If you get paid in US dollars, have to make payments in US dollars, or need to hold US dollars for some time, opening a US dollar account means you can avoid the cost associated with converting USD to AUD.
Getting a US dollar account used to be problematic. But with the introduction of borderless accounts, opening a US dollar account in Australia is easy and fast.
Read on for more details about where to open a US dollar account, how it works, and what to be aware of.
Fast and easy setup
Where to open a US dollar account
How to open a US dollar account
Opening a US dollar account in Australia is straightforward, especially if you open an account with an online provider.
- Choose a provider. You can get a US dollar account with a traditional bank or from one of several online banks and services such as those listed on this page. At Finty, we only work with reputable brands that are tried and tested.
- Register and open your account. This usually involves providing your business or personal details, including email, phone number, and photo ID, to verify your identity and secure your account. For example, opening a US dollar account for a business may require more information than a personal account.
- Funding your account. You may want to fund your account with a small amount first.
What to look for
Here are some of the most important factors to consider when comparing US dollar accounts.
- What other currencies are supported? For example, a US dollar account will support USD, but is it possible to open another local currency account?
- Linked card. Does the account come with a debit card? Is it available as a virtual card that can be added to Apple Pay, Google Pay, or another digital wallet?
- Funding methods. Can you transfer money from Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, or other digital wallets? Can the account be funded with cryptocurrencies?
- Account fees. Check if there are any monthly account fees for the US dollar account you are opening.
- Foreign currency transaction fees. Find out if there are any fees to convert to US dollars, for example, when sending AUD to your USD account.
- Minimum balance. Do you need to maintain a minimum balance in your US dollar account? What penalties apply for dipping below that line?
- Maximum balance. Is there a maximum limit on how much you can keep in the account?
- Overdraft facility. Can you get an overdraft in US dollars if you need one? If available, overdrafts are subject to credit approval.
- Supported transfer types. Collections and payments will be treated as bank-to-bank transfers. See what restrictions, limitations, and extra fees apply to different types of transfers.
- Settlement time. Compare how long it would take — minutes, hours, days — for money to settle in your US dollar account or how long it takes for outbound transfers to reach the recipient.
- Withdrawals and payments. Are there any limits on withdrawals or payments? If so, what are the penalties for exceeding the limit?
- The interest rate. Find out what the interest rate is — if any — for balances in your US dollar account and how often interest is paid. Also, check for introductory bonus interest rates and what eligibility conditions apply.
- Cashback and other perks. Some foreign currency accounts pay cashback on your spending. Check what additional perks are on offer.
- Flexibility and tools. Can you use and manage the account via phone or an app? Does it have any direct integration with any marketplace or accounting software?
Still not sure?
Pros and cons
- Send US dollar invoices to your overseas clients and customers.
- Collect payments in US dollars without having to convert to AUD.
- Save money when paying for imports or online purchases in US dollars.
- Avoid currency conversion fees when making payments or when paying suppliers, services, and staff charging USD.
- Hedge against exchange rate volatility by buying and saving US dollars ahead of time.
- Valid for international travel and shopping online.
- If opening an account with a traditional bank, you may be required to have a local currency account before you can open a US dollar account with them.
- Some traditional banks require a high minimum balance to keep a foreign currency account open.
- Higher fees compared to regular transaction accounts in the local currency.
- A variety of fees are applicable on foreign currency accounts.
Want more help?
Can I open a US dollar account in Australia?
Anyone can open a US dollar account in Australia with one of the providers listed above.
What types of US dollar accounts are there?
You can open a US dollar account for personal or business use. The documentation required to open an account will vary depending on the type of account you wish to open.
What can a US dollar account be used for?
You can use your US dollar account to collect payments from marketplaces such as Amazon, payment processors such as PayPal, buy now pay later platforms such as Klarna, send payments to companies and suppliers, pay overseas mortgages, and more.
Do US dollar accounts in Australia pay interest?
Some US dollar savings accounts in Australia pay interest, but this is typically low, as is the case for most savings accounts.
What fees are applicable on a US dollar account?
Depending on who you open an account with, fees that may be charged include the following:
- Account opening fees
- Monthly maintenance or ongoing fees
- Telegraphic transfer fees on receipts and payments
- Currency conversion fees
- Cardholder fees for any linked debit cards
- Cash withdrawal fees and ATM fees
- Interest in overdraft facilities
How long does it take to open a US dollar account?
The time it takes to open a US dollar account depends on who you are opening the account with.
The fastest way to get a USD account is with an online provider such as Wise or Airwallex. Expect it to take longer for a traditional bank to make a USD account available.
It is best to begin the process at least a few business days before you use your US dollar account.