How to open a USD account in Australia
Learn how to get your own US bank account, so you can send and receive payments in US dollars.
If you regularly send or receive payments in a currency other than AUD, you might want to open a multi-currency account.
Offered by some banks and international money transfer services, these accounts let you hold funds in multiple currencies. This means you can make payments in different local currencies around the world and lock in a better exchange rate when you want to convert funds back to AUD.
If you want to open a USD account in Australia, keep reading to find out how.
Compare services that offer a USD account
Check out the table below to compare the fees and features of USD accounts from a range of providers.
How to open your US dollar account
You can open a USD account by completing the following steps:
- Compare multi-currency accounts from a range of providers.
- Choose one that supports USD and apply to open an account.
- Provide your name, contact details and proof of ID.
- Submit your application.
- Once your application has been approved, you can start depositing funds into your USD account.
Let's go deeper: Opening a USD account with TransferWise
To give you a better idea of how multi-currency accounts work, let's take a look at the process of opening a TransferWise Borderless Account.
What fees are involved?
You'll need to consider the following fees when opening and managing a multi-currency account:
- Incoming payment fee. Some companies will charge a handling fee on all payments made into your account.
- Outgoing payment fee. This fee may apply to every payment you make from your account. Other accounts may allow a limited number of fee-free withdrawals each month.
- Account keeping fee. Some services charge a monthly or annual account management fee.
- Currency conversion fee. You'll also need to consider the cost of converting from USD to AUD in your account. You may be charged a fee that's a percentage of your transaction amount or the fee may be included as part of the provider's exchange rate mark-up.
- ATM fees. If your account comes with a linked debit card, check whether there are any ATM withdrawal fees.
What key features to look for
Some of the features of a USD account include the following:
Who is an account like this best for?
A USD account can be a useful tool for a wide range of people, including the following:
- Businesses receiving payments from US clients and paying suppliers based in the US
- Freelancers who provide their services to US clients
- Overseas students who are studying in the US
- People with investments in the US
However, if you're only going to be spending a short time in Australia – like if you're vacationing Down Under for a couple of months – a travel money card offers a simpler way to manage your funds.
Benefits of having a USD account
There are several reasons why it makes sense to open a USD account:
- Get paid in USD. You can receive USD payments straight into your bank account and convert them to AUD at a time that suits you.
- Make payments in USD. If you need to pay a bill in the US, you can make your payment using the local currency.
- Save money on exchange rates. You can hold USD in your account and wait until a better rate becomes available to convert your funds to AUD, so you won't be at the mercy of fluctuating exchange rates.
- Support for other currencies. You may wish to open an account that supports multiple currencies, allowing you to receive local-currency payments from several countries around the world.
- Simple to use. Multi-currency accounts are just as easy to manage as your everyday transaction account.
What to watch out for
Before you open a USD account, make sure you're aware of the following drawbacks and potential problems:
- Minimum balance. Some multi-currency account providers will require you to maintain a specified minimum balance in your account at all times.
- Fees. You'll need to make sure you're aware of all the fees that apply to your account before deciding which provider offers the best value.
- Lack of transparency on exchange rates. Many account providers don't declare their exchange rate mark-ups upfront, so be wary of higher than expected exchange rate margins.
- Limits. Check the fine print to find out whether there are any limits on the amount you can convert or transfer in each transaction.
- Low interest. Multi-currency accounts typically don't pay a great deal of interest on your balances, so in some instances, you may be better moving your funds into a savings account.
If you regularly receive payments in USD, a multi-currency account can help you access superior exchange rates, ensuring that more money ends up in your pocket.
However, make sure you compare a variety of USD accounts before deciding which one is right for your needs.
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