The goal here is simple: to get as many Australian dollars for your New Zealand dollars as possible. This is how we did it, and it worked out well for us:
Recent changes in banking regulations mean you must be physically present in Australia and able to present ID at a branch (or have Australian ID documents) before you can open an Australian bank account.
To open a new account, Australian banks will usually require your Australian residential address along with two forms of identification. We’ve linked to more details on the account opening process for each bank we talk about below.
As part of the account opening process you will also be asked whether you are a resident of any other countries for tax purposes.
This content is a paid partnership. We might receive a referral fee if you open an account with CBA. Thanks for supporting us and helping us keep this content current.
We chose to open accounts with the Commonwealth Bank (Aussie’s call it CommBank) because their account opening process is simple, their online banking app is widely regarded to be one of the best in Australia, they offer a comprehensive range of banking services and their fees are comparable to other major banks.
Since arriving in Australia we have partnered with the Commonwealth Bank to make it simple for you to get started opening an account before arriving in Australia.
The Commonwealth Bank is one of the only banks that lets you to begin the application process for a new account online up to 14 days before you arrive in Australia (and you don’t need an Australian address at that time). You’ll need to present ID at a branch before you can start accessing your new account.
If you open your account online 14 days before arriving in Australia (but no later than 7 days before arriving) your card will be waiting at the branch for you to collect when you verify your ID.
Find helpful hints and tips about moving to Australia by visiting Commbank's Moving to Australia website.
Westpac is another major bank in Australia and offers a comparable range of products and features to Commbank. You can find information about opening a Westpac account here.
A lot of people ask us if they can just transfer their existing New Zealand Westpac account to Australia, but Westpac Australia is completely separate.
If you have personally opened an account with the ANZ this way before leaving NZ, please email us to let us know how it went and we will update this guide to make it more useful to those who prefer to bank with the ANZ.
ANZ have information for new arrivals to Australia here.
UP Bank is mobile-only internet bank and a brand of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited. Check out Up Bank here.
They recently caught our attention because they are getting a lot of viral traction from their combination of a slick app, a very modern interface - and a social conscience. UP does not lend to coal and coal seam gas projects and reinvests in Australian communities.
You will need an Australian driver licence to be able to create an UP account.
We have paid partnerships with the FX services recommended below, all of whom we have used ourselves. Thank you for supporting the partnerships that help keep Move to Australia running.
Surprisingly few people seem to realise that there is quite a lot of choice when converting money into another currency. Many people just go with their first instinct - to use a bank. Don't do that! Unless you happen to be a very important customer, you will not get a good deal from your bank. Typically they will give you a pretty bad rate, and then charge you a commission on top of that!
The reason you want a bank account before converting your money is to avoid dealing with cash. Conversion rates for cash are often much worse than when dealing with electronic funds. For this reason, you should aim to convert as little physical cash as possible and send the converted funds directly to your new bank account.
Depending on how much money you are converting, you can save yourself hundreds, or even thousands of dollars by using a specialist foreign exchange company. We used XE (previously known as Currency Online), a specialist foreign exchange company with NZ offices, because we could get a much better rate, we paid no commission, and we could do everything online.
Although we were moving a comparatively small amount of money in our first transaction (around $10K), just by choosing to use XE instead of a bank, we saved a few hundred dollars.
These days we still use XE to move money between NZ and Australia on a semi-regular basis and it is one of the fastest options out there. Most times the payment from NZ will reach our account in Australia within a few hours.
Here's the basic process we went through to convert our money, once we had our Aussie bank account opened:
That's really all there is to it. You might have just saved yourself enough to cover one weeks rent in your new place in Australia, just by using a more competitive alternative to your bank.