How to Open a Bank Account Online in Australia from Overseas
If you're moving to Australia, or even just thinking about it, banking is important. While it's not the most exciting part of planning your big move, it's vital to have an idea of how you will manage your money while you're here. Luckily, most Australian banks make it relatively easy for foreigners opening a bank account online in Australia.
There are four of big banks in Australia. They are National Australia Bank (NAB), Commonwealth Bank (CommBank) the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ Bank), and Westpac. They all have allowances for non-residents to open an account online. Usually, you can do this before you even get to Australia.
This article goes over everything you need to know about opening a bank account online with an Australian bank, when you're in a different country.
What You Need to Open an Account Online with an Australian Bank from Overseas
All of the big four banks let you open a current checking account online through their websites although, you will need certain information to make this process as quick and easy as possible. Here are the documentation and conditions you need to meet to open an account online.
General Requirements for Opening a Migrant Australian Bank Account Online
- Know the date you plan to arrive in Australia.
- It’s helpful if you know the exact address where you will live, but sometimes the state will be enough.
- You will need to let the bank know the type of visa you will be entering Australia on.
- Share your profession or the type of work you will be doing in Australia. You may also have to explain how much you are likely to earn.
- Some banks will need your passport number or another proof of identity.
Later in this article we will go through the specific information you will need, depending on the bank you're opening your online account with.
Remember, that when it comes to transferring money to your new Australian account, your bank or PayPal may not be the best option. Instead, we recommend using a specialist money transfer company, and you can compare your options here.
The TransferWise Borderless Account: An Alternative
Before we get into all the details, there is an alternative online account you could consider. TransferWise released the Borderless Account in Australia in 2017. It essentially allows you to have your own local bank account. It is also significantly easier than setting up an account online with an Australian bank.
To read our full review of the TransferWise Borderless Account, click here or watch the following video.
Learn More About the TransferWise Borderless Account
Can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account Online in Australia?
Yes, there are a number of banks in Australia that can help foreigners opening a bank account online. There are certain pieces of information you need to be able to apply. But if you are able to provide all the information they need, you shouldn't have any issues opening a bank account online or even over the phone.
How to Open an Australian Bank Account Online in a Foreign Country
This is a really important part of opening a bank account online in Australia - actually knowing how to do it.
The requirements, eligibility and information you will need all depends on the bank but here are some general things to keep in mind;
- If you're opening the account before you arrive in Australia, you can usually do so within 3 to 12 months before you arrive.
- Most banks require you to be at least 18 years of age. Westpac and Commonwealth can let younger customers apply.
- You may need to know your exact arrival and departure date.
To open the account, the best place to start is the website of the bank you've chosen. From there you will be able to fill in the details they need. If you're more comfortable doing it over the phone, most banks will also have contact numbers. Just make sure you're calling within Australian business hours.
Opening a Bank Account in Australia from New Zealand
Many New Zealanders make the move to Australia each year, and vice versa. The great news is, opening a bank account online in Australia from New Zealand is relatively easy. Because there isn't a huge time difference it becomes easier if you'd prefer to do it over the phone too. In addition to this, some banks work out of both New Zealand and Australia. For example, ANZ bank.
Before you leave New Zealand it's a good idea to check that the name on your passport matches your other forms of identification. This way you won't have any issues when you get to Australia and need to confirm your identity at the bank.
For more specific information about what you'll need, you can refer to the information from individual banks later in this article.
Types of Bank Accounts in Australia
When it comes to opening a bank account online in Australia, there are three main options.
Everyday spending account
This is the standing type of account you would open. It is generally where you would receive your pay while you're in Australia and where your everyday purchases would be taken out from. A debit card can be attached to this type of account which makes withdrawing money and making purchases easy.
It is usually quite difficult to apply for a credit card before you are in Australia. This is because you will most likely need to be able to prove you're earning an income in Australia to do so. If you would like to have a credit card, you may have to wait until you have a few months of paychecks. This way the bank can see that you'll be able to pay it off.
You may be able to open one of these when you open your normal spending account. It can be handy if you want to keep some money aside and if you want to earn some interest on the money you're holding in your account.
The Best Australian Bank Account for Travellers
Okay, now that we know more about the process, let's have a look at the best options. The best online Australian bank account for travellers depends on when you want to open the account, and the type of information you're able to provide. The rest of this article goes into everything you need to know about opening a bank account online with four of Australia's major banks.
The first Australian bank we'll look at is Westpac. Westpac's non-resident bank accounts can be opened up to 12 months before you arrive in Australia. One of the benefits of opening an account with Westpac is that you don’t need an Australian address when you open your account. This means you can apply before you've sorted out where you'll be living. And it takes less than five minutes to register your account.
Once your account is open, you can easily deposit money by making an international money transfer. You will need to make a deposit to your Westpac account within 6 months of opening it, to keep it active. It may not be best to make a direct transfer from your current bank to your Australian bank account. You can use our comparison table to find the best money transfer provider to use.
Once your account is open, can use Westpac's online portal to start managing your money, setting up transfers and bill payments. The final step is confirming your identity with Westpac when you arrive in Australia. This is also when you will receive your debit card for the account and can start withdrawing money.
Westpac also offer several other services like credit cards, mortgages, savings accounts, and superannuation.
Requirements to Open a Westpac Bank Account Online from Overseas
In order to open an account with Westpac online, you must;
- Be over 12 years old.
- Have plans to arrive in Australia within the next 12 months.
- Register the account in your own name.
- Make a deposit within 6 months of opening the account.
- Complete an identity check within 12 months of opening the account.
- Be happy to receive electronic statements.
Westpac have a number of current account types you can open. You can apply for an account through Westpac migrant banking here.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)
Also known as CommBank or CBA, the second bank we'll look at is the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. There are a couple of ways that the Commonwealth Bank can support you. Essentially, the Commonwealth Bank offers two types of non-resident bank accounts. There is one for people who plan to live and work in Australia, and a student account for people who are studying here. With CommBank you can open an account up to three months before arriving in Australia.
CommBank provides extensive assistance to help migrants moving to Australia. In addition to letting you open a bank account online while you’re outside the country, they also provide other guides and services. These include guides on:
- Living in Australia.
- Making the move to Australia.
- Moving from the UK.
- Moving from China.
- Opening your Australian bank account.
They also have details to assist you with finding a home, finding a job, setting up technology, accessing your money, budgeting, and various financial planning services and products. You can read these guide here.
Requirements to Open a Commonwealth Bank Account Online from Overseas
In order to open a bank account with CommBank online, you must;
- Be over 14 years of age.
- Be arriving in Australia within the next three months.
- Be registering the account in your own name.
- Have an Australian residential address.
- Be happy to access your account through their online banking portal, NetBank.
- Understand there are no monthly account fees, only for the first 12 months. A $4 fee applies after that time for the normal everyday account.
When you get to Australia, you will need to go to a CommBank branch to confirm your identity and pick up your debit card. Then you'll be able to start making withdrawals and payments. You can find out more about Commonwealth Bank Migrant Banking here.
National Australia Bank (NAB)
The third bank on our list is the National Australia Bank, or NAB. As well as letting you open a non-resident bank account, NAB have a number of guides on their website to make the process of moving to Australia much easier. These include guides on moving to Australia, healthcare, visas, accommodation, tax requirements, and more. They also provide comprehensive guides to students on studying in Australia, and detailed information on setting up your banking. With NAB you can open an account up to 12 months before you arrive in Australia.
Requirements to Open an NAB Account Online from Overseas
In order to open a NAB account online from overseas, you must;
- Be 18 years or older.
- Be arriving in Australia within the next 12 months.
- Be moving to either migrate, study or work.
- Not be travelling on a Working Holiday Visa.
- Have your passport number and expiry date.
- Know your planned arrival date and the city in which you'll be staying.
Australia and New Zealand Bank (ANZ)
The final of the big four banks we'll discuss is, ANZ. This bank work out of both Australia and New Zealand. There are many ways that ANZ can assist you with a opening a non-resident bank account. Their website has guides on several areas including banking, superannuation, taxes, budget planning, and more. ANZ provides accounts for students, businesses, and people who want to migrate to Australia. All ANZ's account types can be opened from abroad.
Requirements to Open an ANZ Account from Overseas
In order to open an ANZ bank account online from overseas, you must;
- Be over 12 years of age.
- Be arriving in Australia within 12 months.
- Not currently be a resident of Australia.
- Be able to supply foreign tax details.
- Have certain pieces of ID which could include your passport or birth certificate.
You can find out more about ANZ migrant banking and open an account here.
It's important to find an account that best suits your needs. You could even look at some other banks in Australia including ING, Citibank or many more. When it comes to transferring money from your bank account to your new Australian bank account, remember that using a money transfer service is usually the cheapest way to go. To compare your options you can head to our money transfer comparison table where you can find the best rates and fees for your transfer.
Last little note from us. The advice offered in this article is of a general nature only. It does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should do your own research when deciding on which provider to use for an international money transfer or bank account.