Opening a bank account in Australia

Opening a bank account in Australia
Updated 2021-07-19 14:42

If you have just moved to Australia, or are planning a move, you will need an Australian bank account. This will be essential for receiving direct deposit salaries from employers, paying rent, buying groceries, etc. Opening a new account is simple, and can be done either before or after arrival in Australia.

Opening an account from overseas

Most of the major Australian banks will allow you to open an account online, which can be done before arrival in Australia. Also, check if your current international bank has branches in Australia, as you may not need to switch accounts if this is the case.

To open an account online, you will need some personal information, including several forms of proof of identity. The process is straightforward, and you can move funds from one account into another after the account is opened. Once you have a local Australian address, you can add your address details to the account. You can also show your identity documents in person, within six weeks of arrival into the country, for the bank to verify your account within the branch.


Accounts can be opened online up to 12 months before arrival into the country.

Opening an account in Australia

Opening an account locally is a simple procedure that can be done within branches of most banks. You will need to provide proof of identification, such as your passport, driver's license, or bank or credit card from another bank. Once the account is opened, you can transfer funds in the branch, online, or over the phone, and a bank or debit card will be mailed to your residence. Once you have also received your Tax File Number from the Australian Taxation Office, providing this number will ensure that any savings and interest earned are taxed at the correct rate.

Debit, credit cards, and accounts

You will most likely have a debit card associated with your new bank account, which allows you to pay for purchases directly from your checking or savings account. Most cards offer 'PayPass', also called 'Tap and Go', which allows you to pay for goods or services with a value of AUD 100 or less by tapping your card, no pin necessary. For purchases of higher value, you will need to enter your PIN, which is a four or six-digit number you have set, to approve the purchase. This will also be the same number used to withdraw cash at ATMs. Debit cards are accepted almost everywhere, even in remote areas, although smaller businesses will sometimes charge a small transaction fee for debit card payments.

Credit cards can also be applied for via your bank, although eligibility is determined by factors such as residency, employment, and income, so temporary visa holders may have difficulty in obtaining an Australian credit card.

You can set up a range of different accounts with your bank. However the most popular is a generic 'Savings' or 'Checking' account, which is an everyday account. You can also arrange for different saving accounts that allow you to put restrictions on them, such as, you cannot withdraw from an ATM. These accounts can gain interest if you put that in place also. Speak directly to your bank about this.


It is very important you have a Tax File Number on record or you can incur tax fees. You can update your account information whenever you like, either over the phone, online or at a local branch.

Bank fees

Banks in Australia sometimes charge fees for using ATMs operated by other banks (however most banks have now abolished this), for overdrawn accounts, or for making certain kinds of transactions, such as international banking. It is helpful to compare banks before committing, to decide which bank can offer the best option for your needs. The most popular banks in Australia are ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB, or ING, and they will all have internet banking that you can access on your phone or computer.

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