Below is all the information you will need to know about moving money to Australia from New Zealand and banking in Australia in general:
When you are moving to Australia from New Zealand, there are a lot of things you have to think about. When it comes to money there are two things you should do that will save you a lot of time and money:
You will save a lot of money by using an online foreign exchange company to exchange your NZ Dollars into Australian Dollars, then deposit them in your Australian bank account. Banks will charge you a lot more to convert and transfer your money:
Editor’s Note: We started off using our bank to transfer money to Australia from New Zealand, but got told by a friend that it is much cheaper to use an online foreign exchange company. I compared the costs and were surprised at the difference.
We use XE Money Transfers. They are the world’s most well known and trusted FX company. XE’s clients funds are held on trust in segregated client accounts. This is unique to XE and ensures that client funds are safe. Peace of mind! We loved this, so everyone we know uses XE too.
Most people don’t pay enough attention to the exchange rates they are getting but exchange rates can make a very large difference when exchanging New Zealand Dollars into Australian Dollars.
For the last 15-20 years, the Australian Dollar has been worth more than the Kiwi Dollar however the Kiwi has been strengthening. Since exchange rates change every second, knowing where these currencies stand can help you choose the best time to exchange your currency.
Commonwealth used to allow you to transfer money into your new account before you arrived in Australia, ready to use when you collected your eftpos card. Unfortunately because of Australia’s anti-money laundering laws, they are no longer able to accept funds before you arrive in Australia. So to get around this, you should do the following:
Please note, if you do this early enough in the day, you will receive the funds the same day. Worst case the following day. You do not need to transfer all your funds into Australia dollars at once, you can transfer a small amount for initial use and then watch the exchange rate and transfer the bulk of your money when there is a favourable exchange rate, or you can setup rate alerts with XE and you’ll get notified when your desired rate is triggered.
Currently, the Australian banking sector is dominated by four major banks: Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), National Australia Bank (NAB) and Westpac Banking Corporation.
Editor’s Note: My husband and I bank with Commonwealth Bank and find them fantastic! They are very customer focused and regularly keep in touch, which is very refreshing for a bank. Their fees are very competitive, so they are an all round good choice. We both recommend Commonwealth to any friends heading to Australia.
The Commonwealth Bank is Australia’s leading provider of integrated financial services including retail banking, premium banking, business banking, institutional banking, funds management, superannuation, insurance, investment and sharebroking products and services. The Group is one of the largest listed companies on the Australian Stock Exchange and is included in the Morgan Stanley Capital Global Index. Find out more about getting an Australian Bank Account here.
Our history dates back over 175 years. We are committed to building lasting partnerships with our customers, shareholders and communities in 32 countries in Australia, New Zealand, throughout Asia and the Pacific, and in the Middle East, Europe and America.
We provide a range of banking and financial products and services to around 8 million customers. We employ 48,000 people worldwide.
National Australia Bank is a financial services organisation with over 40,000 people, operating more than 1,800 branches and service centres, and responsible to more than 460,000 shareholders. We operate major financial services franchises in Australia, as well as businesses in New Zealand, Asia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Each of our brands is uniquely positioned but built on a common commitment to providing quality products and services, fair fees and charges, and relationships built on the principles of help, guidance and advice.
Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac) was founded in 1817 and was the first bank established in Australia.
The Westpac Group has branches and controlled entities throughout Australia, New Zealand and the near Pacific region and maintains offices in key financial centres around the world including London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Setting up an Australian bank account is best done before leaving New Zealand so you can ensure it is set up before your arrival (apply two weeks before you leave for Australia).
Having an Australian bank account to transfer your money to before your departure will help you avoid carrying a lot of cash with you and avoid the hassle of traveler’s cheques. This is also the best way to ensure that your funds will be in your account before you arrive and all you will have to do is grab your bank card from a branch when you arrive.
Australian Bank Accounts are made up of an Account Number and a BSB, unlike our bank accounts which is one account number. Please see below:
|Account Number:||**** **** (two lots of four numbers)|
|BSB:||** **** (one lot of two numbers and then four numbers)|
Editor’s Note: When my husband and I moved to Australia he setup a bank account through Commonwealth Bank before we left. The process was very simple and the customer service department were fantastic. I however left it until I got to Australia, as I thought it would be just as easy and one less thing to do before we left. This was a big mistake. Once you get to Australia there is so much more information they want from you. In the end I setup my bank account using the Commonwealth form as if I was still in New Zealand.
I seriously recommend you setting up a bank account before you go, as it will save you time and in my case stress!
Australia has a very good superannuation scheme which requires employers to contribute a mandatory 12% of an employee’s annual salary to his or her pension. This amount is not deducted from the employee’s salary but contributed by the employer on top of salary. This differs from the superannuation KiwiSaver plan to which New Zealand employers only contribute 2% of your pay if the employee himself contributes from his pay.
Find out more about Australian Super here http://www.australiansuper.com/ and more about KiwiSaver and withdrawing funds from KiwiSaver here http://www.kiwisaver.govt.nz/already/get-money/early/moving/.
If you are currently receiving the NZ pension and want to know about getting the Australian pension read my post on Can a NZ citizen get an Australian benefit or pension?
Paying bills in Australia is made safe and easy with BPAY. BPAY allows you to receive and pay bills quickly and securely through your internet or phone banking service 24/7. Each bill you have is assigned a unique payment ID that allows you avoid the rest of the details and just use this reference ID which is checked for correctness before the payment is made.
Editor’s Note: It took me a little while to get my head around the Australia banking system, but it is straight forward for me now. You access BPAY through your internet banking and the majority of invoices include the BPAY option. You can also pay at your local Post Shop using BPAY.
Find out more about this system on their website: http://www.bpay.com.au/.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is the major governing body that looks over financial regulations in Australia. They regulate businesses involved in finance and foreign exchange and deal with complaints relating to money, superannuation, insurance and financial advice.
Their website is http://www.moneysmart.gov.au/?referrer=fido.gov.au.
If you are going to be working in Australia, you will need to apply for a Tax File Number (TFN) with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). To apply for this you will need a valid passport and an Australian address. It is best to apply for this at least a month before you being your employment since your employer will ask you to supply your tax file number upon commencement. If you don’t have a TFN, your employer must take from your payments the maximum amount of tax.
It will take about 2 or 3 weeks to receive your tax file number after you submit your application, depending on whether you apply online or not. You can find out more about this on the Australian Taxation Office’s website http://www.ato.gov.au/ or read my Australian Tax – what you need to know post.
If there is anything else you would like to know about, please ask me a question using the below comment system and I will do my best to find the information you need.