Essential Guide to Moving to Australia: Setting up your bank account

atm-credit-card-skimmer

Setting up your bank account is one of the first things you should do when you first arrive in Australia. This is a relatively straightforward process that can be easily completed with the appropriate documentation.

As part of Liveable’s Essential Guide to Moving to Australia, we’ve saved you the headache of compiling all the information, and condensed the necessities all in one place.

100 Point Check

When it comes to the documents needed to set up a bank account in Australia, a points system is used. This consists of a list of documentation, with a set number of points assigned to each document. Applicants would need to present enough documents that adds up to a total of 100 points in order to set up their bank account.

The list is as follows:

  • 70 Points: Birth certificate, Passport or Citizenship Certificate
  • 40 Points: Australian Drivers’ licence, Student ID card issued by a tertiary education institution, Pension Concession card or a Healthcare card
  • 35 Points: Land Rates (This applies only to homeowners)
  • 25 Points: A card with your name on it (eg. Credit Card or an Overseas Driving License) or a document with your name and address on it (eg. Utility bill)

Alternatively, if you choose to set up your bank account within the first 6 weeks of your arrival in Australia, you would be able to easily open a bank account with just your Passport.

Which bank best suits my needs?

Whether you’re a student or a working professional, choosing which bank is best suited for your needs is largely a personal preference. Features to consider include the competitive interest rate of each bank, their bonus rate conditions and whether their online banking is available 24/7. It would also be worth considering which banks have  ATMs and branches most accessible to you; as in Australia, banks will charge for ATM withdrawals if done from a different bank.

With that said, most banks tend to be similar in the sense that their accounts are equally as straightforward to open, and many are not competitive in terms of their savings accounts.

The Big Four Banks

The Big Four Banks hold a large majority of the loans in Australia and are the most popular options that many choose to save with. As aforementioned, these banks are not particularly competitive with each other. However, they each have certain characteristics that may make them more attractive to your individual preference.

ANZ

ANZ’s Everyday Visa Debit Account costs $5/ month, and with ATMs all over the country, you will have no problem withdrawing cash on a whim. It also has the highest maximum variable rate for savings compared to the other Big Four banks.

Further, ANZ allows for individuals to set up their bank account a year prior to their move to Australia. This account would be free for the first 12 months, subsequently costing $5/ month. This fee, however, will be negated if you are a full-time student, under 25 or deposit at least $2000/ month into the account.

Although you will still have to physically verify your account with the 100 Point Test upon your arrival in Australia, this will allow you to plan ahead of your move here.

Commonwealth

Commonwealth has the largest marketshare out of The Big Four. Hence, it is not surprising that they also have the largest ATM network here, making it extremely convenient to withdraw cash on the go. It has been awarded to have the best online banking system, and their phone service hotline is also available 24/7.

Additionally, Commonwealth’s Smart Access Account is made specifically for people migrating to Australia, and can be set up 3 months prior to your move. Again, you would need to verify your account with the 100 Point Test upon your arrival. Commonwealth also has a Student Smart Access Account available for students, where monthly fees and minimum monthly deposit requirements are waived.

National Australia Bank (NAB)

NAB is the only bank out of The Big Four that does not charge monthly and overdrawn fees. With NAB, there is also no minimum deposit. Further, you will be granted a NAB Visa Debit card with PayWave at no extra cost.

If you are keen on setting up a business bank account, NAB has three varieties to choose from; with the Business Everyday Account being completely free. This account can be integrated into major accounting platforms such as Xero and Reckon.

Westpac

Westpac would be the ideal bank for individuals traveling between Australia and New Zealand, as it is a prominent bank in both countries. Their Everyday Bank Account is free for students, and free for the first year for everyone else. You may also apply for one 12 months before arriving in Australia.

At Westpac, you also have option of signing up for a Choice Account, which will allow you unlimited transactions at any ATMs within their global network. However, if your monthly deposits are more than $2000, this service will cost you $5/month.

Essential Guide to Moving to Australia: Setting up your bank account

Essential Guide to Moving to Australia: Applying for your Visa

Applying for an Australian Visa

Applying for an Australian visa can be minefield to navigate, and with Australian cities regularly holding places in the top 10 most liveable cities in the world, its no surprise that there has been a surge in the number of expats looking to call Australia home.

Before looking forward to endless summer days and countless brunches down under, its important to firstly get your affairs in order. Albeit not being the most exciting aspect when you think of starting your new life overseas, applying for your Australian visa is an incredibly fundamental necessity, essential for your move.

Types of Australian Visas & How to Apply

Skilled Visa

Your first step would be to check that your profession falls within Australia’s skilled occupations list. If your occupation happens to be listed, you may submit an expression of interest to the Australian government. This would give you the right to reside in Australia indefinitely.

Temporary Skilled Visa

Alternatively, if your job is not listed in the aforementioned list, do not be disheartened. You may still apply for a temporary skilled visa. Although this requires a company to sponsor you, and is only valid up to four years, it includes a much wider range of 457 different skill sets that are in demand. To find out if you are eligible, have a scan through the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List.

Working Holiday Visa

A working holiday visa would be helpful for those not eligible for the previous two types of visas, or for those looking to stay in Australia short-term. With a working holiday visa, there are certain restrictions that need to be followed. Firstly, you have to ensure that you are under 31 years of age to apply. Next, you would only be allowed to stay in Australia for a year; working for an employer for a maximum of 6 months only. This hence, may affect career progression.

Student Visa

To apply for a student visa, you will first need to apply for your preferred course and institution. Upon receiving your offer letter as well as your Confirmation of Enrolment, you would then be able to apply for your student visa.

Students who apply may also need to provide a range of documents to support their visa application, including their academic transcript, evidence of funds to support their studies, overseas student health cover, and proof of their english proficiency.

Temporary Graduate Visa

If you have spent at least two years in an Australian university, you are eligible for a temporary graduate visa, which would allow you to live and work in Australia for 18 months following your graduation.

Partner Visa

If your partner is Australian or a permanent resident, and you have been in a relationship for a year, you would be eligible for the Defacto Partner Visa. Aside from the basic requirements needed for general visas, a partner visa would require more supplementary documents.

For those planning to go down this route, ensure that you give yourself ample time to get your relationship certified, as it can take up to 4 weeks to attain the certificate. Family and friends would also be required to fill out the 888 forms to validate your relationship.

Supporting Documents

With all aforementioned visas, an Immi account would need to be made prior to applying for an Australian visa. This would allow you to apply for a visa, as well as access your Health Declaration services. You would also be able to check the progress of an application and update your details online.

Documentation of your health examinations and a police check would also be required.

Essential Guide to Moving to Australia: Applying for your Visa