash without your debit card (conditions apply).
Mastercard $0 $2,000 No ATM fees when using St.George, Westpac, BankSA or Bank of Melbourne ATMs in Australia. Deposit at least $2,000 per month and enjoy no monthly service fee. Open More
ANZ Access Advantage
Earn a $100 shopping voucher.
For opening a new account by 18 Dec 2016 and shop three times with your new Visa debit card by 8 Jan 2017 (conditions apply).
Visa $0 $2,000 No monthly account fee when you deposit at least $2,000 per month. Other fee waivers available based on your personal situation. Open More
Commonwealth Bank Smart Access
Get unlimited CBA electronic transactions using internet banking, phone banking, ATM and EFTPOS.
Mastercard $0 $2,000 Unlimited free CBA ATM transactions. No monthly service fee if you deposit a minimum of $2,000 per month otherwise $4 monthly fee applies. More

Savings account

This account pays you interest on the amount you have in your account: the more you have in this account, the more interest you earn. Since these funds are not intended for everyday use, account holders are usually penalised with high fees when withdrawing from this account.

Rates last updated December 10th, 2016
$
$
months
Maximum Variable Rate p.a. Standard Variable Rate p.a. Bonus Interest p.a. Fees Min Bal / Min Deposit Interest Earned
ANZ Progress Saver
Ongoing, variable 1.91% p.a. when you link to any Australian everyday bank account and deposit $10+ each month. Available on the entire balance.
1.91% 0.01% 1.90% $0 $10 / $10 Open More
ANZ Online Saver
Introductory rate of 2.85% p.a. for 6 months, reverting to 1.25% p.a. Available on the entire balance.
2.85% 1.25% 1.60% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
Westpac Reward Saver
Ongoing, variable 1.85% p.a. when you deposit at least $50 and make no withdrawals each month. Available on the entire balance.
1.85% 0.01% 1.84% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
Westpac eSaver
Introductory rate of 2.71% p.a. for 5 months, reverting to a rate of 1.25% p.a. Available on the entire balance.
2.71% 1.25% 1.46% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
Commonwealth Bank Goal Saver Account
Ongoing, variable 1.95% p.a. rate when you deposit at least $200 p/m with no withdrawals. Available on balances up to $100,000.
1.95% 0.01% 1.94% $0 $0 / $0 More
Commonwealth Bank NetBank Saver
Introductory rate of 2.70% p.a. for 3 months, reverting to a rate of 1.25% p.a. Available on balances up to $5,000,000.
2.70% 1.25% 1.45% $0 $0 / $1 More
NAB iSaver
Introductory rate of 1.90% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 1.20% p.a. Available on balances below $1,000,000.
1.90% 1.20% 0.70% $0 $0 / $0 More
NAB Reward Saver
Ongoing, variable 2.70% p.a. when you link to NAB transaction account and deposit $200+ each month and make no withdrawals in the month . Available on balances up to $5,000,000.
2.70% 0.50% 2.20% $0 $0 / $0 More

Term deposits

Sometimes called a fixed deposit, this type of account is ideal for people who want to lock away a large amount of money for a fixed period. The length of the fixed period depends on the bank, but the minimum is usually five years. As far as the interest rate goes, it pays to shop around for a bank that offers a decent rate over the fixed term. At the end of the fixed period, you can either roll over the amount plus interest for another fixed term, withdraw just the interest or make a full withdrawal.

Rates last updated December 10th, 2016
$
3 Mths p.a. 4 Mths p.a. 6 Mths p.a. 12 Mths p.a. 24 Mths p.a. 36 Mths p.a. 48 Mths p.a. 60 Mths p.a. Min Deposit Interest Earned
Westpac Term Deposit
Westpac Term Deposit
2.10% 2.00% 2.20% 2.50% 3.00% 3.10% 2.70% 2.85% $5,000 Open More
Commonwealth Bank Term Deposit
Commonwealth Bank Term Deposit
1.90% 1.90% 1.90% 1.90% 1.90% 1.90% 1.90% 1.90% $5,000 More
NAB Term Deposit
NAB Term Deposit
2.10% 1.75% 2.10% 2.40% 3.10% 3.20% 2.75% 2.80% $5,000 More
ANZ Term Deposit
ANZ Term Deposit
1.90% 1.65% 1.95% 2.05% 2.35% 2.40% 2.45% 2.65% $5,000 More

What are the benefits to opening a bank account in Australia?

While a myriad services are now at foreigners’ disposal to send and receive money internationally, there are some advantages to having a local account.

  • 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. You’ll be asked to present positive identification when collecting your bank card.
  • 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. These kinds of fees are usually waived for students.
  • Professional advantage. When you open an account before leaving, you can provide your future employer with your banking details ahead of time, saving yourself time on administration.

Shirley Liu

Shirley is finder.com.au's publisher for banking and investments. She is currently studying a Masters in Commerce (Finance) and is the author of hundreds of articles. She is passionate about helping Aussies make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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6 Responses to Can foreigners open a bank account in Australia?

  1. Default Gravatar
    Duan | November 12, 2016

    Hi Shirley,

    I am Indonesian living in Jakarta, who just recently met my Australian boyfriend. We have been planning to register for de facto union in Australia, & having a joint account is a good evident on our genuine relationship. Do you think we can open a joint account saving on my holiday visit in Australia?

    Many thanks,
    Duan

    • Staff
      Clarizza | November 16, 2016

      Hi Duan,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you are planning to move to Australia, you can certainly open a joint account with your partner. You would need to speak to the bank about some migrant banking options. Please be aware that there are some requirements with migrant bank accounts for example, you must arrive in Australia within 365 days. These conditions will change depending on the bank. If you are interested, our Migrant Banking page might help.

      Please note, we are a comparison website and provide general advice only.

      Regards,
      Clarizza

  2. Default Gravatar
    MS | October 20, 2016

    Hello Shirley, l hope you are well.

    l am an Australian citizen but l live permanently in Greece.

    Can l open a bank account in Melbourne while l’m there on holidays?

    What documents are required?

    Thank you for your time.

    Best regards,
    MS

    • Staff
      Clarizza | October 20, 2016

      Hi MS,

      Thanks for your question.

      Yes you can certainly open a bank account while you’re here. Certain banks in Australia such as the Big Four (ANZ, CommBank, Westpac, NAB) allow non-residents to open an account. You might want to take a look at our Migrant banking page for further assistance.

      Regards,
      Clarizza

  3. Default Gravatar
    J | June 13, 2016

    Can foreigners as tourist open a fixed deposit account to earn interest in Australia? Thanks.

    • Staff
      Shirley | June 14, 2016

      Hi J Chen,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for someone on a tourist Visa to open a term deposit here in Australia, due to the length you’re staying in the country.

      If you would like to open a savings account here in Australia, but don’t actually live here, you can compare your options here.

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