There’s a lot to arrange when moving to Australia, and one thing newcomers should research carefully is where to open a bank account. At Remitly, we’re aware that this can be tricky territory to explore, with lots of options competing for your attention.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the most important points to consider when you’re weighing up which Australian bank to join. We’ll then look at four of our top recommendations, so you’ll have a better idea of what’s on offer.
Key Considerations When Choosing a Bank in Australia
To avoid being overwhelmed with information when comparing banks in Australia, just focus on some basic questions. If the answers to these are satisfactory, you’ll know the bank is worth your consideration.
- Fees – will the bank charge monthly administration fees for having an account? If so, how does it compare with other banks?
- Ease of set-up – is creating an account with the bank a straightforward process?
- Ease of use – does the bank make it easy to keep track of your account and manage your budget, for example with a user-friendly mobile app?
- Customer service – can you easily contact the customer support staff, and can they speak your native language?
- Additional features – does the bank offer overdrafts, savings accounts and other services you might need while living in Australia?
4 Banks to Consider Joining in Australia
There are numerous banks in Australia you can choose from, but we’ve handpicked these four firms because they tick a lot of boxes. Let’s dive in.
National Australia Bank (NAB)
Why it wins?
National Australia Bank, or NAB, is one of the leading financial institutions in Australia and it offers a great all-round service in the form of the NAB Classic Banking account. Unlike some other major Australian banks, it has zero monthly fees and doesn’t charge you if you happen to exceed your account balance. Opening the account is simple – you can do it online in a matter of minutes, and after that you can keep track of your spending through the super-smooth NAB mobile app.
We know that many migrants who move to Australia will be looking to build savings, and NAB has you covered there too. There are a few different saving account options available – one is ideal if you can see yourself making withdrawals from it, while another will reward you with bonus interest if you make regular deposits with no withdrawals. The bank’s online virtual assistant can help with any queries you might have, and connect you with staff if necessary.
Why it wins?
ING calls itself “Australia’s most recommended bank”, and that makes sense when you consider some of the perks on offer. There are no monthly fees for its Orange Everyday account, and if you get charged any ATM fees anywhere in the world, ING will refund the money (providing you deposit at least $1,000 and make at least five card purchases a month).
You can open an Orange Everyday account online in minutes, and the ING mobile app means you can access your account, pay bills, send money to friends, and manage your spending on the go. ING’s Savings Maximiser account provides a great solution for migrants looking to keep some money aside for the future, and it doesn’t charge you if you need to withdraw funds either.
Why it wins?
Commonwealth Bank, better known simply as CommBank, is another long-established banking option. Its Smart Access account does have a monthly $4 account service fee, but you won’t have to pay anything if you deposit $2,000 or more per month. The fee is also waived if you’re under 25 or a full-time student.
You can apply online for the account in minutes, and the CommBank mobile app is really handy. It has a feature, Bill Sense, which helps you manage your spending by showing you how much you’ll need to set aside for bills in the months to come. As you’d expect from a major bank, CommBank has a portfolio of personal loans and insurance packages on offer, as well as some savings accounts that reward you for regular deposits. Getting in touch with staff is simple, thanks to a direct phone number and the option to message the bank online.
Why it wins?
You don’t have to stick to the big-name, bricks and mortar banks in Australia. Going down the online-only route can also bring benefits. A great example is ME Bank, whose award-winning Everyday Transaction Account charges no fees and requires no minimum monthly deposits. It takes around five minutes to open an account online, and don’t worry – even though there are no physical branches, you can easily chat to staff by phone or online.
ME Bank also offers a full suite of other services, including fee-free savings accounts, home loans and credit cards. And, while it almost goes without saying for an online bank, ME has a top-notch mobile app that provides immediate access to your account balance.
How to send money from your bank back home
After you set up your Australian bank account, you may be keen to start sending money back to friends and family back home. This is where Remitly comes in. We’re proud to support millions of people like you by offering a remittance service with clear exchange rates and low fees. Here’s how to make it happen with Remitly.
- Create an account through our website or app
- Pick the country you’re sending money to
- Pick how your recipient would like to receive the money
- Enter a few details about your recipient
- You can now send by paying through your bank card or via bank transfer