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Best Foreign Currency Accounts for Australians

By Will Ellis
Last Updated on December 31, 2023

Have you ever needed to access funds in multiple currencies? Accounts with foreign currency features may be the solution to avoid foreign exchange charges. This type of account offers a range of advantages. Many options enable you to access funds in currencies beyond Australian dollars. 

Comparing your options can help you find a suitable account. But which are the best foreign currency accounts for Australians? In this article, we will look at six of the options you should consider for all your foreign currency needs.

Table of Contents:

What Are Foreign Currency Accounts in Australia? 🇦🇺️

Also known as multi-currency accounts, your foreign currency account in Australia allows you to hold funds in various currencies instead of just Australian dollars. A few foreign or multi-currency account options facilitate the process of holding several foreign currencies at the same time, while some only permit customers to choose one foreign currency.

How Do Foreign Currency Accounts in Australia Work?

Foreign currency accounts work like this. They’re similar to regular accounts and ideal for depositing and withdrawing money. Plus, you’ll also have no problems sending money overseas or receiving payments into your account. These accounts offer several advantages. They allow you to hold funds in Australian dollars, but you can even leave the money in foreign currency.

Opening an account isn’t complex. Select a provider, register your details and begin using the account. 

What Are the Features of Foreign Currency Accounts in Australia? ➡️

Multiple features are available with these accounts. Their many features offer convenience and financial benefits. Look out for the following features before you choose one.

  • Exchange rates feature — You can track and monitor exchange rates with this feature. You can then make transfers the moment the exchange rates are favourable. This benefit ensures you get the most from your money.
  • Use it as a local account — You can use this account in Australia without opening another one. You can pay for goods or transfer funds to other local currency accounts in the country.
  • Access to debit card — Providers offer a debit card with your account. This advantage facilitates purchases and enables you to use foreign currencies when overseas.

Foreign Currency Account Pros and Cons

Knowing the pros and cons of accounts with foreign currency features will help you make an informed choice. Check these advantages and disadvantages when selecting your account.

Pros ✅️

  • Skip international conversion fees — Your foreign currency account allows you to complete conversions in the foreign currency. You’ll skip high international conversion fees. As a result, you can save your money.
  • Make payments faster — You can make international payments faster with this account. The bank will quickly complete the conversion process, which takes a few hours. This solution is ideal for international business transactions. It also works for individuals who send money overseas to loved ones.
  • Portfolio diversification — It’s possible to diversify your portfolio as a business with this account type. You can access an extensive range of business opportunities in various currencies. This benefit means you will not be limited to transactions in Australian dollars; you can expand your business, pay suppliers and invest in other markets overseas.

Cons ❌️

  • Lack of support for every currency — Your account might not support every currency. This disadvantage means you may need to search for an option that matches the currencies you require.
  • May require a high minimum balance — To avoid monthly account fees, you may need to maintain a high minimum balance. You must ensure your balance doesn’t fall below the specified amount.

Best Foreign Currency Accounts in Australia — Reviews 📢️

We have looked at the advantages and disadvantages of these accounts. Let’s now look at the best accounts with foreign currency features. Our experts reviewed the top six options to help you choose one.

1. HSBC Everyday Global Account

If you aim to complete banking operations in 10 currencies, the HSBC Everyday Global Account is ideal. It offers fee-free banking. However, this account also has other advantages.

A Visa debit card comes with the HSBC Everyday Global Account. This card facilitates the process of sending and spending cash. ATM fees do not apply. There is no monthly account-keeping fee; you can avoid transaction fees with this account.

With the HSBC Everyday Global Account, you can receive everyday rewards. For instance, this provider will offer 2% cashback. The cashback applies to tap-and-pay transactions that cost under $100.

Managing this account is effortless. It offers a mobile banking app that you can use to make international transfers. Right from the app, you can transfer to more than 200 countries. It costs you nothing to make these transfers with HSBC.

Access to real-time exchange rates is available with this account. With just one click, you can track these rates. HSBC will update them every three to five seconds, so you always know the exchange value of your multiple currencies.

Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Visa payWave are all available with the HSBC Everyday Global account.

2. Westpac Foreign Currency Account

The Westpac Foreign Currency Account makes banking in a range of foreign currencies possible. 12 are available, including New Zealand dollars, American dollars, British pounds and Euros. You can make and receive payments in these currencies.

You are in control of when you convert funds. This advantage means you can take advantage of competitive exchange rates.

A monthly account fee does not apply to this account. It also offers several convenient banking solutions. Whether you need to visit a branch, contact the provider on the phone or manage your account online, these solutions are available. 

Westpac’s online banking allows you to make and view transactions.

A couple of restrictions apply to the Westpac Foreign Currency Account. You can’t link it to a travel money card or withdraw and deposit foreign notes into the account.

The Australian Government’s Financial Claims Scheme doesn’t cover funds in this account. However, you won’t need to convert funds to Australian dollars to use them. You can also request additional currencies with your account to save funds and spend. To do this, you just need to visit your branch.

3. Commonwealth Bank Foreign Currency Account

If you want to facilitate overseas transactions, the Commonwealth Bank Foreign Currency Account can help. This account offers several handy advantages.

You can use this account to deposit or withdraw money at your branch. These actions are also easy with NetBank, an easy-to-use online solution and app.

NetBank makes money management easy. It helps you track spending and much more. For instance, you can transfer money to more than 200 countries in over 30 different currencies. You can also receive payments via Netbank and track your payment history.

NetBank lets you check foreign exchange rate movements through the Commonwealth Bank Foreign Currency Account. It also offers a foreign exchange calculator to help you find out how many Australian dollars you will receive when you convert funds.

You can save conversion costs by avoiding conversion fees with this account. This advantage applies when you make or receive payments.

As with a few other foreign currency account options, you control when you convert funds.

Although fees might apply to linked accounts, some of the best benefits include the following. You won’t pay account management fees for this account. Plus, you’ll also be able to earn monthly interest on specific currencies.

4. NAB Foreign Currency Account

16 key global currencies are available with the NAB Foreign Currency Account. It offers you the flexibility to convert funds when it suits you. But this account also benefits Aussies in other ways.

You can avoid account opening and monthly foreign currency account fees, use the account to pay international suppliers as a business and receive payments in foreign currencies with NAB’s Foreign Currency Account. You might think of this account as similar to an international business account.

The NAB Foreign Currency Account also gives you access to foreign exchange rates, so you know when to convert your funds. Unlike some alternative foreign currency accounts, it does not require a minimum ongoing balance. This way, you can afford low funds in your account without paying fees.

You can send money overseas in British pounds, Euros, US dollars, Japanese Yen, Canadian dollars and many other currencies. 

With NAB Connect, you can manage all your currencies online. This banking platform gives you visibility over your international payment files, statements, domestic payment files, and account reports. It has enhanced security features to keep your details safe.

The NAB Foreign Currency Account also provides a foreign exchange calculator. You can use this tool to determine your converted currency’s value.

5. Bank of Sydney Foreign Currency Transaction Account

You can access three key currencies with the Bank of Sydney Foreign Currency Transaction Account. These include British pounds, Euros and United States dollars. Though international payments deposited into this account incur a $10 charge, this account offers many advantages.

For example, you will not need to pay account-keeping fees with this account. You also will gain instant access to your funds the moment they are deposited into your account.

This provider will give you monthly statements to help you manage your money and currencies more efficiently. Receiving payments from overseas in multiple currencies is easy. You should offer the following details to the individual making the payment: Your account name, number, BSB and Bank of Sydney’s SWIFT code.

For cash deposits and withdrawals, you will need to pay fees of 1% of the transaction amount. For example, if you withdraw $200, you will pay a fee of $2.

Most international bank transfer payments will take two to three working days from your Bank of Sydney Foreign Currency Transaction Account. If the transaction occurs over a bank holiday, this may take longer and be completed on the following working day.

6. Bank of Melbourne Foreign Currency Account

As well as a foreign currency overdraft, the Bank of Melbourne Foreign Currency Account offers several perks. 10 currencies are available, including United States dollars, Euros and British pounds. The overdraft feature offers working capital for trade. It helps you manage your foreign exchange cash flow as a business.

The foreign currency overdraft also acts as a hedge for exporters. If you export goods, you can protect yourself against changing interest rates and avoid losing income when trading internationally.

With this account, you can earn interest on your funds. As a business, this is available in the form of term deposit investments. This advantage is applicable when you meet the minimum balance requirements.

You can receive hedging benefits if you are importing goods from overseas as a business. This benefit means you can enter into a financial contract to protect yourself against fluctuating interest rates. Just like hedging for exporters, it reduces the risk of earning less from a transaction when operating internationally.

The Bank of Melbourne gives you access to exchange rate movements. There are no account-keeping costs or fees for currency conversion.

Best Foreign Currency Accounts in Australia: The Verdict 💡️

Foreign currency accounts are advantageous. You can effortlessly complete transactions in different currencies and reap the benefits of exchange rate features. Multiple options are available. It, therefore, makes sense to compare foreign currency accounts first. 

Once you have checked their features, all that’s left is to choose one. You don’t need to stick with a local Australian dollar account if this does not suit your needs. Sign up for one of the best accounts with foreign currency features in Australia. Avoid currency conversion fees and get all the benefits of foreign currency use as an individual or business owner.

Best Foreign Currency Accounts in Australia: FAQs 🔎️

Still, need some answers to questions about accounts with foreign currency features in Australia? Look at the answers in this section to get more facts.

What Are Some Examples of Foreign Currencies I Can Deposit?

The foreign currencies you can deposit will depend on the bank. Popular examples include United States dollars, Canadian dollars, Singapore dollars, New Zealand dollars, Hong Kong dollars and the British pound. Check the currencies available before selecting a foreign currency account. 

Is It Worth Having a Foreign Currency Account?

It is worth having a foreign currency account for a couple of reasons. If you require access to several currencies, this account is worthwhile. If you need to switch between currencies, this account type facilitates this. In the event you need to avoid foreign exchange fees, this account is also beneficial.

Do Australian Foreign Currency Accounts Have Different Exchange Rates?

Not every Australian foreign currency account will have the same exchange rates. Different exchange rates will depend on the financial institution. These rates can affect how much you receive in funding after conversion. You should compare accounts with foreign currency features and rates to find the best option.

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