Opening a Bank Account in Australia from Overseas

Piggy BankI have been asked many times if I can recommend a good bank for those of you moving to Australia and I’ve always thought to myself “How can I? I’ve not tried every bank, how can I compare them?

On top of that, there is so much to consider; service fees, deposit rates, interest rates, transfer fees, minimum account balances, overdraft fees, late payment fees, ATM fees, debit card transaction fees and more. Even if I were able to somehow compare them all, each and every one of these fees can be changed by any bank at any time making the comparison outdated.

With something like 20 or so banks to choose from here in Australia it’s an impossible task, even if I made it my full-time job.

Whilst doing my research though, I discovered that the bank I have been with since the day I arrived in Australia, which was in 2007, have now set up a dedicated Migrant Banking service to make opening an account from abroad an absolute breeze.

moving to australiaHere in Australia, just as in many other countries, we have a “Big Four” in our banking world. Those banks are, in alphabetical order, ANZ, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australian Bank (NAB) and Westpac. It’s difficult to say which is biggest out of those four, it depends which criteria you’re using as a measurement.

Is it profit? Is it assets? Is it equity? Is it market capitalisation? Each and every one of those banks could come first or fourth depending which one you choose.

Westpac though has the biggest branch network around the country with over 1200 locations and they also have over 2900 ATMs. Also…

number 1… no, I didn’t know and I don’t know what it means really, but they are number one all the same.

I have found banking with Westpac very convenient, they have three branches very close to where I live, I can do Internet banking online and I can do banking by telephone as well. Bills can be paid online easily, you can opt out of paper statements and download PDF statements online instead if you want to and whenever I have had dealings with them their staff have always been very friendly, courteous and helpful.

I’ve never had a cross word with them or received a snotty letter.

So I highly recommend Westpac and they have now made it super easy to open an account from abroad.

quick and easyI have a Choice account for my day-to-day personal banking and I also have an e-Saver account as an interest paying deposit account. Opening those two accounts would be the perfect start for anyone about to move to Australia looking for banking facilities.

Westpac do offer many other kinds of accounts though, so once you’re here and you know more precisely what your needs are, you can then start looking at potentially opening additional accounts.

How do you open an account?

open account

Yes, it really is that easy. Click on any of the above images to start the process. It takes just 10 minutes.

You won’t be able to withdraw any money from your account until you have had your identity check, that’s Australian law. You can do that remotely from outside of Australia provided you get your documents certified by an acceptable certifier, Westpac will provide you with a list.

Alternatively you can complete your identity check upon arrival, that’s what I did and it was very easy. Simply turn up at your bank within six weeks of arrival and all you will need to show is your passport, a valid visa and an Australian residential address.

It really is that simple. Click the link below to get started…

Open up a Westpac Account Now

Why wait until you get here?

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Open a bank account in Australia
{ 88 comments… add one }
  • Berdine Meeding April 1, 2017, 4:49 pm | Link

    We would like to move to Australia in about 10 years time, but we would like to save some money in a bank account in Australia for that event. Is it possible for us to open an account in Australia without living in Australia and to deposit or withdraw money via internet before we arrive in Australia.

    • BobinOz April 4, 2017, 6:14 pm | Link

      Well, I’m pretty sure you cannot do that with this particular bank account here, it is for people who intend to move to Australia within 12 months. Whether Westpac or any other bank can accommodate you, I’m afraid I don’t know, you would need to contact them directly to try and find out.

      Hope that helps, Bob

  • Zoe Taylor March 2, 2017, 11:34 pm | Link

    Hi Bob

    Could you please tell me if there are monthly charges for bank accounts or any other charges?

    Thanks.

    Zoe

    • BobinOz March 3, 2017, 7:41 pm | Link

      Yes, there will be charges, please check them directly with the banks online.

  • Hakim Benzidane January 21, 2017, 1:14 am | Link

    Hi Bob,

    Great blog 🙂 I have a question (sorry if it is not on the right topic) but I was wondering if you could make (or perhaps you already amde it) a list of standard expenses you can get (ex: rent, car, home insurance, health insurance, city ratepayers, electricity, internet, mobile, etc.). I know that situations could vary (ppl having a car or not, ppl having children or not, etc.). It is just that my wife and 3 yo daughter will move to Melbourne (we were in Paris, now Munich) and I’d like to avoid surprises 🙂 Thx again !

    • BobinOz January 22, 2017, 8:38 pm | Link

      Thanks Hakim, glad you like it 🙂

      Well, no, I haven’t made such a list, but I do have a whole category on the cost of living in Australia, you can see a link to it in my categories list on the right-hand side of every page. I also have a page called The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything.

      Everybody’s expenses are different, and I know it can be quite daunting going to a new country, but I really can’t think that Australia has any real surprises when it comes to standard living expenses. The only thing I can think of that does sometimes catch people out is having to pay for their children’s education if they are here on some kind of temporary visa which means they do not qualify for the free state education.

      That can get quite complicated, but I do talk about it here…

      http://www.bobinoz.com/blog/11413/state-school-fees-for-temporary-visa-holders-in-australia/

      If there are any real surprises, I’d probably miss them in my list, and that would be misleading. That’s probably why I haven’t created one 🙂

      Good luck, Bob

      • Hakim Benzidane January 23, 2017, 6:47 am | Link

        Thanks for your quick reply 🙂 really helpful! Cheers

  • Ahmed January 15, 2017, 7:17 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,
    I am Ahmed from Egypt, I’ll visit Australia next Feb for only a week. Up till now I have no plan when exactly I can come to settle In Australia. I got a visa 189 that is available for 5 years.
    is it possible to open a bank account without a permanent address in Australia or not? If yes , are there any fees that I have to pay until I activate my account

    • BobinOz January 15, 2017, 7:55 pm | Link

      Hi Ahmed

      This particular scheme is for people who intend to arrive in Australia within the next 12 months, so if you are not sure when you will be arriving, I think it’s best that you speak to the bank direct to see if they can assist.

      Sorry I can’t be more helpful, the good luck. Bob

  • Glenn November 12, 2016, 3:22 am | Link

    Hi Bob,

    I’ll be migrating to Melbourne in January and am currently researching which bank to open an account with. I am planning to use ofx to transfer money on a regular basis till I finally arrive. The big 4 banks charge a fee for each inward overseas transfer. However, I have found that Citibank doesn’t charge any fee for the same. What are your thoughts on that ?

    Regards,
    Glenn

    • Mark November 12, 2016, 7:08 am | Link

      Hi Glenn Congratulations on the move, we did it nearly 12 months ago and wont be returning (save visits) yes the banks do charge around 20 dollars for an inbound international transfer but if you use oFx (check with them) or the advert for Tor FX is alongside me as I type, they have Australian accounts so it wont be an international transfer simple Au to Au bank. If I may add there is a bigger picture…If say an outfit In Dubai says they will give you 0.004 more then on say 20K GBP (I dont know where you are from) thats a decent 80 dollars minus the 20 fee is a tank of fuel or one heck of a lunch….However the thing to do is get two three or four of these fx types on hand plus say transferwise whose rate is immediately view-able rate and call your broker ofx ask the rate just after you have checked the others Ask them to match it if the others are better even if they give you the best rate, say they say you will get 16184.24 on 10K gbp ask them go on I am sure you can round that up to 16200 They will find a way especially if you always come back to them. If its a low amount say £1000 or so then probably not but 10 15 or 20K plus barter Try always to just use the one you end up with a rapport and then they deal easier after all on say 100K GBP even 0.001 cents is a hundred dollars better off, I move my salary from UK (haven;t bothered since Brexit) its a very volatile market.

      • BobinOz November 14, 2016, 12:09 am | Link

        Yes, as Mark has said, it’s all about the bottom line $$$. So Citibank do not charge an inward fee, but what are their other charges? All banks have charges because that’s how they make their money, so it’s just one charge to consider out of them all.

        For example, I have a BankWest business account as well as my personal Westpac account. I chose BankWest because it does not charge a monthly fee, all the other business accounts I looked at did. BankWest do charge me an incoming fee for international transfers though, it’s $10.

        That works for me though, because I don’t get many international money transfers, so it’s the cheapest way for me to have a business account. So you can’t look at one aspect of a banks charges in isolation, you have to look at all of the charges, and if you’re changing money the exchange rate, before you can side which one is best.

  • Jo Froggatt November 3, 2016, 12:40 am | Link

    Hope this isn’t a silly question. I remember reading a while ago about differences between UK credit & debit cards, compared with Australian bank cards, but I can’t seem to find the info now – I’m wondering whether you have any info on your website that you could point me towards, or if you could provide any info about how to use UK cards when initially visiting (& what option I’d need to choose if making a purchase or withdrawal on either), & the difference compared with the different types of Australian card?
    Your help is much appreciated.
    Thanks – Jo.

    • BobinOz November 3, 2016, 7:34 pm | Link

      Hi Jo

      No, not a silly question at all.

      As far as I am aware, all of our ATMs accept MasterCard and Visa, so providing your UK card is one or other, I’m pretty sure it will work just fine. I would think you would need to choose the ‘credit’ option from the screen.

      The only difference with using a UK card would be the exchange rate that you get, it won’t be as good as you will get from a proper currency exchange company, but I think it will be fine for day-to-day use. Not good for major purchases though.

      If you’re coming here on holiday, you might like to talk to your UK bank about a travel card, most banks offer these, but do be sure to check out the fees that apply. Sometimes you might just be better off using your usual card.

      If you are actually moving here, so here to stay, you can get a debit card from your bank, I have one from Westpac. The debit card just draws money straight out of your bank account, so it’s not a credit card and therefore does not need credit checks. Just money in your account.

      I’ve had mine for nine years now, and I still don’t have a credit card, my debit card is fine for me. I don’t like paying interest 🙂

      Hope that helps, Bob

      • Dev November 8, 2016, 3:41 pm | Link

        Hi Bob
        I opened a Westpac account through your website after having endless trouble trying to open a ANZ account.
        There’s a Westpac branch in London with great staff. We did our ID checks there , which means we can have our debit cards before we fly to Aus in December. They also put us in touch with someone in Australia that will help us with our tax codes, insurance, mortgage etc. As we moving in a month from UK to Melbourne, it is just a few less things too worry about.

        Thanks for all the advice , especially when you start the process and you don’t have a clue what to do.

        • BobinOz November 8, 2016, 5:49 pm | Link

          Hi Dev

          I didn’t know Westpac had a branch in London, that’s very useful for those ID checks. Glad to hear they sorted out your account very efficiently and also put you in touch with those other useful contacts. Sounds like they are doing a good job.

          Glad to hear my site has also been helpful to you, and I do hope your move goes very smoothly next month. Cheers, Bob

    • Paul Hayward November 4, 2016, 8:23 am | Link

      Hi Jo,

      Fortunately for me, my Australian debit card was ready for me to collect when I arrived in Australia and so I never had to use my UK cards. As far as I am aware though, if you do need to use your UK cards over here then there really is no difference, you may just get charged the normal fees for using your cards abroad.

      Over here they are very keen on using “pay wave” (I think it’s called), which is where you just tap your card on the scanner to pay, and any purchase under $100 doesn’t require your ‘pin’.

      If you want to get an Australian credit card, you have to be in the country for 3 months before you can apply – I assume that’s so you can get some sort of credit rating built up.

      Sorry I couldn’t have been of more help. Good luck.

      Paul

      Sent from my iPhone

    • Mark November 4, 2016, 1:09 pm | Link

      Hi Jo as had already been said little difference Just like in the UK try and avoid taking cash out on a visa MasterCard or Amex as the costs are high and interest instantly added . Similarly you can use a debit card some even like Halifax and Nationwide with no charge *technically speaking” at any ATM. I say technically speaking as their rate is usually poorer than a foreign exchange so it could be averred their charges are hidden in the conversion rate. The bottom line is how much you will get in dollars against what you are charged in GBP if you are a short visitor its pointless opening an Aus account, just bring a some dollars with you for small purchases dont use a UK debit card for little purchases especially from a bank that charges the usual 2.75% fee Longer term open one and transfer using an agent like torfx or transferwise some money from UK and use on debit card from the Aus bank. I do use my Australia cards here and still make online purchase from UK Heck I even had Morrisons UK deliver six bottles of prosecco for a birthday present last week so do not if living here give up your UK cards or wherever you live. Similarity you can have a credit card when you land it depends on circumstances as they are unable to credit check but a hefty bank deposit and they have the company I work for account so I was given two credit cards.on arrival. Interest free for 15 months I will pay them off in full when that ends then every month but I have in 10 months amassed some 68K Quantas points. its always nice to get something free, thats enough for Australia to UK flight It may also be of help to those waiting for funds from UK.

  • sandra October 23, 2016, 8:48 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,
    thanks for the info. I am an australian citizen living in Europe but will be moving back in a couple of years so I will start my account from here before I leave for Aus. I will be hopefully moving with my partner who is Czech (I am too- have two citizenships) if he will be granted a partner visa. Do you know anything about the partner visa? Tips of recomendations? Thanks, Sandra

    • BobinOz October 24, 2016, 5:22 pm | Link

      No, sorry Sandra, only MARA registered migration agents can help with that sort of thing, it’s the law. If you think you need help with it, then you should get one, see my page about Migration agents.

  • Romain October 21, 2016, 3:17 am | Link

    Hi,
    Thanks a lot for your article and answers, especially about Transferwise.
    I have a inverse situation as most people here, as I moved out of Australia after few years leaving there. But I still have my account.
    A friend is now selling my possessions there and will put the money on my account.
    I was thinking to open a saving account because the rates are more interesting than in Europe.
    However, I saw few times the requirement of being permanent Australian resident.
    I know it wasn’t necessary when I opened my account but can I keep it from overseas? What about opening a saving account?
    Thanks for any help

    • BobinOz October 21, 2016, 8:54 pm | Link

      Really sorry Romain, but I have no idea about that one. I think it would be best if you contact the bank direct to ask them. Good luck, Bob

  • Carmel Reid October 19, 2016, 10:05 pm | Link

    Thank you – this was most helpful – I have set up both Choice and saver accounts. I was a bit confused because they don’t have an option for a tourist visa but I simply put ‘other’ and that seems fine.

    • BobinOz October 19, 2016, 11:22 pm | Link

      Perfect choice Carmel, that’s what I have as well; a Choice and a saver account. I hope you enjoy Australia when you get here.

  • miatsi October 12, 2016, 5:27 pm | Link

    Dear Bob, my sister in law wants to sponsor me for a student visa to Australia but according to the list of sponsors, she can’t. So was thinking if I can open an account with Westpac then she can transfer the money she wants to sponsor me with in that account, I can then have a bank statement in my name, which I can use to apply for my student visa. Is that possible I want to start school in February next year, im in Africa.

    • BobinOz October 12, 2016, 8:57 pm | Link

      That’s a question I cannot answer, you would need to speak to a MARA registered migration agent about that. See Would I Qualify?

  • Rams August 8, 2016, 3:42 am | Link

    Dear Bob,

    Could you please let me know who will help on 457 work permit visa? Whom should i contact for 457 VISA?

    Thank you in advance..

  • Arlette July 9, 2016, 10:34 am | Link

    Hi, so I’ve taken the task to compare migrant accounts across the Big 4 and when looking at Westpac’s branches and ATMs in Victoria, they have just 10 of them across the state (as on their website). This versus 35 with NAB. Am I missing something as I did read that you said they have the largest network? I looked at NSW as well and they too have just a handful. This would be a deal-breaker. Appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.

    • BobinOz July 10, 2016, 8:42 pm | Link

      Yes, you are definitely missing something. I’m not sure where you are pulling your information from, but Westpac now have around 3000 ATMs around the country according to their website, so they most certainly have more than 10 in Victoria.

      Even the NAB would have more than 35, for sure.

      Maybe your search is just picking up the closest ones to you according to your computers location. Maybe it’s just picking up the top 10. I can assure you though, you will never be far away from a Westpac ATM in Victoria or anywhere in Australia.

      Well, you may struggle to find one in the outback 🙂

      • Arlette July 13, 2016, 7:28 am | Link

        Thanks Bob!! I reached out to the bank and yes indeed, there is a glitch with the map application that pulls just one suburb when I my search criteria is ‘Victoria’! Zooming in and out just further confuses the tool and its results ;)!! Many thanks for your help.

        • BobinOz July 13, 2016, 9:30 pm | Link

          Well, I thought something was up somewhere. Glad to hear you’ve got it sorted now. Cheers, Bob

  • Tara June 24, 2016, 8:24 am | Link

    Hi,

    I am a UK student who will be moving to Oz for a year as part of an exchange programme, and have just set up a student account online with Commonwealth. In order to properly access my account I need to just pop in store when I arrive with my passport etc., but I was just wondering what if I will need to give them a permanent address? I am staying in a hotel for the first 7 nights, so if I order a debit card I may have already left the hotel by the time it arrives. I plan to find a flat to rent during this time, but would I need an actual debit card to pay my initial deposit/bond? Or just the bank account details?
    Sorry if this doesn’t make much sense haha!

    • BobinOz June 24, 2016, 8:10 pm | Link

      Well, yes, your question makes sense, but I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for you.

      I think this is something you will need to talk through with the bank when you get here, I’m sure they will be very understanding. I would also think if you spoke to the hotel about this, they would hold the letter for you to collect even if you’re no longer living there.

      I’m sure all you would need to do is agree to tell the bank as soon as you have a new and more permanent address that everything will be fine. Good luck, Bob

    • SaraR August 7, 2016, 7:04 am | Link

      It is usually possible to arrange to collect cards etc from the bank branch in this type of situation

  • Gabrio May 26, 2016, 10:39 pm | Link

    hey Bob,

    great article and I have a quick question, in regards to the requirements that they will check for the bank account you said “all you will need to show is your passport, a valid visa and an Australian residential address” 1 and 2 are no problem but me and my wife are moving for my job to stay there and will probably stay say 1-2 weeks at a temporary place while we look for a flat, a serviced apartment or hotel, would that be sufficient as address?

    If not, when we go and get a flat with an agency, wouldn’t they ask for our bank account as well? So that’s the chicken and egg game isn’t it? What comes first?

    thanks,
    Gabrio

    • BobinOz May 27, 2016, 6:03 pm | Link

      I’m not 100% sure, so you may want to doublecheck with the bank, but I don’t see why a temporary address won’t work in this situation. I think they just need an address to send your bank card to, then all you would need to do is notify them of a change of address when you find somewhere more permanent.

      Hope that helps, Bob

      • Paul June 15, 2016, 2:25 am | Link

        Hi Bob,

        My question is about opening a bank account to get my Australian wage paid into, when I arrive in country that is. I have also asked this question on “How much money do I need to live in Australia” that I found before this link, so please ignore that.

        Basically I am coming over from the uk on a 457 visa and my contract is for 15 months. My work schedule is work 15 days and then 13 days off; great for travelling & exploring.
        My employer provides accommodation during my work periods, but this will change potentially every work period, and I intend to travel around Australia and Asia during my off periods.
        Therefore I will not have a fixed residential address, and may well never be in Perth where the companies HQ is located.

        Can I therefore open a bank account in Australia without a residential address? I obviously don’t want my wages paid into a uk bank as i’d lose out on exchange rates and comissuon charges etc.

        I do have friends that are renting a house in Adelaide.

        Thank you in anticipation.

        Reply

        • BobinOz June 15, 2016, 9:08 pm | Link

          Then if your friends don’t mind, I suggest you use that address as your base. It just makes things easier. You will probably need to use the same address for your drivers license but as long as you make sure you keep in touch with those friends and answer any correspondence that gets sent to the house, I really don’t see a problem.

          I’m sure plenty of other people who work without a fixed location do the same thing.

          Good luck, Bob

          • Paul June 16, 2016, 1:00 am | Link

            Thanks for your answer Bob.

            One further question, don’t understand the part about having to use the same address for my driving licence. I only have a UK licence and wasn’t anticipating getting an Australian one, unless that is a requirement of course?

            Cheers,
            Paul

            • BobinOz June 16, 2016, 9:41 pm | Link

              I think you can only use your UK license for a certain amount of time, so you may need to get an Australian one at some point. Check with the transport department of whichever state it is you are moving to.

              The reason I suggested it is because when you get your ID checked at the bank, they will ask you for certain documents to prove who you are and where you live and the driving license may be one of them.

              • Paul June 19, 2016, 8:44 am | Link

                Thanks very much for your help; greatly appreciated 🙂

  • pek hooi lim May 24, 2016, 6:14 am | Link

    hi i am a malaysian . Can i open a bank account in melbourne australia with my documents certified at the high commission.

    • BobinOz May 24, 2016, 5:45 pm | Link

      I don’t know, you’d be better off asking the bank direct.

  • Apple May 18, 2016, 3:18 am | Link

    Hi all, may i know I’m Malaysian, i would like to open a saving account at Australia but I’m not moving to Australia this few years maybe will be plan move to Australia after 10 years. Now plan saving for my future life in Australia , any idea for this?

    • BobinOz May 18, 2016, 11:23 pm | Link

      I think you should contact the bank direct about this one, I’m not sure this is suitable for someone who does not intend to live in Australia for another 10 years. If you contact them direct, they will be able to help you out.

  • Ishaque May 7, 2016, 2:21 pm | Link

    I wish to explore investing/ doing business in Australia. I am a UK national. Please advise. Ishaque

    • BobinOz May 8, 2016, 9:37 pm | Link

      I couldn’t help you with that, it’s not what I do. If you are just looking to invest or do business here whilst remaining in the UK, then you probably just need to speak to some kind of Australian business advisor.

      If you actually want to live here in Australia, then you should probably speak to a lawyer who specialises in business investments and can also help you with the visa application.

  • Charlie March 12, 2016, 4:39 pm | Link

    We are in the proccess of trying to move to Australia and I would like to start moving money as soon as possible, if by any reason we do make it what happens to the money I have already deposided, would I be able when I close the acount to get my money back.

    • BobinOz March 14, 2016, 4:48 pm | Link

      Yes, providing you have had your identity check completed and you have full access to your account, you will be able to transfer it back.

  • Diana February 29, 2016, 1:46 pm | Link

    Great info. Thanks Bob.

    Opening an account overseas with westpac, can I withdraw and deposit from the account whilst overseas? I don’t plan to be coming to Australia in the near future. Do they send the bank card overseas or to the Australian address? Many thanks.

    • Diana February 29, 2016, 1:48 pm | Link

      Forgot to add, I am an Australian citizen.

      • BobinOz February 29, 2016, 11:55 pm | Link

        I’m not sure Diana, sounds to me as though what you need to do is open an account with Westpac using an address outside of Australia. For what it’s worth, I still have a UK bank account open and active that I can both deposit and withdraw from, and they do know I live in Australia.

        So I think it’s possible, but really you should check directly with Westpac to be sure. Good luck, Bob

  • Gaynor February 23, 2016, 4:00 pm | Link

    Hi I’m a UK citizen who will soon be retiring and planning to visit my son who lives in Ausralia on a regular basis. Can I set up an Australian bank acc despite not having a permanent address?
    Thanks

    • BobinOz February 23, 2016, 6:20 pm | Link

      I think you will need an address gain, but I don’t see why you cannot use your son’s address as a ‘care of’ or C/O address. It might be a good idea to get in touch with Westpac direct to talk about this.

  • Marina February 7, 2016, 4:21 am | Link

    Hi Bob i all ready have checking and saving in West pac Bank the only thing I need some like Hillsong Church will sponsor me I am very professional and i love to go to school over there.

    • BobinOz February 8, 2016, 5:28 pm | Link

      Well, I can’t help you get sponsorship, good luck with it though.

  • steph January 14, 2016, 11:14 pm | Link

    Hi could you advise how soon you are able to get you bank card once you have completed identity check.

    • BobinOz January 15, 2016, 9:11 pm | Link

      Once you have been verified they will send your card out to your address. Pretty sure I got mine within a week or so.

  • Mathew Kotai December 4, 2015, 1:32 am | Link

    Hi Bob, thanks for your highly important information.

    I live in Papua New Guinea and will be travelling to and fro on a Tourist Visa. Will it be possible for me to establish an eSaver Account?

    • BobinOz December 4, 2015, 7:42 pm | Link

      I’m not sure, you will have to take that one up with Westpac, hopefully they have some kind of account that will suit you.

  • sanaz November 12, 2015, 3:57 pm | Link

    Hi there
    Finally we’ve got our visa and we are coming to Austarila within 4 months.I know that we won’t be able to withdraw money till we get our identity check but just want to know if it is possible to check our account online when we open our bank account .
    if we transfer our salary to our account before coming should we pay tax for it or not?

    • BobinOz November 26, 2015, 10:07 pm | Link

      I’m pretty sure that having opened the account you will be able to log in and view it online, but that something you would need to confirm with Westpac.

      I can’t really answer the tax question, other than I think you only pay tax in the country in which you don’t the money. You might want to check that with your accountant know.

  • Karla Bayne Rodocker July 30, 2015, 4:47 am | Link

    My husband and I would like to open a bank account in Australia, but do not have plans to go and live there. We are US citizens, is this possible?

    • BobinOz July 30, 2015, 6:38 pm | Link

      I can’t think of any reason why not, but I do know that the specific account set up mentioned above is for people who are expected to arrive in Australia to live within the next 12 months.

      If I were you I would telephone Westpac or any of the other major banks direct to find out how to do it if it is indeed possible, probably the only tricky part would be validating your identity from abroad. But I’m sure there’s a way, you just need to phone and ask. Good luck, Bob

  • Vinod John March 1, 2015, 6:53 pm | Link

    Hello Bob, this appears to be a great forum. We have got our visas and will be relocating to Adelaide from Dubai by mid-May. Would appreciate your suggestions on opening bank account in this area, as well as areas for single apartments for monthly rent.
    Regards,
    Vinod

    • BobinOz March 1, 2015, 11:45 pm | Link

      Well, yes, my suggestions on opening a bank account in Adelaide is exactly the same, Westpac are a national bank and have branches all around Australia. I am happy to recommend them to you.

      For an area to rent single apartments, I suggest you ask that question on my page about Adelaide, you’ll find a link underneath the main navigation menu for Australian Cities.

      Good luck with your move, Bob

  • david January 25, 2015, 1:12 pm | Link

    I bank with the ANZ and find the presence of ATMs at Woolworths (Safeway) supermarkets (in addition to other locations) very convenient, but I’m sure all the major banks are much of a muchness.

    Do be very mindful, as Bob points out, that using a card to withdraw money at another financial institution’s ATM will cost you a fee. In addition to the Big 4 and other banks, don’t overlook credit unions and building societies.

    Here is a link to the Commonwealth Government’s list of authorised deposit-taking institutions as of 19/1/2015: http://www.apra.gov.au/adi/pages/adilist.aspx

    One thing to bear in mind, especially, is going to one of the Big 4 banks to seek investment advice- you hear and read of tales where they invariably direct you to their products. My preference is to use someone independent and pay a one-off fee; that way you don’t have to worry about trailing commissions which reduce the return on any investment. Be mindful that some ostensibly ‘independent’ financial advice companies are owned by banks! You could, of course, not seek any financial advice and place money in term deposits, 10 year bonds, buy shares in blue chip companies or invest elsewhere. I can only stress that do your own research whether you want to invest on your own without advice or even research financial advisers to see if they are truly independent.
    David.

    • BobinOz January 27, 2015, 5:05 pm | Link

      Good point about independent financial advisers, as I mentioned in an earlier comment on this page, the Commbank was subject of a big investment scandal themselves very recently, perfect proof of what you’re saying David.

  • Simbagee September 17, 2014, 5:34 am | Link

    Hi, your website is so informative thanks for your great advice. We are emigrating to Melbourne And beginning to think about opening a bank account from the UK. I wondered if you might know whether the Australian bank credit check your UK credentials. Don’t have great credit histories in the UK and I’m hoping this won’t affect us when we move to Australia! Thanks in advance for any useful advise.

    • BobinOz September 17, 2014, 7:27 pm | Link

      I’m not sure they do, if I were you I’d just go ahead and open a bank account here, you can do that very easily, see my page how to open a bank account in Australia.

      • BobinOz September 17, 2014, 7:28 pm | Link

        Update: oh, you are already on that page 🙂 just go ahead and sign up, I think you’ll be fine.

  • Nicky August 13, 2014, 10:23 pm | Link

    Hi – just to share that there is a new kid on the block for money transfer etc. Its called transferwise.com and we are just about to use it to pay for our daughters school enrolment in Brisbane so I’ll let you know how we get on. They promise to beat literally everyone and you can transfer dosh or find out what the other person wants in AUS $ and let it transfer that exact amount. We got stung using paypal last week and had to pay a transfer fee and we didn’t get a great rate. It was only a little deposit on a rental but it all adds up I guess.

    • BobinOz August 14, 2014, 6:35 pm | Link

      Nicky

      An interesting looking service, but just so that nobody gets confused, this company looks okay for transferring a few hundred pounds to pay for something, like your child’s school fees as you say, but you wouldn’t want to use these people for currency exchange when it comes to moving larger sums of money to Australia pending a move.

      The way these people work, they cannot guarantee a rate when you do a deal, what they do is provide you with an estimated exchange rate. So if you do a transfer now then you pay the fee, then if the rate drops over 3% you have to wait for the rate to improve. This might not happen for weeks! If it drops less than 3% then less money gets sent and this is all in the agreement! They will convert the money at mid-market rate, so as this is fluctuating it can mean you receive a lot less than “estimated”.

      You also don’t receive funds for up to a week on their standard service – the people I recommend on my currency exchange page can do next day transfers with no fees. The company I recommend also have a Dun & Bradstreet Rating 1, so you know your money will be safe with them.

      As I say, okay for transferring a few hundred quid, but for higher amounts, I’d set up an account with TorFX.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Asim Safdar August 13, 2014, 12:47 pm | Link

    Hi all

    I found the Lebara Unlimited SIM amazingly useful when I came here to work as a GP in Brisbane. It allows UNLIMITED calls to 50 countries and about half of them incl UK, USA, Canada and most of Europe to MOBILES also! Just whacked it in my iPhone and away I went! see http://www.lebara.com.au/unlimited

    Your site was a great help Bob.
    I ended up with NAB and have found them as good as you describe Westpac also but I feel maybe ANZ has more ATMs… may move over as I opened with both from UK before coming.

    • BobinOz August 13, 2014, 8:47 pm | Link

      Never heard of that sim card before, so thanks for the tip, hopefully someone will find it helpful.

      One bank did have more ATMs, it may have been ANZ, but Westpac certainly had the most branches and also a huge network of ATMs as well.

  • Wen Ji August 13, 2014, 6:51 am | Link

    Thank you Bob

    We are planning to move to Brisbane next February. We have got lots of tips from you. Really appreciated. 🙂

    Thank you

    Wen Ji

    • BobinOz August 13, 2014, 8:23 pm | Link

      Glad to have helped Wen, hope your move goes well and you get to love this city as much as I do.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Ariane August 13, 2014, 3:23 am | Link

    Thank you Bob!
    Your artcicles are always really helpful 🙂
    I’ll go with Westpac I think (I’m leaving Montréal in two months!)

    • Hilary August 13, 2014, 7:39 am | Link

      Just to put in a thumbs up for Commbank. Have had an account with them for about three years and was able to open the account easily from UK. They have a branch in London where you can open the account and your Aus debit card is waiting at your nearest branch for you when you arrive in Aus. You just have to take ID with you. I never had any problem accessing Commbank ATMs around Sydney, not sure about Brissie though.

      TorFx do have a link with ANZ and I was told the bank are currently offering 4% on transfers of £20K, which sounded good. Have also managed to get a year without having to pay account fees, also good. Not sure about the availability of their ATMs but will soon find out.

      • BobinOz August 13, 2014, 8:16 pm | Link

        Good choice Ariane and I hope your upcoming move here from Montréal goes smoothly.

        Hilary, not a great time to be championing Commbank, you are aware of the current investment scandal surrounding that bank? That aside though, there’s not a huge amount to choose between the big four here, but I did do some quite hefty research before making my final recommendation. It was just a bonus for me that the bank I think that is best for branch and ATM coverage throughout the whole country also turned out to be the same people I’ve been banking with for seven years (and counting). So having personal experience of them obviously helped solidify my recommendation. Westpac are also currently offering free banking to new migrants, but I didn’t mention that in the article, I wanted it to be a bonus for when people click through 🙂

        I am also aware of the ANZ/TorFX connection, and although I really like TorFX and think they offer great service, I’m sticking with my recommendation of Westpac for my readers.

        Cheers, Bob

        • Hilary August 13, 2014, 10:09 pm | Link

          Eek, no Bob, had not heard of investment scandals with Commbank. Doesn’t sound good at all, thanks for the tip. Have a feeling I may be changing allegiances pretty soon then!

          Mind you, with all the awful stuff that’s gone on over here with banks I wouldn’t trust any of ’em.

          • BobinOz August 14, 2014, 6:16 pm | Link

            Well, I don’t think you need to panic Hilary, they are still a top four bank, they should be able to keep your money safe, just be careful of any investment advice 🙂

            And you are right, after what happened in Greece, I think we all have to be very careful with banks. Absolutely outrageous!

        • naznin April 1, 2016, 3:36 am | Link

          Dear Bob
          I’m in India and have an Australian wrspac account.
          No plans to visit australia this year.But I hve funds in my Westpac accounnow I need to withdrw it in India
          I got my ID check done
          And have sent the docs to Australia
          Will I now be able to withdraw or transfer funds from india?

          • BobinOz April 1, 2016, 7:03 pm | Link

            I don’t see why not, you should have full access to your account now that your ID check has been done. But, of course, you would need to exchange the currency to be able to withdraw it from your bank in India and for that you may be better off going through a dedicated currency exchange company for best rates.

            For example, see Currency Exchange.

            If it’s only a small amount though, I’m sure Westpac will be able to offer you currency exchange as well. I would check with them if I were you.

      • Tasman McMillan September 19, 2014, 1:45 am | Link

        I have 3 Commbank accounts. I also have an ANZ account to make money depositing easier from NZ. I’ve found that Commbank is the best, I’ve had a Westpac, NAB and BOQ.

        The Netbank, phone banking and Commbank iPhone app work a lot better than it’s competition, all seamlessly together and I’ve never had a problem with it in 7 years, unlike the other 4. They’ve given me a extremely competitive interest rate and they’ve never done the ‘dodgy’ by me or anyone I know.

  • Nicky June 21, 2014, 3:28 am | Link

    Thanks Bob. I know TorX the foreign exchange gang have a small tie up with ANZ so I was being steered in that direction but you hit the nail right on the head when you said “coverage” and online banking. My understanding is that unlike in the UK, Australian banks still charge you to withdraw money from another banks ATM so coverage was really important for our move to Brisbane too. I also found the Westpac move to Australia website really useful with a countdown checklist running from 3 months, 2 months, 1 month and 1 week before through to 1 week, 1 month ( you get it ! ) after your arrival. I like it that you can validate your identity before you go to. So it’s off to Westpac for me. Thanks loads again. ( I’m now hunting down anything from you on telephones as we are also going to buy pay as you go phones before leaving the UK and just need to buy some Oz SIM cards but not sure which network for calls, text and internet acess is best – hi hoooo )

    • BobinOz June 22, 2014, 8:02 pm | Link

      Yes, TorFX do have some kind of tie-up with ANZ, but I still do prefer Westpac. And you are right, you can often get charged $2.50 or $3.00 if you use the wrong cashpoint, so it’s good to stick to your own banks machines. So having lots of them as Westpac do is a big bonus.

      Mobile phone plans are another moving object, bit like banks, very hard to suggest the best option, but if it helps I’m with Vodafone and I only pay $20 a month and I never go over that plan. But then again, I never phone anyone 🙂

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