Whether you’re moving to Australia for work or study, you will certainly need a local bank account to manage your finances more effectively. At the minimum, you’ll need to provide your employer with a bank account number to deposit your wage. Thankfully, the process of opening a bank account in Australia is pretty straightforward. Here, we explore few things to make it easier for you to open a bank account in Australia.
The best part is that you can open a bank account in Australia prior to arriving in the country. This flexibility of having a bank account in place makes settling into the new country easier in a lot of ways. In fact, some of the biggest banks in the country offer migrant-focused banking services that make it possible for migrants to open an Australian bank account up to 12 months before arriving in the country1.
Types of Bank Accounts Available to You
As a migrant, you have three account options. These include transaction accounts, savings accounts and credit accounts. Similar to checking or current accounts, transaction accounts are designed for regular use. In other words, you’ll need a transaction account for sending and receiving money as well as for managing your daily expenses.
As the name suggests a savings account is designed for saving money you don’t intend to spend imminently. In return, the bank will reward you with a small interest. Since this type of account isn’t built for regular use, accountholders may have to pay high fees or risk losing the interest if they violate the terms of account usage such as withdrawing early.
A credit account enables the accountholder to have a credit card. However, in order to be approved for this account you would have to be in Australia as most banks will demand for a proof of income in Australia as well as a local credit check.
In addition, it’s worth noting that opening a savings account might require an Australian tax file number, also known as TFN. While you can apply for a TFN online and get it within 28 days, you will need an address in Australia2. Either you must have an address in Australia or you will have to wait till you arrive in the country to open a savings account. It is advisable and easier to open a transaction account from your home country and set the ball rolling for your new life in Australia.
How to open a transactional bank account before arriving
You can do this via the online platform of an Australian bank. The bigger banks in Australia, such as Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB, ANZ, Citibank and HSBC provide migrant services to help you with any information you need.
The documents required to open a transaction account varies from bank to bank. The ideal way forward is to start browsing the official websites and choose the best option. It could be assumed that you will need to provide your international passport/visa showing that you’ve been granted the privilege to work in Australia. If you open the account within six weeks of your arrival date, a few banks will initially require a valid visa only. You can then go ahead to complete your ID verification on arrival. If you’re opening an account, more than six weeks prior to your arrival date, it may be possible to verify your identity overseas, at an offshore location of the bank. There’s also the option for using the notary or certifier services of a foreign bank or an Australian consular3. Other documents you would need for verifying your identity overseas include your birth certificate, utility bill and ID card.
There is no denying the fact that to lead a comfortable expat life in a new country having a bank account is one of the few must haves. Banks can provide access to loans, saving accounts, credit card facilities which help in building a stable life abroad. However it is imperative to bear in mind that when it comes sending money back home to your loved ones, dependable money transfer organizations like Xpress Money are your best bet.