How to start online banking before you arrive in Australia
At Kathryn Hall Agency, we understand that, as soon as our international relocation clients arrive in Sydney, they want to secure a rental home, have internet connected, buy a car and enrol kids to school. But to do these things, you need an address and have money in AUD ready. This is why we encourage to open an Australian bank account while you are still in your country.
Most big banks will let you open before you arrive but the questions is, can you start making payments online while you are still in your country? Last time I checked, this is only possible with Westpac. All you need to do is apply online and complete an identity check.
Do you have a Westpac offshore office in your country?
If you are in United Kingdom, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Pacific Islands and Indonesia, you can find a Westpac office and process is easier. If you are from other countries, you can go to Australian Embassy or Consulate. You need to fill in this form “Certified Copy Certificate – Customer Identification Documents” which you can download online and take it to them together with other required documents such as passport and drivers license.
Don’t assume they know what you’re talking about
Although Westpac website directs you to Australian diplomatic offices, don’t assume they know about this service. You will have to explain. I recently called the Australian Consulate in Osaka regarding this identity check process for a client and they had no idea.
When should we get ready?
You can open an account 12 months prior to your arrival so I would start 3 months or so before I hop on a plane. Don’t book your flight until you are certain about your visa. If you want to get the best out of your money that you will be transferring, do these two things:
Monitor currency movements and get the timing right
Use an international money transfer company like OFX, not a bank
Save money and start living straight away
It all went very smoothly for this client of mine once he has done his ID check, which was quickly approved by Westpac. He paid us, his relocation agent, from Japan without having to pay the extra 3 % credit card charge, we found him and his family a home they liked and he paid a deposit before arriving in Sydney (having an Australian bank statement with a substantial balance was advantageous). Since they have an address in Sydney, they can apply for internet connection (usually takes a few weeks), buy a car, get a NSW drivers license or apply for residential parking permit. As for school, my client’s children went to a private school so it did not matter but you will need a contract of your rental property to enroll your children if you want to send them to a public school as you will need to prove that you live in the school’s catchment area.
Don’t use your foreign credit cards
As I advise all my clients, try to minimise use of your foreign credit cards. Have cash available in Australia. Banks usually charge service fees when you use your credit card overseas and if not, they will make money through exchange rates.
Want to find out more about pre-migration online banking and saving money in Australia? Contract us at Kathryn Hall Agency.
The information in this article is of a general nature. While care has been taken preparing this information The Kathryn Hall Agency does not warrant, represent or guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or fitness for any other purpose that the article may be used. Kathryn Hall Real Estate accepts no liability for any loss or damage (whether caused by negligence or not) resulting from use of information.