Now there were two major banks commonly used by most working holiday visa holders – ASB and ANZ. Unfortunately ASB stopped issuing bank accounts and services to working holiday folks in late 2016. That’s how I came about to becoming an ANZ client.
There are several other options:
There are others but other than ANZ and ASB, these 3 were next on the list of most commonly spotted all around NZ. Kiwibank branches coincide with the post office so that may be useful for many.
Honestly your best bet is either ANZ or Kiwibank in my opinion; especially if you are looking to traveling or moving around NZ during your time there. Then again, NZ is also a very card-centered society so you won’t need to go to the ATM that often. But if you take into consideration ATM transaction fees, it may not be favorable.
ANZ, like any other bank, have several options when opening a bank account and setting up a bank card / debit card. The 2 I remember was a basic cash card / bank card that was provided for free, and a debit card for an annual $5 that can be used anywhere and online to purchase or book things via the internet.
I highly recommend getting the debit card just because if you are traveling around, it will come in handy! Maybe you won’t need it, but I used it for booking hostels/backpackers, attraction tickets, and campsites.
To open a bank account, you will need:
- ID like a passport
- Confirmed address
- IRD Number
- Opening balance
For the address I printed out an email conversation confirming my stay at someone’s house found on TradeMe. You may be able to use the receipt from when you opened a phone account with Spark or other providers except Vodaphone; only because they do not provide such a receipt.
The IRD Number is easy – just have to fill out the application and send it in; it will arrive within a couple of weeks and you can even receive the number via text message.
The opening balance may vary but I believe ANZ was $500 and in order to activate your debit card, you have to make a deposit and a withdrawal.
As a ANZ customer I had no complaints but coming from NYC, I felt a bit uncomfortable using ATMs outside without some sort of a security entrance – nothing ever happened though!
Bonus tip – you can keep the account open and use it overseas, with notification, and don’t have to worry about closing the account upon departure from the country when your visa is up! Some countries do require this – to my knowledge, Japan and Korea.