How To Open a Bank Account Online in New Zealand Without Proof of Residency
Monito's Managing Editor, Byron has spent several years writing extensively about financial- and migration-related topics.
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Are you planning a move to New Zealand and in need of a bank account in the country? In most circumstances, the process should be more or less straightforward, with most local banks even going so far as recommend that foreigners open accounts ahead of their move, provided they can show a proof of visa.
Find out everything you need to know about opening a bank account in New Zealand as a non-resident, and what your best options are every step of the way:
One of the world's most attractive destinations for expats, especially those from other parts of the Anglosphere, New Zealand is a small country that offers a high standard of living. Fortunately, most non-residents will find opening a bank account in the country to be convenient and hassle-free.
Generally speaking, if you have a job lined up in New Zealand, opening an NZD bank account from overseas should be a seamless process. Most local banks will allow you to fill out the necessary paperwork online well in advance of your move, leaving you only to fetch your card and wrap up the process once you arrive.
Setting up a bank account in New Zealand before arriving in the country is often encouraged, as it'll allow your employer to send you your first paycheck right away and allow you to have funds in your account ready and waiting for you as soon as you arrive.
However, be aware that while you can do most of the paperwork online and deposit funds ahead of your move, it's only once you arrive in New Zealand and activate your bank account that you'll be able to have full access for withdrawals and spending.
The nuts and bolts of opening a bank account in New Zealand from overseas are specific to each bank, so you may notice some subtle difference depending on where you go.
What Is Required To Open A Bank Account in New Zealand?
In general, to apply to open a bank account in New Zealand from overseas before you move, you'll need to present the following documentation to your new bank:
- Your New Zealand visa;
- Your passport (or other government-issued ID);
- Proof of address outside of New Zealand.
Additionally, it's also good to have the following things on hand at the get-go. Even if you don't need them right away to apply, you'll almost certainly be required to present them further down the line:
- Proof of address in New Zealand;
- An Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number.
An IRD number is the tax identification used by New Zealand's Inland Revenue Department and is required by all people who receive a salary in the country. To apply for an IRD number before arriving in New Zealand, take a look at the requirements here.
📣 Important: Most banks also require that you relocate to New Zealand within 180 days of your initial online application.
Also note that some local banks, such as ASB, may require you to submit certified copies of your documents online before you arrive in New Zealand. Then, once you arrive in the country, you'll be expected to bring along the original copies of those documents to your in-branch meeting at the bank.
Banks in New Zealand To Choose From
When it comes to opening an everyday bank account in New Zealand, a vast majority of people opt for one of the country's "Big Four" banks to get the job done. Fortunately for you as a newcomer, each of these banks — ANZ, Westpac, BNZ, and ASB — offer special provisions for non-residents to kickstart the process of opening bank accounts well in advance of the relocation.
Some banks even offer migrant banking packages fully-equipped with personal lending schemes, credit cards, and other benefits designed to make the transition to life in New Zealand as easy as possible. To learn more, take a look at the major offerings of New Zealand's Big Four below:
Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) is one of New Zealand's oldest banks. At BNZ, you'll have the option of opening up a bank account for a wide range of visa types, and you'll be assigned a migrant banking specialist to help you set up your bank account before you arrive in the country.
Among the largest banks in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia and New Zealand Bank (ANZ) offers low-cost transaction and savings accounts to newcomers to New Zealand, each structured according to visa type. Take note that you will be charged a monthly account fee of NZ$5 if you have less than NZ$2,500 in your account.
A well-known New Zealand bank, ASB Bank offers standard bank accounts to non-residents. Take note that you may be asked to provide the bank with additional information about your assets and income, depending on which country you're coming from. Also, be aware that the minimum deposit amount at ASB is NZ$500.
Westpac is an Australian bank with a long and well-established presence in New Zealand. As a non-resident moving to New Zealand from abroad, you'll be able to choose from a range of bank accounts depending on your needs, and you'll have the option of calling the bank toll-free from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and South Africa.
The above banks are more or less equal in terms of their pricing, service scope, and all-round reputability. As a result, the bank you choose when first moving to New Zealand is unlikely to be very important.
In addition to ANZ, Westpac, BNZ, and ASB, you'll also have the option of opening a bank account from abroad at one of the smaller banks in New Zealand, although the processes for non-residents are less clear than they are at the larger banks. Some of these banks include the following:
While the fees are often slightly lower at smaller banks, these differences tend to be largely inconsequential, as we touched on above. However, if you're looking for a more personal and human experience from your bank, then we recommend you consider going with one of the smaller banks.
Wise Multi-Currency Account: A Flexible and Low-Cost Option
If you're moving to New Zealand and looking for a low-cost option to take care of your everyday banking needs, we strongly recommend you explore Wise's Multi-Currency Account.
The Wise Multi-Currency Account is the digital banking option of Wise, a much-loved international money transfer specialist service that's well known for its favourable exchange rates, transparent pricing, and reliable reputation. Opening an account is possible from almost anywhere in the world. It gives you access to a debit MasterCard to use for spending and your own set of New Zealand banking details, among others, to receive local transfers.
By opening a Wise Multi-Currency Account, you'll have practically all the benefits of an ordinary local bank account, but at a fraction of the cost. As a bonus, your account can be created and used well before your move to New Zealand.
As a non-resident in New Zealand, the Wise Multi-Currency Account will offer you the following key benefits:
✅ A digital account to hold NZD;
✅ Low-cost transfers to NZD;
✅ Dedicated New Zealand banking details;
✅ Speedy registration;
✅ No requirement to show proof of residence;
✅ A debit MasterCard for use in New Zealand.
While we don't recommend Wise's Multi-Currency Account as a complete substitute for a bank account with a local New Zealand bank (although it will work for this too!), we do recommend the service to practically anybody moving to New Zealand who needs to transfer money across borders and who needs spend and receive money in New Zealand dollars from the get-go.
For example, if you'd like to transfer money from your home currency into the New Zealand dollar at a fraction of the price of your bank and then spend that money as soon as you arrive in New Zealand, then the Wise Multi-Currency Account is the right option for you. Once you activate your account with a local New Zealand bank, you'll still be able to use your Borderless account the next time you travel abroad, for example — making it a service that deserves the attention of expats and digital nomads alike.
Your Options for Moving Money To New Zealand
Once you've opened a bank account in New Zealand, you'll need to consider how to move your funds across. Using your online banking, you'll be able to deposit money into your new NZD account from your home currency before you move. To do this, you'll have the following two options, broadly speaking:
- Sending a wire transfer from your bank in your home country;
- Using a third-party money transfer service.
In general, we don't recommend you use your bank to transfer money internationally, as the fees can be exorbitant and the waiting times can be long. This is mainly because banks wire funds over the SWIFT network, which adds a lot of timely and expensive steps to the money transfer process.
Instead, if the amount you'd like to send to New Zealand is in the order of several hundred or thousand US dollars or equivalent, then we recommend you use a money transfer specialist service (Wise is one among many.) To compare which services are cheapest for your transfer amount and home country to New Zealand, simply run a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine.
On the other hand, if you're moving large amounts of money from your home currency to your new bank account in New Zealand, (i.e. anything upwards of US$25,000 or equivalent), then services such as Wise may not be your best bet. Instead, our recommendation would be to explore your options among the foreign exchange brokers that support transfers from your country to New Zealand. These services specialise in negotiating favourable exchange rates on your behalf and are the most cost-effective option for transferring large sums of money (such as life savings or liquid investments) across borders.
To find which forex broker will offer you the best exchange rates for transfers from your home country to New Zealand, you'll need to do the following:
Step 1: Compare Transfer Services
First and foremost, take advantage of Monito's real-time comparison engine to discover which money transfer services offer you the best exchange rates, lowest fees, and fastest speeds for your transfer to New Zealand. Click below to get started:
Step 2: Explore FX Brokers
Once you arrive on our comparison results page, you'll see forex brokers featured in their very own tab where they're applicable. Be sure to select this tab if you're planning on making a substantial transfer to New Zealand.
By analysing tens of thousands of searches on Monito's comparison engine over the course of 2020, we found that, on average, CurrencyFair, WorldRemit, and Wise tend to offer the cheapest transfers to New Zealand for small- and medium-sized transfer amounts. For large transfers (defined here as US$55,000 or above), the forex brokers OFX, Currencies Direct, and Halo Financial tend to be the three most cost-effective services of all.
To find out which service will offer you the best deal in real-time, run a search on our comparison engine below:
You May Still Be Wondering...
Can I open a bank account in New Zealand while on a working holiday? 💼
Yes. Many banks in New Zealand will allow you to open a bank account, even with a Working Holiday Visa. However, we advise you to confirm your payroll details with your employer in advance. Many employers offering short-term holiday work in New Zealand will pay in cash or through some other means, such as a credit card transfer. If this is the case for you, opening a bank account will be unnecessary and lead to avoidable expenses and hassle.
Do New Zealand bank accounts have IBAN numbers? 🔢
No. New Zealand does not participate in the IBAN system, meaning that IBANs are not how bank accounts in New Zealand are identified. Instead, New Zealand bank accounts use local 16-digit bank account numbers. If you'd like to make an international payment to New Zealand, you'll therefore need to use a SWIFT code in addition to the bank account number and other beneficiary details.
Can I open a New Zealand bank account from Australia? 🦘
Yes. If you're an Australian, opening a bank account in New Zealand should be a relatively easy and straightforward process, provided you have a valid visa to live and work in New Zealand.
Other Banking Guides for Non-Residents
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