Where can I get a bank account in New Zealand? – Backpacking Tips

Your free bank account in New Zealand

If you want to work in New Zealand during your Working Holiday, you will need a bank account.
As there is good competition between local banks, here are three ways to get a free bank account.

At the beginning of your trip, you should open a bank account. Only then can you apply for your New Zealand tax number (IRD number).


Bank recommendations for New Zealand

The following 3 banks have proven to be reliable for your Working Holiday: ANZ, Westpac and Kiwibank.

All three banks offer a free basic account with free online banking. If you wish, you can also get a debit card in the form of a Visa or MasterCard.


free bank account for backpacker

These banks offer free bank account in New Zealand



ANZ currently offers two free account models. For students and people up to 21 years of age, there is the so-called Jumpstart Account. Here you have no account management fees, and you can get a debit credit card free of charge if you wish. However, you only need this if you do not already have a German credit card without fees.

The second option is for those who are 21 or older. The variant with a free bank account and online banking is called Go Account. Here you also have a current account free of charge and can also get a debit credit card if you wish, but the credit card costs 10NZD per year.

The range of free accounts at ANZ can change at any time. You can find an overview of all ANZ accounts on the ANZ New Zealand website.



Kiwibank currently offers a free account model. The so-called Free Up account offers a free account and easy online banking. A credit card can be added if desired. The credit card fee of 10NZD per year is waived in the first year. However, it is important to cancel this after the end of the year, otherwise unnecessary fees will be charged.

Please also note that if you do not use your credit card for 12 months and have a balance of 200 NZD or less, you will be charged a penalty fee of 30 NZD per year.

The range of free accounts at Kiwibank is subject to change at any time. For a convenient overview of all Kiwibank accounts, visit the Kiwibank New Zealand website.



Westpac Bank also currently offers a free account model. The so-called Westpac Everyday account offers a free account and online banking. A credit card can also be booked if desired. The credit card costs 10 NZD per year and the first year is also charged. Remember to cancel the credit card when you no longer need it, otherwise you will continue to pay fees unnecessarily.

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The range of free accounts at Westpac Bank may change at any time. You can easily find an overview of all Westpac accounts on the Westpac New Zealand website.


Other Banks

There are many other banks in New Zealand. These include ASB, BNZ, Cooperative Bank, TSB Bank, and a few more. However, in our experience, ANZ, Kiwibank and Westpac have been the best. The others usually either have no interest in backpackers or no free accounts. However, you can still try one of the other banks. You can't get more than a no.


EFTPOS card or credit card in New Zealand

In New Zealand there is the Eftpos card. This is comparable to the German giro card. You can also pay by credit card in many places in New Zealand. In some smaller shops there is a credit card surcharge of up to 3%.


EFTPOS Card (equivalent to the German Giro Card)

In New Zealand you can pay for your goods by card almost everywhere, even at weekly markets it is not uncommon to be able to pay by EFTPOS or credit card. The New Zealand EC card is called EFTPOS. This EFTPOS card comes free with every bank account. To save time, it is advisable to take the card directly with you, but then there is no personal data on the card. However, this does not matter in everyday life.

If you want to have your EFTPOS card personalised, it will be sent to you by post to any address in New Zealand. Alternatively, you can pick it up at a branch of the same bank. This way you can send the card along your route and don't have to wait for it to arrive.


New Zealand credit card (Visa or Mastercard)

You can also get a credit card with your account, but this usually costs money after a few months. If you already have a German credit card, you can use the New Zealand EFTPOS (comparable to the German EC card), so you don't need a New Zealand credit card. If you do use a New Zealand credit card, remember to cancel it when you leave the country. Otherwise you will incur unnecessary fees. Sometimes you can get a so-called debit credit card with less effort, which differs in that you cannot incur debts with it, but can use your account balance directly.

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Required documents for a bank account

  1. Passport or International Driving License with photo
  2. Valid issued visa entitling to work
  3. Proof of address (mostly from the hostel or the place where you live at the beginning)
  4. Tax identification number of any countries if you have previously worked in other countries also proof of tax numbers from these countries. The number should ideally be on an official letter, either the last tax stamp or the letter telling you the personal identification number! (This is the official letter from Germany)


Make an appointment to open an account

With these documents, you can open an account at the bank of your choice. If you want, you can even make an appointment (Appointment) from Germany to save yourself the waiting time on site.
At least here in Auckland, you always had to wait at least a week in the centre. As a trick, I can recommend you to ask for a branch that is maybe a little bit outside the centre, but where you can still walk to. It's usually a bit quicker there to apply for and open an account. If you want to leave Auckland very quickly and don't want to work directly, it is also worth opening an account in another city. As the largest city in New Zealand, Auckland is heavily used by backpackers as a starting point and is therefore always busy.


Activating the bank account

To activate your account, you normally need to make a small deposit. The amount is almost irrelevant.
Ideally, you should already have this with you, then the bank advisor can directly copy all the necessary documents for applying for the IRD (New Zealand tax number). Just ask, it's usually no problem.
What documents you need for the IRD you can easily find here in the blog.


Questions, comments or ideas

Do you have questions or do you need more information to make the preparation easier? Then we look forward to your comment here under the article.


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