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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.

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If you regularly send or receive payments in US dollars, opening up a multi-currency account is a great option. Wise is currently among the most popular choices as it typically offers a better exchange rate and lower fees than banks such as HSBC, NAB and ANZ.

If you want to open a USD account in Australia, keep reading to find out how.

Services which offer multi-currency accounts

1 - 4 of 4
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer)
Revolut
Within minutes
$0
Send money with great rates and low fees in 30+ currencies.
Wise (TransferWise)
Within minutes
From 0.43%
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 50+ currencies.
HSBC International Money Transfers
24 hours
From $8
Get real time exchange rates when markets are open with flat $8 fee for online international transfers.
Airwallex
Within minutes
$0
Streamline global payments in 60+ currencies. Send & receive securely in 150+ countries, with fast settlements & competitive rates. Simplify book-keeping & manage everything in one place.
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How multi-currency accounts work

How to open your US dollar account

You can open a USD account by completing the following steps:

  1. Compare multi-currency accounts from a range of providers.
  2. Choose one that supports USD and apply to open an account.
  3. Provide your name, contact details and proof of ID.
  4. Submit your application.
  5. Once your application has been approved, you can start depositing funds into your USD account.

Let's go deeper: Opening a USD account with Wise

To give you a better idea of how multi-currency accounts work, let's take a look at the process of opening a Wise multi-currency account.

Finder survey: Do Australians think the Australian dollar will get stronger over the next 12 months?

Response75+ yrs65-74 yrs55-64 yrs45-54 yrs35-44 yrs25-34 yrs18-24 yrs
No53.57%56.71%58.13%56.73%56.04%55.56%59.34%
Yes46.43%43.29%41.88%43.27%43.96%44.44%40.66%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1004 Australians, December 2023

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:

Icon of a bankUS bank account details In a lot of cases, you'll be given a US account number and routing number so that you can receive payments in USD with the speed and the low or no fees of a domestic transfer.
Coins iconSupport for multiple currencies Many accounts will also support additional currencies, allowing you to send and receive payments in USD, EUR, GBP and more.
Briefcase iconAvailable for business and personal customers Some banks and transfer services only offer multi-currency accounts for business or personal use, but other providers offer accounts to suit both types of customers.
Credit card iconLinked debit card Many foreign currency accounts come with a linked debit card that you can use to make ATM withdrawals.
Clock iconAccount access You'll be able to access any of these accounts online, but it can be helpful to have a specialised app that makes it easier to sort your money on-the-go.
Transfer iconReasonable exchange rates and fees While most services offer free accounts, you should check out how the exchange rate differs. In general, banks will offer worse rates than a third-party service.

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 opening a USD account, make sure you're aware of the following drawbacks:

  • 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 off moving your funds into a savings account.

Bottom line

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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