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How to open a bank account in NZ as an international student?

Learn how to open a bank account in New Zealand as an international student.

In this article:

Why should you open a bank account in New Zealand?

As an international student in New Zealand, you will need money for your daily living expenses. You will also need a bank account to manage your money as it is unwise to carry large amounts of cash on hand. 

You have the option of either using your native country's bank account or a New Zealand bank account. We advise you to open a bank account in New Zealand because:

  • You can avoid international transaction fees while making debit/credit card payments for everyday activities like shopping and eating out. 
  • You can manage money transfers between your home country and New Zealand easily.
  • Money withdrawal is convenient due to the abundance of ATMs. 
  • You will need a New Zealand bank account to get paid if you decide to work part-time while studying.
  • It will be easier for visa processing offers to check your proof of funds if you hold an account in a New Zealand bank.

If you still want to choose to use your native country's bank account:

  • Check if your bank offers international services.
  • Check the charges on every transaction done in a foreign country. 

If you are comfortable with the information they provide, you can continue to use your bank.

What is FTS?

FTS (Fund Transfer Scheme) is a scheme offered by the ANZ Bank New Zealand to international students from the following countries:

  • India
  • Sri Lanka
  • Philippines 
  • China

FTS is a secure way for you to transfer money from your home country. You need to transfer the minimum amount (at least 15,000 NZ$) required for your living expense for one year. You can then withdraw a fixed amount every month to manage your costs smoothly throughout the year. 

Note: In some cases, the visa processing offer might make it compulsory for you to open an FTS account to show that you have enough money to support yourself while studying.

How to open a new bank account in New Zealand

Most New Zealand banks permit international students to apply for a bank account online while they are still in their home country. Check your chosen bank's website to see if they allow online applications. If yes, go ahead and fill the application form and submit scanned copies of the required documents.

What are the required documents to open a bank account in New Zealand?

  • A valid passport.
  • Proof that you are a student at a New Zealand university like the letter of acceptance.
  • Proof of address.
  • IRD (Inland Revenue Department) number - you can apply for one online through New Zealand's Government website. 

Note: Banks might require you to submit additional documents. Please visit your chosen bank's website before applying.

What should you think about before choosing your bank in New Zealand?

Added charges:

Some banks have service charges and international transfer charges. Compare different banks to choose one with the lowest charges.

Deals:

Most banks offer some perks or deals to students who open an account in their bank. Some reduce the transaction charges, and others provide shopping offers. For instance, if you open an account with ABS, you will get free fries every time you pay using your visa debit card at McDonald's. 

Go through the deals offered by all the top banks and choose one from which you'll benefit the most.

Top banks in New Zealand

ANZ Bank, ASB Bank, BNZ Bank, Kiwibank, TSB Bank and Westpac Bank are some of the top banks in New Zealand. Check their websites and compare them before picking one.