Skip to main content Skip to main navigation
Skip to accessibility page Skip to search input

Banking in Australia FAQs

Like most things, when it comes to moving to a new country, sorting out your banking will have its own differences. Here’s an overview to help understand banking in Australia.

What are the main types of bank accounts?

Bank accounts in Australia generally fall into two categories – transaction accounts and savings accounts.

 

In Australia, the account you manage your day-to-day banking with is known as a transaction or everyday account (you might know this type of account as a checking account or current account). Transaction accounts are designed to give you easy access to your cash – it’ll typically also be the account you transfer money into, or if you’re working it’ll be the account your employer would likely pay you into. It’s also the account you’ll likely use to take care of your day-to-day spending and manage your expenses.

 

As the name suggests, savings accounts are designed to help you save or look after your savings. Some savings accounts will also pay you bonus interest if you meet certain conditions such as making a minimum monthly deposit.

How easy is it to open a bank account in Australia?

With some Australian banks you can open an everyday account before you arrive in Australia. With Westpac, for example, you can open a Westpac Choice everyday account up to 12 months before you arrive, you don’t even need to have an Australian address (but you will need to show your ID in branch before you can access your account).

 

Find out more about opening a Westpac Choice account from overseas

What identification do you need to open an account?

Before you can withdraw money from your Australian bank account you’ll need to complete an identity check once you arrive in Australia. If your account is with Westpac and you have your identify verified within the first six weeks of arriving in Australia, you’ll need to bring the following to have your identity verified:

  • Your passport and Australian residential address
  • A valid visa and confirmation of your arrival in Australia within the last six weeks.
     

Any longer than six weeks and you'll need to provide at least two forms of identification such as a passport, driver's licence or birth certificate. 

 

If you open a Westpac Choice account when you’re already living in Australia you can save time by having your identity checked online. Simply have two of the following documents handy:
 

  • International or Australian Passport
  • Australian Driver Licence
  • Medicare Card

How can you access money from your account?

Most everyday bank accounts in Australia will have a linked debit card that you can use to shop online or in stores and get money out at ATMs. However with the rise of contactless technology in recent years, the ways you can access your money has increased, including the use of wearable technology or using a mobile banking app to get out money at ATMs without needing your debit card.

 

Find out more about accessing money from an Australian bank account  

What is a tax file number?

A tax file number (TFN) is a number issued by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to identify you for tax purposes. When you start a job or open a bank account in Australia you’ll be asked to supply your TFN. Although you’re not required to provide a TFN to open an Australian bank account,  if you don’t provide your TFN, we’re required by law to withhold tax.

 

Getting a TFN issued can be done online, but you’ll need to wait to do it once you arrive in Australia. For more information or to apply for a TFN if you’ve already arrived, go to the ATO website.

Things you should know

This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general in nature. It is intended as an overview only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.