How to set up a bank account and manage your finances in New Zealand
Opening a bank account in New Zealand
We have many banks to choose from with varying rates and charges. All of New Zealand’s banks are online giving you the opportunity to check them out before you leave and the option to open an account online before you arrive. You don’t need to be a resident of New Zealand to open an account however you will need proof of identity, a permanent address or your new work address. BNZ is one of the major trading banks in New Zealand and offers a very comprehensive range of services - check them out on www.bnz.co.nz/movetonz.
For a full list of trading banks in New Zealand go to www.rbnz.govt.nz
Once you have opened an account you can move money into it straight away although you will only be able to withdraw money from your account once you have been formally identified by your banker in New Zealand. Before you leave your home country make an appointment with the bank’s migrant specialist in New Zealand to provide proof of your identity (as required by New Zealand legislation). This appointment can be made by the bank staff you personally dealt with, online or by phone. If you have set up a joint account you both need to be there and you’ll need bring identification such as your passport and driver’s licence or birth certificate.
You will be given an Eftpos card (debit card) which enables you to withdraw money from your account in stores and from ATM machines around the country.
New Zealand is a digital nation and every bank offers Internet banking. You’ll be able to log in and check your balances, transfer money and pay bills all from your computer or smart phone.
Credit cards and debit cards
Credit and debit cards are very popular in New Zealand and many cards offer payWave or Tap and Go where you can pay for low value purchases by holding your card close to the payment terminal. MasterCard, Visa and debit cards are all available from BNZ.
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Cash and cards
Eftpos is widely used and most people use Eftpos rather than carrying cash. It is common to pay by card for items as small as $5. Subsequently people don’t tend to carry much cash but you will need a little if you plan to visit out-of-the-way places.
Most major credit cards including MasterCard, Visa and American Express are accepted in New Zealand. Before you leave your home country it pays to visit your bank and put a PIN number on your credit card, this will give you the ability to access ATM machines for cash advances.
Your home debit card may not work with our Eftpos systems in stores around New Zealand however they will work at ATM machines to withdraw money. There may be local and domestic bank charges so find out fee details beforehand. You can use your credit cards with our Eftpos system, some will let you use your PIN, others will request that you sign the receipt.
Foreign currency exchange
If you are wanting to exchange money while in New Zealand, BNZ offer foreign currency exchange services and will display the buy and sell rates of popular currencies at the entrance to the bank and online.
Anyone can exchange foreign cash at the bank and there is no minimum amount, however they will not exchange lower denomination coins. If you are exchanging your New Zealand money at the end of your trip the banks will only give you notes of the currency you require.
If you’re looking for banking advice or services before you leave your home country, you can contact BNZ.
And finally we recommend buying Visiting New Zealand travel insurance so that if the unexpected happens we can help.