A quick guide to banking in Australia
If you’re planning a move to Australia, you don’t need to wait until you arrive to start getting your banking organised. Here are some of the things you’ll need to know, but for more information you can download our pdf guide.
In Australia a transaction account or everyday account is a bank account for your day-to-day banking. In some countries this type of account is known as a current account or checking account.
You can open an account online up to three months before you move, then transfer money across so it’s waiting when you get here.
If you’d prefer, you can also open an account after you arrive by visiting any CommBank branch.
Whichever option you choose, you’ll need to bring some documents to the branch when you first visit, to formally prove your identity. We recommend you bring along originals and certified copies of your:
- Current passport or national identity card, or
- Two of the following: Driver’s licence, birth certificate or citizenship certificate.
If any of your documents are in a foreign language you’ll need to get them translated into English by a professional translator accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI), or an equivalent accreditation.
If you have tax residency outside Australia you'll also need to provide your Tax Identification Number (TIN) for each country of foreign tax residency.
Different banks and branches have different opening hours, but most CommBank branches are open 9:30am-4:00pm Monday to Thursday, and until 5pm on Fridays. More than 75 CommBank branches are also open on Saturdays.
There are many ways to bank with us. For example, you can use an ATM (known in some other countries as cash machines or automated banking machines), phone banking, NetBank or the CommBank app to manage your cash at any hour of the day.
- BSB code: When you open an account you’ll get an account number and this 6 digit code that identifies the branch that the account is linked to (called a sort code in other countries). You’ll need this to pay money into your account
- Paying from overseas: When paying into your account from overseas you’ll need to provide the payer with your BSB and account number. In addition you’ll need to provide the ‘Commonwealth Bank Swift Code’ which is CTBAAU2S
- Tax File Number (TFN): In Australia, a TFN is used to help identify you for tax purposes. When you open a bank account or start a job you’ll be asked to provide your TFN. A TFN isn’t essential in order to open an account, but if you don’t have one or supply it to the bank, any interest that your accounts earn will be taxed at the highest rate. For more information or to apply for a TFN, visit the Australian Taxation Office website: www.ato.gov.au
EFTPOS terminals (short for Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale): Are what Australians call the credit card machines that enable you to pay for goods or services using a credit or debit card (e.g. at supermarkets)
When paying at an EFTPOS terminal or using an ATM you will be asked to select the account you want to withdraw money from (savings, cheque or credit). By default if you have one CommBank Everyday Account pressing either Credit or Savings will work. If you have multiple accounts you’re able to use one card for multiple accounts - ask in branch for more details.
Beyond the day-to-day, we can also help you with longer-term goals and purchases while you’re living in Australia. This includes:
- Transfer money overseas with fast, secure International Money Transfers to more than 200 countries and territories using over 30 currencies
- Build your savings – move money in or out with a flexible account, or choose one with bonus interest that rewards you for regular savings
- Buy a car with a personal loan to help put you on the road sooner
- Buy a home with a choice of flexible home loans
- Invest for the future with personalised advice from an experienced Commonwealth Financial Planner
Things you should know
1 Global Finance, World’s 50 Safest Banks, November 2015.
The advice on this website has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the advice, please consider its appropriateness to your circumstances. Please view our Financial Services Guide.