Can Foreign Company Open A Bank Account In Australia

Can foreign companies open a bank account in Australia? It is a question many businesses seeking international growth are asking. Setting up a local bank account in a new country can present challenges for non-residents, but it is not impossible.
There are a few factors foreign companies need to consider when opening a bank account in Australia. Firstly, it is a good idea for the company to establish a legal presence within the local jurisdiction. Choosing the best business structure for the company is a key decision, and will likely depend on the individual circumstances of the company. Companies operating in Australia will need to become registered with the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
Once the company has obtained the necessary tax registrations and established a legal presence, the next step is to find a suitable bank. Generally, banks require a certain degree of financial history and recent transactions to help form an understanding of the business. The larger banks have extensive foreign presence and may even offer specialist advice on entering a new market. The company should check if the bank in question is familiar with their business model and can offer tailored advice.
It is important to check the bank’s fees and charges for running a business account, as some banks charge considerably more for operating foreign-owned businesses, in comparison to local firms. Also, any foreign company will need to report transfers and any activities of a certain value to the country’s designated financial intelligence unit. In Australia, this is the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).
The most important thing for foreign companies is to make sure they choose a bank whose customer service can provide guidance and advice throughout the journey. It is essential that the company finds a bank with a reputation for going the extra mile. Additionally, some banks offer tailored services for international businesses looking to grow within the Australian market and even have dedicated teams that can provide advice and ongoing support.

Applying For A Bank Account

Once the company has identified the right bank, it is time to apply for the account. This involves submitting a significant amount of paperwork which will help the bank assess whether the company is an acceptable risk. The paperwork is generally submitted in paper or electronic form, or sometimes a combination of both. Documents such as an international business identification number, an Australian Business Number, a Certificate of Incorporation, and various legal forms may be required.
Once the documentation is in order, the company must open the account in person. This usually involves going to the bank’s head office in Australia where the representatives of the foreign company must physically sign the account opening documents.

Bank Regulations

Foreign companies must also be aware of bank regulations and how these can apply to their situation. Different countries require different regulations, each with their own individual requirements. For example, some banks may restrict the transfer of funds between overseas accounts, or, in some cases, place restrictions on trading activities in certain currencies.
In Australia,The Corporations Act and The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act provide a framework of regulations that banks must abide by. This includes the ability to identify who the beneficial owners of the accounts are and the source of funds being deposited into the account. Foreign companies must meet the requirements of both these acts, in order to open a bank account in Australia.

KYC Procedures

Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures are very important in ensuring the international company meets the bank’s requirements. This involves providing employees’ identification documents and other forms of verification. Depending on the type of business, the foreign company may be required to provide a Certificate of Good Standing. The KYC Procedure will likely be the same for both foreign and domestic companies and can take several days to complete.

Benefits of Opening an Account

Having a local bank account in the new Australian market can bring several advantages to a foreign company. It can help to formalise their trading activities and provide a link to the local financial system. This can help the company to access larger pools of investment capital, and make it easier to transfer funds, engage in cross-border transactions and obtain international payments.

Overseas Entities

Although it is not easy for foreign companies to open a bank account in Australia, it is possible with the right approach. Establishing an overseas entity may be beneficial for foreign companies and will likely speed up the process. Having an existing entity can indicate to Australian banks that the foreign company has a solid financial history, and any existing relationships may help to demonstrate the company’s creditworthiness.


In the wake of numerous financial scandals and the growth of fraud, banks in Australia and elsewhere may decide that it is in their best interests to ‘de-risk’ or terminate relationships with certain customers. This could include foreign companies that are seen to be too risky due to lack of financial history, or companies with a certain background or customer profile.

Laws and Regulations

Foreign companies looking to open a bank account in Australia must be aware of the applicable laws and regulations, and it is essential that companies are careful to adhere to the banking regulations of the country in question. Compliance with the relevant regulations, coupled with a solid financial history, will help ensure that foreign companies can successfully open a bank account in Australia.

Wallace Jacobs is an experienced leader in marketing and management. He has worked in the corporate sector for over twenty years and is a driving force behind many successful companies. Wallace is committed to helping companies grow and reach their goals, leveraging his experience in leading teams and developing business strategies.

Leave a Comment