Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

Foreign currency accounts

You can save on overseas ATMs, international transaction fees and foreign exchange costs with a foreign currency account. Plus, hold multiple currencies in the one account.

If you need access to multiple currencies, a foreign currency account is an easy option that can save you money in foreign exchange fees and charges. A foreign currency account, or multi-currency account, allows you to hold several different currencies at once, and switch between currencies when needed.

Which banks offer foreign currency accounts?

1 - 11 of 11
Name Monthly fee Govt. Guarantee Own network ATM fee Card type
HSBC Everyday Global Account
HSBC logo
Finder AwardApple Pay Google Pay10 Currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
$0
Card type
Visa
Go to siteMore Info
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases.


Bank of Sydney Foreign Currency Transaction Account
Bank of Sydney logo
Apple Pay Google Pay Samsung Pay3 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
Visa
NAB Foreign Currency Account
NAB logo
Apple Pay Google Pay Samsung Pay Fitbit Pay Garmin Pay16 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
$0
Card type
Visa
Commonwealth Bank Foreign Currency Account
Commonwealth Bank logo
Apple Pay Google Pay Samsung Pay Fitbit Pay Garmin Pay14 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
Visa
Westpac Foreign Currency Account
Westpac logo
12 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
No Debit card
HSBC Foreign Currency Bonus Savings Account
HSBC logo
Apple Pay Google Pay10 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
Visa
St. George Foreign Currency Account
St.George Bank logo
14 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
No Debit card
ANZ Foreign Currency Account
ANZ logo
Apple Pay Google Pay6 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
Visa
Suncorp Treasury Foreign Currency Deposit Account
Suncorp Bank logo
Apple Pay Google Pay19 currencies
Monthly fee
$0
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
Visa
Arab Bank Foreign Currency Statement Account
Arab Bank Australia logo
Apple Pay Google Pay4 currencies
Monthly fee
$4
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
Visa
Bendigo Foreign Currency At Call Deposit Account
Bendigo Bank logo
Apple Pay Google Pay Samsung Pay Fitbit Pay Garmin Pay9 currencies
Monthly fee
$50
Government Guarantee
Own network ATM fee
Card type
Mastercard
loading
Showing 11 of 11 results

What is a foreign currency account?

Also known as a multi currency account, a foreign currency account is a standard Australian bank account that allows you to hold, send and receive funds in a foreign currency. These funds can either be exchanged into Australian Dollars or held in whatever currency they’re received in until you’re ready to exchange them. Foreign currency accounts can come in both business and personal versions.

How do I compare multi currency accounts?

Consider these features when choosing a foreign currency account:

  • Number of currencies. Some accounts may allow you to hold 10+ different currencies, while other may only offer 2 or 3.
  • Supported currencies. Check to ensure that the currencies you deal with most are available with each of the accounts you are comparing.
  • Account minimum. Some banks will require that you maintain a minimum monthly balance in the account.
  • Monthly account fees. Most banks are removing the monthly account keeping fee, but some still charge this, so it's worth checking before you choose an account.
  • Additional fees. Read the fine print to see if you are subject to any cash handling fees for transactions. In some instances this could depend on the particular currency and the type of transaction you are making.
  • Currency conversion charges. In addition to the exchange rate differences, the bank could also be charging you each time you convert your money to another currency (this is often called an international transaction fee).
  • Transfer amounts. The amount you're able to transfer per transaction and per day will vary between banks.
  • Transfer types. With most you are going to find that all overseas transfers are conducted as a bank to bank transfer.
  • Money transfer speed. Look to see how long it takes to transfer money from your home bank to one overseas.

What currencies are available in foreign currency account?

It will depend on the account you choose as to what currencies you're able to hold. However, most will offer the following major currencies:

  • Australian Dollars (AUD)
  • United States Dollars (USD)
  • Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
  • Euro (EUR)
  • Hong Kong Dollars (HKD)
  • Canadian Dollars (CAD)
  • Japanese Yen (JPY)
  • New Zealand Dollars (NZD)
  • Singapore Dollars (SGD)
  • Renminbi (RMB) though currency restrictions often apply

Pros and cons of a multi-currency account

Pros

  • Hold multiple currencies. You can hold multiple currencies in the one account and send and receive money directly in these currencies. This is very convenient if you do international business, are living abroad or have family overseas.
  • Spend in local currency. You can use the debit card to make purchases in the local currency while you're overseas.
  • Avoid international transaction fees. After you exchange the currency initially, you can deal in that currency without having to pay international transaction fees each time.
  • Exchange rates. You can keep an eye on the exchange rates and convert your funds when the rates are favourable, instead of having to rely on the rate on the day of your transaction.
  • Use the account locally. You can use the account as a regular bank account in Australia - no need to have two.

Cons

  • Less choice. Not all banks offer foreign currency accounts, so you may not be able to open an account with your existing preferred bank.
  • Not all currencies are supported. Most banks will offer the main currencies, however you'll likely to struggle to find an account that supports smaller, less common currencies.

Let's look at an example of how a mutli-currency account could be used

Let's say Matt buys stock from China and sells it in the United States. Without a foreign currency account the payment process would be a long and expensive ordeal. They would need to convert funds into Australian dollars when receiving payments from the US, and then convert this to Chinese Renminbi when they needed to purchase stock. This can come with extra fees, and would see them at more risk due to currency fluctuations when converting funds.

Since foreign currency accounts let you send and receive money in any currency, Matt could buy stock using Chinese renminbi, and receive payments from customers in US Dollars all direct into the one Australia-based bank account. Then they could decide when to convert funds into AUD when they wanted to.

*This is a fictional example, but a good way to demonstrate how a multi-currency account could be used.

What fees can I expect?

Some foreign currency accounts will charge a monthly account keeping fee, however many do not charge this anymore.

Some accounts will charge an international transaction fee, or currency conversion fee, when you initially transfer funds from one currency to another. This is often a percentage of the transaction value.

There may also be fees for depositing or withdrawing money from the account in a branch. Some institutions may offer unlimited deposits and allow a certain number of fee-free withdrawals per month, or vice versa. If you do need to pay fees for deposits or withdraws these will typically be under $10 per transaction.

If you receive many deposits each month it may be useful to find an account which offers free unlimited deposits.

How to open a foreign currency account

The process to open a multi-currency account is very similar to a regular bank account.

  1. Choose an account. Once you've compared your options and chosen an account, begin the online application on the bank's site.
  2. Verify your identity. As part of the application you'll need to verify your identity with at least 2 forms of ID, so have your passport, driver's license and/or Medicare card handy.
  3. Activate your account. Once your identity is verified and your account is opened, you can activate it by transferring some money from another bank account.

Frequently asked questions

More guides on Finder

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms Of Service and Finder Group Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

13 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    RobynJanuary 5, 2019

    I am moving to UK and buying a house there. Who offers the best exchange rate for this and also a safe one? Will be wanting to transfer approx 1M AUD.

      AvatarFinder
      JeniJanuary 8, 2019Finder

      Hi Robyn,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      You may refer to our guide about making a large international money transfer. In addition, if you have a UK bank account, you might want to consider looking at an international money transfer service, as these typically have more competitive exchange rates than banks.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

    Default Gravatar
    BryanOctober 31, 2018

    I have inheritance coming from the US. It will come from several accounts. I would like to get all the money collected and then look for a competitive exchange rate. What is the best account to do this?

      AvatarFinder
      JeniNovember 10, 2018Finder

      Hi Bryan,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Please note that exchange rate varies on time or date of transaction. This page currently provides info from 2 banks that offer multi-currency accounts. I suggest that you contact these banks directly or visit their local branch near you to help you decide on which to open a multi-currency account for your inheritance. It is also helpful to check online forums on this matter. I sincerely apologise that I wouldn’t be able to provide specific recommendation as different banks offer various banking facilities that would suit your needs.

      I hope this somewhat helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

    Default Gravatar
    BobSeptember 15, 2017

    Do any Australian banks offer a Malaysian Ringgit foreign account ?

      Default Gravatar
      LiezlSeptember 15, 2017

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks for your question. None of the banks in our review currently supports Malaysian Ringgit. Common currencies offered by banks are those mentioned above. You may want to contact the bank you wish to open an account with to ascertain this.

      Cheers,
      Liezl

    Default Gravatar
    PaulJuly 11, 2017

    I have taken a position overseas which I will be paid a salary in US dollars monthly. What is the best account to open? I have heard that some of the banks also charge pretty highly for exchanging between currencies. Which is the best way to deal with this?

      Default Gravatar
      LiezlJuly 11, 2017

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for reaching out. As a financial comparison website and general information service, we are unable to recommend a particular product to you.

      If you expect regular remittances in USD, multi-currency account might work for you. You can either opt to exchange the money in AUD or keep it in USD and exchange later. Please carefully go through our review above and see if this account suits your spending and saving habits. You may click the bank’s name for more information.

      Cheers,
      Liezl

      Default Gravatar
      PaulJuly 12, 2017

      Thank you Liezl

    Default Gravatar
    TonyJuly 4, 2017

    My company is about to receive over US$100k from overseas for foreign earnings
    This income will in due course be used in Australia but once received does not have to be used or dispersed in a hurry. Meaning we can wait or the US/AU foreign currency rate to be favourable before conversion to AUD.
    Question: Is there merit in having a dual currency account in these circumstances?

      AvatarFinder
      MayJuly 4, 2017Finder

      Hi Tony,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      If you are often dealing with international transactions, it would be ideal to have a multi-currency account. With this type of account, you’re able to switch between currencies while taking advantage of the changing exchange rates whilst not worrying about the extra charges for conversion. With a multi currency account, you can also deposit different currencies.

      Cheers,
      May

Go to site