Commonwealth-Open and Australian Bank Account

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

Say hello to Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

We’d like to introduce you to 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 available across Australia.
  • Multi-lingual staff in some branches.
  • ATMs with foreign language capabilities.

Tips and guidance about moving to Australia 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 have 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 my 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?

Simply click on either of the below frequently asked questions (FAQs) documents:

CommBank-FrequentlyAskedQuestions–NonStudentFrequently asked questions.CommBank-FrequentlyAskedQuestions–Student Frequently asked questions for students.

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 combine 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 (proof of your IRD number).
  • 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 branch. Instead CommBank asks you to confirm the address you’d like your card sent to after you’ve been appropriately identified in 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. Setup 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 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.

You might be interested in…

The below posts might also be of interest you:

Still got questions?

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.

36 Comments

  1. Vickki Salkeld

    May 4, 2022 at 5:29 am

    What do they mean by “tax residency details” when verifying yourself in person at the bank. I have already opened an account and need to visit the branch on arrival.
    Thanks
    Vickki

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      May 4, 2022 at 6:14 am

      Hi Vickki,
      Thank you for your comment.
      You need proof of your IRD number for tax residency in NZ, TFN number if you have/had one (if you’ve previously lived in Australia).
      You need your passport for ID and proof of visa.
      Thanks for alerting me to the lack of advice for the process and requirements. I will make this clearer in the post.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  2. Sky

    March 27, 2022 at 6:28 am

    Hello. I’ve just set up with Commonwealth Bank and have received my welcome letter to take into my selected branch. My question is how do I find out my tax residency details outside of Australia. Is this NZs IRD number or no? Sorry if this is a silly question, I don’t know much about this stuff so would really appreciate your help thanks.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      March 27, 2022 at 10:32 pm

      Hi Sky,
      Thanks for your comment. Not a silly question.
      As New Zealanders we generally become the equivalent of Australia citizen’s for tax purposes. This way we pay the same tax as locals.
      There is the option to being a temporary resident for tax purposes, but this is only useful if you are getting your income from NZ and have investments you don’t want to have to pay capital gains tax on.
      Once you have arrived in Australia you apply for a TFN, which is the same as your IRD number in NZ. The easiest way to do this is through TaxBack. Once you have received your TFN you can supply it to CommBank. Find out how to get a TFN here: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/australian-tax-what-you-need-to-know/.
      You only need to present your passport for identification and verification in a Commonwealth Bank branch to get your account setup and working.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  3. Charlee

    February 15, 2022 at 11:30 am

    Hi there, I was just wondering what the best thing is to do with KiwiSaver. Did you have this transferred to Au or have you left your NZ bank account open? Also will I need proof of closing my NZ bank account to open an Australian one?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      February 16, 2022 at 8:44 pm

      Hi Charlee,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Personally I recommend you leave your Kiwisaver in NZ until you are 100% you will not return. It won’t make any difference until you need it in your retirement. Contact your KiwiSaver provider if you decide to transfer your KiwiSaver funds. They can take you through the process.
      Most people I know leave their bank account open in NZ for when they visit. You are able to open an Australia bank account without closing your NZ one. Definitely try to open your Australian bank account two weeks before you go using the above link. It make it a lot easier when you arrive in Australia.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
      • Ren Wildman

        March 17, 2022 at 6:38 am

        Hi, We have recently moved from NZ to northern Queensland. Yes, you are able to open a bank account in Australia, however you are not able to withdraw your money. You are able to use your account fully when you have a property sales agreement or rental agreement.

        Reply
        • JJ Smith

          March 24, 2022 at 8:30 pm

          Hi Ren,
          Thanks for your email.
          Did you apply for a Commonwealth account using my referral link before you left? Because I don’t believe you need a rental agreement or similar to activate your account. Only your passport.
          I was aware that if you waited until you arrived in Australia and went directly into a bank that you would need paperwork that we simply don’t have when we first move over.
          I look forward to your reply.

          Reply
          • JJ Smith

            March 24, 2022 at 8:33 pm

            Hi Ren,
            I have confirmed with CommBank customer service that if you apply for a Commonwealth bank account using my referral link a rental Agreement or similar is not required for account activation.
            You only need to present your passport for identification and verification in a branch.
            Once identification and verification is complete, your account is activated on the same day.
            If you are still waiting to get your bank account functioning, you are able to setup an account with CommBank asap using my referral link and you will have access to your funds as soon as you can get into a branch with your passport: https://www.commbank.com.au/MAP127.
            Then you can get Medicare sorted too.
            Have a great day.

            Reply
  4. Heather

    July 1, 2021 at 7:31 am

    Hi JJ,
    I’m in NZ & just completed creating an account with Comm Bank only to see once confirmed that I can’t transfer any money in to it until I’m physically in Australia. This pretty much defeats the purpose of setting it up. I’m confused as your advice suggests you were able to deposit money via OFX etc before arrival. Have I missed something?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      July 4, 2021 at 10:54 pm

      Hi Heather,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Unfortunately the process has changed because the ATO requires all financial intuitions, including Commonwealth Bank, to capture tax residency information for customers before they open an account.
      However, this does not takeaway from the benefits of opening a bank account before you are in Australia, as once you get there bank’s require a lot more paperwork, e.g. proof of address, which you will not have.
      Sorry I have not updated the content yet to reflect the above, which I will do today.
      I have emailed my contacts at OFX and XE to see if they can recommend how to get money ready for deposit and use asap after you have been validated in branch. I will let you know what they say.
      Thanks

      Reply
      • JJ Smith

        July 6, 2021 at 1:19 am

        Hi Heather,
        I’ve heard back from both foreign exchange partners, XE and OFX, and they confirmed my theory.
        It takes 1-5 days to transfer funds from NZ to Australia through your bank. So you need to register for accounts with both Commonwealth and either XE or OFX and once you have visited CommBank in Australia you can request a transfer through XE or OFX and depending on time of day it will take 0-3 days to arrive in your new account and ready to use.
        Here is Simon at XE’s reply:
        ‘Yes, this is a common issue that many of our clients who are relocating to Australia come across. The easiest thing for clients to do is set up an account with Xe prior to relocating. As you know this only takes a couple of minutes.
        They can then transfer their NZD into AUD and we can hold it in our high security trust account until they arrive in Australia and go to the bank and finalise the account.
        The other option is to set up the Xe account, go to Australia and finalise the bank account and then lock in a rate and transfer the money.
        We can hold the AUD in our account for as long as the client wants. Once their account in Australia is set up we can transfer the funds as quick as the same day.’
        Hope the above has helped.

        Reply
        • Heather

          July 7, 2021 at 10:30 pm

          Hi JJ,
          Thanks for investigating this further. And thanks for your site, it definitely helps ease the transition with more information available.
          I’ll be continuing to read and reread your content in my preparation. It takes a huge lot of uncertainty from the situation.
          All the best

          Reply
  5. Tony

    June 26, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    Hello JJ,
    We are moving to Brisbane from New Zealand in the next couple of months. I opened an account with commonwealth bank last week, but we have to provide tax resident details once we reach Australia.
    Was it from New zaeland or should we have to take one from Australia?
    Cheers
    Many thanks

    Reply
  6. Nadia

    June 17, 2021 at 5:28 am

    Hi JJ,

    Your site has helped With a lot of organisation in preparation for my move to Australia. I am here now and opened an account with CommBank before I left NZ.

    It seems like they now ship your card to your home address, I am unsure whether this is due to COVID-19. Since I put an NZ address, it was sent there. Thought I would comment just in case somebody else comes across this.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      June 21, 2021 at 1:56 am

      Hi Nadia,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Have you spoken to someone from CommBank so that you can arrange getting a card in Australia?
      I’ve emailed in my contact at CommBank Ankur, so that he can make sure you get sorted.
      Thanks for sharing as I do need to know if they have changed their process and haven’t been advised anything from them.

      Reply
      • Nadia

        June 21, 2021 at 1:57 am

        Thanks for your response. Managed to get stuff sorted a day or two after this comment.
        It does seem as though process hasn’t changed too much, if at all. Turns out I was given the wrong information and the card was sent to my desired branch! It’s sorted now.

        Reply
  7. Betty

    May 30, 2021 at 5:24 am

    Will I be able to open a bank account even if I’m not moving till at least next year? Or am I best to wait closer to time? Thank you advance for whatever advice you’re able to give

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      May 30, 2021 at 10:24 pm

      Hi Betty,
      Thank you for your comment.
      It is best that you wait closer to when you are moving, unless there is a reason you need an Australian bank account.
      Two weeks before you move is the optimal time to open an an Australian bank account.
      However, make sure you do open it before you leave, as you need a lot more paperwork if you wait to open it while in Australia, e.g. proof of address and three months bank statements.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  8. Sandra Wilson

    April 8, 2021 at 12:14 am

    I have recently closed my commonwealth bank account as I have come one way to nz
    Unfortunately things are not working out and I will be returning ASAP
    Can I reopen this account? I still have the card and BSB number – account number??

    Alternatively can I open a new account from nz?
    How do I manage to get a new visa card?

    Last time I arrived into Australia I had a lot of issues getting a card as they said it can only be posted to you. That makes it extremely difficult for me as I will have to land in Brisbane and drive back to WA as I will be flying from NZ.
    If I have to open a new account in Brisbane can they issue me with a visa card in the branch as well as a travel money card or can I be issued with one here in NZ before I leave.

    Many thanks
    Sandra Wilson

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      April 8, 2021 at 6:40 pm

      Hi Sandra,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I have CC’d my contact at Commonwealth so he can help you.
      I’m not 100% sure whether you need to open a new account or if they can re-activate your old account.
      I am sure he will be able to arrange for you to collect a new eftpos card from a CommBank in Brisbane before your drive.
      The problem you had when you arrived is exactly what I went through, hence setting up this partnership where you need a lot less paperwork to setup an account and can collect an eftpos card as soon as you arrive.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move back to Australia. Sorry it didn’t work out in NZ.

      Reply
  9. Luke Kim

    April 1, 2021 at 2:44 am

    Hi JJ,
    I just opened a bank account online with commonwralth bank.
    And I realise that I need to bring passport and supply tax residency details.
    I don’t know how to provide my tax residency details.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      April 1, 2021 at 2:59 am

      Hi Luke,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I’ve just spoken to CommBank and they are referring to a tax file number (TFN) or IRD number. You do not need a TFN to open an Australian bank account.
      If you don’t have a TFN yet I recommend you get TaxBack.com to apply on your behalf. Here’s the process (https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/australian-tax-what-you-need-to-know/):
      – Register your details on this short online form – https://www.taxback.com.au/en/tfn-application-np/
      – Send a copy of valid ID/Passport to Australia@taxback.com
      – A Taxback.com representative will get in touch to let you know your application has been completed and submitted to the Australian Tax office.
      By law you must be present in Australia when applying for a TFN. Taxback.com will secure and send you the TFN Advice Letter once issued by the ATO.
      If you do have a letter from the IRD stating your IRD number take that with you to your nominated CommBank branch with your passport.
      BTW Commonwealth Bank have an amazing customer service team, so if you have any other questions you can call them and get the answers straight away. It’s one of the main reasons I love recommending them. Call 13 2221 – 6am to 10pm (+61 2 9999 3283 from overseas).
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  10. LINDEN BRACKSTONE

    February 20, 2020 at 6:44 am

    Hi there, how strict are they on visiting your chosen branch in person to activate the account with your passport to prove identity. I mistakenly picked the wrong branch and will be going into Adelaide first for a week before settling in Queensland. Surely they can do the identity process in any branch, any experience with this?

    Cheers
    Linden

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      February 24, 2020 at 1:29 am

      Hi Linden,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I will email my contact at CommBank and see if there is anything he can do. They maybe able to forward the doc’s to a Queensland branch instead.
      I will let you know when I hear back from them and if you can select a brunch that would help the process: https://www.commbank.com.au/digital/locate-us/.
      Thanks

      Reply
  11. Penny

    September 30, 2019 at 8:16 am

    Kia Ora

    I am moving to Brisbane permanently August 2020. I intend to open a Commonwealth Account two weeks before arriving. I will still need to send money back to my Westpac Account in NZ, what is the best, cheapest, easiest way to do that? Or would it be more beneficial to open an AU Westpac Account when I arrive?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      October 9, 2019 at 12:24 am

      Hi Penny,
      Thank you for your comment.
      I highly recommend you use XE for your money transfer. You can use any combination of banks and they give you a more competitive rate without the fees the banks charge. Read this post: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/foreign-exchange-money-transfer/.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  12. Vivian

    July 31, 2019 at 2:33 am

    Hi, how do I keep paying my debt(not student loan) that I have with ASB after I move to Australia?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      August 12, 2019 at 1:53 am

      Hi Vivian,
      Thank you for your comment. Sorry for the delay in replying.
      You will be able to transfer money into your ASB account from Australia. From there you will be able to transfer it where ever you need.
      I do recommend you setup an account with XE or OFX, which will save you transfer fees and get you the best foreign exchange rate. Read this post which explains money transfer: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/foreign-exchange-money-transfer/.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  13. Misty

    March 17, 2019 at 11:27 pm

    Hi, I just send you guys a message but I have another question:) I currently bank with westpac here and I’ve just opened up an Australian westpac account. Would it be okay to start putting money in that account? Sort of as a savings account, so that when we do move over our money will be in that bank account, and I can close my New Zealand one. Thanks!

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      March 17, 2019 at 11:29 pm

      Hi Misty,
      That’s great that you have already setup a bank account. Sorry but I don’t know exactly how Westpac accounts work. I know you are able to transfer funds into a Commonwealth account as soon as it is setup and I don’t see why this would be any different.
      I do recommend you transfer money using XE or OFX rather than your bank. You will save the $10-$25 fee on each transfer and get a better rate: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/foreign-exchange-money-transfer/. It is simple to setup an account and schedule transfers.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  14. Jodie

    December 19, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Hi, are we still able to open an account with commonwealth if we are unemployed? I am moving to Brisbane and will be seeking full time employment once I arrive.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      December 19, 2018 at 10:57 pm

      Hi Jodie,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Yes you are able to open a Commonwealth Bank account while unemployed and looking for work.
      The only condition is that you deposit AU$50 within 6 weeks of opening the account.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply

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