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If you live in Australia but are often involved with other countries - maybe for business reasons, or to connect with friends and family who are based abroad - then you might find yourself wondering what the best way is to keep money in a foreign currency. International money transfers, especially if done through a bank, can be expensive and time-consuming, and if you regularly have to send - or receive - money abroad, foreign transfers might seem like more trouble than they’re worth.
That’s where foreign currency accounts come in. Though based in your home country, these accounts - also known as multi currency accounts - allow you to store your money in other international currencies, meaning that you might be able to avoid all the hassle that goes with making an international payment. Many banks offer this service - and so do some specialist companies, like Wise.
In Australia, ANZ’s foreign currency account is for corporate clients only¹, so if you’re an individual looking to take advantage of this sort of service, you’ll have to look elsewhere. If you’re an ANZ customer who’s not in Australia, you might have more luck, as they do offer a foreign currency account for individuals in other countries, including New Zealand².
Before we get started, a quick comparison between ANZ's foreign currency account and Wise’s Borderless multi-currency account
|Who can open an account?
|ANZ Australia only offers a foreign currency account to corporate clients¹
|Both businessand private customers
|Fee for incoming payments
|ANZ doesn’t state the fees for incoming payments to a foreign currency account, on their website. You’ll have to contact your relationship manager for this information.
|There’s no fee charged by Wise for receiving AUD, EUR, GBP and USD. You can’t receive the other supported currencies, yet.
|Fee for outgoing payments
|ANZ doesn’t state the fees for outgoing payments from a foreign currency account, on their website. You’ll have to contact your relationship manager for this information.
|A small fixed fee, that differs per currency.
|ANZ doesn’t state the exchange rate they’ll use for a foreign currency account, on their website. You’ll have to contact your relationship manager for this information.
|Wise uses the actual mid-market rate to convert your money
|9 currencies are supported¹
|42 supported currencies. For AUD, EUR, GBP and USD you get your own local account details.
|Check with your ANZ relationship manager if there is a minimum balance you need to keep in your account
|There’s no minimum balance required for any supported currency.
Read on for some more information on ANZ Australia’s corporate offering, and a look at what a foreign currency account really involves.
Here are a few reasons why a multi currency account can be a useful thing to have in general.
- With a typical foreign currency account, you can store money in different currencies. This makes it more efficient to transfer money in that currency, and it also protects you against sudden, short-term fluctuations in the exchange rate. If you’re storing your money in euros, for example, you don’t need to worry about the dollar-to-euro rate suddenly changing, as you’ve got a fixed amount of euros ready to spend.
- This also means that you need to move your money around less: you can keep a certain amount of money safely in each currency, ready to use whenever you need. That can mean fewer transfers between your own bank accounts, which could save both time and money.
- With some multi currency accounts, like the borderless multi-currency account that Wise offers, you get separate bank details for each currency you want to use - an American-style account number, for example, or an IBAN and SWIFT code. Having these details means that it’s easier for international clients to pay you - they can treat the transaction like a local one and hence cut down on their fees.
- Some providers additionally sweeten the deal by making services easy to use online or via an app.
They’re the pros - what about the cons? It’s always worth watching out for fees. Many foreign currency accounts come at a relatively steep price, perhaps in the form of a monthly cost, with each transaction potentially costing you more money on top of that. So do make sure you read the fine print before signing up for anything.
Overall, a foreign currency account is a system that can take the sting out of international transactions. What was once a costly, time-consuming procedure, can now be relatively efficient - just as well, when so much business these days is conducted across borders.
But all of the above points concern foreign currency accounts in general. Of course, there are a lot of differences between the foreign currency accounts that the different banks and specialist services provide. An ANZ foreign currency account won’t necessarily offer all these benefits. Read on for more information on what that account offers in particular.
As noted above, ANZ only offers corporate foreign currency accounts¹. As there isn’t much information available online, you should direct your questions at you business bank manager, so your best option is to talk to someone at ANZ, who’ll be able to look at your situation in detail.
If you’re an ANZ customer in New Zealand, Fiji or any of the other countries outside Australia in which ANZ operates, the situation might be different, and you may be able to get hold of a personal foreign currency account. Again, you should talk to ANZ to find out exactly what’s going to work for you.
The ANZ Australia corporate foreign currency account offers currencies including US, Canadian, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singaporean dollars, British pounds, Swiss francs, Japanese yen and euros¹.
Some foreign currency accounts come with debit or credit cards of their own, which can further simplify the process of doing business abroad - especially if you travel a lot.
As the ANZ foreign currency account is a specialized business offering, you should talk to your relationship manager about the possibility of getting a debit/credit card connected to the foreign currency account.
Here’s an overview of likely fees with ANZ, if you’re interested in their corporate multi currency account. In practice, you’ll need to talk to someone at ANZ to find out exactly what it’ll cost for you and your business.
|ANZ states that a: *Monthly maintenance fee applies.*¹ Unfortunately they don’t state how high this fee will be, so it’s advisable to contact them for more information about this.
|Overdrawn account fee
|For unapproved overdrafts the interest rate is the ANZ Prime Rate - differs per currency - plus 3% p/a⁴ For example³: the USD Prime Rate is 4.75% and than add to that another 3%
|The rate varies depending on the currency and is calculated daily⁴
There is an application form available online, but even if you fill that out, you should still get in touch with someone at ANZ - you can’t complete the process without doing so. Your relationship manager is the person to talk to about the application process and what you need to know.¹
- If you’re looking into a business foreign currency account with ANZ, you may well already be a business or corporate client of the bank’s. If so, use your existing relationships there to begin the process of applying for a foreign currency account or call ANZ on 1300 883 798 13 14, or +61 3 9601 126083 9999 if you’re calling from outside Australia¹.
- On ANZ’s contact page you can find several different ways of getting in touch with them. For example via chat - look for the little box that says ‘Chat (Online)’. There’s on online form you can fill out, or try social media - they’re @ANZ_AU on Twitter and ANZAustralia on Facebook⁶.
- Another option is to call in to your local branch - use their location finder if you don’t know where that is.
- You might also be able to find your answer on ANZ’s help page⁵
ANZ’s foreign currency account isn’t for everyone, by design: it’s just for businesses that do work internationally, on a relatively large scale.
If you fit into that category, and you’re after a serious corporate offering, then ANZ’s account could be ideal. On the other hand, if you’re after something lower-maintenance - maybe for your small business or even just for personal use - then Wisecould very well be a suitable alternative. Wise Business, which can be up to 7x cheaper than using a bank, is a great way to streamline the international side of your work, making international payments a breeze.
With a borderless multi-currency account you can store your money in over 40 currencies and get local, virtual account details in Australian and US dollars, British pounds and euros. This means that for these 4 currencies you’ll be able to receive payments from third parties via local transfer methods - an easy and fast way to cut out the costs for an international Swift transfer. There’s no monthly account fee at all, and transaction fees are kept to a minimum. It’s all easy to do online and via the Wise app: all the advantages of a foreign currency bank account, but at a fraction of the cost, and with as much flexibility as you want.
Whether you go for an ANZ foreign currency account or explore another option, good luck sorting out your business’s international accounts, and do make sure you’re getting a decent deal.
¹http://www.anz.com/corporate/products-services/transaction-services/deposits-liquidity-management/foreign-currency-deposits/?_ga=2.46432935.1424749101.1526888271-1696254664.1523954342 (May 21, 2018)
²https://www.anz.co.nz/personal/migrants-travel-foreign-exchange/international-banking/foreign-currency-accounts/ (May 21, 2018)
³http://www.anz.com/auxiliary/rates-fees-terms/interest-rates/ (May 21, 2018)
⁴http://www.anz.com/resources/d/8/d8f1960046d35bcd99569dff59dc78ef/RateSheet-FCA220413.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (May 21, 2018)
⁵http://www.anz.com/auxiliary/help/help/ (May 21, 2018)
⁶http://www.anz.com/auxiliary/contact-us/ (May 21, 2018)
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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.
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