NAB Foreign Currency Account: a comparison

6 minutes
NAB Foreign Currency Account: a comparison
In this article

A NAB foreign currency account is designed for businesses who make regular international currency transactions. Built for convenience and ease of use, a NAB foreign currency account allows you to make and receive payments in up to 19 foreign currencies without first needing to convert to or from AUD.

Businesses who derive the majority of their income from international customers, such as an eCommerce store, global tech company, or a freelancer, will find it a good fit. It’s also beneficial for businesses who make regular international payments, such as a design agency with a range of contractors spread around the world, or a manufacturing business with suppliers based overseas.

Let's take a closer look at the product on offer so you can decide if it's a good fit for your business.

A detailed look at NAB foreign currency accounts

Key features

  • Send and receive payments in up to 19 foreign currencies, without any conversion costs

  • No fees to open an account

  • No minimum balance required to set up or maintain a NAB foreign currency account

  • Access to NAB netbanking app, NAB Connect, gives you the ability to access your account anywhere in the world

  • NAB Connect also provides businesses with the option to view currency conversion rates prior to transfer, and book in foreign currency exchanges at a time that suits them

  • Secured or unsecured overdraft facilities, starting at $20,000, to help business owners manage cash flow in difficult times

Limitations of your account

One noticeable limitation of a NAB foreign currency account is the fees, which you’ll find outlined below. As these payments are being made via the SWIFT network, both the sender and the receiver of the payment may be required to pay fees on each end of the process. This may result in paying more on your payments, or receiving less money into your account than you expected. 

And, as international payments are made via the SWIFT network, your funds are subject to SWIFT transfer times. This may also result in slower transfers, particularly when compared to alternative transfer networks.

Another limitation is in accessing your foreign currency. NAB don’t issue debit cards for foreign currencies, so you’re required to transfer currency from your NAB foreign currency account to an AUD account, either through their netbanking solution or by visiting your nearest NAB branch.

Fees and rates

NAB have put in a big effort recently to reduce the amount of fees their customers receive. 

While you don’t pay any monthly or annual account fees to hold a foreign currency account with NAB, you’re still required to pay fees based on the type of transaction you make. These include:

  • Flat $10 fee per international transaction made in a foreign currency to a foreign account

  • Flat $30 fee per international transaction made to an international account in AUD

  • Up to $15 fee for all international payments made into your NAB currency account

  • $30 fee for banker-assisted transfers between NAB accounts, eg. in-branch, or over the phone

  • $35 fee for transfer requests made via email or fax

  • $20 fee to cancel an international transfer. Note that you may also be charged a fee from the international bank, too

  • 2% fee for deposit or withdrawal of foreign currency notes, starting at a minimum of $20

  • NAB makes it clear that they may charge you a fee for holding large balances in currencies that are likely to result in them making a loss

An FX rate calculator is available on the NAB website as well as a list of their current exchange rates. However, the fee structure for this isn’t mentioned on the site, so there may be extra fees incurred during processing and conversion.

Opening a NAB foreign currency account

In order to open a foreign currency account with NAB, you’ll first need a NAB Business account, which can be set up online, over the phone, or in person. All you need to supply is:

  • Proof that you’re over 18. You’ll need two forms of ID if you’re a new NAB customer, such as a passport and driver's license, or Medicare card

  • Evidence of being the owner or director of your business

  • A valid ABN and/or ACN, and address details for all business directors

You’re then able to open a foreign currency account with NAB by filling out the available form on their website and link this to your NAB Business account.

Looking to open a business bank account? Check out our easy guide, here.

Receiving an international payment

To receive an international payment there are a few key pieces of information the sender will need. This includes:

  • The NAB branch’s BIC or SWIFT code

  • Your BSB and account number

  • Name of the account

  • Your name and home address

While this information may seem standard to us, keep in mind that international banks may require a completely different set of information. As such, you might need to provide detailed instructions to your international contacts in order to make it easier for them to pay you.

Also, bear in mind that the bank on the other end of the transaction may charge its own fees. Have this conversation with your contact first, to confirm the full amount to be sent or received.

Supported currencies

NAB foreign currency accounts support the following international currencies:

  • CAD Canadian Dollar

  • CHF Swiss Franc

  • CNY Chinese Yuan Renminbi (business customers only)

  • DKK Danish Krone

  • EUR Euro

  • FJD Fijian Dollar

  • GBP British Pound

  • HKD Hong Kong Dollar

  • JPY Japanese Yen

  • NOK Norwegian Krone

  • NZD New Zealand Dollar

  • PHP Philippine Peso

  • SEK Swedish Krona

  • SGD Singapore Dollar

  • USD US Dollar

  • WST Samoan Tala

  • ZAR South African Rand

  • THB Thai Baht

  • AED United Arab Emirates Dirham

Airwallex global accounts make it even easier to bank internationally

Airwallex foreign currency accounts are a faster, more efficient, fee-free alternative to a NAB foreign currency account.

Key features

Global Accounts: You can create multiple global accounts within minutes, and start sending and receiving 11+ currencies immediately. As you’re transacting internationally, each global account uses that currency’s local bank details. So whether it’s AUD, USD, GBP, EUR or HKD, it acts as a local business account, providing an easier, more streamlined process on their end.

FX & International Payments: You can send money overseas to 130 countries, in over 34 different currencies with no minimum transfers or payment fees when using the local payment method (non-SWIFT).

Multi-currency virtual Visa cards: Access multi-currency debit and employee cards that allow you to pay in that currency, anywhere Visa is accepted. There are no additional FX fees, and you can start using your card immediately.

Xero integration: Bookkeeping is a breeze with a multi-currency Xero integration. You’re able to set each individual currency up with its own bank feed, and get banking reconciliation directly to your Xero account. This function syncs hourly, so you never miss a detail.

Fees and rates

We don’t charge any monthly or annual fees, nor do you need you to keep a minimum balance in your account; Airwallex lets you bank with confidence. You can use your foreign currency account as much or as little as you need. However, other fees and charges may apply, which you can find on our website.

When exchanging currency, our wholesale FX rates allow you to keep more of your money in your account. You’ll only pay 0.3% or 0.6% above the interbank FX rate, and you can find transparent FX rates when you need them, so you always know that you’re paying.

Supported currencies

As well as AUD, Airwallex Global Accounts support the following international currencies:

  • CAD Canadian Dollar

  • CHF Swiss Franc

  • CNH Chinese Yuan

  • EUR Euro

  • GBP British Pound

  • HKD Hong Kong Dollar

  • JPY Japanese Yen

  • NZD New Zealand Dollar

  • SGD Singapore Dollar

  • USD US Dollar

Get a foreign currency account, without the limitations

Airwallex global accounts are made to help businesses thrive in an international market. Send and receive foreign currencies in a fee-free environment, without any of the international lag you’re used to.

Contact us today and book a demo to discover the difference an Airwallex Business Account will make for your business.

Related article: Best business bank accounts in Australia











Last updated as of January 2021

Our products and services are provided by Airwallex Pty Ltd ABN 37 609 653 312 who holds AFSL 487221 (Airwallex). This article is provided for general information purposes only and is correct at the time of publication but may change. This article does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Airwallex is not providing you with any legal, financial or tax advice. You should consider the appropriateness of the information in light of your own objectives, financial situation or needs and obtain your own legal, financial or tax advice. Please read and consider the Product Disclosure Statement available on our website before using our service.

Airwallex provides third-party links for general informational purposes only. Airwallex does not endorse or approve these products and services, or the opinions of these corporations or organizations or individuals. Airwallex accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content on these sites.

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