If you plan to stay in New Zealand longer than just a holiday then you will also need to create a bank account especially if you are going to work there.
Why to set up bank account
Setting up a bank account should be one of your first priorities in New Zealand. There are many reasons why you will need it. You need it to receive your salary from your employer, but also certainly to be able to use credit cards without any other issues such as extra fees. ATM’s are everywhere from museums to the world's smallest Fish'n'Chips.
Which bank to choose
Just like in your country, you can choose from a number of banks. The most common are ANZ, KiwiBank, BNZ, but also Westpac or ASB. All these banks offer free account maintenance and online banking. They differ especially on the requirements to set up (both personally or online). Usually, the bigger size of the branch network is preferred. In that sense, we recommend ANZ and Kiwibank which you can find almost everywhere. In addition, KiwiBank is directly associated with New Zealand post office, so you take care of more errands at one place.
Usually, there’s a big waiting queue at large banks, especially in cities during the tourist season. It is better to arrange a meeting in advance or go somewhere in the outskirts, where the clerks will be less busy.
How to make an account
You have two options on how to make an account. Either pre-order an account online (can be done from your home country) or in-person at a branch office after your arrival. The result is practically the same since even when you pre-ordering your account online, you will need to physically activate it at one of the branches and deliver some documents. In the case of an in-person appointment, the process will take a bit longer, but you will you some work with document validation compared to setting up an online account.
The requirements will usually differ from bank to bank but if they can also differ from branch to branch.
In addition to basic contact information, they will usually want to see your passport and visa. In addition, they will almost ask for a so-called Proof of Address, which is a document confirming that you actually have an address. This can sometimes prove to be an issue, especially for foreigners. The biggest complication is usually the fact that the bank and the clerks can explain the concept differently.
To verify an address of residence you can use, for example, a contract, an electricity or water bill, or an official document from a government office (the city office, the court, the tax office or an insurance company). Online documents are generally not accepted.
For a New Zealand address, you can show a hotel or motel invoice, rental agreement, or sometimes an announcement from the owner of your first Airbnb or backpacker.
If you do not have anyone to send you a letter, you can use the Realme to verify the address that sends you a unique code after entering your home address and which you then use to log in to the system.
Activation of the bank account is usually completed by depositing some money into your account, which can be done at a branch office or a transfer of funds via, for example, TransferWise from your homeland bank account. To finish your activation you should also withdraw some money from your account which must be different than a deposited amount (so that there is some amount of money left on the account).
Two tips at the end
You should request for a credit card at your first meeting, which may take a few days, which may delay your traveling plans for the next few days. But you can also ask for a credit card where your name is not embossed (instead something like Kiwibank account holder will be written on it) which can help you get the card sooner and leave the place without waiting. Applying for a credit card is free either way.
If you have any trouble with the bank’s offices, try going somewhere else. The selection of banks is wide so try another branch or bank. Soon you will succeed.