Expatriates living in Australia and Setting Up a Bank Account

australia-flag In Australia, most wages are paid directly into a bank account. Therefore if you will be receiving your salary from an Australian company it is important that you open an Australian bank account
The most common bank account in Australia is a check account, which is often referred to as a transaction account and provides you with ATM access, checks, an EFTPOS card (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale), direct debit for bill payment, telephone banking, internet banking, and other services.
Most Australian banks will allow you to open a bank account before you arrive in Australia. However according to the Australian law you will be able to deposit money into your bank account but you won’t be able to withdraw or transfer money until you complete the 100 points of personal identification check.
Note: If you visit your bank branch within 6 weeks from arriving in Australia or open a bank account in Australia within six weeks of your arrival you will not need to complete the 100 points identification check. Presenting your passport as identification will be sufficient. After six weeks you will need extra identification to open an account.
What is the 100 points identification check?
national-australia-bank The Australian law requests that you supply sufficient personal identification to prove you are who you say you are.
A range of different documents can be used for personal identification; however some documents score higher points and are considered better proof of identity than others.
You must have at least 100 points of identification to be able to establish the account.
Primary Identification Documents
You are only allowed to use one of the following:

  • Passport- current or expired within last two years, but not cancelled (70 points).
  • Birth Certificate/Extract (70 points).
  • Citizenship Certificate (70 points).

Secondary Identification Documents
You may use several of the following to reach 100 points:

  • Documents which verify your identity by photograph and/or signature.
  • License issued under Australian law (e.g. driver’s license or other government issued license) which contains a photograph or signature (40/25 points).
  • Employee ID card issued by a Government Authority or Public Service 940/25 points).
  • Social Security, Health Care or Pension card (40/25 points).
  • Tertiary Education Institution ID card (40/25 points).

Note: If you wish to use more than one document from this group, the first acceptable document scores 40 points, but subsequent documents only score 25 points each.
Documents which verify your full name and residential address

  • A utility bill – water, electricity, gas, etc’. (25 points)
  • Documents which verify your full name: A telephone bill or council rate notice (25 points), Medicare card (25 points), foreign driver’s license (25 points).
  • A bank/credit union/building society passbook, statement or debit/credit card (25 points).

Banks in Australia

The leading banks in Australia are Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, and ANZ.
State specifics and other banks are: St. George Bank (mainly NSW, VIC, SA), HSBC, Bank West (WA), , Bank of Queensland (mainly QLD with some branches in NSW and VIC), Suncorp (QLD), Citibank, and Home Building Society (WA)
Before you open a bank account make sure to compare between the banks in Australia. Check what are their fees, interest rates, and other services.
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