You can open a bank account online in Australia as a local citizen or resident or as a foreign person. Compared to other countries across the world, it is very common to have the possibility to open a bank account online in Australia as a natural person.
Those who want to open a company in Australia may also have this option, but more complex rules can apply.
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Is a bank account required for a legal entity in Australia?
Regardless if you set up the bank account in person, in front of a bank representative, or you complete the online procedure, having a bank account assigned to a legal entity is mandatory when you open a company in Australia.
This is one of the components of the process of company incorporation and it needs to be done after the investors have signed the company’s statutory documents.
This is given by the fact that for a corporate bank account, the company’s representatives will have to provide specific company documents – the incorporation papers, documents attesting the place where the company has its headquarters and others.
For extensive information and advice on the process of opening a bank account in Australia from overseas, our team of consultants remains at your disposal.
If you want to set up a company in Australia you can rely on our team for legal assistance on the procedure. In the case in which you do not want to complete the bank account online registration, you can be represented by our team.
Our consultants can gather the necessary documentation and represent you in front of the bank representatives, as well as in any other procedures related to the issuance of the account.
You must know that if you will purchase a shelf company in Australia, you will not be required to start the bank account registration procedure, as the shelf company benefits from this service.
However, not all shelf companies have an assigned bank account, in which case you will need to handle this procedure, usually with the assistance of a team of company formation specialists.
The main requirements to open a bank account in Australia in 2023
The requirements for opening a bank account online in Australia will vary depending on your legal personality. For natural persons, banks impose a specific procedure, while for corporate entities, other procedures.
The residency can also influence the overall steps that the applicant must fulfill. Typically, non-residents will have to comply with more regulations, in the sense that they are obliged to present more documents.
Other than these, all banks will generally follow the same protocol and foreigners and locals alike will be able to open a bank account in Australia from overseas or from the country rather quickly, if all the documents are submitted as required.
If you need assistance, our team of consultants in company formation in Australia can advise you. Below, our team has gathered few details that should guide you if you want to open a bank account online in Australia:
- first, it is recommended to verify the offer for bank accounts of Australian commercial banks;
- then, you can decide on the type of account you need and the services that are offered with it;
- verify if there are any maintenance monthly fees and if there are ATM fees charged for your operations;
- log on the website of the selected bank, and start the application for opening the bank account;
- you will have to provide clear information on your name, address, residency status, the tax file number issued in Australia (provided that this is the case);
- after you have completed this basic task, the application will be processed and you will receive an e-mail from the bank, concerning the next steps you have to follow.
In the case in which you are opening a bank account in Australia from overseas, then the bank will definitely have to verify your identity.
The policies concerning this aspect will vary based on the bank that you have selected and this is why we strongly advise you to address to our team of specialists, who can guide in this matter, and can also represent you in the process of setting up a company in Australia.
In most cases, if you want to set up a bank account for business purposes in 2023, you will be asked to pay a small fee on a monthly basis, but this generally applies to those who have opted for the in-person option (or who are not able to set up the bank account online).
For those who do their bank account activities online, the fee is of $0, but there are certain fees one can be required to pay even so. The rules vary greatly by the bank of choice.
For instance, one of the banks in Australia has set up, starting with 10 March 2023, its new fee system, which imposes the payment of $3 fee for each deposit, cheque transactions or assisted transactions.
These fees charged in 2023 are imposed to all types of accounts (free or with a monthly fee associated with the account).
What is the law that protects bank account holders in Australia?
There are many rules of law that provide the legal framework for those who can set up bank accounts and companies that handle these accounts (banking institutions). The banking industry is regulated by many pieces of law, such as the Banking Act 1959 or the Corporations Act 2001.
The latter is the main legislation when it comes to company formation in Australia. The same act applies for those who want to purchase a shelf company in Australia, which is simply a company that has been incorporated as per the rules of the Corporations Act 2001 and it is available for sale.
However, when we specifically refer to bank accounts, there are many regulations and codes which prescribe the practices bankers have to use and which offer guaranteed rights for the deposits of bank clients.
Persons who want to open a bank account in Australia must know that some of the main regulations concerning their bank accounts are:
- the Financial Claims Scheme;
- the Banking Code of Practice.
According to the Australian Banking Association, the Banking Code Compliance Committee is the entity that can verify it the regulations of the 2nd act are properly enforced by banking institutions.
The Banking Code of Practice applies for all types of bank accounts, therefore you must know that if you will open a bank account online in Australia you will be equally protected as a bank client.
The Code applies to individuals opening a bank account in Australia overseas, from the inside of the country, as well as to small businesses and to their guarantors.
It covers many types of services, such as:
- bank accounts;
- various types of cards that can be issued by banks;
- foreign currency exchange services;
As mentioned above, the Code applies to small businesses as well, therefore those who want to set up a company in Australia should know that a small business refers to a company that has the following 3 basic characteristics:
- it has a turnover of less than $10 million (in the previous financial year);
- it has less than 100 employees employed on a full-time basis;
- it has less than $3 million in debt.
There are certain conditions to be met with regards to the debts of the company and our consultants in company formation in Australia can offer in-depth information related to this matter. They can also help you open a bank account in Australia for a legal entity.
Please know that if you will open a bank account online in Australia, the bank representatives will have the obligation to respect your privacy as stated by the law and in accordance with the internal policies of the bank.
How are bank accounts protected in Australia?
There are certain regulations which are created to protect the bank accounts of clients and, more specifically, their deposits.
Whether you are opening a bank account in Australia from overseas or you address in person to local bank representatives, you must know that your deposits will be protected to a certain degree, as per the rules of the Financial Claims Scheme.
According to this law, if you open a bank account in Australia, you can be protected against losses to up to $250,000, as long as your account is set up with a licensed bank.
A licensed bank refers to any banking institution that is licensed by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. In general, all banks need to have an approval from this institution, therefore all bank accounts are protected, but there are few exemptions where the approval is not required.
Therefore, if you want to open a bank account online in Australia, you will most likely be protected as per the rules of the Australian law.
Please mind that if you have a deposit larger than $250,000, the law states that only the first $250,000 are covered, and any excess above this is not protected under the Financial Claims Scheme.
We invite you to request more details on this subject from our team, who can also assist you in opening a bank account in Australia from overseas. We also invite you to contact us if you want to set up a business by going through the standard registration process or by buying a shelf company in Australia.
What are the highlights of the banking industry in Australia?
If you want to open a bank account online in Australia and you worry about the local banking industry, you can rest assured that the local market is very stable.
The Australian banking industry is a large contributor to the country’s economy and local banks have numerous customers, who purchase various types of bank accounts. Below, you can find important information on the Australian banking system, as presented by the Australian Banking Association:
- according to the institution, there are 98 banks currently operating in Australia;
- the banks in Australia have 19,3 million customers and 118,865 employees;
- if you want to open a bank account online in Australia and then use the local ATMs, you will have a system of 9,621 bank ATMs scattered across the country;
- the data gathered by the end of 2020 showed that Australian banks paid $9,7 billion in taxes to the local institutions;
- there are 3,1 million shareholders in Australian banks, who received $19,3 billion from the banks.
If you are not a resident in Australia and you want to open a bank account in Australia from overseas in 2023 please mind that not all banks will be able to process this request, as not all commercial banks provide this opportunity.
However, those that do offer the option to open a bank account online in Australia for non-residents will ask for specific information.
For instance, when starting the process to open a bank account online in Australia, the banks will ask for the specific date when your arrival date in Australia is.
There are additional steps that have to be fulfilled and for more details on this subject, we invite you to contact our team of specialists in company registration in Australia.