Opening a bank account in New Zealand should be one of the first things you do as it will then allow you to transfer money into the account before you move so that you can have instant access to NZ dollars. It will also allow you to provide account details to any new employer, avoiding the hassle and costs of NZ wages going into a UK bank.
You can easily open a New Zealand bank account whilst you are still in the UK by completing an online form in many cases. Once you arrive in New Zealand you may have to pop into a branch to confirm your identity but once you've opened an account you can have access to a range of transactions.
Which Bank to Choose
It makes sense to choose a national bank which has a branch in the area you are moving to as you will have to visit their branch at some point. The main New Zealand banks are:
- ANZ National Bank
- ASB Bank
- BNZ (Bank of New Zealand)
- Kiwibank Ltd (part of the Post Office)
- National Bank of New Zealand
- Westpac New Zealand
Or you could open an international bank account which will allow you to make international payments, money transfers and online banking.
New Zealand Bank Charges
Unlike the UK, some current accounts in New Zealand will incur charges. ANZ has a NZD$5 monthly charge for unlimited free cash withdrawals, cheques, internet and phone banking although these charges only apply once you have moved to New Zealand. You can get accounts that have no monthly charges but you may be charged to withdraw cash from ATM machines. Shop around therefore and find the best deal for you.
Types of Bank Account in New Zealand
Banks offer a wide range of accounts, some have free services and others have monthly fees. The 3 main types are:
- Current Accounts. For day to day transactions as in the UK. Accounts offer low interest rates but funds are easily accessible.
- Savings. Again these have low interest rates but you can get fixed term accounts which are slightly better or accessible savings.
- Deposit Accounts. For higher interest rates but limited access. If you are saving for a house deposit then this where you can make the most of your savings.
Cheques and Cards
Paying by cheque is declining but if you do conduct transactions this way you need to be aware that a cheque duty of around 5 cents will be payable. Banks do not issue cheque guarantee cards so you will need to show some other form of ID such as a driving licence.
Credit cards may incur an annual fee unlike debit cards (known as EFTPOS cards) which are accepted all over New Zealand. You may be charged if you use an ATM that is not linked to your bank but these charges will be made clear to you.