How US Citizens Can Open a Bank Account in Australia Without Leaving Home
Opening a bank account in Australia from the United States is fast and easy. Unlike many other countries, Australian banks make it very easy to open an account with them, wherever you are in the world. You’ve got plenty of choices when it comes to finding the right Australian bank or even opening a virtual currency account. Read on to find out what you need to do to get a bank account in Australia as a U.S. citizen.
How an American Can Open a Bank Account in Australia
Amercians can open a bank account in Australia by getting in touch with an Australian bank and starting the process. You can open an account online, although there are specific documents you will need. Once you’ve setup the account, you can then finalize the process when you arrive in Australia and visit a branch of the bank.
Another alternative is to open a specialist “virtual” bank account from a currency exchange company like TransferWise. This allows you to get a bank account in several countries, including Australia, and lets you exchange money between currencies quickly and easily.
Rules for U.S. Citizens Opening an Australian Bank Account
Rules and requirements for opening an account with an Australian bank do vary slightly depending on the bank you’re applying to. In general, however:
- You will need to provide the date that you intend to become resident in Australia. Without that, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to open an account.
- It’s best if you can provide the address where you’ll be staying when you arrive in Australia.
- Banks don’t accept all visa types for opening a bank account, so you will need to tell them the type of visa you’ll be entering Australia with.
- Some banks will want to know your line of work and your financial status and earnings.
You will often need to provide details of your passport or other identity document when you first create your account.
Most Australian banks have two steps in the account opening process:
- You can complete the initial part of opening your account online, from anywhere.
- You will get complete access to your account when you visit a branch of the bank in Australia and finish the account process.
- We’ve included the requirements from specific Australian banks below.
Opening an Australia and New Zealand Bank (ANZ) Account from the U.S.
ANZ Bank provides a range of accounts for international students, businesses, and people who want to migrate to, work and live in Australia. All of these types of accounts can be opened from abroad. It takes between five and ten minutes to create an account with ANZ.
Requirements to Open an ANZ Account from Overseas
The requirements to open an ANZ account are:
- You will need an Australian residential address
- You can open your account up to a year before you arrive in Australia
- You are 12 years of age or older
- You are not currently a resident of Australia
- You may need to supply foreign tax details
You can open an ANZ account here.
Opening CommBank Account from the U.S.
CommBank offers two different types of account. One is for people who plan to live and work in Australia, and the other is a student account for people who are studying there.
Requirements to Open an CommBank Account from Overseas
The requirements to open an CommBank account are:
- You do not require an Australian address to create your account
- You can create an account up to three months before arriving in Australia
- You will need to be at least 14 years old
- You are opening the account in your personal name
You can open an Commbank account here.
Opening a National Australia Bank (NAB) Account from the U.S.
NAB allows you to open an account online. They offer a NAB Classic Banking account and an optional NAB iSaver account.
Requirements to Open an NAB Account from Overseas
The requirements to open an NAB account are:
- You can open your account up to a year before you plan to arrive in Australia
- You are 18 years of age or older
- You can provide your passport number, email address and visa information
- You will need to know your planned arrival date and city
You can open an NAB account here.
Opening Westpac Bank Account from the U.S.
You can open an account with Westpac up to a year before arriving in Australia. You don’t need an Australian address when you open your account, and you can create an account in fewer than three minutes.
Once Westpac sets up your account, you can deposit funds using international payments and money transfers. You can also use their website to manage your account, set up transfers, bill payments and other areas.
Requirements to Open a Westpac Account from Overseas
The requirements to open an Westpac account are:
- You must be 12 years old or over
- You must arrive in Australia within a year
- The account must be registered and held in your name
- You must complete an identity check within a year, you will not be able to withdraw funds until you do so
- You will request access to online banking and are happy to receive electronic statements
You can open an Westpac account here.
Use a Neo Bank
You have another option if you want to open an Australian bank account while you’re in the U.S.—a virtual bank account.
The TransferWise Borderless Account
TransferWise is a popular international money transfer service. They offer extremely competitive exchange rates and very low fees for sending money between the U.S. and Australia. One of their most popular and innovative products is the TransferWise Borderless Account
It works as follows:
- The TransferWise Borderless Account is a multiple currency account that lets you hold money in more than 40 currencies, including U.S. and Australian dollars
- You can open up a “local” bank account in the U.S., U.K., Eurozone, Australia, and New Zealand
- You get local banking details for each of those countries, which effectively means you have an Australian bank account with its own account number
- You also get a connected debit card, so you can spend money from the account. The debit card is free to use if you’re spending money in the local currency
- You can receive money in GBP, EUR, USD, AUD or NZD currencies
- There’s a TransferWise app that tells you how much is in your account at all times
You can also use your Borderless account to send money to over 50 countries.
Note that the maximum amount you can hold in a U.S. Borderless account is $1 million.
Fees for the TransferWise Borderless Account
There are no minimum account amounts, no monthly fees and no maintenance fees on the Borderless account. The only fees you’ll pay are:
- Adding money to the account via direct debit: 0.2% fee, so $2 if you add $1,000
- Converting between currencies, at a rate between 0.35% and 3%
- If you take more than $250 out of an ATM within 30 days, you’ll pay a two percent fee on any amounts over $250
The amount charged for converting between U.S. and Australian dollars is as follows:
- USD to AUD: 0.45%, so $4.50 if you’re converting $1,000
- AUD to USD: 0.47%, so $4.70 if you’re converting $1,000
The Best Bank for U.S. Citizens Wanting to Open an Account in Australia
Each of the big four Australian banks offers a good current account for your everyday needs, whether you’re studying, working or living in Australia. The banks also offer a range of financial guides and products to help you navigate their products and decide on what you need. We recommend asking any friends or colleagues you have in Australia about their own banking experiences so you can see which is right for you.
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