Everything You Should Know about Opening a Bank Account in Australia

The process of opening a bank account can be daunting when you’re a foreigner. If you’re planning on moving to Australia sometime in the future, there is a way to get a head start on the process. Let’s talk about the important things you should know about Australian banking before arriving in the Land Down Under.

Can You Open a Bank Account Online Before Moving?

Yes, you can! And it will only take a little of your time. If you don’t plan on moving to Australia, then you should seek out an international bank with branches worldwide, like HSBC. However, there are some caveats — international banks have very limited atm locations, high minimum balance requirements, and high monthly fees.

For migrants, it would be beneficial to open an account in an Australian-based bank.

Types of Accounts You Can Open Online

There are four types of accounts you can open online:

Everyday Transaction Account

An everyday transaction account or a checking account is suitable if you’re looking to make regular transactions, including everyday purchases, paying your bills, withdrawing cash from an ATM, etc. These accounts have very low or no interest rates.

Savings Account

It’s much the same as your everyday transactional account, but the interest rates are somewhat increased. If you’re looking for better options with higher interest rates, you will have to be well-settled in Australia with an established residence.

International Student Account

If you’ve enrolled in an Australian educational institute, this account is a splendid option. You don’t have to pay any monthly fees until you turn 25. Some of the banks also offer perks, including retail discounts on popular brands. These are available if you’re a full-time or part-time tertiary student or carrying out an apprenticeship. Also, you’ll need your student ID and the letter of enrolment to get verified.

Joint Account

If you’re planning on moving with your partner, you can go for a joint account by providing their details on the application alongside yours. However, both parties should be present upon ID verification in Australia.

What’s the Procedure?

The process is very straightforward, only requiring three crucial steps:

  • Complete an online form detailing your contact information and move

  • Verify your ID

  • Fill out your tax information for every country you pay tax in

But there are a few important things to keep in mind.

  1. Make sure your name is the same as that listed on your passport.

  2. You’ll be asked your Australian visa type to make sure you’re moving. But you won’t need to provide visa approval confirmation.

  3. You need to have an arrival date estimate. If it ends up changing after you’ve provided it, simply email the bank about it.

  4. If you have a residential address before moving — e.g., if you’re planning to stay at a relative or friend’s place — you can provide that. Otherwise, you can just provide your home address overseas.

  5. In the salary information, you can choose a ballpark figure. For your occupation, pick one that best matches your industry.

After submitting the full form, you’ll likely encounter a few follow-up steps and a welcome letter pdf document. Make sure to print that out and save your account details. You have to present these to the bank upon arrival.

How Do You Verify Identification in Australia?

To verify your ID in Australia, you should be present. Most banks don’t have overseas branches to get you verified. But the verification process itself is very simple. You’ll need three things:

  1. Your passport.

  2. Your account confirmation details

If you’re opening an international student bank, you also need:

  1. Your student ID

  2. Enrolment letter

You’ll also be asked to give your tax ID numbers for each country you pay tax in.

The 100 Points of ID Check

Opening a bank account in Australia from your home country does require you to pass the 100 Points of ID Check. For this, you require one primary photo ID like your passport (equivalent to 50 to 70 points).

To make up the rest of the points, you need a secondary non-photo ID that can be anywhere from 10 to 40 points each e.g., birth certificate, healthcare card, diver’s license, etc. You can use a photo ID here too, but not one for both photo and non-photo ID options.

With one primary photo ID and two secondary non-photo IDs, you’d normally be all set! If not, there’s another way! You can use supplemental forms (worth a few points each) like your rental lease agreement, credit card, utility bill, etc. with your name and Australian residential address. But that’s not possible unless you’re already in Australia. If you wait until you arrive in Australia to open an account, you can waive the 100 Points of ID Check.

Should You Open a Bank Account Before Moving?

It’s not imperative to do so. You can easily open an account upon arrival without needing to clear the 100 Points of ID Check.

Fees and Additional Payments

You won’t be charged any monthly fees before moving and having your account verified OR until a designated period. Australian banks tend to charge you around AU$5 a month if you don’t maintain the minimum monthly deposit; typically, AU$2,000. If you’re an international student under 25, you don’t have to pay any monthly fees. If you’re older, then you’ll need to either maintain the minimum monthly deposit amount or verify your enrollment at an Australian educational institute to have the fees waived.

Do look out for the international transfer fee — typically around AU$10 to AU$30 per transfer. As for the ATM fee, some banks don’t charge you at all while others, typically AU$2 per transfer. 

We’ve covered all the basics about opening a bank account in Australia. If you’re interested in moving, UIS Australia can be of service! Our consultancy services encompass numerous visa options and our expert team will guide you through the entire process!

Ron Ford

Ron Ford immigrated with his family to Australia in 2005 to work as a social worker. Following their difficult immigration process, he slowly turned to blogging and creating content about immigration: "…As a family of 5, we struggled to make ends meet. I was working around the clock and Clarissa was working in housekeeping any time she could spare. The move to Australia completely changed our lives, but it cost us a lot of money, time, and tears. Ever since I've wanted to help others on their journeys the way I wished someone had helped us".

More Posts