Bank of Sydney foreign currency account review 
Foreign currency and multi-currency accounts can be helpful if you need to send and receive international payments, travel often, or like to shop online with retailers based overseas. Depending on the account you pick, you’ll be able to receive, hold, send and spend one or more foreign currencies for your personal or business use, and could also cut your international transaction costs significantly.
This guide covers the Bank of Sydney Foreign Currency Transaction Account for personal or business customers, looking at the features, fees and how to get started. We’ll also look at how alternative providers like Wise and Revolut may be able to help you with a more flexible account you can open and manage on the move.
What is the Bank of Sydney multi-currency account?
Bank of Sydney offers a multi-currency account option called the Bank of Sydney Foreign Currency Transaction Account, which lets customers manage balances in 3 major global currencies – USD, GBP and EUR. You’ll be able to hold a balance in the eligible currencies of your choice, make payments, and get statements to review your account at any time.
This account is available for personal customers – and there’s also a separate option for business customers, which has similar features.
It’s worth noting upfront that this account doesn’t come with a linked debit card, so it has some limitations if you’re looking for a day to day sending account. If that sounds like you, don’t worry – we have some alternative ideas coming up too.
Pros and cons of Bank of Sydney multi-currency account
Multi-currency accounts can have various advantages for both personal and business use – but the Bank of Sydney foreign currency account isn’t the right option for everyone. Here are some pros and cons to consider.
- Familiar service with online and in branch support options
- No account keeping fees
- Funds are available as soon as they’re deposited
- Only 3 global currencies available
- Transaction fees apply to the account, including international transfer fees
- No debit card
Bank of Sydney foreign currency account alternatives
Online alternative providers can often offer a more flexible account with access to a greater range of international services, more currencies, and lower overall fees compared to traditional banks. Specialist accounts tend to be designed for day to day use, reflecting how frequently people transact internationally online and in person.
|Bank of Sydney||Wise||Revolut|
|Account keeping fees||No account keeping fee||No account keeping fee||0 AUD – 24.99 AUD/month depending on account tier|
|Currencies you can hold and exchange||EUR, GBP, USD||50+||27+|
|Exchange rates||Rates are likely to include a markup||Mid-market exchange rate||Mid-market exchange rate to plan limits|
|Local bank details||Not available||Available to be paid like a local from 30+ countries||Not available|
|Online/mobile transaction options||Check balance, send money||Check balance, convert funds, send money, freeze/unfreeze card, get transaction notifications||Check balance, convert funds, send money, freeze/unfreeze card, get transaction notifications, access budgeting tools|
|Debit Card and ATM fees||Not available||
|International payment fees||10 AUD – 25 AUD depending on payment type||From 0.41%||0.3% – 2% (paid account plans may offer up to 3 free transfers/month)|
Check out the foreign currency and multi-currency account options from traditional banks like Bank of Sydney, and compare them to alternatives like Wise and Revolut to see which may suit your personal needs best.
How does the Bank of Sydney multi-currency account compare?
Bank of Sydney isn’t your only option if you’re in the market for a way to hold, convert, send, spend and receive foreign currencies. Other accounts are available both from traditional banks and online specialist services. Let’s take a quick look at a few alternatives alongside Bank of Sydney to see how the features compare.
|Bank of Sydney||Wise||Revolut||Bendigo Bank|
|Availability||Australian residents, 18 years old+||Available to customers in most countries around the world||Available to residents of Australia, the EEA, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan, the UK and the US||10,000 AUD minimum opening balance required|
|Currencies offered||EUR, GBP, USD||50+||27+||11|
|Account keeping fees||No account keeping fee||No account keeping fee||0 AUD – 24.99 AUD/month depending on account tier||50 AUD/every six months|
|International payment fees||10 AUD – 25 AUD depending on payment type||From 0.41%||0.3% – 2% (paid account plans may offer up to 3 free transfers/month)||30 AUD|
|Linked Debit Card||Not available||Available for spending in 170+ countries||Available||Not available|
Traditional banks in Australia may offer foreign currency or multi-currency accounts. However, it’s useful to know that these may not offer much in the way of flexibility or cover many currencies, compared to specialist providers like Wise and Revolut. Specialist alternatives can also often offer lower fees and better exchange rates.
In the end which account works best for you will depend on your personal preferences and requirements – use this guide to help you compare a few options and pick your perfect match.
What is the eligibility for a Bank of Sydney foreign currency account?
To check whether you’re eligible for a Bank of Sydney foreign currency account you’ll need to complete the online enquiry form or call into a branch. You can also phone the service support team to get more details. Generally, to hold an account with Bank of Sydney you’ll need to provide proof of ID and your Australian residential address, and you’ll need to be 18 years old or older. Assuming you meet these criteria, this account can be opened for personal or business use, with the option for joint accounts as well.
Who is it good for?
Multi-currency accounts from traditional banks are usually handy for anyone who needs to hold, send and receive international payments. The Bank of Sydney option covers 3 major currencies – GBP, USD and EUR – making it a solid choice if you’re transacting in these currencies and need a face to face service option.
If you’re not so worried about being able to transact in a branch, or if you need a broader range of currencies, other multi-currency account options are worth looking into, as you may find a better fit from a specialist provider.
When is a multi-currency account needed?
Multi-currency accounts can be opened by personal and business customers. They’re a good way to get paid in foreign currencies, and to hold a balance in currencies other than AUD.
Depending on the account you choose, you can usually also make international payments without needing to convert currencies unnecessarily, which may cut down your costs. If you travel a lot or shop with overseas retailers, a multi-currency account with a linked card can also make it more convenient to get foreign cash when you need it, and lower the fees involved in overseas spending.
Here’s a quick overview of Bank of Sydney and the providers we looked at earlier, and who they may suit:
- Bank of Sydney – good if you’re sending and receiving GBP, USD or EUR and want in-branch service
- Wise – great fit for customers looking for a flexible online multi-currency account with linked debit card
- Revolut – strong contender if you want to upgrade to a monthly fee to get more free transactions and unlock some bonus features and perks
- Bendigo Bank – 11 currencies, with the option to get your money instantly when you need it as long as you hit the relevant cut-off times
How to open an foreign currency account with Bank of Sydney
You’ll need to enquire online, by phone or in a branch to check if you’re eligible to open a Bank of Sydney foreign currency account. No online application options are available on the desktop site.
What documents you’ll need
To open a Bank of Sydney account you’ll need to provide your personal details, a valid photo ID and your Australian tax file number.
If you’re opening an account on behalf of your business you’ll need to provide additional information and documentation about the business. Bank of Sydney staff will advise exactly what’s needed based on the account and your entity type. A business search fee may also apply.
Bank of Sydney foreign currency account pricing
There’s no account keeping fee for the Bank of Sydney foreign currency account – but there are still some transaction costs you’ll want to be aware of before you open this account. Here’s an overview of the key charges:
|Service||Bank of Sydney foreign currency account fee|
|Deposit or withdraw cash||1% of amount, minimum 20 AUD|
|Inward payment||10 AUD|
|Outgoing payment||10 AUD – 25 AUD depending on the details|
Bank of Sydney exchange rate
Bank of Sydney publishes an indicative exchange rate online – but because rates can change, it’s important to contact your branch before you arrange a payment, to check the live rate that will apply to your transfer.
It’s useful to know that the Bank of Sydney exchange rate is likely to include a markup on the mid-market rate (the one you’ll find on Google). This is an extra fee, which may be in the region of about 3%. It’s pretty common for banks to add this charge into the rates used for converting currencies for international transfers – but it does make the entire process less transparent, and push up the costs overall.
If you’re sending international payments, compare the rate you get from Bank of Sydney against alternative online providers like Wise, which may offer a better rate and lower overall costs.
How to use Bank of Sydney foreign currency account
You can add or withdraw cash from your account by visiting a Bank of Sydney branch. Online you’ll be able to check your balance, or make international transfers.
Here’s how to send a payment from your Bank of Sydney account:
- Log into your online or mobile banking service
- Look for Payments/Transfers and then International Payments
- Follow the prompts to add the recipient’s information and details of the transfer
- Complete the verification step by entering the OTP you’re send to your phone
Add money to your Bank of Sydney account:
- Using cash
- By bank transfer in AUD or one of the account currencies
Withdraw from your Bank of Sydney account:
- In cash by visiting a branch
- By bank transfer to another eligible account
Bank of Sydney foreign currency account limits
Bank of Sydney does not list an upper limit to the amount of money you can hold in your foreign currency account. Limits may apply to international transfers – for payments of 10,000 AUD or more you’re advised to contact a branch to discuss the options and rates available to you.
How to use Bank of Sydney foreign currency account abroad
You’ll not get a linked card or cheque book for your Bank of Sydney foreign currency account, which means you can’t easily use it for day to day spending internationally. To transact you’ll need to log into online banking, but the functions open are limited to checking your balance and making international transfers. For other services you’ll need to head to a branch for assistance.
You can hold EUR, GBP or USD in your Bank of Sydney foreign currency account, and make payments overseas in these currencies on supported payment routes.
Are Bank of Sydney multi-currency accounts safe?
Yes. Bank of Sydney is a trusted institution which operates in accordance with all applicable financial legislation to keep customers and their money safe.
It’s worth noting however, that deposits in Bank of Sydney foreign currency accounts aren’t covered by the Australian government’s Financial Claims Scheme (FCS). The FCS can only cover deposits held in Australian dollars, so this would be the case whichever bank you choose to hold your foreign currency deposit.
Opening a multi-currency account has big advantages for anyone who lives an international lifestyle, loves to travel, or needs to send, receive or hold foreign currencies.
There are plenty of choices – including Bank of Sydney if you’re looking for a provider with a physical branch presence, where you can transact in person. Compare Bank of Sydney’s foreign currency account against alternative providers like Wise and Revolut which cover more currencies, and have linked debit cards for easier spending and withdrawals online and in person.
Ultimately, the best multi-currency account for your needs will depend on how you prefer to transact – use this guide as a starting point to find your perfect match.
Bank of Sydney foreign currency account review – FAQs
- Does Bank of Sydney offer foreign currency accounts?
Yes. You can open a foreign currency account in GBP, EUR or USD.
- Can I deposit foreign currency into my Bank of Sydney account?
You can deposit cash to your Bank of Sydney foreign currency account in a branch – there’s a 1% fee for this service.
- Does Bank of Sydney charge international fees?
The Bank of Sydney foreign currency account doesn’t have any account keeping fee, but transaction fees do apply.
- Can I access my Bank of Sydney foreign currency account overseas?
You’ll be able to log into your account to check your balance or make a payment, but there’s no linked card with the Bank of Sydney foreign currency account, which makes it tricky to transact when you’re abroad.