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Transferring Money to New Zealand

When planning a trip abroad, many people are left with the question: What options are available for bringing money?

In this article we’ll take a detailed look at how money transfers work in New Zealand. In particular, we’ll answer:

  • What is the most convenient way to transfer money?
  • How can I open a bank account in New Zealand?
  • What should tourists take into consideration?

One of the first things visitors to New Zealand often notice is the large volume of electronic transactions. New Zealanders are big fans of debit and credit cards (75% of all transactions are plastic). Very few people use cash. Because of this, we want to point out that paperless transfers are the best method for bringing your money to New Zealand. This is the case even when taking into account bank commissions and transfer fees.

Opening a Bank Account in New Zealand

To transfer funds, you’ll need to set up a bank account in New Zealand. Currently, you can open accounts remotely in the following banks:

However, you may only do this if you are planning to be in the country for more than 3 months. That means, you must have temporary or permanent residency in New Zealand.

Let’s take a look at opening an account for those currently located in New Zealand. The following universal conditions apply:

  1. Proof of identity. You must provide at least one form of personal identification with a photograph. For example, this could be a passport, or driver license issued in New Zealand.
  2. Proof of residency in New Zealand where you receive mail. This could be a rental lease, for example. If you haven’t settled at an address, you may request a letter form the institute where you study.
  3. Opening balance. The amount will vary between banks. For example in ASB and ANZ, you must have a minimum of $500 NZD. In Westpac it is $250 NZD.
  4. IRD Number. This is a number comprised of 8 to 9 digits issued by the Inland Revenue Department of New Zealand. This number isn’t mandatory for opening an account, but if you plan to work in New Zealand, you’ll need it for tax purposes.

Opening a Bank Account Online

Practically every bank in New Zealand (there are 5 large banks) offers the option to open an account online. What’s more, you can even do it before arriving in New Zealand. All you need to do is fill out a questionnaire on the bank’s website and wait for a confirmation letter with further instructions.

After opening your account, you can transfer your needed funds. The transferred amount will be secured in your account, however, you cannot perform any transactions until you activate the account. You may only activate the account upon arriving in New Zealand. You will have to meet a bank manager in person to whom you will present your printed form from the website, a passport, and proof of residency.

Information for Tourists

What about travellers staying for less than 3 months? In this case, it’s worth noting that bringing cash and using a foreign card is not prohibited.

There is no limit to the amount of cash you may bring. Nevertheless, you may only bring up to $10,000 NZD undeclared. When bringing larger amounts of cash, you’ll need a declaration of the full sum as well as documentation its source (income, sale of property, inheritance etc.).

Additionally, you may use your foreign cards and withdraw money from local ATMs. However, this isn’t the most advantageous method. The cost of such transactions will depend on the bank’s conditions. It may include a percent of the total withdrawal or a fixed transaction fee.

We’ve looked at some of the most pertinent information regarding bank transfers in New Zealand. If you still have questions, we are always happy to chat.

We hope you found this information useful and comes in handy in the future.

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