How to Set Up a New Bank Account in New Zealand

Have you recently moved to New Zealand, or planning to shift soon? It is evident that you will need to set up a bank account in the country. The good news is that this process is really straightforward and convenient in New Zealand for non-residents. In fact, many banks even encourage people to open their bank account even before they move to the country if they can provide their visa as proof.

New Zealand is a small country that offers a high standard of living, which is why many people prefer to move to this country. It only makes sense that you will be looking for reputed banks that let you open an account hassle-free.

What Should You Know About Opening a Bank Account Before Arrival:

If you already have a job lined up in New Zealand, then the process is straightforward. Most reputed banks prefer online banking. Hence you can fill up online forms to finish necessary paperwork well in advance before you even move countries. Upon arrival in New Zealand, you just need to fetch your card from the bank to complete the account opening process.

In fact, we highly encourage you to open a bank account before you arrive in this country as it makes a lot of things easier. For starters, your employer can transfer your advance right away so that funds will be waiting in your account upon arrival. This will make moving a stress-free task. But, do remember that while you can do the majority of the paperwork online and deposit funds, your account will indeed get activated when you arrive in New Zealand for you to be able to make transfers or withdrawals.

EFTPOS, Debit or Credit Cards in New Zealand

Firstly, applying for a credit card on a working holiday visa may not be the right choice as you are unlikely to get one as you need proof of income along with a permanent New Zealand resident’s proof to acquire a credit card. An easy solution is to carry one from your home country.

Now, as you open a bank account, you would want a debit card to access your money via ATMs. Acquiring a Visa or a Mastercard will take more time to process and cost you more. As you do not intend to keep this account open forever, better apply for the free EFTPOS card that all the banks listed below offer to their customers. You can use this as your debit card to withdraw money from ATMs. This card also works as pay-on-chip and pin machines in shops and stores.

How to Set Up Your Bank Account Online Before Arriving in New Zealand

If you are on a working holiday visa, you will no longer be allowed to open a bank account prior to your arrival in New Zealand, and you will have to wait to arrive in the country to open a bank account. In some cases, exceptions can be made if you can contact the bank directly and see if they can help you open a bank account. If the bank accepts to open your bank account before arrival, here are some steps you need to follow.

Opening Up a NZ Bank Account Online Before Arrival

If you are able to set up a bank account overseas, it will be very convenient for you rather than waiting to arrive in the country. You can also earn some internet on the money deposited prior to your arrival. But remember, you cannot access the money till you physically visit the bank branch with ID proof to activate the account entirely. Also, you need to bear in mind the exchange rate involved.

What Do You Need to Open a Bank Account in NZ:

The current regulations dictate that working holiday visa holders can open a bank account only after they are in New Zealand. Fix an appointment with the bank officials as early as you can to start the bank account opening process.

Here are the documents you need to open a bank account in New Zealand in most banks.

  1. Address Proof– You need to product your New Zealand address to open a bank account. It could be the hostel address as well. Speak to the hostel manager first before you produce the address in the bank.
  2. Identification Proof – You can produce your passport as the identification proof as it is a valid ID in New Zealand.
  3. Overseas Tax Identification number (TIN) – This is referred to as different names n different countries such as social security number, tax number, or personal number.
  4. Your Visa Copy – Not all banks, but some may ask for a copy of your Visa, hence get a copy printed to submit to the bank.

As all your documents get verified, you will successfully be able to open a bank account in New Zealand. You will be immediately issued with an EFTPOS card. On the other hand, a Visa or MasterCard may take longer to process and will be available to you in a few days.

Top Banks in New Zealand:

When you are looking to opening a bank account in NZ on a working holiday visa, you should opt for one of the big four banks of New Zealand, as listed below. They offer special provisions for non-residents that will make the bank opening process simpler.

ASB Bank:

Auckland Savings Bank, established in 1847, is the first saving bank opened to help Kiwis grow their money. They have been committed for centuries to bring New Zealanders the best banking products and services. Over the years, they have innovated their banking ways to match the current banking norms.

Fill out this form meant for people who wish to open a bank account before they move so that the bank executives can get in touch with you.

Know more about ASB online banking.


Westpac is a huge banking corporation with 1.3 million customers and has its banks in both New Zealand as well as Australia. For a bank that has been established in 1861, there is no doubt that you can trust this bank easily as a non-resident moving to New Zealand. They offer a range of bank accounts depending on what you need. You can either opt for their no-fuss simple savers account that provides the same 0.5 pa interest rate no matter what your balance is or their Bonus Saver account that offers 0.15% pa interest rate by increasing your balance by $20 per month.

Learn more about Internet banking with Westpac.

BNZ Bank:

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) is one of the oldest banks in New Zealand, helping their customers for over 150 years. They have worked upon redesigning their bank to assist their current customer needs. You can check out their international moving banking page to find easy assistance. You can complete your online application form from overseas, and the entire process of opening a bank account in NZ takes 3-5 days. You can deposit money while overseas, but you need to be physically present in the bank to activate your account for withdrawal fully.


Australia and New Zealand Bank (ANZ) is one of New Zealand’s leading banking and financial services groups. More than one million New Zealanders bank with ANZ. They offer savings account for non-residents with low interest rates. You can open a savings account with them with 0 transaction fees, which is why we highly recommend you to check out more details about ANZ bank while moving to New Zealand.

Also, learn about ANZ internet banking.

In addition to the reputed banks listed above, there are other small banks you can consider as an option as well for opening a bank account in NZ. Here is a list of some of the smaller banks.

  • Rabobank
  • SBS
  • Kiwi Bank
  • Heartland Bank
  • TSB Bank
  • The Cooperative Bank

You may also find the fees slightly lower at the smaller banks, hence choose wisely.

How to Close Your New Zealand Bank Account

This is also an equally important thing you should know about, especially if you are on a working holiday visa and plan to leave the country some time. You can close the bank account overseas, but it is a painful task. We strongly suggest that you close it before you leave the country. It is straightforward to close an account; just book an appointment with the bank for account closure. Carry your bank cards and passport, and the officials will help you close the account. Remember, the earlier you can close the account, you will not be charged bank fees unnecessarily.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it advisable to open a bank account in NZ while on a working holiday visa?

Yes, it is a good practice to open a bank account even on a working holiday visa as it would be a safe way to save and grow your money. However, if it is a short-term holiday work and your employer deals in cash, then it would be a waste of your time and money and also a hassle to open a bank account n New Zealand.

2. Can I open a prior bank account in NZ on a working holiday Visa?

Recently there have been changes in the norms, and you cannot open a bank account in NZ prior to your arrival on a working visa. However, speak to the bank personnel to see if they can help you with the process if there is any update in the policy.