Opening a Bank Account in Australia from Overseas

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Before you read this entire page, I have made an Update below, and I can tell you now, I no longer answer the question of how you can “Open a Bank Account in Australia from Overseas”

The Big Four

Here 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 (CommBank), National Australian Bank (NAB) and Westpac. It’s difficult to say which is the biggest out of those four, it depends which criteria you’re using as a measurement.

Is it profit? Is it equity? Is it market capitalisation? Is it the number of branches or even how many ATMs they have? Each and every one of these top 4 banks could probably come first or fourth depending which criteria you choose as a measurement.

Update November 2022

Over the years I’ve changed this page many times trying to keep up with the changing information as banks close branches, increase their numbers of ATMs, buyout other banks and increase their market capitalisation, among other things.

At one point I was also able to offer the name of the bank that made it easiest to open account from abroad, but now the criteria appears to be the same across all banks, most likely to comply with the laws that try and prevent money laundering.

So, sadly, I’m now in a position where I really cannot offer you advice around which is the best bank in Australia to open an account with, but I can tell you who the top four banks are. I’ve already mentioned them on this page, but here they are again. In no particular order, they are:

  • Commonwealth Bank
  • Westpac
  • NAB
  • ANZ

Simply Google which ever bank you fancy, look for their “Migrant Banking” section and check out what they have to offer and what you need to do to open a bank account with them.

My apologies for not being able to be as helpful as I would have liked.

Changing your local currency into Australian dollars

Of course, at some point you will need to exchange your local currency into Australian dollars when you move to Australia. Getting the best exchange rate possible is critical and for this I would strongly suggest that you do not use CommBank, or any high street bank anywhere in the world to do this.

To get the best exchange rate, you need to use a dedicated currency exchange company. For more information about that, please visit my page about currency exchange:




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{ 147 comments… add one }
  • Irina January 14, 2020, 6:09 pm |

    I’m not an Australian citizen. I need a bank account to recieve a child support from Australian resident. Are there any options for me that does not include visiting Ausrtalia? How long the account can stay not activated?

    • BobinOz January 15, 2020, 6:23 pm |

      I think your best bet would be to open a PayPal account which would be perfect for your needs. The Australian resident can send Australian dollars to your PayPal account and you can directly transfer that money in your own currency straight to your own bank account.

      It is probably the cheapest way and simplest way for you to receive money from Australia on a regular basis.

      • Simon Elvins January 16, 2020, 10:28 am |

        Or Perhaps use something like transfer wise – they do all the exchange stuff at a good rate between any accounts

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