How to open a bank account in New Zealand

You can open a New Zealand bank account from outside the country or after your arrival, although given the widespread use of cashless transactions in New Zealand, it’s better to open an account before you arrive.

In order to be eligible to open a migrant bank account in New Zealand, you must be a holder of either a work or resident visa.

Opening a bank account from abroad in New Zealand can be done online, up to an entire year before you make your move. With banks such as Westpac , ANZ  and BNZ  all that is required of you is to fill out a simple form, with copies of ID and other documents not needed until you arrive.

You will not typically be able to use your account for withdrawals, transfers, etc. until you visit the bank in person to confirm your identity and address. A full list of required documents provided to you in an email once you apply with your chosen bank.  

However there are some items that are universally required:

If you have been issued an IRD number by the Inland Revenue you should provide this as well. While it is not needed to open an account, without it you will be charged resident withholding tax at 33%. If you think that you may wish to apply for an overdraft, loan or mortgage in New Zealand at some time, it’s wise to obtain a reference from your overseas bank manager to the effect that your account has been maintained in good order.

What you’ll get

Upon activating your bank account when you are in the country, it is most likely that you will be given an ‘EFTPOS’ debit and/or credit card. In New Zealand paying electronically is extremely popular, with cash payments now accounting for around 25% of monetary transactions. These cards are restricted however, and in order to be able to pay for items and services online you will receive a Visa debit card in the post 3 days after opening your account. Note that while regular EFTPOS cards are available from the age of 13 and over, Visa debit and credit cards are only available to over-18 year olds.

Online transactions are widely used to pay bills and direct transfers, meaning that cheques are no longer common.

For more information on using debit and credit cards in New Zealand, click here.

Bank Charges

Banks in New Zealand charge their customers for most transactions which is one of the main causes for people changing banks. An example of fees likely to be incurred are:

Note that these fees are based on one New Zealand bank’s accounts and other fees may be applicable, while some banks may not charge the above fees.

In order to reduce your bank charges, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau offers the following advice:

General Information

The following points are applicable to most New Zealand banks: © 2003-2021 Just Landed