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.
Can I open an Australian bank account 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.
Read on to learn more about:
- Can I open an Australian bank account online from the UK?
- What are my options?
- Choosing the right account for you
- What documents do I need to supply?
- What are the fees of opening an Australian bank account online from the UK?
- How to transfer money to Australia without a bank account?
The easiest way to open an Australian account from the UK is to:
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.
Scan and upload all requested documents including your passport and visa.
Provide either your UK or Australia address to have your EFTPOS card and further information sent to you securely.
When approved, arrange a meeting in-branch after you arrive to verify your documents and complete your activation.
This guide tells you everything you need to know about opening 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 TransferWise) Borderless Account
You also have the option to open a multi-currency Wise Borderless account.
This card holds 50 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Can I open a bank account in Australia only with my passport
No. You can not open a bank account in Australia with just a passport. You’ll also need a set of paperwork showing both your identity and address, a tax number and a valid visa. If you’re looking for an easier solution which you can arrange from the UK, a non-bank alternative from a provider like Wise or Revolut may be a better option.
Which account is best in Australia for foreigners?
You’ll have a choice of both major Australian banks, and non-bank specialist services, if you want an account you can use to hold, spend and exchange AUD. Specialists like Wise and Revolut let you hold and exchange dollars alongside other currencies, which can make your move more convenient - and is also handy whenever you travel.
25+ currencies including GBP, EUR, USD and AUD
|Everyday accounts offered in AUD||Everyday accounts offered in AUD|
|Non-resident accounts available||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Maintenance fee||Free||Up to £45/month||5 AUD monthly fee for standard everyday account||5 AUD monthly fee for standard everyday account|
|International transfers||Low fee, varies by currency||Fee varies by currency and payment value||9 AUD sending fee for most destinations||10 AUD online payment fee|
How to open an account with Wise
To open a Wise account:
Download the Wise app or open the Wise desktop site
Click Sign up and create an account with your email, Facebook, Google or Apple ID
Follow the prompts to enter the details needed
Upload a snap of your ID and address documents
Once your account has been verified you’re good to go
Go to Wise
How to open an account with Revolut
To open an account with Revolut:
Download the Revolut app
Enter your phone number and set a PIN - you’ll get a verification message from Revolut
Use the verification code to access the app and enter the details needed to create your account
Upload the required documents for verification
You can deposit funds and use your account once verified
Go to Revolut
How to open an account with Westpac
To open an account with Westpac:
Choose the account type you need and check eligibility
Gather the required paperwork
Visit a branch to show your documents and open your account
How to open an account with ANZ
To open an account with ANZ:
Choose the account type you need and check eligibility
Gather the required paperwork
Visit a branch to show your documents and open your account
What documents do I need to supply?
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).
How much does it cost to open a bank account in Australia?
There’s not usually an upfront fee to apply online for an Australian bank account from the UK. However, it’s common for a monthly maintenance fee to apply, and you may also be required to make a minimum opening deposit. Some accounts have ways to have monthly fees waived - usually if you hold a high enough balance. Getting access to other premium services, like a loan or overdraft, may mean paying higher fees, too.
If you want to keep the costs of managing your money low, take a look at non-bank alternatives from providers like Wise or Revolut. Both offer some account services with no ongoing fees and a broad suite of services.
Is it possible to open a fee-free account in Australia?
Bank accounts in Australia commonly have monthly fees, although some do have ways to waive or avoid the costs by holding a high minimum balance. However, even if this fee is waived, it’s important to remember that transaction fees are pretty much inevitable, and can mount up depending on how you use your account. Read the terms and conditions of your account carefully so there are no surprises.
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:
|Bank Name||Monthly Fee||Overdraft Fee|
|ANZ (Australia and New Zealand Bank) more info||$5/month||$100 upfront for <$20,000 overdraft|
|Commbank (Commonwealth Bank) more info||$4/month; 12 months free with new account||$15 per account per day overdrawn|
|NAB (National Australia Bank) more info||$0||$0|
|Westpac more info||$4/month; 12 months free with new account||$15 per account per day overdrawn|
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 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.
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.
What is a bank account in Australia needed for?
If you’re permanently relocating to Australia, a way to hold, send, spend and exchange AUD is pretty much essential. However, it can also be useful in other cases, such as a long holiday ro for people who plan to take a working break in Australia. Here are some of the ways an Australian bank account can help:
Hold AUD to avoid foreign transaction fees when spending in dollars
Get paid by others in AUD
Make convenient transfers to people and businesses in Australia
Cut the costs of currency conversion between pounds and dollars
Benefits of opening a bank account in Australia
Here are a few of the important benefits of having an Australian bank account:
You may get a better exchange rate and lower fees when spending in AUD
You’ll be able to receive and hold AUD payments
You’ll avoid foreign transaction fees when you spend or withdraw dollars
Can I open a bank account online
You can’t usually open a bank account in Australia online without having Australian ID documents. That means this isn’t an option if you’ve got a UK ID or proof of address. In this case, check out alternative non-bank services like multi-currency accounts and cards from Wise or Revolut. You’ll be able to hold and spend pounds and dollars from the same account, and may also be able to receive dollar payments from others.
How long does it take to open a bank account in Australia
You’ll need to visit a branch of the bank you’re interested in using, when you arrive in Australia. The staff can check out your documents and verify your application, and then you should be able to get your account number right away. It may take a few days for your card to arrive in the post.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
What are the types of bank accounts in Australia
The most common accounts for daily use are known as everyday accounts in Australia - the equivalent of a current account in the UK. Aside from this, you’ll see saving and term deposit accounts and specialist services for kids and students.
How to apply for a bank account online in Australia?
You can usually only apply for a bank account online in Australia if you have an Australian ID document for verification purposes. If not, try a non-bank alternative from a provider like Wise or Revolut instead.