I 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somehow compare them all, each and every one of these fees can be changed by any bank at any time making the comparison outdated.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.
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, 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…
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.
I 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?
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…
Why wait until you get here?