If you're looking to open a bank account in Australia, then it's highly likely you're considering one of the “Big Four” banks. These are: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), Commonwealth Bank (Comm Bank), National Australia Bank (NAB) and Westpac. However, it can be difficult to sift through each of the bank's options, trying to figure out which accounts you're eligible for and which option best suits you. This is especially true if you're about to relocate to Australia - researching options from afar can prove tricky and time zone differences don't help.
So we've done the research for you in creating this guide to opening bank accounts with the Big Four banks. It covers their bank account types, fees, as well as the documents and details you'll need to open an account. We also explored options for expats and whether you can open your account before making the move.
It's worth noting that when you have your Australian bank account set up, CurrencyFair is up to eight times cheaper than traditional banks to send money abroad.
Commonwealth Bank (CommBank)
How to open a Commonwealth bank account
According to CommBank's website, it takes 15 minutes to apply for a Smart Access account online. After applying, you'll need to have your ID verified and provide your tax residency information.
Types of Commonwealth Bank account
Commonwealth Everyday Account Smart Access
This everyday bank account can be opened by Australian nationals, as well as anyone moving to Australia to work or study. You can opt for a single or joint account. This account offers a debit Mastercard as well as access to online and app banking.
CommBank also offers three types of savings accounts - NetBank Saver, GoalSaver and Term Deposit accounts. Note that you must have a residential address in Australia to qualify for a savings account.
What do I need to open a Commonwealth Bank account?
In order to open a Commonwealth Bank account online, you must be over the age of 14 and have a residential address in Australia (unless you're moving to Australia from overseas - see below). Depending on the account you choose, you'll also need one or more of the following documents:
Valid photo ID (such as passport, Australian or New Zealand driving licence) or two forms of non-photo ID (for example a birth certificate or Medicare card).
Your Tax File Number (TFN) or TFN Exemption.
Details of your tax residency status.
If you've recently arrived in Australia (within the past three months), or plan to relocate there within the next three months, then different rules apply. You can apply for a Smart Access account without an Australian address - although if you already know your Australian address then you're encouraged to provide it. You'll need to complete a short application online with the following documents and details on hand:
Which city you'll be staying in when you arrive.
Your entry visa information.
Commonwealth Bank account fees
A Smart Access account-holding fee is AU$4. However, the following groups can take advantage of no monthly fees:
Those who deposit at least AU$2,000 per month into their account.
People with a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Commonwealth Pensioner Concession
Card or Commonwealth Health Care Card.
Information and fees accurate as of 13:35, 17 January 2022
How to close a Commonwealth Bank account
You can close your CommBank account by visiting a branch with your photo ID, or by calling 13 2221 within Australia between 9am and 5:30pm on any weekday.
How to open and close a Commonwealth Bank account from overseas
As mentioned above, you're able to open a Smart Access account online up to three months before you arrive in Australia. You'll then need to show your photo ID in a CommBank branch upon arrival in the country before you can withdraw any funds.
If you'd like to close your CommBank account from abroad then you should call +61 2 9999 3283. You'll need to run through an identification process over the phone.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)
How to open an ANZ bank account
You can apply for an ANZ account online in just ten minutes. You can also open an ANZ account by calling 13 33 33 within Australia Monday to Friday, between 8.00am to 8.00pm (AEST). You can also open an account by visiting a local branch in person.
Types of ANZ bank account
ANZ Access Advantage
This everyday account offers a Visa debit card, unlimited ANZ transactions, internet banking and an ANZ app that automatically sorts your transactions to provide you with data about your spending habits. You can open an Access account either as a single or joint account.
ANZ also offers savings accounts such as the ANZ Online Saver. There's no minimum balance requirement and you get bonus interest for the first three months, even if you take out funds.
What do I need to open an ANZ bank account?
You must be over the age of 12 to apply for an Access Advantage account. If you're applying online, you'll need to provide any two of the following forms of ID:
Australian passport (current or expired within the last two years).
Australian visa in a foreign passport.
Australian driver's licence.
If you're opening an account in an ANZ branch then you'll need to provide one form of primary ID (such as an Australian photographic driver's licence or foreign passport) or two secondary ID documents (such as a birth certificate and Medicare card).
If you're not currently an Australian resident but plan to move there within 12 months, then you'll also need your Tax Identification Number (or your country's equivalent) when you apply.
ANZbank account fees
There's an AU$5 monthly account fee which is waived if you're under 25 or over 60, deposit a minimum of $2,000 per month into your account, or if you meet ANZ's other criteria.
Information and fees accurate as of 13:35, 17 January 2022
How to close an ANZ bank account
You can close your account within Australia by calling 13 13 14 within Australia, or by visiting your nearest branch. You'll need to send back any associated unused passbooks, cheque books or cards.
How to open and close an ANZ bank account from overseas
You're able to apply for an ANZ's Access Advantage account before arriving in Australia. After filling out all the relevant details online, you'll get an email within two days with all your account details. You'll then be able to transfer funds into your account and use internet banking. Note that you won't be able to take out funds or make any transfers or payments until you visit an ANZ branch in-person to complete an identity check.
It's also worth noting that ANZ offers a multilingual International Concierge service for Black and Platinum cardholders - you can get in touch with them from overseas by calling +61 2 7907 0805.
You can close your account from abroad by calling +61 3 9683 9999.
National Australia Bank (NAB)
How to open a NAB bank account
Provided that you are aged 16 or over and a permanent Australian resident with an Australian residential address, you can apply for a NAB account online in less than five minutes. You can also open an account in your nearest NAB branch.
If you're not a permanent resident and have already made the move to Australia, then you'll need to visit a branch in-person to open your account. If you're planning to relocate to Australia then you're able to apply online via a different route for overseas customers (described below).
Types of National Australia Bank bank account
NAB Classic Banking account
An everyday account that provides you with a Visa debit card as well as access to internet banking, the NAB app and digital wallets.
NAB also offers a variety of savings account options, such as their iSaver and Reward Saver. You can set up automated payments from your transaction account to your savings accounts, so you don't have to think about saving when payday comes around.
What do I need to open a NAB bank account?
You must be over 16 years of age. If you're an Australian resident for tax purposes, then you can open an everyday bank account online with an email address and some ID, such as a passport, driver's licence or Medicare card.
National Australia Bank bank account fees
There are no monthly account fees associated with a NAB Classic Banking account.
Information and fees accurate as of 09:40, 24 January 2022
How to close a NAB bank account
You can close your account by logging into the NAB app or NAB Internet Banking and selecting the ‘close account' option. You can also visit your closest branch or call 13 22 65 within Australia.
How to open and close a National Australia Bank bank account from overseas
Australian non-residents are invited to apply for a NAB Classic account online, up to 12 months before arriving in Australia. After making the application, you'll get a welcome letter sent by email containing your account details and nominated branch. Once you have that, you can put money into our account and view your balance. However, as with other bank accounts you open from overseas, you'll need to show your photo ID in person in a NAB branch before you're able to withdraw funds. NAB will then also give you your debit card.
You can call +61 3 8641 9083 to close your NAB bank account from outside Australia.
How to open a Westpac bank account
Provided you're aged over 18 and have a residential address in Australia, their website states that you can open a Westpac Choice bank account online in just three minutes.
Types of Westpac bank account
This everyday account can be opened as a single or joint account. It's suitable for anyone over the age of 12.
When you open a Choice bank account, you'll get a debit Mastercard with contactless payment option for purchases under AU$100, as well as a range of digital wallets (including Apple Pay and Google Pay). You'll also be able to use Westpac's mobile banking app to manage your money on the go. Note that you must be at least 14 years of age with an Australian residential address to qualify for the debit card, otherwise you can apply for a ‘Handycard' to access your account.
When you open a Choice account, you'll also automatically get access to a Westpac Life savings account which allows you to set up to six savings goals that you can work towards. There are other Westpac savings accounts available, including their eSaver and Term Deposits accounts.
What do I need to open a Westpac bank account?
If you apply online, you'll need access to your mobile phone, as well as two documents to verify your identity (for example Australian driver's licence, Medicare card, passport or Australian birth certificate). You'll also need your TFN - failing to provide this may result in tax being withheld on any interest you earn.
Westpac bank account fees
There's an AU$5 fee for keeping a Westlife Choice everyday account. This is waived for:
Full-time tertiary students.
Concession or health care card holders.
Residents new to Australia (for example, expats within their first 12 months of living in the country).
Customers who put at least AU$2,000 each month into their bank account.
Information and fees accurate as of 13:37, 23 January 2022
How to close a Westpac bank account
You can close your account by signing into internet banking, the Westpac app, by visiting your nearest branch, or by calling 132 032 within Australia. Before closing your account, you should cancel regular payments and direct debits. You must also return any associated cards, unused cheques and passbook.
How to open and close a Westpac bank account from overseas
Westpac's Choice account is open to new Australian residents and you're able to access this option up to 12 months after you arrive in the country. You're able to start the application process online before you move, however you must visit a local branch to complete the relevant ID checks. You won't be able to withdraw any funds until you do so.
To close your account from overseas, you can call +61 2 92939270.
Using CurrencyFair to send money abroad from Australia
If you're planning on migrating to Australia, or living there already, you may need to exchange your local currency into Australian dollars, or vice versa. With an Australian bank account, you can use CurrencyFair to send money abroad at rates up to eight times cheaper than the banks. Our transparent fees and exchange rates end up saving you more, as seen in our comparison assessment here: Money transfer companies compared: Australia.
You can access great exchange rates in Australia from any device, at any time, and send and receive international money transfers in over 20 currencies and 150 countries with a CurrencyFair account.
This information is correct as of 26 January 2022. Take note that we are not recommending one bank over another, this article is purely for information purposes. We are not affiliated with any of the aforementioned banks and any dealings you choose to have with them will be at your own risk. Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels.