Banking and Finance Services in New Zealand

Articles > Banking and Finance Services in New Zealand

New Zealand financial system is dominated by banks. There are 26 banks registered with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the major players are ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Westpac and Kiwibank. The first four of these banks are Australian owned and account for 87% of bank lending, while the five New Zealand owned banks account for 8% of bank lending. New Zealand’s building societies and credit unions offer many of the financial services that the banks offer, and they also have to be registered with the Reserve Bank.

Although all cities and towns throughout New Zealand have banks, you may not find a branch of the bank of your choice in your town. Check your preferred banks’ website to see if they have a branch in your new home town.

Open an Account Before You Arrive
You can open a bank account in New Zealand up to 12 months before your arrival through a simple online application. It takes a minimum of 10 days for the application to be processed. Once you have your account details, you can deposit money into that account, so it’s ready to use on your arrival. Not only that, if you have already secured a job, you can provide your new employer with your banking details, all ready for your first Kiwi pay cheque.

Once you’ve set foot on New Zealand soil, you’ll need to activate your account. This is a simple procedure which requires a personal visit to your branch to prove your identity and verify your address. If you don’t have a permanent address initially, then talk to your bank. They are used to new residents and are very helpful.

New Zealand banks allow you to open a foreign currency account, so you can transfer your money in your home currency to New Zealand. You’ll find that you’ll get a better exchange rate in New Zealand than you would in your home country. To avoid bank charges and secure a better interest rate, you can transfer money via a foreign exchange broker.

Credit Cards and Borrowing
It’s important that you bring documentation showing your credit rating if you anticipate borrowing money or needing a credit card.