Opening a bank account in New Zealand as an Expat

May 03 , 2021 by: Victoria Anderson

Banking in New Zealand is very straightforward, and it is relatively easy to open a bank account here if you are an Expat. The banking system in New Zealand is almost entirely electronic and online. It is essential to open a bank account locally in New Zealand, as this is how you will receive any salary, and pay your bills. Unlike some expat-centric countries, New Zealand is actually very debit card friendly and almost everywhere will accept debit card transactions.

Setting up a Bank Account in New Zealand

There are several major banking providers in New Zealand. Some of these options are ANZ, ASB, Bank of New Zealand, KiwiBank and WestPac. The process for opening a bank account is quite consistent across all of the providers, although some have some unique requirements.

Some of the banks will allow you to simply walk in and set up an account, while others will require you to book an appointment for a specific time. Once you are in the process of setting up your account, you will need to bring a proof of ID with you, such as a passport or driver’s license as well as your proof of address in New Zealand. If, like most Expats, you have just arrived in the country and do not yet have a permanent address, then you can provide a temporary address and then update this on your account when you do move into your permanent residence.

When setting up your account, the employees at the bank will talk you through all the different products they can offer. It is at this point that you should query what specific features they can offer which are beneficial to an Expat such as yourself.

It is worth noting that some banks will allow you to open an account in advance, before you move to New Zealand. However, it is always recommended to speak to someone directly in the bank for some advice here. It is likely that even if you do go down this route, the bank account won’t be fully active until you move to New Zealand and activate it in a branch once you arrive.

On top of the various local options in New Zealand, it is likely that if you bank with a major international bank in your home country, that they will also have branches in New Zealand. The usual big banks such as HSBC, Barclays and Citibank are all present in New Zealand. Often it can be easier to bank with the same bank in New Zealand if you already have an account opened back home.

As previously mentioned, New Zealand is quite debit card-friendly. Each bank account that is opened will come with a debit card as standard. Credit cards are also available, however, it is worth noting that any credit you have built up overseas or back home will not be transferred to New Zealand. This may mean you will not get as favorable of a credit option as you may be offered back home.


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