Banking in New Zealand
Updated 2 months ago

Banking in New Zealand is almost always electronic, so it is important to have a bank account locally. This is how you will receive your salary, pay any bills and rent, and almost everywhere will accept EFTPOS (debit card) transactions. Unlike other countries, banking in New Zealand is pretty straightforward, and it is easy to open an account.

Setting up a bank account in New Zealand

There are a few major banks in New Zealand, such as ANZ, ASB, BNZ (Bank of New Zealand), Kiwibank and Westpac. Opening a bank account is similar across whichever chain you go to:

  • Some banks will let you walk in and open an account; others will book an appointment for you to return later on.
  • You will need to show proof of ID - i.e. your passport or driver's license, as well as an address in New Zealand. If you don’t have a permanent address, you can still open an account with a temporary address, and update this when you move.
  • Bankers will talk you through all their different products, and suggest the best option for you, including standard bank accounts, credit cards etc.

Some banks will allow you to open accounts in advance, but it’s always best to speak to someone directly either in the bank or over the phone for the best advice. If you open an account overseas, your account may not be fully active. You may still need to head to the bank once you have arrived to show your ID. Your home bank may be affiliated with a bank in New Zealand, so it is best to check with them first before you pick a bank. It may be easier to be banking with an affiliated bank.

Depending on the type of bank account you open, you may need to deposit a certain amount on opening. Your banker will be able to advise you of this.

Debit and credit cards in New Zealand

As a standard, all bank accounts come with an EFTPOS (debit) card. This is just a basic card that cannot be used overseas. You will then be able to ‘upgrade’ your account depending on your spending habits/credit score to receive a VISA debit or even a credit card.

Any credit you have built up overseas will not be transferred over to New Zealand; you will be starting afresh. It may be worth discussing with your bank at home and seeing if you can continue to use your home card. Take into account the exchange rate, and any fees your bank may have for you using your card overseas. A newly obtained credit card in New Zealand is likely not to have as high of a credit limit as you did back home.

 Good to know:

Whichever card you use from home, it will be treated as a credit card in New Zealand. Also, some places don’t accept credit cards, so it is always good to have some cash on you.

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