Whether you’re moving to Australia permanently or just for an extended period of time, congratulations! You’re going to love life down under, where the people are laid back, the weather is amazing, and the parks and beaches are innumerable.

The first step to becoming established in this Antipodean paradise is to make sure your money is safe and ready for you to use, wherever you go and whenever you want to spend it.

There are a couple of different ways to ensure you’re a fully financially functional member of Australian society. The most obvious way is to open a bank account in the country – but you should consider opening a multi-currency account instead.

Thankfully, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about both of these processes.

If you’re moving to Australia, you’ll want to make sure you have money when you get there.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Wise (formerly TransferWise). It offers an unbeatable multi-currency account that allows you to use your card in 200 nations, take payments in 10 currencies, and convert 56 currencies.

Join more than 7 million people and start using Wise today.

image of Sydney, Australia with Harbour Bridge and Sydney skyline during sunset

Sydney is one of several gorgeous Australian cities you can open an account in

What are the requirements for opening a bank account in Australia?

The big four banks in Australia – that is, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), Commonwealth Bank (Commbank), National Australia Bank (NAB), and Westpac – all have different requirements, but there’s plenty of overlap.

Take a look through the following list, and make sure you have the identification documents you need before you start to apply for an account.

It’s important to note that you won’t be able to access the money in that account until you arrive in the country, visit the specific branch of your bank that you’ve chosen as yours, and present the necessary identification documents.


If you’ve arrived and settled in Australia, you must have your Tax Identification Number to complete an application.

If you’re still in the UK, check one of your UK tax returns for your Unique Taxpayer Reference, which takes the form of a 10-digit code. That’ll suffice for ANZ.


While completing the online application, you may need:


While completing the online application, you may need your:

  • Passport number
  • Passport expiry date
  • Email address
  • Visa information
  • Date of arrival
  • Arrival destination
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (from the UK)


While completing the online application, you may need your:

  • Current driver’s licence
  • Medicare card (if applicable)
  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Unique Taxpayer Reference

Do you need an Australian address in order to open a bank account in Australia?

Thankfully, no. You can open a bank account in Australia without an Australian address.

You’re able to set up your account online from anywhere in the world, including the UK, with any of the big four banks.

All you have to do is prove that you’re moving to Australia in the next 12 months – or three months, if you’re planning to go with Commbank or Westpac.

Banks can change that time requirement at any time, so make sure you check beforehand.

It’s also possible to open an account over the phone, as long as you respect the time difference and call during Australian business hours – but it’s much easier to do it online.

You may need to know the date you’re set to arrive in the country, so have that prepared just in case.

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is stunning, and you can visit it – but you’ll need money

Opening a bank account in Australia as a non-resident

Australian banks have made this entire process straightforward, so you don’t need to worry – you can set up an account months in advance, then tick it off your to-do list when you arrive.

It’s just a matter of visiting your selected branch within your first six weeks in the country, and presenting a couple of identifying documents to access your account.

How much does it cost?

Nothing. Opening a bank account in Australia is completely free.

Some accounts will require you to pay a monthly fee, but banks must make this fact clear up front, and in some cases you won’t be charged if you deposit a certain amount in your account each month.

How long does it take?

Applying for an Australian bank account takes mere minutes – 10 at most, but more commonly five.

After you’ve finished, your bank will get in touch with you to explain the next steps, but assuming your application is successful, you won’t need to take any action until you arrive in Australia.

Then it’s just a matter of visiting the branch you’ve picked with documents that identify you. After that, you’ll be allowed to withdraw funds and make payments.

What are the best banks in Australia for expats?

The big four banks are best equipped to deal with expats who want to set up accounts before or after they move to Australia.

We’ve taken the best three from that group – but bear in mind that sending money from your UK account to a new Australian account will typically cost much more with a bank than if you used a transfer service.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Wise, which offers an unbeatable multi-currency account that allows you to use your card in 200 nations, take payments in 10 currencies, and convert 56 currencies.

Join more than 7 million people and start using Wise today.

1. NAB

If you’re determined to go with a bank, choose NAB’s Classic Banking Account.

As long as you’re over 18, you can open your account up to 12 months before you move – and you’ll pay no monthly fees.

This sets NAB apart from ANZ and Commbank, both of which charge their customers for the privilege of banking with them.

Like ANZ and Commbank, NAB doesn’t charge customers a withdrawal fee for using its ATMs, but the difference is that NAB has around 7,000 ATMs in the country – considerably more than its rivals.

However, NAB will tell you it doesn’t charge a flat overdrawn fee – and it doesn’t – but it will charge you 15.41% interest on however much you go overdrawn. You must also get your account back into credit within seven days.

But as long as you don’t go overdrawn, NAB won’t charge you any extra fees.

2. ANZ

The main selling point of ANZ’s Access Advantage account is its multitude of technological advantages.

You can quickly pay your friends, add your ANZ debit card to your digital wallet so you can tap and pay with your phone, block and unblock your card with the app, and use Voice ID to give the green light to payments over A$1,000 (£550).

On the downside, you have to pay a A$5 (£2.75) monthly fee. This is automatically waived if you deposit at least A$2,000 (£1,100) per month, or if you’re outside the ages of 25 to 59 years old.

You also won’t receive any interest on your account unless and until you have a balance of A$50,000 or more, at which point you’ll receive 0.01% per year.

NAB also offers this measly interest rate, but at least there, you can activate it by simply opening an account.

3. Commbank

If you choose Commbank, you’ll only be able to open your account in the three months before you move, rather than the 12 months you’ll have with ANZ and NAB.

The biggest bank in the country offers what it calls Everyday Account Smart Access, which you can set up without having an Australian address.

Apart from that, the advantages are limited to standard offerings like tracking your spending in the app, blocking your card yourself, and getting money out of Commbank ATMs for free.

The account comes with a monthly fee of A$4 (£2.20), which you can only get waived for the first year, and charges a A$15 overdrawn fee, with an additional interest rate of 14.90% applied for each day your account stays overdrawn.

Opening a multi-currency account in Australia

If you’d prefer to go with a multi-currency account – commonly known as a foreign currency account in Australia – you should choose Wise.

This Financial Conduct Authority-regulated account makes it free for you to receive pounds, euros, and Australian dollars, and charges a small flat fee to send money. For instance, to send £1,000 to Australia, it costs £3.80.

You can also open a multi-currency account with several Australian banks, including the big four – but this comes with expensive strings attached.

Each bank has a list of complex fees, but in general, these are the charges you’ll be looking at for a foreign money transfer:

  • ANZ charges between A$18 (£9.90) and A$28 (£15.30) per transaction
  • Commbank charges A$6 (£3.30) to A$30 (£16.40)
  • NAB charges 3%
  • Westpac charges A$10 (£5.50) to A$32 (£17.50)

With this in mind, we would recommend going with Wise. It offers an unbeatable multi-currency account that allows you to use your card in 200 nations, take payments in 10 currencies, and convert 56 currencies.

Join more than 7 million people and start using Wise today.