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Moving to Australia: Bank accounts, credit and mortgages

Moving to Australia: Bank accounts, credit and mortgages

Settling in Down Under is an exciting prospect but as with all huge life moves — there is the nitty gritty to deal with before you can start enjoying your new life.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), net overseas migration (NOM), the loss or gain of population due to immigration and emigration, increased year-on-year to 2012/13 by 244,400 individuals. This marks an 8.6 percent increase on the previous year, and illustrates the attraction of the Australasian nation.

But first things first, it’s essential to get your finances sorted as soon as you can. You’ll need to set up transaction and savings accounts, arrange a credit card and if you want to buy a place to call home in Australia, you’ll need to know how to take out a home loan.

Secure the right credit card

Applying for a credit card may be on your mind, but just how do you go about this?

When you obtain credit or open a bank account, your lender needs to be confident you are who you say you are. Plus, they’ll want to know that you can actually make good on any repayments! For these reasons, you’ll need to supply the following information to your selected lender when opening an account or securing the plastic:

  • Photo ID, typically an Australian driver’s licence
  • Contact details, including your address, phone number and email address
  • Income details
  • Spending details
  • Debts owed
  • Employment details, including employer’s name and your employment status

In many instances, you can complete the bulk of your application online to get the ball rolling, and present the paperwork at your lender’s local branch.

Be savvy about opening accounts

One of the first things you’ll need to do before making Australia home is set up a bank account.

There are plenty of lenders to choose from, but keep this first tip in mind before you start making applications left, right and centre: Shop around for a great deal, but consider having your key transaction and savings accounts with the same bank you take out a home loan with.

Banks offer services such as offset accounts, which reduce the amount of interest payable on investment and home loan balances. For instance, if you’ve got a $350,000 home loan, and an offset account with a balance of $50,000, you’ll only pay interest on the $300,000.

When you’re familiarising yourself with a new town or city, the last thing you want to do is chase up different lenders. An offset account is a smart way of making your money work for you, and ensuring your banking is a simple as possible.

Establish your home loan eligibility

Moving to a new country is exciting and daunting — it may well throw up some other feelings, too.

In order to feel truly settled, you’ll need to find a property to live in.

A 457 visa is a temporary work (skilled) visa, and is the most popular visa programme utilised by Aussie employers to sponsor overseas skilled workers, according to the DIBP. You can gain up to four years employment on a 457 visa.

So — what about the property? A 457 visa home loan is favoured by some Australian immigrants, and many lenders will allow such individuals to take out a home loan with a 10-20 percent deposit under the scheme.

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