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How to open a bank account if you’re moving to Australia

By July 23, 2018February 3rd, 2023Bank accounts

How to open a bank account if you’re moving to Australia

July 23, 2018


If you have made the decision to move to Australia, whether to temporarily take up a new job, or to move permanently, you’ll be pleased to know that banking in Australia is a lot more straightforward than many other countries.

Banking before residency

Australia has a number of international as well as local banks that allow you to open your bank account before you take up residency in the country. Australia’s major banks are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac, NAB and ANZ.

The advantages of opening up a bank account before you arrive, is that you can deposit funds into your new account and have the money waiting for you when you arrive. Setting up an Australian bank account before you arrive is essential if you plan to look for accommodation from the day you arrive and you need funds for a deposit and at least the first month’s rent.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac offer options where you can open your bank account online before you arrive and transfer money from anywhere in the world. Your balances online will also be available when you arrive. Once you have arrived in the country, you can usually pick up your debit/credit cards almost immediately and withdraw your money from any ATM.

How much can you transfer?

Once you have opened your bank account online, you’ll find that transferring money abroad is relatively straightforward. Important things to ensure are that the costs are reasonable and that you are guaranteed a good currency exchange rate. If you’re a South African resident and have not yet decided to financially emigrate, you will be interested to know that every South African resident above the age of 18 has two annual allowances that they can use to transfer funds from South Africa:

    • Single Discretionary Allowance

As a SA resident, you may transfer a total of R1 000 000 from South Africa every calendar year. Please note that all card transactions while you are abroad are included under this allowance.

    • Foreign Investment Allowance

As a resident, you may also use this R10 000 000 allowance per calendar year. A tax clearance is required from SARS. This tax clearance is associated with the Foreign Investment Allowance and differs from a normal ‘good standing’ tax clearance. You may also transfer funds abroad in excess of these allowances.


This means that cumulatively between spouses you are allowed to remit R22 million offshore on an annual basis!

Cost-effective currency transfers

FinGlobal is a foreign exchange intermediary approved by the South African Reserve Bank and we have assisted thousands of South Africans with their foreign exchange transactions. Our expertise and partnership with Bidvest Financial Services ensure that we’re able to offer highly competitive exchange rates, low fees and streamlined processes with unrivalled personal service. We will also obtain your tax clearance certificate if required. To find out more about our forex services contact us today.


  • Monique says:

    Can I open an account in Australua si long if I only immigrate in a few years rtime?

    • Byron Martin says:

      Hi Monique. You will have to query this with the banks available in Australia. They should be able to advise on the regulations and timeframes in regards to their products and services.

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