Planning to move to New Zealand soon? It’s important to get your finances sorted out the first thing to ensure a hassle-free transition. Here is a comprehensive guide on the best banks for expats in New Zealand for you to get a head start on your finances.
New Zealand’s banking system is sophisticated and comprehensive. However, among all the choices, you must opt for the one that best meets your needs and offer the services you are looking for. Banks vary in their set of requirements and the fee they charge. It is up to you to set your references straight and set up the right account in New Zealand.
The process of opening a bank account is similar regardless of the bank or credit union you choose. Opening a bank account in New Zealand from overseas is quite straightforward, too.
How to open a bank account in New Zealand
Usually, most non-residents will need an ID and a permanent address in order to open bank accounts in New Zealand. However, some international banks (see below) allow expats to open accounts before their arrival.
Here’s what you’ll need before opening a bank account in New Zealand:
- An identity document e.g. a government-issued ID from your country of origin or your passport
- Proof of address. This can be either your residential address from your country of origin or your New Zealand residential address. (Most local banks would require the latter.)
- An Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number for all your tax entitlements.
- Proof of your visa (whether work, residence or student visa)
Nevertheless, we have created the list of the best banks suitable for expats in New Zealand to guide you through the process in detail.
Best banks for expats in New Zealand
1. Bank of New Zealand
The Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) dates back to 1861, becoming one of the oldest banks in the country. The wealth management services and multi-currency accounts offered by BNZ are targeted largely towards expats in New Zealand.
Let’s first talk about a savings account. The most basic one is the YouMoney account that provides countless transactions and withdrawals. This account is equally suitable for elders, kids, students, apprentices and graduates. You would be surprised to know that the Bank of New Zealand allows you to open up to 25 YouMoney accounts without charging any monthly fee.
Other savings accounts offered by the Bank of New Zealand provide an annual interest rate of 0.05 percent, with some of them giving out the annual bonus rate at 0.15 percent.
BNZ also offers a wide range of investment opportunities for expats, including managed funds accounts and term deposits, making it one of the best banks for expats in New Zealand.
For those interested in making a little out of your savings, you can lock your money into a term deposit for a period of seven days to five years with a minimum investment of $2,000.
Managed funds accounts are considered to provide more flexibility and better potential returns as compared to term deposits, but they demand a certain fee. Term deposits, however, do not require any setup or management fees.
2. Auckland Savings Bank (ASB)
The Auckland Savings Bank (ASB) is another valuable addition to the best banks for expats in New Zealand. The offerings from ASB include:
- Foreign Currency accounts
- Savings packages
- Loans and mortgages
With Auckland Savings Bank, you are allowed to create a foreign currency account, enabling you to handle your finances between New Zealand and another country. You will not be charged any monthly account fees.
However, there is a minimum balance requirement for opening a foreign currency account. Suppose your foreign currency account is in US dollars (USD); you will be expected to deposit the minimum balance of $5,000 USD.
Auckland Savings Banks has designed several account packages, particularly for the kids, students, graduates, apprentices and individuals between the age of 18 to 20 heading into their first job. These packages come with distinct benefits for the expats. For instance, you might be exempted from a transaction fee or base fee.
The best package for the expats seems to be the Streamline Introduction package. You will not be required to pay any fees on a new Visa Debit card for the first six months.
The annual home loan interest rates with Auckland Savings Bank are fixed at 2.25 percent for 12 months and 2.59 percent for 24 months, with a variable rate of 4.45 percent.
3. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)
It would not be an overstatement to call Australia and New Zealand Banking (ANZ) Group the largest banking service provider in the country. ANZ offers various valuable services for expats, including:
- Savings account
- Business banking
With ANZ Online Saver, you can access your savings online any time you want and earn interest at an annual rate of 0.20 percent. You will get an even higher interest rate of 0.25 percent if you opt for ANZ Progress Saver. This would require you to regularly keep the minimum savings of $10 and refrain from withdrawing any money in a month.
ANZ also provides many business banking options. Perhaps it’s time to upgrade from simple business savings accounts and business transaction accounts to specialist business accounts.
Following are the insurance products offered by ANZ for the expats
- Life insurance
- Landlord insurance
- Contents and home insurance
- Income protection
- Car insurance
It also has a specialized pathway for new residents looking to move into New Zealand. Individuals can apply online within 90 days of arrival to New Zealand and choose from five different account types.
Kiwibank is not that old of a banking group, but it has definitely made its place among the best banks for expats in New Zealand. The bank manages 266 branches and over 250 ATMs across New Zealand and has around 2,500 employees.
Kiwibank provides retail banking products and services to individuals and SMEs. In addition, there are plenty of products involving retail banking, agency services for mortgage lending, and investment and fund management.
Students who wish to study in New Zealand may also open an account prior to their arrival with a Free Up or Fast Forward Saver account. The former does not require a monthly account fee and no electronic transaction fee. The latter has an annual interest rate of 0.30 percent and requires monthly deposits of $20.
5. Westpac New Zealand
Based in Auckland, Westpac New Zealand has been providing services in the domains of consumer banking, wealth management, commercial, corporate and institutional banking, investment and insurance sectors. The bank was founded in 1861 and is now managing a network of 163 branches.
Westpac New Zealand has over 450 ATMs across the country and operates as a subsidiary of Westpac New Zealand Group Limited.
Westpac incurs an annual fee of $10. However, the overseas ATM cash withdrawal fee accounts for $3 per withdrawal. Westpac New Zealand charges you a foreign exchange fee of 1.40 percent for every transaction in New Zealand dollars.
Considering the experience Westpac New Zealand has gathered while working with thousands of expats over the years, it offers a special account for the expats called Migrant Banking Package. This accounts for meeting most of the needs of the expats about banking operations in New Zealand.
International students can also apply for an account that’s specially designed with no monthly fees required.
HSBC has been operating in New Zealand for more than 30 years. The bank allows you to set your account even before arrival, provided you meet all HSBC qualifying criteria and document submission requirements. The application process will also take about 30 days to process.
Once you transfer your HSBC credit history, it becomes easier to continue your banking relationships with the bank. You would also be required to present a valid reason to open an account in New Zealand along with your annual income details.
The service of HSBC best fits the needs of expats. Whether you wish to buy a new home or want to invest in your future, or simply are looking forward to enjoying the benefits of all your hard work, HSBC Premier provides competitive rates and the best assistance possible for you and your family.
While planning to immigrate or return home to New Zealand, opening a New Zealand bank account while you are still overseas is a good decision. The banking system here might seem different to you than what you have been used to.
When it comes to managing your finances in New Zealand, you will find many national and international banks and online banking options. Mentioned above are the best banks for expats in New Zealand.
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