Best Way To Transfer Money To Australia

Best Way To Transfer Money To Australia how to transfer money to Australia

If you’re planning a trip to Australia, you’re likely interested in finding the most cost-effective method to transfer your money to Australian dollars (AUD) without incurring exorbitant fees. It’s important to have sufficient savings upon arrival to cover expenses such as food, accommodation, and other necessities until you secure employment, as the cost of living Down Under, particularly in major cities, is considerably high. Merely a few euros or pounds won’t suffice to sustain you! If you’re entering Australia on a Working Holiday Visa, it is mandatory to possess a minimum of $5000 in your bank account. Therefore, we recommend transferring your funds to an Australian account upon arrival. This article will guide you through the optimal options for international money transfers, enabling you to save on fees.

1. Open an Australian bank account

To facilitate the transfer of funds from a European or American account to Australia, the initial step entails opening an Australian bank account. This not only helps you avoid international withdrawal or payment charges but also enables you to receive payments if your intention is to work within Australia. By having a local bank account, you can streamline your financial transactions and enjoy the convenience of managing your funds more effectively.

How to open an Australian bank account

Opening a bank account online

To open an Australian bank account, you have the option of doing it either online or in person. Currently, CommonWealth Bank and NAB are supporting this.

  1. Research and choose a bank: Explore different banks in Australia and compare their offerings, fees, and services. Look for a bank that suits your needs and preferences.
  2. Visit the bank’s website: Once you have selected a bank, go to their official website. Look for the section related to opening a new account or join now.
  3. Provide personal information: Fill out the online application form with your personal details, including your full name, contact information, residential address, and possibly your Australian Tax File Number (TFN) or a declaration that you have applied for one.
  4. Verify your identity: Most banks will require you to verify your identity. This can be done online by providing copies of your identification documents such as a passport, driver’s license, or national ID card. Some banks may also require additional documents as proof of address.
  5. Choose the type of account: Select the type of bank account you wish to open, such as a savings account or a checking account. Consider any specific features or benefits you require.
  6. Review terms and conditions: Carefully review the terms and conditions, fees, and any other important information related to your chosen account.
  7. Submit the application: Once you have completed all the necessary steps, submit your application online.
  8. Fund your account: Once your application is approved, you will receive your account details. You can then transfer funds from your existing bank account to your new Australian bank account.
Open a Smart Access account online up to 14 days before you arrive in Australia. If you’re an international student, you won't pay any monthly account fees
Open a Smart Access account online up to 14 days before you arrive in Australia. If you’re an international student, you won’t pay any monthly account fees. (Commonwealth Bank)

Opening a bank account in person when you arrive in Australia

  1. Research and choose a bank: Similar to the online method, research and select a bank that meets your requirements.
  2. Visit a branch: Locate a branch of your chosen bank in Australia. If you are already in Australia, visit the branch in person. If you are still overseas, check if the bank allows you to open an account before your arrival.
  3. Bring necessary documents: Carry your identification documents, such as a passport, driver’s license, or national ID card. Additionally, bring documents to prove your residential address, such as utility bills or rental agreements.
  4. Speak with a bank representative: Inform the bank staff that you wish to open an account. They will guide you through the process and provide you with the necessary application forms.
  5. Fill out the application form: Complete the application form with your personal details and account preferences.
  6. Verify your identity: Present your identification documents to the bank representative, who will verify your identity in person.
  7. Choose the type of account: Select the type of account you want to open, based on your needs and preferences.
  8. Review terms and conditions: Go through the terms and conditions of the account and clarify any doubts or questions you may have.
  9. Deposit initial funds: If required, deposit the minimum initial amount specified by the bank to activate your account.
  10. Receive your account details: Once your application is processed and approved, the bank will provide you with your account details, including your account number and other relevant information.

How much does an Australian bank account cost?

Most Australian banks offer free current account openings. However, it’s important to note that some banks may impose fixed operating fees, usually on a monthly basis, which can amount to approximately $5 per month. It is advisable to check with your specific bank as they may waive these fees under certain circumstances. For example, if you are under 25 years old, a student, or have a minimum monthly income. Typically, these fees are not applied during the first year after opening the account, but it’s best to confirm the details with your chosen bank.

2. How to transfer money to Australia?

Once your Australian account is available, you will have 2 options to transfer your money:

  • If you already had an Australian bank account (active status) and you’re not in Australia yet, you can go to your bank in your home country and make a classic international transfer. This is a traditional way and the transfer fee is usually high.
  • Make the transfer through a specialised international transfer platform (recommended) no matter where you are. See the below!

Transfer money to Australia through your bank

To make a bank transfer to Australia through your bank, follow these general steps:

  1. Contact your bank: Get in touch with your bank and inquire about their process for international bank transfers. This can often be done through phone banking, online banking, or by visiting a branch in person.
  2. Provide recipient details: Provide the necessary information about the recipient in Australia. This typically includes their full name, bank account number, and the bank’s name and address where the recipient holds their account.
  3. Verify exchange rates: Check the current exchange rate between your home currency and Australian dollars (AUD). Banks usually provide real-time exchange rates, or you can use reputable online currency converters to get an estimate.
  4. Determine transfer amount and fees: Decide on the amount you wish to transfer and inquire about any fees associated with the international bank transfer. Your bank will provide information regarding any fees or charges that may apply.
  5. Complete required forms: Fill out the bank transfer form provided by your bank. Ensure you provide accurate and complete details about the recipient and transfer amount.
  6. Confirm transaction details: Review the transaction details, including the recipient’s information, transfer amount, fees, and exchange rate. Make any necessary corrections or clarifications before proceeding.
  7. Authorize the transfer: Depending on your bank, you may need to provide authorization for the transfer. This can be done through a digital signature, PIN verification, or other security measures implemented by your bank.
  8. Transfer funds: Once you have completed all the necessary steps and verified the transaction details, instruct your bank to transfer the funds to the recipient’s Australian bank account. Your bank will provide an estimated time frame for the transfer to be completed.
  9. Keep transaction records: Make sure to keep a record of the transaction, including any reference numbers or confirmation receipts provided by your bank. This will be useful for future reference or in case of any issues with the transfer.

International transfers via banks come with a significant drawback: they can be costly. Typically, European banks impose transfer fees of around 25 Euros, in addition to commissions. Furthermore, the process itself tends to be time-consuming, and the exchange rate applied to your transfer is often very low.

It’s worth noting that banks frequently withhold the information regarding the exchange rate for your transaction. Despite certain agreements between banks in the UK, US, and Australia, high transfer fees and daily limits may still apply. Even if your bank claims to waive transfer fees, exercise caution. The crucial factor to consider is not just the cost of the transfer, but rather the exchange rate used. Unfortunately, banks tend to select rates that benefit them rather than you, preventing you from obtaining favorable rates.

Transfer money through an international financial tech company

Sending money through specialized companies is highly recommended. One significant benefit is the competitive exchange rates they offer, which outshine those provided by banks. These companies operate internationally, maintaining accounts in multiple countries. They leverage these local accounts to receive and send funds, minimizing intermediary bank charges associated with money transfers. Consequently, you can enjoy substantial savings on each transfer, making it a cost-effective choice. So, how exactly does it work?

  1. Let’s say you want to send 1000 GBP to Australia from your bank account in the UK. You create a transfer on their platform (website or mobile app) and fill in the amount you want.
  2. You make a transfer free of charge by sending 1000 (GBP) to their European account accordingly (also in GBP). Of course, these companies (Wise, CurrencyFair,…) will give you their account details during the process.
  3. The company receives the money in their European account, it converts it to a rate close to that of the market (Euros -> Australian Dollars), and makes it available on your Australian account. And their exchange rate is very good.
  4. They then perform a wire transfer to your account in Australian Dollars, and you will receive dollars from an account in Australia, here again, you will have no bank charges.
transfer money to Australia from your bank in your home country via Wise (formally TransferWise)
Sending 1000 GBP to Australian bank account via Wise. Low transfer fee and competitive exchange rate. Rate applied on 23, May 2023.

WISE – 1st transfer free

Create your Wise account and make your first transfer for free (for any transfer of more than AUD 300)!


3. Recommended international money transfer company: Wise

Fast, low-cost, and secure online money transfers from your home country / or where you’re currently living to Australia.

  • Offers one of the best exchange rates on the market (really close to the actual market rate with the capacity to “lock a rate” for your transfer).
  • Online assistance.
  • Lowest transfer fee: around $5.
  • Transfer time: 1 hour up to 2 days (if you’re a new registered on Wise, please allow 4 to 5 days for the first transfer. After the 1st transfer, the rest will be very quick).
  • Simple and easy system.
  • A mobile app is available.

Send money in 3 easy steps

Enter amount to send in GBP Pay in GBP with your debit card or credit card, or send the money from your online banking transfer

1. Enter amount to send in GBP.

Pay in GBP with your debit card or credit card, or send the money from your online banking.

2. Choose recipient in Australia.

Select who you want to send money to and which pay-out method to use.

3. Send GBP, receive AUD.

The recipient gets money in AUD directly from Wise’s local bank account.

Compare The Best Money Transfer Service To Australia

These are many money transfer companies out there. Take a look at the below comparison table.

Compare the best money transfer service to Australia
Compare the best money transfer service to Australia. The rate applied on 23, May 2023.

WISE – 1st transfer free

Create your Wise account and make your first transfer for free (for any transfer of more than AUD 300)!


Also read: Best Way To Send Money Overseas From Australia

You may also like: Arrival Package for Working Holiday Travellers in Melbourne: The Ultimate Solution for a Smooth Transition

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