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Hi - which banks offer accounts you can open prior to first arrival (on a 190 visa if that makes a difference)?

Thanks

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We personally opened an account with ANZ prior to moving but most of the big name banks allow you to open an account from the UK.

 Cal x


If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place...

If you get a chance,take it, If it changes your life,let it. Nobody said it would be easy they just said it would be worth it...

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There's not a great advantage in setting up an account before you arrive, and the downside is that you'll be stuck with one of the "big name banks" (ANZ, NAB, Commonwealth, Westpac).

The big 4, as they're called, always have the lowest interest rate for savings, the highest interest rate for mortgages, and the highest fees compared to any other bank.  Even so, they've historically been the most popular banks, because of their huge networks of branches and ATM's.  Also, people thought "big" meant "more secure".   Nowadays, all bank deposits are guaranteed up to $250,000, so going with a smaller bank isn't an issue.  And now everything's online and all ATM's accept all cards, the size of their network is irrelevant too.  To top it off, in a recent Royal Commission, they were all caught misleading or overcharging customers.  The only reason people haven't deserted them in droves is laziness - many Australians have had a bank account with one of the Big 4 since they were kids, and it's too much hassle to change. 

I suggest enquiring with HSBC to see if they'll let you open an account, but check that they're offering a real Australian bank account and not just a "global account" (which is actually just an Australian dollar account held in the UK and won't do you any good).  Suncorp used to offer an account for migrants too but I have no idea if it's still available. 

These days, UK credit cards are accepted everywhere in Australia including ATM's, so it's not an issue if it takes an extra day or two to open an account once you arrive.  If you get a card that has a good exchange rate and low fees, you won't be wasting money either.  And you won't need to worry about taking cash out, because since the pandemic, everyone accepts cards.

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/travel-credit-cards/

Don't use a travel card because although they claim to be cheaper, they always work out far more expensive.  

PS I hope it goes without saying that you won't be closing your UK bank accounts.

 

Edited by Marisawright

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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I disagree entirely with the post above.  When there are so many things to do when you first arrive having a bank account set up and ready to go is a really good idea.  I believe some of the banks will have your cards there ready to pick up as soon as you arrive as well.  Paying for things with a UK card is a sure way to loose money in fees and poor exchange rates.  Plus you have the danger of the bank deciding you have unusual transactions on your account and stopping your card.  The big 4 banks (NAB, Westpac, Commonwealth and ANZ) will all allow you to open accounts from overseas and activate once you arrive in Australia.  We started with ANZ then changed to Commonwealth when the ANZ started trying to charge us fees.  Which ever bank you decided to go with before you move I would recommend looking at better options once you are here, especially if you are likely to purchase from overseas on a regular basis.

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The benefit we found of opening it prior to moving was it allowed us to transfer funds across when the exchange rate was good, it was then really simple to nip into a branch when we arrived to ''activate ' the account and receive our cards.

  Cal x

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If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place...

If you get a chance,take it, If it changes your life,let it. Nobody said it would be easy they just said it would be worth it...

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Having opened three accounts before we moved and one after we arrived; opening them in the UK was much easier, the 100 point requirement is not easy to make for the first few weeks

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On 24/11/2020 at 02:07, calNgary said:

The benefit we found of opening it prior to moving was it allowed us to transfer funds across when the exchange rate was good, it was then really simple to nip into a branch when we arrived to ''activate ' the account and receive our cards.

  Cal x

The fact you can't access that money again without providing your ID at the branch in Australia is unappealing in the current environment though.

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PR (100) Planning to move to Perth September 2021

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1 hour ago, Jon the Hat said:

The fact you can't access that money again without providing your ID at the branch in Australia is unappealing in the current environment though.

Why? What environment? If you’re talking about covid then it’s very low in Australia. Even in the UK people visit banks all the time. Why would popping into a bank to have your passport photocopied and your account activated be a problem. You’d be in there less time than it would take to walk around Coles or any other shop. 

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16 hours ago, Tulip1 said:

Why? What environment? If you’re talking about covid then it’s very low in Australia. Even in the UK people visit banks all the time. Why would popping into a bank to have your passport photocopied and your account activated be a problem. You’d be in there less time than it would take to walk around Coles or any other shop. 

I believe they were referring to the difficulty of traveling to Australia at the moment, making it impossible to activate their account and so preventing them from withdrawing any of their funds

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Chartered Accountant (England & Wales); Registered Tax Agent & Fellow of The Tax Institute (Australia)

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33 minutes ago, Ken said:

I believe they were referring to the difficulty of traveling to Australia at the moment, making it impossible to activate their account and so preventing them from withdrawing any of their funds

That makes total sense.  It just wasn’t obvious from the post, at least not to me it seems. I didn’t get what current environment they were thinking about so thought they meant covid and were not wanting to visit the banks on arrival.   Apologies to @Jon the Hat 

Edited by Tulip1
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On 24/11/2020 at 10:06, NicF said:

I disagree entirely with the post above.  When there are so many things to do when you first arrive having a bank account set up and ready to go is a really good idea.  I believe some of the banks will have your cards there ready to pick up as soon as you arrive as well.  Paying for things with a UK card is a sure way to loose money in fees and poor exchange rates.  Plus you have the danger of the bank deciding you have unusual transactions on your account and stopping your card.  The big 4 banks (NAB, Westpac, Commonwealth and ANZ) will all allow you to open accounts from overseas and activate once you arrive in Australia.  We started with ANZ then changed to Commonwealth when the ANZ started trying to charge us fees.  Which ever bank you decided to go with before you move I would recommend looking at better options once you are here, especially if you are likely to purchase from overseas on a regular basis.

Agree with the above post. We set up our Westpac account from the uk got off the plane and picked up our cards straight away from our nominated local branch. Really easy. Since switched to ING as they don’t charge international transaction fees and refund domestic and overseas ATM fees

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15 hours ago, DT55 said:

Agree with the above post. We set up our Westpac account from the uk got off the plane and picked up our cards straight away from our nominated local branch. Really easy. Since switched to ING as they don’t charge international transaction fees and refund domestic and overseas ATM fees

Yes, the big banks (or at least their main retail brands) are usually rip-offs.  It pays to shop around.

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On 27/11/2020 at 15:45, Tulip1 said:

Why? What environment? If you’re talking about covid then it’s very low in Australia. Even in the UK people visit banks all the time. Why would popping into a bank to have your passport photocopied and your account activated be a problem. You’d be in there less time than it would take to walk around Coles or any other shop. 

More I wouldn't want to put money into an AU account until I was actually in Australia, as if the rules changed or we decided not to move I wouldn't be able to get it back.

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PR (100) Planning to move to Perth September 2021

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I have no idea how I missed this post!

I opened my account with Westpac three months before arriving, had a branch and a personal account manager assigned to me and, as soon as I arrived, popped into the branch and was up and running with atm cards and everything I needed in 30mins.
Couldn't ask for better service 🙂

Like some PIO friends have said above, it gave me a vessel to send funds to prior to arriving, if/when the rate was favourable.

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14 minutes ago, Susan from Moneycorp said:


Like some PIO friends have said above, it gave me a vessel to send funds to prior to arriving, if/when the rate was favourable.

....though of course, you could also have transferred the funds into your Moneycorp account, where they would have stayed safely until you arrived and were ready to open an account with some other bank..

As I've said before, although I understand people's desire to have a bank account up and running on arrival, the risk is that you'll end up staying with that bank for the long term. And every Australian knows the Big Four banks are the most expensive option for banking, mortgages, loans etc.

Edited by Marisawright

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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When I was about to go to Au last year I opened an account with WestPac, visiting their London international branch to pick up cards and show ID so it was fully operational.  Unfortunately when I didn't move they closed it.  My wife also had her Commbank account of 20+ years closed while we were out of Australia which was a pain.


PR (100) Planning to move to Perth September 2021

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We opened with Wespac prior to arrival and activated once here - we haven't had any problems with them.

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I just want PIO to be a happy place where people are nice to each other and unicorns poop rainbows

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8 hours ago, Marisawright said:

....though of course, you could also have transferred the funds into your Moneycorp account, where they would have stayed safely until you arrived and were ready to open an account with some other bank..

As I've said before, although I understand people's desire to have a bank account up and running on arrival, the risk is that you'll end up staying with that bank for the long term. And every Australian knows the Big Four banks are the most expensive option for banking, mortgages, loans etc.

You're right Marisa ~ all of my funds were converted by Moneycorp and they are held safely until ready to send to the beneficiary ~ but ASICs F.I. KYC procedures here are very stringent and verifying IDs isn't always immediate for foreigners entering the country.

Getting it all arranged in advance saves potential problems and delays when you arrive. And your money will be available to you instantly instead of having to wait for ATM and Credit Cards to be made and sent to the bank.
Especially if, like me, new arrivals may be living in a hotel initially without a permanent address.

From a personal standpoint, with such an exhaustive list of crucial tasks to accomplish before you can leave a country, I think anything you can tick off before you go is more weight off of your mind.

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How have those in Quarantine paid for Coles / Woolies deliveries?


PR (100) Planning to move to Perth September 2021

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2 hours ago, Jon the Hat said:

How have those in Quarantine paid for Coles / Woolies deliveries?

By debit or credit card I would imagine.  

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7 hours ago, ali said:

We opened with Wespac prior to arrival and activated once here - we haven't had any problems with them.

I'm sure you haven't.  The big four used to have bad service, on top of everything else.   They're fine provided you dont get your mortgage, insurance, superannuation, bank loan,  etc with them, because then you get ripped off for fees (and may not even know it, as many people found out during the Royal Commission!).

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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4 hours ago, Jon the Hat said:

How have those in Quarantine paid for Coles / Woolies deliveries?

Debit or credit card like everyone else.  International cards are accepted here just the same as domestic ones.  Get yourself a credit card that doesn't have international fees - it will come in handy for years (I'm sure you know never to close your UK bank account even after you're settled).   

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/credit-cards/travel-credit-cards/

Since Covid, Australia has become almost a cash-free society:  some stores won't even accept cash payments.  It's a complete reversal from pre-Covid where some small shops charged a surcharge for credit cards.

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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NAB charge very few fees. I have always been happy with them.

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I want it all, and I want it now.

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15 hours ago, Marisawright said:

I'm sure you haven't.  The big four used to have bad service, on top of everything else.   They're fine provided you dont get your mortgage, insurance, superannuation, bank loan,  etc with them, because then you get ripped off for fees (and may not even know it, as many people found out during the Royal Commission!).

Actually we've had our mortgage with then since we bought our first house 12 weeks into our migration journey and will reiterate that we have never had a problem with them at all and have been happy with the service we've had.  

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I just want PIO to be a happy place where people are nice to each other and unicorns poop rainbows

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12 hours ago, ali said:

Actually we've had our mortgage with then since we bought our first house 12 weeks into our migration journey and will reiterate that we have never had a problem with them at all and have been happy with the service we've had.  

How often have you sanity-checked you mortgage rate and fees since you got the mortgage?  Did you compare rates before you got that mortgage 12 weeks in?

I used to work for RAMS (in its heyday, before it was bought over).   Most people who have a mortgage with the Big 4 are happy with the service, that's not an issue.  But they usually get a shock when they work out how many thousands of dollars they could have saved if they'd got a mortgage with one of the smaller players. That's my point.   The Big 4 know people see them as 'safe' so they don't bother competing on price, especially if you're an existing customer.


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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