Australian bank account for non-residents. What to know.

Roberto Efflandrin

Planning to move to Australia? Known as the land of sea and sun, Australia offers many great opportunities to new arrivals, although there are of course some logistics to think about. One thing to consider is what you’re going to do about banking once you’re living in Australia.

This guide walks you through the process for opening an Australian bank account as a non-resident, including what you need to provide and where it can be done. We’ll also let you know about some of the alternative options out there, such as Wise. These options offer many of the same services as the banks but can be easier to open and use during the moving process.

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Who is a non-resident in Australia

Let’s start with the basics and look at who a non-resident actually is.

When we’re talking immigration, a non-resident of Australia is someone who’s not an Australian citizen and hasn’t been granted permanent residency. Instead they usually have some form of temporary visa that allows them to live in Australia for a certain period of time, often to work or study.

Something to keep in mind is the way immigration views a non-resident is different to how the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) judges whether someone is a resident for tax purposes.

Can non-residents open a bank account in Australia?

Keeping it short and sweet the answer is yes, it’s possible for non-residents to open an Australian bank account.

The longer version is that while not all banks and account types are available for non-residents, there are a number of options out there provided you meet the criteria. The criteria often involves things like having an appropriate Australian visa, a valid Australian address and being able to visit the banks in person once you’re in the country.

Is an Australian address necessary for opening a bank account in Australia

To be allowed to open an Australian bank account you will need an Australian address and most banks also require you to physically be in the country when the account is opened. A few will allow you to go through the process up to a certain point without providing an Australian address, but that’s usually under the premise that you’ll be in Australia and can provide an address before the account becomes fully activated.

Types of bank accounts available in Australia

Two of the more common account types used in Australia are transaction accounts and savings accounts.

Transaction Account

A transaction account is an everyday spending account you can use for your daily needs. It’s generally linked to a debit card which can be used to pay for things or withdraw cash from an ATM.

If you’re coming to Australia to study, you may want to look at a student transaction account, rather than the stand one.

Savings Account

Savings accounts are designed to help clients save money. They’re generally linked to a transaction account, offer better interest rates than the transaction accounts and don’t have debit card access.

Which Australian banks offer bank accounts for non-residents?

Here’s some of the Australian banks that offer bank accounts to non-residents. You’ll see that not all of them allow you to start the process while abroad.


One of the biggest banks in the country, CommBank allows non-residents to open an Everyday Account Smart Access up to 14 days before arriving in Australia or up to 3 months after arrival.¹ You don’t need an Australian address to do the initial account setup, instead you can use your overseas address. Once you arrive in Australia you’ll then need to visit a branch and provide more information to activate the account.


While the National Bank of Australia (NAB) used to allow non-residents to open an account before arriving in Australia, they’ve recently changed their process.² Now you need to visit a NAB branch in person to set up an account, making sure to bring any relevant documentation. Currently their main transaction account is the NAB Classic Banking account which is for everyday spending.


As a non-resident you can open an account at an ANZ branch once you’re in Australia.³ They suggest bringing identification, proof of an Australian residential address, an Australian mobile number and either an Australian tax ID number or the equivalent from your country of tax residence to help streamline the process.

How to open an Australian bank account as a non-resident

What you need to do to open an Australian bank account as a non-resident depends on the bank. There’s generally three ways it can go.

  • Start the application process online while you’re still overseas. Once you arrive in Australia visit a branch to complete the process.
  • Complete the online application after you’ve arrived in Australia. When it’s been submitted, visit a branch to provide any requirements they might have, such as tax residency information and proof of identity.
  • Visit a branch with all of your documentation and complete the entire account application process in person.

Once the account is opened

When the account has been confirmed as opened you’ll receive your banking details and can start transferring money into the account.

Keep in mind most Australian bank accounts only accept AUD, either rejecting foreign currency or automatically converting it using their rate. If you want to send foreign currency from your home country to an Australian bank account without risking large fees or an unfavourable exchange rate you may want to use something like a Wise to transfer the funds.

What are the requirements for Australian bank accounts

Here’s what the Australian banks usually require from non-residents seeking to open an account.

  • Your full name, date of birth and contact details
  • Proof of identity, usually through the 100 points system
  • Tax residency information
  • Proof of an Australian address
  • Visa information

Alternatives to banks for accounts in Australia

As mentioned at the start, there are a few alternatives to banks that you can use to handle your money in Australia. These alternatives offer similar services like the ability to spend and send money in AUD.

Wise Account

While not a bank, Wise is an international financial services provider that aims to make it cheaper and easier to send, receive or spend money across borders. With a Wise Account you can hold money in over 40 currencies and spend in over 150 countries. You can also get local account details for up to 10 currencies, including AUD, which enables you to send and receive money like a local.


Another option that you may be eligible for is Revolut. Revolut offers plan based accounts that can include services for spending, saving and investing your money.⁴ Currency exchange is available in 30+ currencies and they support international card payments and ATM withdrawals.

Western Union

A staple on the international money transfer scene for decades, Western Union offers a few different services that might be useful, such as international money transfers, cash transfers and prepaid debit cards. The services you can access may depend on your country of residence when you open a Western Union account.

What to keep in mind

If you decide to go ahead and get an Australian bank account here’s a few things to keep in mind.

  • Be aware that living in Australia and having an Australian bank account could make you a tax resident according to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). If you're not sure if or how this can impact your finances, it’s a good idea to consult a professional or talk to the ATO to find out.
  • Sending money between an overseas and Australian bank account can be expensive depending on the fee schedule the Australian bank has in place. When choosing an account look for things like foreign currency transfer fees, exchange rate margins, SWIFT transfer fees and fees to receive overseas transfers. Doing this at the beginning could save you money in the long run.
  • If English is not your first language check with your Australian bank to see if they offer customer service in your native language, either over the phone or at a particular branch.

The Wise Account

If you’re looking for an option that is great for daily spending in Australia and overseas, the Wise is worth a look.

You can open a Wise Account for free and hold money in over 40 currencies and send money to 160 countries. You can also order local account details for 10 world currencies including AUD.

You can also use the Wise Debit card to spend money in 150+ countries without markups and hidden transaction fees. The mid-market rate is used when switching between currencies, helping to keep costs low when sending money internationally.

Join over 16 million customers currently enjoying Wise. It’ll only take a few minutes to register and see what’s inside.

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Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.
Note! Wise is not a bank and features available with traditional bank accounts, such as interest rates, loans or protection under the Financial Claims Scheme (for deposits up to $250,000AUD), will not be available with the Wise Account. See how Wise safeguards your money.


  1. Commonwealth - Open an Australian Bank Account
  2. NAB - Banking for new arrivals in Australia
  3. ANZ - Migrant banking
  4. Revolut - Pricing plans

Sources checked on: 7 April 2024

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

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.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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