Is banking in Australia different to the UK? All you need to know

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Is banking in Australia different to the UK?

We are asked this question a lot from customers jetting off to Australia. So we thought we would share the differences between banking in Australia compared to the UK.

Opening process

So lets dive straight into it! Lets look at the opening process. It seems crazy but it’s easier to setup your Aussie bank account before you leave the UK. You can use your current address in the UK and your passport to get the ball rolling and your account opened. You can even arrange for your debit cards to be ready upon arrival.

If you wait until you arrive then the process changes slightly. You will need to provide proof of an Australian address, which you wont have when you first arrive. So it can take some time before actually setting up your account. The sooner you setup your bank account, the sooner you can start sending funds into that account.

Fees and charges

In the UK when you pay a monthly fee for your day to day banking, it comes with extra benefits. Banking in Australia is different, most banks charge a monthly fee for having an account. Their is however the opportunity to waive the fee if you meet certain requirements. The most common waiver is having more than $2000 dollars paid into your account each month.

Another difference to the UK is the charges incurred when withdrawing money. Unless you use your banks ATM, you will incur a small withdrawal fee (normally $2-3 dollars). So make sure you choose a bank with a wide coverage or branches and ATM’s in your area.

The big four

Like Barclay’s and HSBC in the UK, Australia’s banking industry has four large banks. Then a handful of smaller ones that are generally owned by one of the big four. The big four are ANZ, NAB, Westpac and the Commonwealth bank. If you haven’t used any of the above before, then choosing between them can be tough. We recommend you do some research on reviews and coverage.

Migrant banking

What is this migrant banking term that keeps popping up? Well migrant banking teams are here to help you setup your accounts before you leave. They make the process easier for people migrating and their aim is to get you on board nice and early.

Credit cards

Unfortunately applying for a credit card in Australia is harder than the UK. In the UK you can jump online, chuck in a salary and bingo! your credit card is on it’s way. In Australia you firstly need to provide proof of income, normally 3 months worth. A signed offer of employment from your employer can sometimes speed up the process. But you will have to confirm this with the migrant banking team. On the application you need to provide your incomings and outgoings. This helps the bank decide what credit limit they will provide, based on what you can afford. Please note your amazing credit rating in the UK makes no difference on the sunny shores of Australia.

To conclude, banking in Australia is like the UK with some minor changes. Our advice when choosing which bank to use, is to do a quick search for reviews or recommendations. If you need help choosing you can always head to our Banking page and apply in a few simple steps.


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