How to Open an Australian Bank Account Online from the UK

How to Open an Australian Bank Account Online from the UK

For many Brits, moving life Down Under is an attractive and exciting option. Whether a permanent move with work or family, or simply a temporary working holiday experience, Australia has a lot to offer. So ahead of your move, get on the front foot for the more boring tasks like opening an Australian bank account from the UK, so you can have more time to surf, relax and catch those rays.

The easiest way to open an Australian account in the UK is to:

  1. 1

    Make sure you know when you'll be arriving and where you'll be living in Australia and then search your chosen Australian bank online. Follow the link to start an online application for your choice of account.

  2. 2

    Scan and upload all requested documents including your passport and visa.

  3. 3

    Provide either your UK or Australia address to have your EFTPOS card and further information sent to you securely.

  4. 4

    When approved, arrange a meeting in-branch after you arrive to verify your documents and complete your activation.

Can I open an Australian bank account online from the UK?

Great news! It’s easy to open an Australian bank account online from the UK.

Australia’s ‘big four’ banks are: NAB, Commonwealth bank, ANZ and Westpac. They all offer online applications and, in most cases, have simple eligibility requirements for migrants.

Although each bank has slightly different application processes and criteria (which we’ll go into in more detail below), in general you’ll need to consider the below points before you apply:

  • Arrival date in Australia. You should be aware of when you are arriving in Australia. Banks require you to arrive within 3-12 months of your application.
  • Upload your documents. You can upload requested documents e.g. passport, visa, and residential address. You will then need to verify your details in-person when you arrive to activate your account fully.
  • Know the city you’re going to the living in. Most banks need to know the city or state that you will be arriving in. You should have this in mind when you apply.
  • Be 18 or over. This is a usual requirement of all banks in Australia.

We recommend you book your appointment in-branch to verify your documents as soon as you can when you arrive. This will mean you can start withdrawing and spending in Australia.

Can I Open an Australian bank account online from the UK

What are my options?

If you’re not sure you want to open an Australian bank account online before you arrive in the country, then don’t worry, there are some great alternative banking options open to you. If you would like to stay with a UK bank, then you are limited but not entirely out of options. HSBC offer international accounts that operate in Australia.

Wise (formerly known as TransferWise) Borderless Account

You also have the option to open a multi-currency Wise Borderless account.

This card holds 40 different currencies in one account. With each currency you choose to add, Wise will assign you an account number and further details specific to the currency, allowing you to spend and receive as you would on a debit card, avoiding multiple exchange fees.

Although not a long-term option, this is a great way to keep your money safe and spend it wisely with minimum fees while you get set up in Australia. You can apply easily online from the UK before you move, using your UK documents to prove your identity and address, and make all the transfers from GBP to AUD before you fly.

Be aware that the card takes between 7-14 days to be delivered, so it's important you leave plenty of time to apply and receive your card before you fly.

How to open an Australian bank account online from the UK: TransferWise Borderless Account

HSBC (Everyday Global Account)

How to open an Australian bank account online from the UK: HSBC Everyday Global Account

HSBC offer the Everyday Global Account which might be a good option if you need an account that supports multiple currencies. With no annual or monthly account fee and free withdrawals from HSBC ATM’s, this might be something you want to look into ahead of your move to Australia.

It has a relatively short application online with minimum eligibility requirements; you’ll need to be over 18, opening an individual account and although you don’t need to be an existing HSBC customer to apply, you will need proof of an Australian residential address before applying.

The application process will ask for more information than an average current account in Australia, so be prepared to be able to supply all of the below:

  • Address in Australia
  • Source of income (employer and salary)
  • Account purpose

HSBC may request further information from you when you submit your application.

If you are an expat, then HSBC also offer options solely for you. With a slightly longer list of criteria, you’ll need to check if you’re eligible before you apply. For more information, click here.

Citi Global Currency Account

Citibank have a strong presence in Australia and have major branches in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane. With its parent group, Citigroup having over a million customers in Australia alone, Citibank is very established and might be an appealing option for you above Australian banks.

Citibank offer their version of a multi-currency account in the form of the Citi Global Currency Account. Some key benefits of this account are:

  • You don't need to be an existing Citibank customer to apply
  • It holds up to 10 currencies, meaning it's a great option for a frequent traveller
  • You can earn 1.40% interest if you have at least $25,000 AUD in your account

To be eligible to apply, you'll need to provide:

  • A valid email address and phone number
  • Two forms of identification
  • Your Tax File Number (TFN)
  • Be an Australian resident
How to open an Australian bank account online from the UK: Citi Global Currency Account

Choosing the right account for you

Whether you’re a first timer, frequent traveller or returning back home, moving across the world is a big deal. It’s important that your bank is the right choice for your needs.

Unlike the UK, Australia’s banking system uses EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer as Point of Sale). The same as a debit card system i.e. linked to your current account, EFTPOS is unique to Australia and New Zealand and doesn’t rely on credit payment systems such as Visa or Mastercard.

If you’re looking to use your card internationally frequently, then you can choose a Visa debit when applying for each bank. This will usually incur a small annual fee ($10) but will enable to you to use your card worldwide without issues. EFTPOS is only accepted in a selected few countries outside of Australia and New Zealand.

Cheque, Savings or Credit?

Although Australia's banking system is similar to that of the UK, this is a question that you're likely going to hear early on in your new life in Australia which you won't have heard before. Essentially, for each transaction the merchant will check with you which account you'd like the money to be taken from.

Cheque – A standard current account. Linked to your EFTPOS or debit card, money will be deducted from your current account.

Savings – A savings account is a great option to put some money aside and can be opened when you have successfully opened a current account. You won’t usually choose this option when paying for everyday transactions.

Credit – A credit card will be harder to get in Australia and dependent on more factors than a cheque or savings account. If you do wish to get one, then it will need to be a few months after you’ve settled in Australia so the bank can monitor your financial trends.

Choosing the right Australian bank account for you
Best Australian bank accounts for UK citizens with Working Holiday visa

Best option for Working Holiday visa

Some of the banks in Australia won’t accept online applications if you are travelling on a Working Holiday Visa. The main bank that you will encounter problems with opening an account online from the UK is NAB.

A quick view of banks who allow you to apply on a WHV online:

NAB – No. Only allows in-branch applications for those travelling on a Working Holiday visa.

Westpac – Yes. Westpac requires you to arrive in Australia within 12 months of your application submission but you will need make a deposit within 6 months.

ANZ – Yes. ANZ requires you to arrive in Australia within 12 months of your application submission.

Commbank – Yes. Commbank requires you to arrive in Australia within 3 months of your application submission.

Best option for Expats

If you are relocating with work, with your family or alone, then you might want to explore some of the features of other accounts Australian banks can offer.

A lot of accounts beyond a current account require in-branch discussion, so we would recommend opening a current account with any of the big four, and then looking to open Savings or Credit accounts when you’re settled in Australia.

Best Australian bank accounts for UK expats

What documents do I need to supply?

What documents do I need to open an Australian bank account from the UK

When applying online for an Australian bank account, you’ll need to supply documents that prove your identity and right to work in Australia.

In most cases, you will be asked to supply:

  • Your passport
  • Your visa
  • Proof of address (Australian if known otherwise UK is normally accepted)
  • National Insurance Number or Tax File Number (TFN)
  • Some banks will ask for your employer details and salary depending on the type of visa you are traveling on.

When you visit a branch for your identity check, the bank will verify your documents and also may ask for additional documents such as:

  • An Australian address to register with the bank. The bank will replace your UK address with your Australian information.
  • Australian Medicare card or a National Identity Card (or other forms of ID accepted by your chosen bank e.g. birth certificate).

What are the fees of opening an Australian bank account online from the UK?

When looking to apply online for an Australian bank account from the UK, it’s important to know the fees involved before you sign up.

To give you a head start, we’ve listed some common fees associated with opening a new account with the big four banks in Australia below:

ANZ (Australia and New Zealand Bank)

ANZ provides everyday banking with their Access Advantage current account.

  • Monthly fee:

    $5/month

  • Overdraft fee:

    $100 upfront for <$20,000 overdraft

For other account fees, click here for more information.

Commbank (Commonwealth Bank)

Commbank offer an Everyday Account Smart Access current account for shopping, paying bills, withdrawing cash and more.

  • Monthly fee:

    $4/month; 12 months free with new account

  • Overdraft fee:

    $15 per account per day overdrawn

For other account fees, click here for more information.

NAB (National Australia Bank)

NAB offers a Classic Banking current account. Note, you cannot apply online if you’re on a Working Holiday Visa. You can easily do it in-branch when you arrive in Australia, but not ahead of your move.

  • Monthly fee:

    $0

  • Overdraft fee:

    $0

For other account fees, click here for more information.

Westpac

Westpac has a Choice current account for everyday banking.
They are a great choice as they have a separate migrant banking section designated to help foreigners get set up ahead of their move to Australia.

  • Monthly fee:

    $4/month; 12 months free with new account

  • Overdraft fee:

    $15 per account per day overdrawn

For other account fees, click here for more information.

ANZ, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac waive their monthly fees if you:

  • deposit $2,000 a month
  • are under 25 or over 60 years old
  • or a full-time student

Depending on what type of account/s you want to open, the above fees should give you a basic idea of how much a standard current account will cost you.

Some other fees you should consider when choosing who to bank with are ATM and international transfer fees:

ATM fees

ATM fees aren’t uncommon in Australia. For the most part, your choice of bank will offer you free withdrawals from their ATM. If you choose one of the big four banks, then you shouldn’t find it hard to access an ATM nearby.

If your bank does not offer free ATM withdrawals from other major banks, then you will be charged an owner’s fee when withdrawing. This fee is an average of $2 and subject to change depending on the ATM.

Westpac and Commbank are our recommended choices to avoid ATM fees and have the largest ATM networks. They have deals with all other major banks, so you have access to free ATM withdrawals throughout Australia.

ATM fees for opening an Australian bank account online from the UK
International Money Transfer fees for opening an Australian bank account online from the UK

International transfer fees

A move abroad usually comes hand in hand with an international transfer, which can come with terrible exchange rates if you don't do your research.

These days there are a lot of options to transfer your money. Whether you’re looking for the best value or the easiest option, it’s important that you’re aware of the fees involved.

For example, a transfer through your bank, otherwise known as a SWIFT transfer, will result in more fees than other providers. It will have:

  • An upfront fee
  • A service fee
  • A mark up on the exchange rate

In total, most people lose an average of 8% on their total amount of money transferred so it's worth researching into alternatives.

We recommend using our comparison tool to choose the best option to transfer your cash abroad.

How to transfer money to Australia without a bank account

If you’re looking to transfer money to Australia without a traditional bank account, then there are some further options open to you.

For starters, check out our money transfer country guide for the cheapest ways to transfer your GBP to AUD.

We’ve also helpfully listed some alternatives below:

Revolut

Revolut is a British digital banking app and can be a great alternative while you get settled in your new life Down Under. Easy to set up, you will be automatically given a UK bank account and a Euro IBAN account when you apply. From there, it holds 29 currencies with AUD included and interbank rates when exchanging.

How to transfer money to Australia without a bank account: Revolut

Not a long-term option, but certainly a smart one while you get set up.

Starling Bank and Monzo

Both of these British banks are app-based ‘neobanks’ and are leading the way in the modern style of banking. Easy to use, both aim to let you do everything the traditional bank charges you for including multi-currency spending and money transfers.

How to transfer money to Australia without a bank account: Starling Bank

If you’re not keen to set up an Australian bank account before you arrive, both Starling Bank and Monzo are great options to spend and protect your money while you get set up in Australia. All you need is 10 minutes, identification and a UK address to apply on your phone.

How to transfer money to Australia without a bank account: Monzo

Here at Exiap we want to help. Whatever your situation, we hope this guide has helped you to choose the best option for you before your move to Australia.

By Justin Rampono Updated April 19th, 2021