Australian bank accounts

Banks in Australia are widely represented, with international, national and local branches throughout the country.

Unlike much of the legislation in Europe concerning banking and setting up an account, the procedures involved in Australia are straightforward. The timescale is also relatively quick. Setting up a bank account should be your first action when moving to Australia, if you haven’t already done it remotely. The accessibility of the process makes it easy to open a bank account while sorting everything else out at the same time. The shared language means it is much easier to get along in Australia for UK and US residents.

The process to set up a bank account in Australia includes the following procedures:

Firstly, you need to choose a bank and an account suitable for your financial needs. You should consider how much money will be going in or out, whether it will be used for current finances or savings, what kind of interest rates you want, and how accessible you need it to be, among other things. Be sure to ask about features of the account, terms and conditions, and any applicable fees and charges.

Whichever bank you choose you will need to fill out an application form. This also applies to online banking, telephone banking, and opening it in person. In addition to the form you will need to provide documentation as evidence of identification. Submission of the application varies with banks, with some requiring you to hand it in personally to a branch of the bank. Others do not need your personal presence to verify your documents. Completing the form takes about ten minutes and although the details you need to provide are personal, there are no essay questions so it’s fairly easy to fill out.

The bank will process your application almost straight away and the account cannot be opened until your application is approved. They will check you application form against your identification documents and then verify it all. The timescale for processing the application depends on the bank and the type of account, but it generally takes about 5-10 working days. If you have chosen an international bank in Australia and you already hold an account in your domicile country, the application will be processed much quicker as all your details can be reviewed by the branch in your home country.

When your application has been approved by the bank your account will be set up automatically. All the details of the account will be sent to your registered address and then you can begin transferring money in and setting up direct debits etc. Internet and telephone banking is widely available and can be easily registered for through an application to your bank.

It is possible to open a bank account in the country before moving to Australia. It is advised to do this approx. a month before you move to allow everything to be processed. Much of the process can be done over the phone, with some postal forms required for identification. There are various Australian banks offering ‘migrant banking’ facilities, and allowing bank account set up from outside of the country. Usually you can only pay in finances and not withdraw until you have visited the bank branch in person to confirm your identification. Be aware of this when transferring money into a migrant account. A banking pack will be sent to you in your home country with all your details.

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