Banking in New Zealand

New Zealand Bank Accounts

If you’re planning on living in New Zealand for an extended period of time, a New Zealand bank account is a must have. A Kiwi bank account makes dealings and transactions considerably easier and if you are experiencing any problems, you can speak with a bank representative in person.

Money held in your account will be in Kiwi dollars so you don’t have to worry about conversions and New Zealand employers will only make payments to New Zealand bank accounts. As you can see, the benefits of a Kiwi bank account are numerous.

New Zealand has 19 banks that are registered with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Never, ever open an account that is not registered with the Reserve Bank. You will find a complete list of these banks at the end of this article.

When opening a bank account, you will need to provide your personal details (such as full name, date of birth and address) so that you can identify yourself whenever you interact with your bank over the phone or in person. You will also need to provide evidence of your identity. This is usually in the form of a passport, driver’s license, birth certificate and/or a utility bill with your name and address.

Take the time to research the deals and interest rates offered by these banks to ensure that you receive the best deal for your situation. Many banks offer discounts for students, and in some cases waive their fees entirely for full time university students.

Your bank should provide phone and internet banking options. With the rising prevalence and security of internet banking, you may be able to open your account before you arrive in New Zealand. Your bank will also provide conversion of foreign currency. Most New Zealand banks do not lend money to foreign students – a few offer small loans, usually under $500. Very few offer credit cards to non New Zealand residents.

Your bank may have a branch on your universities campus. At the very least, they should have an Automatic Teller Machine. Always try to use your own banks ATM’s – some banks charge hefty fees for using their ATM’s if you’re not a customer, and in some cases, you may also be charged a disloyalty fee by your own bank.

Make sure you close your account before you leave the country to prevent being charged bank fees on an account you are no longer using.

Registered New Zealand banks:

  • ANZ National Bank
  • ASB Bank Limited
  • Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited
  • Bank of Baroda
  • Bank of New Zealand
  • Citibank
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia
  • Deutsche Bank
  • JPMorgan Chase Bank
  • Kiwibank Limited
  • Kookmin Bank
  • Rabobank Nederland
  • Rabobank New Zealand
  • Southland Building Society
  • The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi
  • The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
  • TSB Bank Limited
  • Westpac Banking Corporation
  • Westpac New Zealand Limited

Smarter option for transfering money to and from New Zealand

If you are looking to send money abroad consider TransferWise. It’s a great tool for sending and receiving money internationally with low fees — much cheaper than using your local bank. You can also get your own local bank account details in Europe, UK, US, Australia and New Zealand with the TransferWise Borderless account.


New Zealand currency is in dollars and cents and is often referred to as the Kiwi Dollar. Most banks offer conversion rates. Alternately, you can find reliable conversation charts on the web.

New Zealand notes are traded in the following denominations - $100, $20, $10 and $5. Coins come in gold-coloured $2 and $1 denominations while there are also silver-coloured coins with 50, 20, 10 and 5 cent denominations.

Visitors to New Zealand can bring in as much foreign currency as they wish, although anything over NZ$10 000 must be declared at customs. Airports, banks and limited shopping centres can exchange foreign currency for Kiwi dollars.
Students planning to reside in New Zealand for more than a couple of months would benefit from having a Kiwi bank account. Some banks will even let you open your account before you leave.

Most universities have a bank branch, or at the very least an automatic teller machine (ATM) on campus. Banks in New Zealand do not typically lend money to international students.

Fees for transactions differ between institutions. Most banks offer special packages for full time students. Be sure to get all the relevant information before committing to a bank, and check all the terms and services to find an account that suits your needs.

All banks offer phone and internet banking options. If you lose your wallet, contact your bank as soon as possible to have your credit and EFTPOS cards cancelled. It may also be worth contacting the police, to prevent identity theft. Wherever possible, try to keep a spare copy of your photo ID, as getting a replacement can be timely.

Tips for Banking in New Zealand

Business hours are normally from 9.00am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. New Zealand has a very advanced ATM and Electronic fund transfer (EFTPOS) system. Telephone and Internet banking is also a very popular choice for many of the locals.

Automatic Transfer Machines, Travellers' Cheques

If you are visiting New Zealand for a short period of time, then you are advised to use your credit card. If your bank has international links, then EFTPOS may also be an option. Travellers cheques are another option. An alternative option could be TransferWise.

Withdrawal Restrictions

There is a limit of $500 on withdrawals made through ATMs. For withdrawals greater than this, you are advised to personally visit your nearest branch or start making advance withdrawals.

Opening a Account

If you're planning to stay for a considerably long period of time, such as study in New Zealand for a year or more, then you are advised to open a account on arrival in New Zealand. Please note that NZ banks do not have any lending arrangements for international students.

International students should note that fees are charged for every successful transaction.

Foreign Currency

If you are planning on bringing in more than NZ$10,000 into the country, then you are required to declare it to a customs officer and fill the relevant form.

Wallet lost or stolen

You must immediately notify your bank and cancel all EFTPOS and credit cards. You must also notify the police in case your property is recovered.