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Learn more about bank accounts
Can foreigners open bank account in Australia?
If you’re migrating, studying or working in Australia, you’ll be pleased to know that you can open an Australian bank account. For the most part, opening a bank account in Australia is a simple process which starts by comparing the types of bank accounts foreigners can open in Australia.
Once you’ve found a bank account that suits your needs, you can start the application process.
When you apply for the account, you’ll need to provide proof of ID which may include your passport, overseas ID or credit card. You may also need to provide a copy of your visa and proof of address in Australia.
Depending on the bank and the type of account you choose, you may be able to apply for the account online or over the phone before you arrive in Australia.
How do you set up a bank account online?
Once you’ve compared bank accounts and found the right one, the process of opening a bank account online is quite simple and can be done in around 10 minutes.
To set up a bank account online, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide an approved form of ID as well as your tax file number (TFN).
If you’re a new customer of the bank, you’ll need to verify your identity and potentially upload documents before you can complete your online application.
Once your ID has been verified and you’ve set up your bank account online, you should receive your bank cards in the mail along with your PIN and any other account details.
How do I open a new bank account?
There are a number of ways to open a new bank account – online, over the phone or in the branch. The trick is to decide what type of bank account you want beforehand.
It might sound like a simple enough task, but there are literally hundreds of bank accounts to choose from. And each offer their own banking features and benefits.
A comparison site like RateCity can help you work out what bank account product matches your needs.
Once you’ve made up your mind what you want, it’s advisable to have the following information ready for the application process.
- A couple of forms of identification (such as driver’s licence, Medicare card, passport)
- Tax file number
- Residential address, contact phone number and email (though email is not essential)
Can you find your bank account number online?
If your bank offers online services, you should be able to find your bank account number online by logging into your account on your bank’s website and checking your details there.
Keep in mind that each type of account you have with a bank comes with a unique account number. This means if you have a bank account as well as a savings account, for example, your bank account number and your savings account number will be different.
If you don’t have access to your bank account online or can’t login, you should be able to find your account number on a mailed bank statement, if you have one.
Alternatively, you can call your bank’s customer service number or visit a branch to retrieve your account number.
How do I open a bank account if I'm under 18?
The good news for savvy young folks like you wanting to take charge of your finances is that there are many bank accounts available for under-18s.
For bank accounts that require you to be 18 or older, you’ll have to rope in a parent or guardian to open the account for you.
Otherwise, you can apply by yourself online or at the branch of the bank, credit union or building society that has the account you would like to open.
If applying online, you might be asked for a form of identification. For under-18s, this could be a Medicare card you’re listed on, your birth certificate and/or your current home address.
In most cases, you can verify your identity online (at the time of applying) or at the branch afterwards.
How can I find bank accounts in my name?
To find ‘live’ bank accounts in your name, you’ll have to ask individual lenders, which involves contacting them one by one and proving your identity each time. To find ‘unclaimed’ bank accounts (those that have been inactive for at least seven years), you can use this website.
How can you cash a cheque without a bank account?
You can cash a cheque without a bank account if you visit the bank that issued the cheque. For example, if somebody sends you a cheque from Bank X (as written on the cheque) and you visit Bank X, it’s likely that Bank X will let you cash the cheque – provided the person who wrote the cheque has enough money in their account. Bank X would probably charge you a fee for the service.
Are bank accounts frozen when someone dies?
Yes, Australian bank accounts are frozen when someone dies. If you want to close the account of somebody who has died, you might have to provide proof of death and a copy of the will. You might also have to prove your relationship to the deceased person.
If you have a joint bank account with somebody who has died, you will generally be entitled to all the money in the account. Again, you might have to provide proof of death if you want to change the bank account from a joint account to a one-person account.
How do I open a bank account for a child?
There are few better ways for a child to learn about money management than through savings. And there’s a plethora of bank accounts designed specifically for young people and children.
A bank account for a child can be opened online, over the phone or in a branch in a few easy steps. The minimum age a child can open a bank account for themselves usually ranges between 12 and 14.
If the child is too young to open the account, you can do it for them as their legal parent or guardian.
To do this, you would need to be over 18, have an Australian residential address and currently reside in Australia (or have proof of residency).
You would also need to provide:
- Identification for yourself and the child
- Your tax file number (TFN) or TFN exemption
Depending on the bank account, you might be able to choose what level of access the child has to their bank account (online and via the phone).
Can I close my bank account over the phone?
In most cases, you can close a personal or business bank account over the phone. In fact, this is the best way to ensure you’ve closed an account properly.
By speaking to a banking representative, you can capture and close out any pending transactions, or interest owing/payable on the account being closed.
In the instance where the account is a joint account, or you have multiple bank accounts you want to close, your bank may send you a form that you need to fill out and return.
Either way, you would be advised over the phone of the steps you need to take. Calling your bank ahead of closing an account is often a smart course of action.
Can I open bank accounts for my children?
A common question for new parents is, ‘Can I open a bank account for my child?’
The short answer is yes – as a parent you can open a bank account for your child.
Once you’ve compared your options and found a bank account that suits your needs, the process is relatively simple.
As the bank account is for your child, you’ll need to provide some documentation such as proof of ID, including your tax file number.
You will also need a copy of your child’s birth certificate, and in some cases you may also need to sign a guarantee of indemnity.
Depending on the bank and whether you’re an existing customer, you may be able to open a bank account for your child online. However, you may still need to go into a branch to prove your identity.
Can I open a bank account in another country?
Despite having a bad rap for facilitating tax evasion, it is possible and legal to open a bank account in another country, also known as an ‘offshore account’.
Some people choose to open a bank account in another country to invest overseas, for higher interest-earning potential or to access foreign banking services.
The process for opening an offshore bank account differs depending on the financial institution and country in which you’re opening the account.
Typically, you will need to provide identification such as a passport, a local bank statement and a signed declaration proving the source of the money being used to open your account. Usually, deposits into offshore accounts can be made by international money transfer.
How do I close a bank account?
Closing a bank account is one of those tasks that’s easy to put in the too-hard basket. There are quite a few steps involved, some which may require you to hang on the phone for a while.
Here’s a handy checklist of items to tick off, so the job gets done quicker. If you don’t do your banking online, the following steps can also be done at a branch.
- Cancel any scheduled or recurring payments
- Update your direct debit details (such as loan repayments) with creditors
- Export your payee address book (to keep a record of saved third-party bank account details)
- Transfer the balance of your account (to the new bank account)
- Close your account online, or by calling the bank or visiting a branch
Can you deposit money into somebody else's bank account?
One of the easiest banking tasks in the world is depositing money. You can even deposit money into someone else’s bank account if you wish.
The basic information you need to deposit money into a third-party bank account is:
- Payee’s name
- Bank, building society or credit union (though this isn’t necessary)
- BSB (or bank code, which is the branch identifier)
- Account number
Including the name of the financial institution isn’t necessary – particularly with online banking – because the BSB will identify this for you.
A handy tip is to record yourself (or add a personal message) in the transaction description or reference. This will show up on the recipients account, letting them know who’s paid them the money.
Can you get a payday loan without a bank account?
Yes. Some payday lenders are willing to transfer loans to prepaid debit cards instead of bank accounts.