Moving to Australia from New Zealand?

Get all information you need to make a successful and stress-free move across the ditch.

Moving to Australia? Start your new life today, with Australia’s leading bank.

Say hello to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

We’d like to introduce you to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. They’re known to Aussies as CommBank.

Meet the bank more new arrivals choose.

CommBank is Australia’s largest bank. They’ve been helping Australian dreams come true since 1911, and support more people moving to Australia than any other bank.

Editors Note: My husband and I are both with Commonwealth and we love them! Coming form NZ we expect a high level of customer service and Commonwealth has exceed both of our expectations!

I waited until I arrived in Australia to open my account, while my husband opened his online before we left (https://www.commbank.com.au/personal/)… Bummer!

I didn’t have the paperwork they needed and ended up leaving the bank and opening the account online like my husband did. While he left the bank with his eftpos card and started living right away.

If you go directly into an Australian bank and ask them to set you up an account, you will need a rental agreement (or similar) before you can withdraw your money. See Ren’s comment below. If you setup an account before you leave, all you need is your passport. Learn from our mistakes!

With a variety of products and services, you can get your banking sorted in no time. Find helpful hints and tips about moving to Australia by visiting their Moving to Australia webpage:

  • Australia’s largest bank.
  • Bank on the go with the CommBank app.
  • An extensive branch and ATM network are available across Australia.
  • Multi-lingual staff in some branches.
  • ATMs with foreign language capabilities.

Tips and guidance about moving to Australia are available on CommBank’s website.


Make your move to Australia smoother.

To make your transition to a new life and job easier, CommBank has made a short Welcome to Australia video that explains how to get started with your banking when you arrive.

You can also watch it here: https://youtu.be/2il-xb4WflE

Everything you need to know

Want to know more? CommBank has put together a fantastic resource about banking in Australia that will answer all your questions including:

  • Opening a bank account
    • Can I organise my banking before I arrive in Australia?
    • Can I open an account without an Australian address?
    • Do I have to pay fees on my account?
    • My English is limited, can I ask someone else to help me set up my banking on my behalf?
    • What information is required to set up my banking before I arrive?
    • When opening an account online, which CommBank branch should I nominate to visit once I arrive in Australia?
  • Keeping your bank account secure
    • How do I choose a safe security password for online banking access?
    • How do I keep my password secure?
  • Accessing your bank account
    • Can I get access to my account before I arrive in Australia?
    • What do I need to do once I arrive in Australia?
    • What if the documents required for the identification process aren’t in English?
    • Can I visit any CommBank branch for identification?
    • Will I be able to collect a debit card on my first branch visit?
  • Putting money into your bank account
    • What information do I need to transfer money into my CommBank account?
  • General
    • Can I see CommBank’s website in a different language?
    • What’s NetBank?
    • Can I still open a bank account after I arrive in Australia?
    • In case of a change in travel plans, will the account still be open and what should I do if I don’t come?

Apologies for the FAQ documents not being available.

I will upload them as soon as I have received the new FAQ docs from CommBank.

CommBank is excited to welcome you to Australia.

Things you should know: Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 is a company incorporated in Australia with limited liability and subject to Australian regulation.

Banking in Australia

Commonwealth Bank has been helping customers move their finances to Australia since 1949. Our dedicated International Premier and Retail Banking team are only a phone call or email away.

Moving to Australia is more than a change of address. It’s a brand-new lifestyle to navigate. But first, there’s the admin. Commonwealth Bank can quickly organise your bank account today. So there’s one less thing to worry about when you arrive (apply two weeks before you leave for Australia).

The security of Australia’s leading bank

As Australia’s leading provider of integrated financial services, Commonwealth Bank combines strength and security with the backing of specialist teams, services and an extensive range of flexible and competitively priced products.

Open an Australian bank account from New Zealand online and save yourself time, money and stress!

You are going to need a bank account, so learn from my mistake and open an account before you go. Open an Australian bank account in less than 4 mins. Save time, money and stress! Pick up your eftpos card when you arrive and start living.

Apply online for an Australian bank account now!

What do I need to do once I arrive in Australia?

Visit the CommBank branch mentioned in your Welcome Letter to confirm your identification and CommBank will activate your account.

If you need help finding the branch, visit commbank.com.au/locateus and type in the name of the branch to get a map showing its location.

You’ll need to bring the following documents with you for the identification process:

  • Current passport (original document required).
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN) for each country of foreign tax residency (any letter from the IRD).
  • Copy (physical or digital) of your visa document (your passport).

Those who apply online within seven days before arriving in Australia won’t receive their debit card in the branch. Instead, CommBank asks you to confirm the address you’d like your card to be sent to, after you’ve been appropriately identified in the branch.

Once CommBank has confirmed your identity you can withdraw money from the account and will have access to all of their digital features like NetBank and the CommBank app.

Having money ready to use in Australia

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:

  1. Set up an account with Commonwealth.
  2. Register with XE.
  3. A day or two before you leave for Australia (or when there’s a great foreign exchange rate), transfer some funds into Australian dollars, which will then be held in XE’s secure customer account.
  4. As soon as you collect your eftpos card from Commonwealth, log into your XE app/call/go online and transfer the funds into your Commonwealth account.

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 Australian 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 set up rate alerts with XE and you’ll get notified when your desired rate is triggered.

Want a joint Australian bank account?

I have got a few enquiries about this recently. The Australian banks are no longer able to offer the joint account option online anymore. You will need to open two individual accounts and request a joint account at a CommBank Branch when you activate your account and collect your eftpos card.

If you and your partner are arriving in Australia at different times, you will need to wait to open the joint Australian bank account until you are both in Australia.

You might be interested in…

The below posts might also be of interest to you:

Still, got questions?

If you’ve read the above content and the answer to your question isn’t there, please write a comment below and I’ll research the answer for you. Please note, if the answer to your question is in the content above, I will not reply. Sorry, I just get too many questions these days and I can’t keep up.

Can I help you find something else?

If you need advice on moving to Australia from New Zealand, I’ve created a helpful little questionnaire to point you in the right direction. It takes less than 30 seconds, so give it a go!

59 Comments

  1. Edel

    January 11, 2024 at 10:06 am

    Hi
    If I have westpac account will that be ok?
    Regards

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      January 23, 2024 at 12:35 pm

      Hi,
      You will still need to open a bank account in Australia.
      New Zealand and Australia banks, even though they might share the same name, are different companies, they don’t talk to each other or share files, and you’re required to open a new account with an Australian bank.
      Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.
      Thanks

      Reply
  2. Akshita

    November 28, 2023 at 5:17 pm

    Hi JJ, thanks for so much useful information. I am looking to relocate to Sydney, Australia next month. I tried opening an account online with CommBank while in NZ but after submitting the information there seemed to be an error. However, I received an email confirmation for NetBank. Now I am not too sure if my online account has been set up or not. Do you have any useful customer service contacts that could help me out? Any other suggestion would be very useful 🙂

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      November 30, 2023 at 10:45 am

      Hi Akshita,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Netbank is CommBank’s online portal, so you have setup an account successfully!
      However, you should have received a welcome letter too, which outlines the next steps to confirm your identification so CommBank can activate your account. You can find further info on this in my Open an Australian Bank Account post: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/open-an-australian-bank-account/.
      CommBank have amazing customer service, so you can contact them at any stage and they will be more than happy to help: https://www.commbank.com.au/support/contact-us.html.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
      • Akshita

        November 30, 2023 at 3:22 pm

        Hi JJ,
        Thank you for your prompt response. Per your suggestion, I contacted their customer service who did confirm that the account has been set up and that I need to visit their branch once I arrive in Sydney.
        Fingers crossed all works out 🙂
        Many thanks again for your help and your fabulous website!
        Cheers

        Reply
  3. Eric

    November 28, 2023 at 9:00 am

    Hi JJ, I am moving to Australia this weekend. However, I do not have a physical letter from IRD. Can I show them an email or print out a copy of an email from IRD about a student loan? Thanks

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      November 28, 2023 at 11:11 am

      Hi Eric,
      How exciting for you!
      Yes, a print out from the IRD that includes your IRD number should be accepted. Not a lot of physical postage going on these days.
      If you log into your myIR you can print out a letter from there: https://myir.ird.govt.nz/_/.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
      • Eric

        November 28, 2023 at 12:45 pm

        Thanks JJ. Would a print-out need to be certified by a Justice of Peace or similar?

        Reply
        • JJ Smith

          November 28, 2023 at 3:13 pm

          No. If you print out a letter, from the ‘I want to’ section under myIR, it will be on IRD letterhead and that’s enough proof.
          You can always login in the branch if they have a problem.
          Thanks JJ

          Reply
  4. Clifford Baschuk

    June 7, 2023 at 7:18 pm

    Hi, we are planning to move to Australia which depends on me getting a job in Australia before we decide.
    My question is regarding medical, confirm that we need to wait 6 months before we are able to receive Aus medical treatment from local GP once we get our medical card?

    Is it recommended to get private medical insurance during this 6 month wait?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      June 19, 2023 at 12:44 pm

      Hi Clifford,
      Have a read of my Medicare Australia post (https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/medicare-australia/) and my Australian Healthcare System post (https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/australian-health-care-system/).
      You can enrol in Medicare immediately (recommended a week after you arrive) if you provide proof that you’ll be living in Australia for the next 6 months. You can enrol any time in the 6 months after you first arrive in Australia.
      Until you enrol, you can get care under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement. This covers essential treatment in a public hospital. You can’t enrol or get a Medicare card until you prove you live in Australia.
      The Reciprocal Health Care Agreement between New Zealand and Australia provides temporary coverage for medically necessary care in a public hospital and access to prescription medications at a lower price. However, it is important to note that it is only designed as a temporary measure and longer-term treatment may require returning to New Zealand.
      Hope the above has answered your questions.

      Reply
  5. Yvonne Watson

    June 2, 2023 at 9:37 pm

    Hi my husband and I are retired and we will be moving to Australia mid 2024 to be closer to our son we have 2 properties to sell and will be buying once we arrive my husband is a little concerned about using foreign exchange company’s to transfer large amounts of money a bit old fashion how safe are these foreign exchange company’s
    Thanks
    Yvonne

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      June 6, 2023 at 4:17 pm

      Hi Yvonne,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I understand how daunting it can be to use a new online service.
      The great thing about XE is you can talk to someone before you commit to the transfer. You can call Simon my contact at XE on 021906855. They have an office in Auckland that you can visit.
      You will need to register for an account first so that you are in their system. It’s free to set up an account.
      If you are transferring over $100,000 a XE team member will call to discuss your requirements. They do this for security purposes and because they have fantastic customer service.
      If you still aren’t sure, do your own research on XE and you’ll see what a large global company they are.
      I only promote companies that I use myself and trust.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  6. Alex

    December 5, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    Help – I cannot find my answer anywhere, including by phoning the bank in Australia!

    I want to open a joint account with my partner in New Zealand, before we arrive in Australia. He will arrive in Australia within the required 20 days to be sighted. But I won’t arrive for another few weeks.. possibly a month. What happens then?
    1. If we open a joint account, do we both need to be sighted in branch within 20days?
    2. If both of us are NOT sighted within 20days, does that mean no-one can use the account? or only one of us can? What happens?

    What we are trying to achieve is a joint account that we can both send/receive/use, with my partner arriving before me.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      December 6, 2022 at 1:05 pm

      Hi Alex,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I actually had a comment about a joint account yesterday so I emailed my contact at CommBank.
      He has confirmed that the joint account option is not available online anymore. You will need to open 2 individual accounts and request a joint account at a CommBank Branch.
      How this would work for you, is your partner would request a new account online and pick up his eftpos card in the CommBank branch when he arrives.
      When you are two weeks away from moving, you would request a new account online and when you go to pick up your eftpos card from the CommBank branch, take your partner and they will set up the joint account then.
      Hopefully the above answers your question.

      Reply
  7. Karly

    December 5, 2022 at 10:50 am

    Hi,
    Thank you for your website – it is amazing!!!
    Quick question, my husband and I have a joint bank account in NZ, but it looks like we have to setup separate bank accounts when applying online before we arrive. Is this correct? Or are we able to apply for a joint bank account before we arrive?
    Thanks Karly

    Reply
  8. Haylee

    July 27, 2022 at 8:09 pm

    Hi JJ, love your content! Just wanted to ask, would any Tax Residency letter received from NZ IRD be sufficient? i.e. a letter that states my student loan with my IRD number in the corner? Or is it best for me to email IRD NZ and ask if they can send through an email specifically stating my IRD number – for when I bring it in to present to the designated commonwealth bank that is recommended when I receive the welcome letter.

    Hope this question makes sense 🙂

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      July 28, 2022 at 1:38 pm

      Hi Haylee,
      Thanks for your comment.
      Yes, any letter from the IRD that includes your IRD number is sufficient
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  9. John

    May 14, 2022 at 12:14 pm

    We have retired into Australia from New Zealand…
    Banking options were easily sorted, but credit cards are not.
    If you are funded by overseas income/ pension and not earning with a job in Australia, stops getting credit card. You need to keep your overseas credit cards going to use in Australia.

    Reply

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