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How to open a bank account in Australia for foreigners

If you're migrating, studying or working in Australia, it's easy to open a bank account. It's even possible to open an Australian bank account when you live in another country.

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Opening an Australian bank account is fairly simple if you’re migrating, studying or working in Australia. If you live in another country and don’t intend to migrate to Australia, you can still open an account, but you’ll need to speak to a local bank that has international ties with a bank in Australia. If you're on a tourist or visitor visa, you can open an account simply by visiting a local branch.

How to open a bank account in Australia

1. Decide on the type of account you need

    • Transaction account. This option is an everyday account you can use to pay bills, send and receive money, and manage your daily expenses.
    • Savings account. A savings account pays you interest on the money in your account: the more you have, the more interest you earn. Because these accounts earn interest on which tax is payable, they generally require you to have an Australian Tax File Number and residential address.

2. Research account options

If you want to open an Australian bank account as a non-resident, you can start by researching different options online, such as by comparing the features and benefits in the table further down on this page. Here are a few of the main things to consider as a foreigner choosing a bank account:

  • Low fees. Look for an account that charges low or no account keeping 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 it's likely that you'll need to send money back home from time to time, 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.

3. Open your account, online or in person

You can open an Australian bank account online before arriving in the country, on the phone or in person. If you do it online, when you arrive in Australia, you'll need to visit a branch with valid forms of identity verification that add up to 100 points of ID. This includes your passport, overseas credit card/student ID and letter addressed to yourself proving Australian residence. If you do it in the branch, remember to bring those documents with you.

It's important to note that until you have verified your ID, you'll be able to make deposits into your account, but you can't withdraw the money.

Do Australian banks have migrant services?

The major Australian banks including ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Westpac, Citi and HSBC have migrant banking facilities, which streamline the process and make it possible to open a bank account online up to 12 months before you arrive in Australia.

This means they have staff who can speak a range of languages, and their documents are often available in different languages as well.

Moving to Australia? See our comprehensive guide here.

Ready to start comparing Aussie bank accounts?

1 - 3 of 3
Name Product Contactless Payments Instant Payments Own network ATM fee Monthly account fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Apple Pay, Google Pay
N/A
$0
$0
If you live in a country that is part of HSBC's global network, visit a local branch to open this account prior to your arrival in Australia. Hold up to 10 currencies at a time and instantly transfer funds from one to the other at HSBC's competitive foreign exchange rates.
Westpac Choice
Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay, Digital Card
Osko, PayID
$0
$5
Open a Westpac Choice account up to 12 months before arriving in Australia. Enjoy $0 monthly account fees for the first 12 months, and withdraw money after completing an identity check at any Westpac bank branch in Australia.
HSBC Day to Day Transaction Account
Google Pay, Apple Pay
N/A
$0
$0
Apply for an Australian bank account in person at one of HSBC's global branches and get exclusive shopping deals at over 1,500 retailers worldwide through HSBCS home&Away privilege program.
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What are the benefits to foreigners when opening a bank account in Australia?

While many 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.

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56 Responses

  1. 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 Customer Care
      AlisonMay 20, 2022Staff

      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

  2. 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 Customer Care
      AlisonFebruary 26, 2022Staff

      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

  3. Default Gravatar
    HusBJanuary 10, 2022

    Hi,
    My sister is applying for a permanent migrant visa and would like to open a bank account in Australia from overseas, with me (Aus resident) as a joint account holder. Do you know if any banks allow this?
    Also, she will not be arriving in Australia at least for 12 months due to visa processing times.
    Thanks!

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AlisonJanuary 28, 2022Staff

      Hi HusB,

      Yes, you can open a bank account in Australia before you arrive here. Generally, banks will allow you to open an account up to 12 months before your arrival date. You and your sister will need to apply online and both meet the ID requirements in order to open the account.

      Thanks,
      Alison

  4. Default Gravatar
    AzzaAugust 9, 2019

    Hi,

    How many bank accounts I can keep open at the same time?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniAugust 10, 2019Staff

      Hi Azza,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      You can open as many as you can.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  5. Default Gravatar
    ElzanneFebruary 27, 2019

    As a South African citizen, I would like to open a bank account in Australia, but I will not be living or working there.
    I just want ato save place to put myit money.
    Is that possible?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnFebruary 28, 2019Staff

      Hi Elzanne,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      Opening a bank account with an Australian bank is a simple process given that you’re migrating, studying or working. 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 for you to be able to open an account. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

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