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Opening a bank account in New Zealand

The key info you need to know to open a NZ bank account from Australia.

If you're planning a move or a working holiday across the ditch, one of the items at the top of your to-do list will be opening a bank account. As an Australian, it's easy to open a bank account in New Zealand. Even better, you can open an account before you arrive.

Process of opening a bank account in NZ

Several banks that operate in NZ allow foreigners to open an account before they even arrive in the country. In some cases, you might be able to open your account up to 6 months in advance.

You'll generally need to complete the following steps:

  1. Fill out an online application form with your personal information, contact details and proof of ID. It may take up to 5 business days for your application to be processed and your account to be opened.
  2. Your bank will send you your account details and instructions on how to set up internet banking.
  3. Start depositing money into your account so you can access funds once you arrive in NZ.
  4. When you arrive in NZ, visit a bank branch to activate your account. You'll need to provide proof of ID and proof of residency.

It's worth noting that you won't be able to access the money in your account until you arrive and visit a branch. If that's not suitable, you might want to consider opening a multi-currency account with a provider like Wise or Revolut. These accounts let you hold multiple currencies, including both NZD and AUD. You can access your money at any time and you also get an international debit card for a convenient way to spend your funds.

Documents needed to open a bank account in New Zealand

You'll generally need to provide certified copies of the following documents to open and activate a NZ bank account:

  • Your passport
  • Proof of a NZ residential address, such as a utility bill or a letter from New Zealand's Inland Revenue Department (if you apply before arriving in NZ, you can provide your current address in Australia)
  • Your NZ visa (if you're not a permanent resident or don't have a NZ passport)

What is the best account in NZ for Australians?

There are multiple options to choose from if you want to open a bank account from Australia. Some of them are regular accounts with traditional banks, while others are multi-currency accounts you manage via an app or online.

Let's take a closer look at some of your main options.

Revolut

Revolut is another online alternative to a traditional bank account. This global transaction account lets you hold and exchange over 30 currencies, including AUD and NZD. It's quick and easy to sign up for an account. Your account comes with a prepaid debit card you can use for spending, while it's also compatible with Apple Pay and Google Pay.

It's easy to manage your money with the Revolut app, which you can also use to invest in stocks and cryptocurrency. A Standard Revolut plan comes with no monthly fee, but you're limited to $350 per month of fee-free ATM withdrawals and $2,000 per month of currency exchange.

If you want higher limits, you'll need to upgrade to a paid plan with a monthly subscription fee of $9.99 or $24.99. And just like Wise, Revolut doesn't have any branches if you want to be able to do your banking in-person.

Revolut Australia review

Wise

The Wise multi-currency account is a convenient alternative to a traditional bank account. It offers account details in 10 currencies, including AUD, NZD, USD and GBP. You don't have to worry about providing proof of a NZ residential address to open an account. You also don't have to wait until you arrive in NZ to activate your account and there's no monthly account fee.

Your Wise account comes with a linked debit card that can be used all around the world. You can convert your funds into over 40 different currencies at the mid-market rate, allowing you to send funds to more than 160 countries. It's also simple to manage your account via the Wise mobile app or online.

The downside is that Wise doesn't have any branches, so if you prefer to do your banking face-to-face, you may want to consider other options.

BNZ

BNZ, which is more formally known as the Bank of New Zealand, was founded back in 1861. Today, it's a subsidiary of NAB and offers a full suite of banking services.

If you want to open a NZ bank account from Australia, you can fill out an online form with details like your name, intended arrival date, visa and contact information. If approved, you'll be sent your BNZ YouMoney everyday account number within 5 business days.

You won't be able to make any withdrawals from your account straight away, but you can deposit funds into your account via international payment. You'll also be able to set up internet banking so you can check your balance.

Once you arrive, visit a branch with ID and proof of address to activate your account. You'll receive your BNZ EFTPOS card at this stage and you can make unlimited withdrawals from your fee-free YouMoney account.

ANZ

ANZ Bank New Zealand is the largest bank in NZ. It allows you to apply for a NZ bank account from Australia up to 90 days before arriving. You'll need to be 13 years or older and have a valid visa.

It takes about 5 minutes to fill out an online application form. You can choose an everyday or savings account that suits you – for example, you may choose a no-monthly-fee ANZ Go Account if you do most of your banking online – and provide your current overseas residential address.

Once you've received your account details, you'll be able to make deposits but not withdrawals. You'll then need to provide proof of ID at an ANZ branch once you arrive in NZ to get full access to your account.

Westpac

If you're already a Westpac customer, you'll be pleased to know that your bank also has dozens of branches across NZ. To apply, you'll need to fill out an application form, print it out and email it to Westpac. You'll also need to email certified copies of your passport, visa and proof of address.

In some cases, you can apply up to 180 days before you arrive in NZ. And once approved, Westpac will set up a savings account in your name and allow you to transfer up to NZ$1 million into the account.

On arrival, contact Westpac's migrant banking team or visit your local branch to activate your account. There are no monthly or electronic transaction fees with a Westpac Everyday Account and you can access your funds with an EFTPOS or debit card.

ASB Bank

A subsidiary of CommBank, ASB has a team of international banking specialists to help new customers open an account from overseas.

You can apply online to set up a NZ bank account before you arrive and you'll be contacted by an ASB relocation specialist within 2 business days of submitting your application. They'll let you know what identity documents you need to upload, including a certified photocopy of your passport and proof of your overseas address.

You can then set up internet banking so you can access your everyday Streamline bank account. This account has no monthly fee or transaction fee and you can manage your account via the ASB Mobile app or FastNet Classic online banking.

Tips for sending money to a NZ bank account

Keep these tips in mind to save yourself money and stress:

  • Check the mid-market rate. The mid-market exchange rate reflects the true value of AUD vs NZD, but you typically won't get this rate when you send an international money transfer. Most transfer providers make money by adding a mark-up on top of the mid-market rate, so make sure to check how the exchange rate you're offered compares to the current real rate.
  • Use a specialist money transfer service. Sending an international transfer straight from your bank account is an easy option. But it's also expensive, because banks offer poor exchange rates and higher transfer fees. You'll typically get a better exchange rate and lower fees from a money transfer specialist.
  • Shop around. Even a couple of cents' difference in the exchange rate can have a big impact on how much it costs to send money to NZ. Compare money transfer providers to find the best exchange rate for your transaction.
  • Watch out for transfer fees. Some providers charge a flat fee on all transfers, but others calculate their fee as a percentage of the transaction amount. Don't forget to check the fine print to find out how much you'll be paying in fees.
  • Consider a multi-currency account. Providers like Wise and Revolut offer a cost-effective alternative to conventional bank accounts. You can open an account from Australia, use your account straight away and easily convert between AUD, NZD and other currencies.

Compare money transfer providers that send money to New Zealand

1 - 18 of 18
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer)
TorFX
24 hours
$0
TorFX sends money overseas in 40+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Xe Large Transfers
24 hours
$0
Xe has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
OFX
24 hours
$0
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 50+ currencies.
Send Payments
24 hours
$0

Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
Revolut
Within minutes
$0
Sign up and get a AUD$15 top-up. For new customers only. T&Cs apply.
Send money with great rates and low fees in 30+ currencies.
Xe Money Transfers
Within minutes
$0
Xe has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Instarem
Within minutes
From 0%
50% off first transaction fee from any country in APAC (outside India).
Minimum transfer of $250 and max transfer of $500,000
Wise (TransferWise)
Within minutes
From 0.43%
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 50+ currencies.
TorFX
24 hours
$0
TorFX sends money overseas in 40+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
SingX
Within minutes
From 0.5%
SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
CurrencyFair
Within minutes
€3
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
MoneyGram
Within minutes
From $1.99
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
OFX
24 hours
$0
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 50+ currencies.
Send Payments
Send Payments
24 hours
$0
Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
Qantas Business Money
Within minutes
$0
Earn up to 100,000 bonus Qantas Points on your first currency conversion by 31 July 2024. Conversion limits and T&Cs apply.
Set up accounts in 11 different currencies and get rewarded for global business payments by earning Qantas Points.
TorFX Business Transfers
24 hours
$0
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
OFX Business Transfers
24 hours
$0
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
Send business
24 hours
$0

Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
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To make sure you get accurate and helpful information, this guide has been edited by Jason Loewenthal as part of our fact-checking process.
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Written by

Writer

Tim Falk is a writer for Finder, writing across a diverse range of topics. Over the course of his 15-year writing career, Tim has reported on everything from travel and personal finance to pets and TV soap operas. When he’s not staring at his computer, you can usually find him exploring the great outdoors. See full bio

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