Sunday, December 15, 2013

How to set up an Australian Bank Account in Perth / Western Australia


Once we accepted the expat role in Perth....one of the very first things to set up was Banking.  I'm happy to report that Aussie banks make this easy...as least they did for us (more on that later).

For starters I suggest one of the big Aussie banks....they are:
** Some of the world banks also operate here such as HSBC and Citi.  I don't deal with them at home so I didn't see the point but some expats speak highly of them.

All of these banks operate sites for people moving to Australia.  I will speak to the Westpac experience as based on some very basic and hardly scientific analysis I chose Westpac.

I was able to, in probably 15 minutes online, open what is called a "Choice" account with Westpac.  This is the equivalent to a checking account back home.  It pays no interest and allows me to move money in and out, pay bills just as I could with my Canadian account.

The things you need to know:
- You can open the account online from home country and will receive an e-mail shortly after stating your account has been opened.
- I could almost immediately transfer money INTO the account.
- Westpac actually called me in Canada to welcome me and helped set up the online access to the account.  A nice touch.
- Internet banking is excellent in Australia.
- Joint accounts are accepted...hence we created just one account
- I was required to do a identification check before any money could be taken out of the account.  This can be done via mail from the home country or simply by showing up at a branch with the necessary id  as described.  We chose the in branch method and Angela was able to do the id check for both of us which surprised me.
- I could not apply for a credit card from Canada, this had to be done once we were in Australia.
- We moved 10K into the account before going to Australia....I think this helped avoid some issues that some of our expat friends had.
- The West Perth branch had no problems issuing us credit cards and did set them up for Angela and I on her first visit. ***

*** Many of our expat friends have been unsucessful to get credit cards and credit on arrival despite letters from their companies and having high paying jobs / expat packages.  I have further heard this complaint from others who moved from Perth over the years.  I can say only this....we moved 10K AUD into the account about a month before we moved.  We did the request IN BRANCH...branches apparently have much more flexibility than the call centre folks.  Angela brought the kids with her to the branch and treated them with absolute respect.

If I've missed something don't hesitate to ask... how was your experience setting up banking? 



2 comments:

  1. Now for the last of the 3Ps in banking offshore - protection. Protection of your assets is the third reason that investing offshore is a banking solution that is very popular. It is nearly impossible to get the account balance of a bank account in an offshore jurisdiction, unlike the ease with which it can be done for a bank account such as the example used above. Jail terms and heavy fines can be imposed for disclosing any information regarding bank accounts in most jurisdictions with offshore banks.

    opening a bank account in Australia

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    1. Thanks for your reply. I believe this would certainly be an approach used in certain countries that expats would visit but seemed unnecessary in Australia when I made the move.

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