You made the decision to go to New Zealand? It does not matter if it is for a professional or personal reason, know that you will simply need to open a bank account in this country. This way, you will avoid paying too much. It is in any case very easy to open a bank account in New Zealand if you have all the necessary elements for it. Let’s now find out everything there is to know about banks in New Zealand.
What formalities to open an account?
Let’s start with the opening hours. In New Zealand, banks are open weekdays Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. However, major cities such as Auckland or Wellington are open on Saturdays in the morning.
Many banks in the country have free current accounts that usually include a payment card. A perfect scenario for a traveler with a Working Holiday Visa. This is not easy! Indeed, know that former candidates for the PVT may be wrong if you ask them advice on the subject, since the law is not the same. Indeed, since the recent Law on Money Laundering 2013, security checks are clearly optimized.
Revealing a proof of address is mandatory against the opening of a current account. However, you do not have any proof of this kind when you arrive in New Zealand. Thus, you will have to replace the electricity or mobile bill by the IRD certificate of the New Zealand tax services. This is also possible with a certificate of accommodation of a youth hostel.
The IRD number is obtained within one to three weeks. That’s why unless you find housing on the field landing in New Zealand, you will have to do without a bank account for a while. Then make a meeting with a banker and take two pieces of identification with you. A passport, but a driver’s license offers the opportunity to round the corners and optimizes the procedure.
Why should I open an account in New Zealand?
In order to receive a salary if you work
If you want to work during your PVT year, you must have a New Zealand account. Yes, your employer will ask you for your account number to pay you and if you do not have a New Zealand account, it can make things much more difficult. Indeed, it is likely that your employer does not want to pay you on your home country account because it generates extra costs that he would not have with a New Zealand bank account. The easiest way is therefore to open an account in one of the New Zealand banks, which in general is not too difficult and does not take too much time.
To pay for services, goods, accommodations and not have unnecessary bank charges
Owning a New Zealand bank account will prove very useful in everyday life. On the one hand, the cards we own in other countries are mostly credit cards. However, the latter incur additional costs on your New Zealand expenses, and may even be denied in some locations. That’s why we recommend opening an account in New Zealand to have a debit card and avoid extra fees.
This card will give you the opportunity to avoid fees related to credit cards but also in relation to the exchange fees applied by the banking groups. With a debit card you can pay without worries, for the activities and all your purchases or accommodations. Unlike the credit card, know that the debit card can also make payments online.
Payment by EFTPOS
Compared to payments, you may be surprised when you make your first purchase with your card. Indeed, it is quite possible that one asks you if you wish to settle by EFTPOS. This unknown term corresponds to a payment system, effective throughout New Zealand. After that, you will have to choose on the terminal the kind of account you want to use to pay. If you have a debit card, you will have to choose the “check” option. However, if it is a credit card, take the option “credit”. If you go to the wrong option, the transaction will not work and you will have to redo everything.
Which bank cards?
You will be able to choose between three types of payment card. Here’s what they do as well as their strengths and weaknesses:
- The EFTPOS card is the equivalent of a Visa Electron card. Mostly free, it gives you the opportunity to withdraw in any distributor and settle in many shops. Weak point: you can not adjust online.
- The Visa debit card: undoubtedly the best option. It offers you the possibility to pay online and abroad. Note that it is free in various banks and not in others.
- And finally, the Visa “credit”: this type of card generates a rigorous management of your expenses since it allows you to spend without necessarily having the money on your account.
What bank charges?
Depending on the account you want to open, you will not pay the same kinds of fees. Therefore, care must be taken to pay attention to the terms and conditions of your bank. Here are the major costs you will face:
Account Maintenance Fees
You do not settle the first year with a lot of banks. They depend on the offer you have chosen.
Unlike other countries where you can take advantage of an unlimited number of withdrawal and payment, you will often have a limited number of free transactions each month (almost 30 as a rule). Just like Australia and Canada, you can pay at the supermarket with your card and apply for a cash-out of $50. As a result, you pay $50 more than your shopping and this will allow you to get $50 in cash.
Any withdrawal made in a bank other than yours will usually cost you $1.
Fees in relation to international transfers
When you have opened your bank account in New Zealand, you will undoubtedly need to feed it through your French or Belgian account. We strongly advise you to be wary of banks offering free transfers to newcomers. If you feel that you are not paying for it, they are hidden in the exchange rate made by the bank during the transfer. You have only one point to remember about this: avoid as much as possible to go through your bank for this kind of transactions. The most economical option is to go through a money transfer operator: this way you can save up to 80% compared to bank charges.
Which banks in New Zealand?
This is the equivalent of the postal bank in France. That’s why, at every post office, you’ll have a Kiwibank counter. The Free up account is certainly the most interesting in the market since there is no charge and a free Visa debit card the first year ($10 each year thereafter). In addition, withdrawals turn out to be free at Kiwibank branch. The only weak point to choose Kiwibank lies in the fact that you will have to queue with the postal clientele if you need to go to an agency. You will normally only have to do it once when opening your account. Read more about Kiwibank.
One of the largest banks in the country. She is also active in Australia. BNP Paribas customers can withdraw free of charge at Westpac distributors. The Electronic Account is perfect if you are used to managing your online accounts. Please note that you will not pay any fees, as long as you declare that you do not want to receive your bank statements by mail. If not, it will cost you $3.50 each month. Withdrawals made in other banks are charged $1. By default you will get an EFTPOS card but you can apply to have a Visa debit card. As a foreign student, you will benefit from specific conditions on the Access account such as the exemption of account maintenance fees (usually $9.95 each month). Read more about Westpac bank.
Here is the largest bank in the country. You will easily find distributors everywhere. The classic offering of the BNZ is called YouMoney. It includes a free Visa debit card the first year ($10 thereafter). However, the maintenance fee is $5 each month. Read more about BNZ bank.
The Go Account is ideal as a basic account. There is no charge and you will be able to access your accounts online. The EFTPOS card is free. If you prefer a Visa debit card, it reveals a price of $10 each year. Read more about ANZ bank.