With so many banks in Australia, it can seem daunting trying to find the perfect one for you. Being an expat, switching banks after a big international move can be a stressful experience.

Considering a move down under? If you’re thinking of moving to Australia, then opening an Australian bank account will be something you’ll want to do quickly. Simply put, the faster you get this done, the easier it is for you to hit the ground running once you land in Australia. Being a global financial hub, there are a plethora of banks you can choose from in Australia. We’ve done the legwork for you and listed out the top 11 banks in Australia with the best perks for expats!

*This list has not been placed in any specific ranking order.

1. Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Commonwealth Bank is one of the banks in Australia.
Photo credit: Commonwealth Bank of Australia

As Australia’s largest bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia offers a good range of bank account options to support people moving to Australia. This includes the Everyday Account Smart Access, which lets you open an account up to three months before you arrive in Australia. You’ll need to visit a branch once you arrive in Australia and provide identification documents and tax residency details before you can use your new account. More importantly, however, you don’t need an Australian address to set up an account at Commonwealth! This gives you the time flexibility to plan your move without having to rush your relocation process.

In addition, Commonwealth Bank boasts an extensive branch network all across Australia – each with bilingual staff that is able to help you regardless of any language barrier. The bank also has its own CommBank app, which means that you can bank on the go. What’s more, the application has features such as its own in-house Spend Tracker, which allows you to track your everyday spending with ease.

A student bank account is an ideal option for international students, allowing them to withdraw money from any Commonwealth Bank of Australia ATMs. The best part is that you won’t be charged any fee and won’t even have to use the debit card.

COVID-19 update: CommBank remains open as an essential service. It also offers support to businesses affected by the pandemic. Short-term repayment deferrals are available for eligible customers impacted by recent lockdown measures. More information regarding its COVID-19 support can be accessed here.

Access Commonwealth Bank here.

2. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ)

ANZ is one of the banks in Australia.
Photo credit: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, or more commonly known as ANZ, is the second largest bank by assets and third largest bank by market capitalisation in Australia. ANZ offers two bank account options: ANZ Access Advantage and Online Saver. ANZ Access Advantage is touted as “everything you need from an everyday account”. If you’re under 25 or deposit at least $2000 a month, there is no monthly account service fee for the first 12 months!

Like CommBank, ANZ has its own ANZ app that allows you to bank online from anywhere in the world. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group also has its own in-house security, aptly named ANZ Falcon™, which provides round-the-clock monitoring for suspicious transactions on your card. Once an unusual transaction has been identified, ANZ will get in touch with you to ensure that it’s actually one of your transactions. You can rest assured that your money will be safe with this reliable bank!

COVID-19 update: As an essential service, ANZ branches will remain open unless specifically listed as an exposure site. You can also find tips for home owners, business owners and those seeking personal loans at its website. More information regarding its COVID-19 support can be accessed here.

Access Australia and New Zealand Banking Group here.

3. Westpac

Westpac is one of the banks in Australia.
Photo credit: Westpac

Meet Westpac – Australia’s first ever bank! At Westpac, you can sort through your day-to-day bank accounts seamlessly. With staff that speaks several languages, including Mandarin, Vietnamese, Korean and Greek (along with an abundance of multilingual ATMs), your needs will certainly be met when you visit one of Westpac’s branches. If you are planning to buy a home in Australia, Westpac is ready to guide you through the process with home and investment property loans readily available.

Westpac offers account options for everyone. From students under 21 to retirees over 55, there is a plan for everyone under Westpac’s Choice for Migrants. If you’re between 18 to 29, you could earn up to 2.5 percent per annum variable interest on your savings when you save and spend with a Westpac Life savings account and a Westpac Choice bank account!

COVID-19 update: As of this article’s publication, Westpac has temporarily suspended account opening for people outside of Australia due to the COVID-19 related travel restrictions set by the Australian Federal Government. For the latest updates, head over to Westpac’s website for more information.

Access Westpac here.

4. Citibank Australia

Citibank is one of the banks in Australia.
Photo credit: Citibank

As one of the largest global banks, Citibank is primed to help you move to Australia as your local bank. If you are a Citibank customer in your home country, the bank can even set up your Australian bank account before you leave home. As a result of Citibank international banking solutions, you will always be sure of getting the same, high level of service at your home country and in Australia.

The Citi Global Currency Account is the ideal account for a global citizen. With this account, you are able to spend, send and receive a world of currencies instantly – giving you the freedom to pay like a local, even when you aren’t. You will be able to consolidate your international bank accounts into one place, with account details for up to 10 currencies. In addition, if you have at least $25,000 in your Australian Dollar account, you’ll earn 0.75 percent per annum interest, with no withdrawal fees and interest paid monthly.

COVID-19 update: Citibank branches remain open (check website for change in operation hours due to pandemic). It also provides a Financial Hardship programme for those affected by COVID-19. More information regarding its COVID-19 support can be accessed here.

Access Citibank Australia here.

5. HSBC Australia

HSBC is one of the banks in Australia.
Photo credit: HSBC Australia

Wherever life takes you, HSBC may be able to help. HSBC allows you to open Australian foreign currency bank accounts, so you can transact in up to 10 different currencies. The bank also provides international transfers, allowing you to keep connected to your financial commitments back home with ease. You can also manage your home and overseas accounts anytime, anywhere with online banking and the HSBC app.

HSBC’s Everyday Global Account is the all-in-one multi-currency account that meets your everyday banking needs. Talk about perks, you can stand to receive a $100 bonus when you deposit $2,000 or more each calendar month (for three consecutive calendar months), within six months of opening your new Everyday Global Account!

COVID-19 update: HSBC branches remain open (check website for change in operation hours due to pandemic). As of 10 July 2020, the bank will be waiving dishonour fees and return fees until further notice. This temporary change will be applicable to transaction and savings accounts, credit cards, personal loans and home loans. More information regarding its COVID-19 support can be accessed here.

Access HSBC Australia here.

6. National Australia Bank (NAB)

NAB is one of the banks in Australia.
Photo credit: National Australia Bank

National Australia Bank (NAB) offers one of the most competitive solutions to opening an Australian bank account from overseas. It allows you to open a Classic Banking account that lets you send money up to 12 months before your arrival. This gives you plenty of flexibility to pay people like your landlord using the local banking system, saving you transaction fees and time.

With $0 monthly account fees, overdrawn fees or withdrawal fees, National Australia Bank helps you settle into your new home with ease. All you have to do is to collect your NAB debit card at arrival, and you are good to go! For those worried about language barriers, NAB can arrange for an interpreter to help you with your banking enquiries in the language of your preference.

It is, however, crucial to keep in mind that 2,000 AUD ($1,547) is the highest you can withdraw from NAB in a day. The best part is that NAB allows money withdrawal for free from any of its 7,000 ATMs across the country. The interest rate for opening the National Bank Account Classic Banking account is 0.01%.

For those of you thinking what is the best bank in Australia for retirees, the NAB Retirement account offers a tiered interest which implies that your account balance would determine the interest on your account.

COVID-19 update: NAB branches remain open (check website for change in operation hours due to pandemic). More information regarding its COVID-19 support can be accessed here.

Access National Australia Bank here.

7. Suncorp Bank

Suncorp Bank is one of the banks in Australia.
Photo credit: Suncorp Bank

Based in Brisbane, Suncorp is one of Australia’s largest general insurance groups. Suncorp’s Everyday Options Account allows you to set up an account in under 5 minutes. Furthermore, as you make large purchases in Australia such as home furnishings, you can even earn interest on your main account balance of up to 0.01 percent! This is an easy, everyday account that is packed with extras to help you spend, save and budget better.

For low income earners (such as students) and government benefit recipients, consider opening an Everyday Essentials Account with Suncorp. Like the Everyday Options Account, this account has no monthly fees (forever!), no deposit requirements and no currency conversion fees. It also has an extra level of overdraft protection, which is a service provided by a bank that protects against non-sufficient funds.

COVID-19 update: NAB branches remain open (check website for change in operation hours due to pandemic). More information regarding its COVID-19 support can be accessed here.

Access Suncorp Bank here.

8. Bank of Queensland (BOQ)

banks in australia
Photo credit: Bank of Queensland

The maximum amount you can withdraw from the Bank of Queensland as an International Payment is AUD 250,000. Expats are required to register for International/RTGS Payments to make the transactions for the account they wish for. There is a fee of $20 for international payment requests, and the minimum transaction should be AUD 100.

The maximum amount that can be withdrawn as an Individual International payment is AUD 250,000 or any foreign currency equivalent.

COVID-19 update: BOQ branches remain open (check website for change in operation hours due to pandemic). More information regarding its COVID-19 support can be accessed here.

Access Bank of Queensland here.

9. Macquarie Bank

banks in australia
Photo credit: Macquarie Bank

Macquarie Group Ltd is another choice worth considering for expats. Macquarie banks have reduced the serviceability floor rate for home loans from 5.35 percent per annum to 5.05 percent per annum. This implies an increased opportunity for expat investors to invest in Australian property. The reduction in rates is, in fact, better for the expat community than it is for the Australian-based home buyers.

To account for foreign exchange risk, Macquarie banks ought to assess 60 percent to 80 percent of actual income. The exchange rates are variable, but the mark-ups on the 55 available currencies at Macquarie banks range from 0.4% to 1.5% above the mid-market rate. The bank charges the transfer fees of AUD 15 for all the transactions below AUD 10,000, more than which is allowed for free.

COVID-19 update: Macquarie Bank branches remain open (check website for change in operation hours due to pandemic). More information regarding its COVID-19 support can be accessed here.

Access Macquarie Bank here.

10. Bendigo Bank

banks in australia
Photo credit: Bendigo Bank

Bendigo Bank offers competitive rates on all foreign exchange products and services. If you are using your Bendigo Bank debit card or credit Mastercard overseas, the bank will charge you a fee on top of the conversion rate.

The bank offers interest rates of 0.10 percent per annum for the EasySaver Account as well as the CommunitySaver Account.

COVID-19 update: Bendigo Bank branches remain open (check website for change in operation hours due to pandemic). More information regarding its COVID-19 support can be accessed here.

Access Bendigo Bank here.

11. AMP Bank Ltd

banks in australia
Photo credit: AMP Bank Ltd

The Australian Mutual Provident (AMP) Society offers some valuable services for Australian expats. It offers the service of international wire transfer to receive incoming payments swiftly. Similarly, international wire transfer from AMP Bank also allows outgoing international wire transfer transactions. The Overseas Telegraphic Transfer costs $10 inwards, while the outgoing transaction fee is $35. The website claims to give retail conversion rates 1-2% lower than the market rate.

COVID-19 update: AMP Bank branches remain open (check website for change in operation hours due to pandemic). More information regarding its COVID-19 support can be accessed here.

Access AMP Bank here.

Various Australian banks offer exclusive accounts for expats to fulfil your banking requirements. It is crucial to choose the account carefully based on the solutions it is offering. You might want to transfer a large sum of money to Australia to purchase a house or invest in a business, or perhaps you are an entrepreneur to a small business; each requirement is met differently by different banks.

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