Westpac Foreign Currency Account Review [2023]

Foreign currency or multi-currency accounts can help both individuals and businesses to cut the costs of international transactions. Depending on the account you hold you may be able to get paid in foreign currencies, hold a foreign currency balance, and send international transfers from your account. Specialist providers also offer multi-currency accounts with linked debit cards which can be used for spending and withdrawals.

This guide covers the options, fees and application process for the Westpac foreign currency account. And because foreign currency accounts from traditional Australian banks tend to be somewhat limited in terms of their features, 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.

Table of contents

What is the Westpac foreign currency account?

Westpac personal customers can open foreign currency accounts to hold a balance alongside their AUD funds. Accounts can be opened online in 12 currencies – with further currency options available if you visit a Westpac branch.

You can use your Westpac foreign currency account to hold and send foreign currency payments. However, you can’t deposit or withdraw cash and the account has no linked debit card, which means it’s not really intended for day to day use.

Westpac also offers business foreign currency accounts which have similar features to personal foreign currency accounts, and can also be opened online in a selection of 12 major currencies.

Pros and cons of Westpac multi-currency account

Multi-currency accounts can have various advantages for both personal and business use – but as with every financial product they also have some drawbacks. Here are some pros and cons to consider if you’re interested in the Westpac foreign currency account:


  • Get branch service in person if you need it
  • Open online in 12 major currencies or visit a branch for more exotic currency choices
  • No monthly account fee


  • No option for cash withdrawals or card spending
  • Transaction fees apply

Westpac foreign currency account alternatives

Westpac isn’t the only option for foreign currency accounts. There are also alternative products available from other major Australian banks, and from online specialist services. Which suits you may come down to the sort of transactions you need to make and the currencies you’d prefer to access.

Let’s look at a few Westpac foreign currency account alternatives, including Bendigo Bank as another traditional pick, and a couple of online specialist services – Wise and Revolue:

Wise Account

Open your free account online or in the Wise app, to receive payments with local bank details in a range of currencies, send money to 80+ countries, hold 50+ currencies and spend with your linked card in 170+ countries, too. All currency exchange uses the mid-market rate with low fees for the extra services you might need:

  • Foreign Currencies: 50+
  • Fees & Exchange Rates: Mid-market exchange rate, low transaction fees
  • International Transfers: From 0.41% fee
  • Debit Card: Available

Go to Wise

Revolut Account

Open a free standard account or upgrade to an account with a monthly fee to get more perks and a higher level of fee free transactions. 27+ supported currencies with a linked card for spending and withdrawals, and some great budgeting and saving tools:

  • Foreign Currencies: 27+
  • Fees & Exchange Rates: Mid-market exchange rate to plan limits, low transaction fees based on account type
  • International Transfers: 0.3% – 2% fee, some accounts have fee free transfers included
  • Debit Card: Available

Read Revolut review

Bendigo Bank

If you need a face to face service and want to stick with a traditional bank, Westpac isn’t your only choice. Several other Australian banks support foreign currency accounts, including Bendigo Bank:

  • Foreign Currencies: 11
  • Fees & Exchange Rates: Exchange rates are likely to include a markup. There’s a 50 AUD account keeping fee every 6 months, plus transaction costs can apply
  • International Transfers: 30 AUD
  • Debit Card: Not available

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.

Let’s take a look at a quick summary of some of the features on offer from popular online multi-currency account providers Wise and Revolut, compared to Westpac.


Westpac 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 12 available online – more options offered if you visit a branch 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
Debit Card and ATM fees Not available Get a debit card for 10 AUD


2 withdrawals to 350 AUD in value per month for free – 1.5 AUD + 1.75% after that

Debit card is free to order


ATM withdrawals fee free to plan limits (350 AUD/month for standard plans)

International payment fees 10 AUD – 32 AUD 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, and compare them to alternatives like Wise and Revolut to see which may suit your personal needs best.

How does the Westpac multi-currency account compare?

When it comes to picking a foreign or multi-currency account, it pays to compare a few options to make sure you’re getting the right product for your needs. As well as accounts from traditional banks like Westpac, you can also choose specialist services like Wise and Revolut, which can be more flexible with a better range of currencies supported. To give an overview, here’s how Westpac compares against Bendigo Bank, Wise and Revolut.

Westpac Wise Revolut Bendigo Bank 
Availability Available to personal and business customers based in Australia 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 12 currencies available for online account opening – further options available in branch 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 – 32 AUD depending on how you arrange the transfer 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
Best Features Instant account opening options for 12 major currencies
  • Hold 50+ currencies, send payments to 80+ countries
  • Local bank details to get paid from 30+ countries
  • Hold and exchange currencies fee free to plan limits
  • Good range of budgeting tools included


Paid tiers unlock extra perks

  • Good range of currencies to hold and send
  • Access funds on the same day when you need them

Traditional banks in Australia may offer foreign currency or multi-currency accounts. However, it’s useful to know that these may not provide much in the way of flexibility or cover many currencies, compared to specialist providers like. Specialist alternatives, like Wise and Revolut 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.

Best multi currency Accounts

What is the eligibility for a Westpac foreign currency account?

You can open a Westpac foreign currency account as a personal or business customer. You’ll need to be over 18 and hold an eligible Westpac AUD account to apply. If you’re opening an account on behalf of your business you’ll need to provide a range of supporting documents which can vary based on the entity type.

Who is it good for?

The Westpac foreign currency account is aimed at individuals and businesses who need to hold foreign currencies, or who want to make and receive international payments.

Westpac has a good range of currencies on offer compared to other major Australian banks, which can make this a solid choice if you’re on the hunt for a foreign currency account which offers in branch service. However, as there’s no linked ATM or debit card, and the account can’t be used to deposit or withdraw cash, it’s not intended for travel use. If you want a more flexible account for when you’re overseas, check out specialist online providers instead.

When is a foreign or multi-currency account needed?

Foreign currency accounts can be opened by personal and business customers. They’re a good way to get paid from overseas, 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 Westpac and the providers we looked at earlier, and who they may suit:

Here’s a quick overview of Westpac and the providers we looked at earlier, and who they may suit:

  • Westpac good option for online account opening in a major currency, as long as you already hold an AUD account with Westpac
  • 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


Best multi currency Accounts

How to open a foreign currency account with Westpac

You can open a Westpac foreign currency account online in 12 major currencies, or in a branch if the currency you want isn’t available online. Westpac states that the online opening process should only take 10 minutes – making this the most convenient option for most people. Here’s what to do:

  1. Head to the Westpac desktop site and find the foreign currency account page
  2. Click Apply now, check through the summary of the account and check the box to continue
  3. Follow the online prompts to log into online banking if you’re already a Westpac customer, or enter your personal details if you’re new
  4. Check everything over, complete any required verification steps and you’re done

What documents you’ll need

The documents needed to open a Westpac foreign currency account can vary depending on whether or not you’re already a Westpac customer, and whether you’re opening an account for personal or business use.

To open a personal account, you’ll need to provide your name, address, and your occupation, and may have to upload or show documents to prove your identity and address.

If you’re applying for an account for your business you’ll be asked for the full details of the business, names and residential addresses of all account signatories, and a copy of the business or company registration. You’ll also have to provide details of the directors, owners, or partners of the business, and any relevant foreign tax residency information.

Westpac pricing

Here’s a rundown of the key costs involved in a Westpac foreign currency account. Some fees – for outward transfers arranged online for example – are debited from your Westpac AUD account, while others may be converted to the currency of your foreign currency account and taken from there. Double check you have sufficient balance in all the relevant accounts before you transact to make sure you don’t run into unarranged overdraft fees.

It’s also worth noting that additional services – which have their own fees – are also available for business customers involved in international trade.

Service Westpac foreign currency account fee
Account keeping fee No fee
Outgoing telegraphic transfer Online payments in foreign currency – 10 AUD


Online international payments in AUD – 20 AUD


Branch payments – 32 AUD

Incoming  telegraphic transfer 12 AUD
Overdrawn fee Debit interest will apply for unauthorised overdrafts


Authorised overdrafts have fees of 19 AUD – 84 AUD/month where available

Westpac exchange rate

Wherever currency conversion is required, the Westpac foreign exchange rate will apply.

You’ll be able to check the Westpac rate online or in a branch – but it’s good to know it’s likely to include a markup on the mid-market rate, which may be in the region of about 3%. This extra charge is commonly rolled into the rates used for converting currencies, but it does make the entire process less transparent, and push up the costs overall.

Not all providers use a marked up exchange rate – check out our selection of Westpac foreign currency account alternatives to see if there’s an option there that might suit you better.

How to use Westpac foreign currency account

You can send an international payment with Westpac online or in a branch. Fees are higher if you want an in person service – so sending a payment online is usually the best value option.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Log into your online or mobile banking service
  2. Look for the option for International Payments
  3. Follow the prompts to add the recipient’s information and details of the transfer
  4. Complete any required security or verification steps

Funding methods

You can add money to your account by funds transfer from an account in your own name, or by receiving a telegraphic transfer to the account from yourself or a third party.

Payout methods

You can withdraw or pay out funds from your Westpac foreign currency account by:

  • Transfer to your linked AUD account
  • Transfer to another foreign currency account
  • AUD bank cheque

How to use Westpac foreign currency account abroad

The Westpac foreign currency account isn’t intended for day to day spending internationally – you’ll not get a linked spending and ATM card, or any facility to write foreign currency cheques. This means it’s pretty limited as an account for travel purposes.

Supported currencies

The currencies supported by the Westpac foreign currency account include:

  • Canadian dollars
  • Norwegian kroner
  • Chinese yuan
  • Singapore dollars
  • Danish kroner
  • South African rand
  • Euro
  • Swedish kronor
  • Great British pounds
  • Swiss francs
  • Hong Kong dollars
  • Thai baht
  • Japanese yen
  • United States dollars
  • New Zealand dollars

Are Westpac multi-currency accounts safe?

Westpac is a trusted institution which is fully licensed and regulated. Your account is protected by both manual and automatic processes including thorough verification and fraud prevention programmes.

It’s worth noting however, that deposits in Westpac 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.


Multi-currency and foreign currency accounts can have advantages for anyone who loves to travel, or needs to send, receive or hold foreign currencies. However, the features and fees of different account types can vary widely.

While traditional banks can offer some solutions if you specifically want to transact in person, foreign currency accounts from major banks like Westpac are usually intended for investments and holding rather than day to day spending. Alternative providers like Wise and Revolut usually 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.

Best multi currency accounts in Australia

Westpac multi-currency accounts – FAQs

  1. Does Westpac offer foreign currency accounts?

Yes. Open a Westpac foreign currency account online in 12 currencies, or visit a branch for further options.

  1. Can I deposit foreign currency into my Westpac account?

You can deposit funds into your Westpac foreign currency account using a funds transfer or telegraphic transfer.

  1. Does Westpac charge international fees?

Yes. There’s no account keeping fee, but there are charges for transactions you’ll want to check out before you open your account.

  1. Can I access my Westpac foreign currency account overseas?

Westpac foreign currency accounts don’t have a linked debit card which means it’s hard to access funds when you’re abroad. Check out alternatives like Wise and Revolut if you want a multi-currency account for day to day use.

Ileana Ionescu
Content manager
With a background in business journalism, Ileana is an experienced content manager, creating content for Exiap that helps its audience make informed decisions about their finances.
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Last updated
December 28th, 2022