What's required when opening a bank account in Australia?

Once you've decided on an account, you can open one online, in bank branches, or over the phone. Either way and depending on the type of bank account, you will be required to provide your details as well as sufficient identification.

Opening a bank account is effectively entering into a contractual agreement with the financial institution, so there's usually terms and conditions you must read and accept.

If all necessary information, conditions and identification procedures are met, your application should be processed and your account opened.

Completing an identity check
Before opening an Australian bank account for the first time, you will need to provide specific identification documents as required by the bank . This can be done once you have arrived in Australia or in some cases from overseas (available in some  financial institutions such as Westpac Banking Corporation *(Westpac)).

Until the identification check is completed and other criteria/conditions are met, you may only be able to deposit funds into the account you have opened, and not make any withdrawals.

Contact the bank you intend to open an account with to find out more about identification requirements.

Transferring funds

There are many ways to transfer money to Australia. If you open an Australian bank account before you leave you should be able to deposit funds into your new account and have the money waiting for you when you arrive.

Accessing funds in Australian bank accounts, there are many options:

You don't have to travel far to find a bank branch. Most main shopping malls will invariably have branches of most major and some overseas banks. For more complex transactions, like foreign exchange or mortgage applications, visiting in person might be the best option.
Depending on your account and the identification process, you may need to visit a branch in person to verify original papers or sign documents. Find a Westpac branch near you.

There are thousands of automated telling machines across the country. While most are used to withdraw funds from your account, many are also equipped to accept deposits, allow transfers between accounts as well display account balances and provide mini transaction statements. ATMs branded with your bank will usually be free to use, while other banks ATMs  may charge a small processing fee for each transaction.

With Westpac, you can access your money at 1.5 million ATM's world wide. In Australia alone, you have a choice of more than 3,000 ATMs.

Electronic funds transfer at point of sale. It's a mouthful, but it simply means you're able to pay for goods over the counter at the 'point of sale' using a linked debit card or standard credit card.  A PIN or signature validates the transaction. For example, if buying groceries at a supermarket, you can pay using EFTPOS, with some retailers also allowing cash withdrawals from your account at the same time (fees may apply).

Mobile phone or tablets
Setting this up usually requires initial registration with your bank, then either visiting their mobile site or downloading the respective app for your device. With the proliferation of smartphones and their increased functionality, more and more people are performing banking transactions using mobile phones. The convenience is obvious; being able to bank anywhere, anytime.

Internet or online banking
Online banking usually requires initial registration with your bank. Once you are registered you can use the Internet to login and perform your banking online and in your own time. Convenient, secure and cost-effective (in that you can save on some fees if performed online: check with your bank for details).

Contactless card
A credit or debit card with the Visa payWave or MasterCard® PayPass™ feature lets you use contactless technology for purchases under $100 at participating merchants. No signature or PIN required. No swiping or inserting your card. No more looking for exact change when making everyday purchases. You just hold the contactless card against a compatible terminal for a faster way to pay.

This article covers general information about Opening a Back Account in Australia , and doesn't take your individual circumstances into account. Please use it as a guide only.