Another bullet in our list is to apply for an NZ bank account. You have the option to open one from outside the country (Yes, you can apply for a bank account while overseas) or once you’ve arrived. If you have no relatives or do not know anyone in New Zealand then opening a bank account while overseas is important. It is a more convenient and safer way to access the money which you will be needing once you’ve moved. Also, it is a requirement when applying for an IRD Number (for tax).
We opted for a local bank which is Kiwibank. There are also other banks to choose from. Among the most popular are ANZ, BNZ, ASB and Westpac. I applied for one while I was still in the PH. My wife applied after she got here. We both applied for an everyday banking account called Free Up. Application can be done online, by phone or at any local Kiwibank.
Application from overseas
Here are the steps if you want to apply for a bank account from overseas. Steps are quite similar with other banks.
Step 1: Download, fill up and print the Migrant Application Form from Kiwibank.
Step 2: Print a copy of your passport’s front page.
Step 3: Print a copy of proof of residential address in the Philippines (I had my mobile postpaid bill).
Step 4: Bring above documents to your nearest notary public (or any acceptable certifiers) and have it notarized. You also need to bring the originals as proof. It is important that details of certifier (name, designation, address, contact number) are printed clearly as the bank might contact them for verification.My suggestion is to go to a notary with a legit office and not just those you see on the streets.
Step 5: Scan notarized copies and email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep your documents as you need to provide it later when you arrive in NZ
Step 6: Kiwibank responds quickly. Expect an email from them after two days which should contain the following:
- Kiwbank access number – you use this for internet banking.
- Account Name and Account Number
- Instructions to transfer money to your NZ bank account
- Making an appointment to a Kiwibank branch in NZ
- Setting up internet banking
Step 7: Once you’ve arrived in NZ and have your appointment with a Kiwibank branch officer, they will activate your account (meaning you can already withdraw/pay/transfer from your account) and will give your EFTPOS / Debit card.
Application while in NZ
Below are the steps if you want to apply for a bank account once you have arrived in NZ.
Step 1: Join online.
Step 2: Visit any Kiwibank to show your ID (we both used our passports but they also accept other IDs like driver’s license) and validate the account. They also need a proof of address in NZ.
And that’s it! No initial deposit needed! The whole process only takes about 5-10 minutes. After 5 days, I received my Visa Debit Card which comes with it for free! It works like a standard ATM/EFTPOS card and can be used for online shopping.
*Here in NZ, cashless transaction is quite popular (I rarely bring cash on my wallet) and are commonly through Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale or EFTPOS.