Updated last year

Aside from the ability to deposit your wages and pay your bills, New Zealand is a centre of electronic financial transactions so it is almost essential to have a bank account and debit card to live within the economy. Luckily, banking in New Zealand is fairly straightforward, including opening an account, even for those coming from overseas.

Getting an Account

The major banks in New Zealand are ANZ, ASB, Bank of New Zealand, Kiwibank and Westpac.The process of opening an account might change slightly depending on which bank you decide to go with, but the basic process is as follows:

  • Apply online, over the phone, or in person. Applying in person may require an appointment.
  • Visit the bank with proof of your identification in the form of passport and/or drivers license.
  • Give proof of address in New Zealand.

If you do not yet have a permanent address in New Zealand but need your bank account to be active, you could try to use your temporary address. Failing that, you can pay for a service like Backpackerboard or Private Box.

Most of these banks also allow people to apply for accounts from overseas. In this case, applying online is the best course of action, but the account may not be completely open until you arrive in the country and meet with the bank with your appropriate documentation. Others accept postal forms and certified copies of documents. These copies must be in English.

Some bank accounts may also require a minimum deposit amount upon opening. Once you have your IRD number, you should also update your bank with this information for tax purposes. It may also prove beneficial to speak to your home bank to see if they have any affiliates in New Zealand to assist with this process.

Debit and credit cards

Your account will include a debit or EFTPOS card, but it may not have a credit card attached to it from the beginning. This is because you build credit in countries individually, and if you are new to New Zealand you will not have any credit yet. EFTPOS stands for electronic funds transfer at point of sale, and most people in New Zealand use this terminology rather than ‘debit’.

If you will require a credit card it is worth discussing the credit card process for expats with the various banks before deciding where you will take your business. It is also worth exploring cards from your home country that do not charge foreign transaction fees so that you will not be penalised for using them in the interim.

  Good to Know:

10 cents is lowest denomination of cash currency in New Zealand, so all cash transactions are rounded to the nearest 10 cents. When using EFTPOS you will still pay the exact amount to the penny, though.

  Useful links:

ANZ New Zealand
HSBC New Zealand
Bank of New Zealand

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