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Opening a New Zealand bank account should be your primary priority

As an expat moving to New Zealand arranging your banking is important for a number of reasons

You need a bank account to work

If you are moving to NZ to work, you are required by law to have an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number. Without an IRD number your employer will deduct tax from your earnings at the highest tax rate.

The issuing of an IRD number in NZ is best facilitated online when you have provided Inland Revenue with proof of a fully functioning local bank account. This may be done by providing them with a copy of your local bank statement, showing proof of deposits and withdrawals from the account.

In addition, a local bank account is required in almost all cases to be paid your salary and earnings by your New Zealand employer.

It is therefore important to open a New Zealand Bank account promptly when moving to New Zealand.

Opening a bank account outside of New Zealand

The good news is you are able to open a bank account before you actually move to New Zealand.

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) allows you to open a bank account up to 12 months prior to your arrival into NZ, thus alleviating any delay in the process.

The procedure for opening an account is straightforward involving a simple online application with no fees or deposit required.

You simply submit an application at Shortly afterwards, BNZ will provide you with notification that your application has been submitted and what steps you need to take next. All correspondence with the BNZ prior to your arrival is by email with the BNZ Migrant Banking Department.

Such emails will contain your account details, information on how to transfer funds into the account and what further steps you may need to take. You will need to inform the Bank of such details as your arrival date, visa category and your current tax identification number (such your National Insurance Number if you are from the UK or your Social Security Number if you are from the US).

Be aware of the conditions

While an account can be opened up to 12 months prior to arrival, you can only withdraw funds after your arrival into New Zealand provided you have attended the initial “activation” meeting with the Bank. At this meeting your bank account is activated for all operational purposes.

At the initial activation meeting, you are required to provide the bank with your passport (for identification purposes) and other documents which prove your home country address, such as your home country bank statements or utility accounts.

Joint accounts can be applied for but can only be activated if both you and the co-applicant attend the initial activation meeting after arrival into NZ.

Next Steps

When moving to NZ, particularly for work, you should act promptly in establishing a NZ bank account so as to facilitate the obtaining of an IRD number and payment of your salary and wages.

BNZ makes this process easy for you by enabling you to open a bank account before you move – just complete an application form at

Any enquiries or questions in relation to setting up an account whilst overseas can be emailed to and a reply will be made promptly.

The Foreign Exchange Market – What Is an Interbank Rate?


The foreign exchange market is a global decentralized market also known as an over-the-counter market where bank dealers make the market to determine the interbank exchange rate, i.e. the rate the banks use when trading with one another.

The interbank rate is the mid-point between the buy and sell rate for a currency on the open market and is the most accurate rate of exchange at any given time. You can easily check this at any time using the XE Currency Converter.

Unfortunately for most of us, this rate is reserved solely for banks and large financial institutions trading in large amounts of foreign currency.

For retail or business banking customers looking to make smaller international money transfers, a margin (or spread) will be applied to the interbank rate to ensure a profit for the service making the transfer. As a retail banking customer, this margin may be anywhere between ~4-5% of the interbank rate.

The graph below illustrates the rate that a customer may expect to receive from the bank when converting their AUD or NZD to GBP.

What determines whether I receive a competitive rate?

Naturally, when sending money abroad, it’s in your best interests to ensure you keep as much of your money as possible by locking in a favorable rate of exchange.

The exchange rate you receive will be based on a number of factors, including:

  • Volume – the amount you are converting
  • Currencies exchanged
  • Knowledge and awareness
  • Frequency of transactions – ongoing or one-off

However, one of the most sure-fire ways to ensure you are receiving a competitive rate is to look at using a money transfer specialist like XE who provides a much sharper rate of exchange than you would otherwise receive from the banks.

Why you should look beyond your bank

XE works closely with our broad network of referring partners to provide their clients with a competitive, secure money transfer solution.

As such, when you choose XE Money Transfer via one of our partners, you will receive preferential rates of exchange that are more competitive than you would receive from other providers.

…It’s not just about the rate

At XE, we pride ourselves on delivering our clients value beyond a great rate, providing a much more comprehensive service than they could expect to receive from the banks.

Exchange rates fluctuate at any given minute and as such our expert team is on hand to be your eyes and ears in the market and advise on how to ensure you lock in the best rate possible.

We also offer a range of products typically not made available to retail banking clients, including Market Orders and Forward Contracts, that will help you reduce your exposure to currency risk.

Whatever your needs or situation, feel free to get in touch with the team at XE to discuss the best approach to your foreign currency needs.

Expatland Employment

Whether you saw it in a book as a child or you were inspired by Lord of the Rings, New Zealand is consistently one of the most desirable countries on Earth to visit and live.

Wherever the inspiration came from, the decision to migrate will come with a huge amount of anticipation of a new and better life in this safe, clean, green South Pacific paradise.

But moving countries means a lot of official documents that need to be signed and submitted and of course the wait. In addition to the physical move, at the core of your decision making will be your finances starting with currency conversion, which will determine relocation cost and the eventual setup costs when you arrive.

This guide written by Canstaff provides valuable information on planning for your move and finding the right role in your new city.

To download the guide click here:

Expatland Finance – Being Prepared in Your New City


The cost of living is of major importance to you and your family in looking at whether you will be better off in Expatland. The cost of living in different parts of Expatland varies widely and is affected by many factors beyond your control.

Just one of these, for example, is, say, the effect of tax rises in Expatland.

Those countries in Expatland that may have higher national debt as a percentage of GDP might seek to raise taxes shortly after your arrival. This tax rise – whether indirect or direct – may affect your cost of living in a very short period of time.

It is therefore important for you to prepare a budget. Our E-Team members, XE have written a guide on ensuring you are well equipped to deal with your move financially. It is an essential read and will assist any expat with moving to their new home.

To download our guide please click here:

Foreign Exchange in Expatland – What You Should Know


Whether you’ve just started your new life in Expatland or are looking to move back to your country of origin, the need will undoubtedly arise to exchange foreign currency.

Your personal circumstances will determine why you need to exchange currency, the frequency by which you transact and the volume. A currency need will typically arise from:

  • Transferring life savings
  • Selling and/or buying a property in your country of origin and/or Expatland
  • Pensions transfers
  • Repatriating income
  • Investing in assets domiciled in Expatland
  • Sending money home to friends and/or family

So what should you be aware of when converting your currency and sending or receiving cross-border payments?

  1. Are you really getting the best rate?

You trust your bank with your day-to-day banking needs so surely they must be the best option for your foreign currency and international payments needs? The reality is however, that for retail clients the daily buy/sell rates set by the banks often include a cost to transact plus additional sending and receiving fees.

By doing your research and venturing beyond the banking relationship to an alternative foreign exchange provider like XE Money Transfer, you’ll find that you will be able to take advantage of a much higher rate of exchange and no transfer fees – saving you thousands of dollars on your international money transfers.

  1. Protect yourself from currency risk on high value transactions

When making high value transactions that occur over a longer period of time, you may want to mitigate currency risk by locking in a favourable rate of exchange.

Currency risk refers to the uncertainties faced by fluctuating exchange rates and can have a significant effect on the outcome you achieve when it comes to executing your currency conversion.

Contrary to what you may think, you are not restricted to simply accepting the spot rate you are given on the day.

At XE, we provide a range of risk management transactions from Market Orders to Forward Exchange Contracts (FECs) and more complex structure options and our team will be able to advise you on the right strategy to ensure you are getting the best rate of exchange and are not left at the mercy of exchange rate movements.

The Business Advisory Group Named as Top 30 Accounting Firm in New Zealand


Auckland E-Team member, The Business Advisory Group, has been named as one of the top 30 accounting firms in New Zealand by the Sunday Star Times for the second year running.

The ranking originates from a survey of accountancy firms carried out by Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand (CAANZ) in partnership with Fairfax media.

The firms listed in the Top 30 are measured on three core areas – adaptability/agility, emotional intelligence and critical thinking.

CAANZ launched the Top 30 list in 2017 to highlight the expertise in the accountancy sector.

Peter Vial, the New Zealand country head of CAANZ, said the accountancy profession was changing in the face of digital disruption.

“Accountants are moving away from just doing the numbers,” Vial said. “Yes, people will see their accountants about those things. But they will also be seeking strategic planning advice, valuation advice. It’s an ongoing relationship.”

Read more here: Accountants need high ’emotional intelligence’, survey finds

Changes on the Horizon – Employment Relations Amendment Bill


Business may be aware that change is in the air as the coalition Government’s Employment Relations Amendment Bill (“ERAB”) makes its way through Parliament.

The Education and Workforce Select Committee have recently completed their analysis of the Bill and have recommended it be passed into law, with a few tweaks made.

Here are ten key points you should be aware of.

To read more click here.

New Zealand Visas


For those people planning a move to New Zealand, Mary Noonan from Heartland Immigration have written this guide to outline 6 key points to be aware and plan for.

The guide discusses the general process of obtaining a New Zealand work visa and essential skills required for a work visa.

Anyone wanting to make Auckland their new home should aim to do the following:

  1. Plan and consider your position as everyone has different circumstances and there are a multiple options so matching the right one for you and your family is critical.
  2. Work with trusted professionals – mistakes cost money, destroy opportunities and create stress.
  3. Grasp the opportunity – life is for living when you come to Expatland.

Expatland is a country, life is a journey and that is how you should view the process to obtain a visa to work, undertake business or reside in New Zealand.

This guide will be helpful tool for anyone moving to Auckland.

Download the publication here.

Do You Need OIO Consent to Buy a Home? – Changes to the Overseas Investment Act 2015


The Overseas Investment Amendment Bill (Bill) was passed by Parliament on 15 August 2018 and will come into force in late October 2018.

This note summaries the key changes the Bill makes to the Overseas Investment Act 2005 (Act).

The overseas investment regime established by the Act regulates investments by “overseas persons” in New Zealand significant business assets, certain types of sensitive land (including farm land), and fishing quota.

The regime is a consenting regime, rather than a prohibition.

The regime governs who needs to obtain consent, when consent is required, and the process for obtaining consent.

To continue reading – download the document here.

Moving Your Pension from the UK to New Zealand


One of the common issues facing migrants to New Zealand from the United Kingdom (UK) is how to transfer their pensions.

Tom Gilbert from Pension Transfers Ltd have written a chapter to provide information and talk though the considerations required when making the move.

In this guide Tom highlights the following issues:

  • Major benefits of transferring to a NZ QROP
  • Tax implications on transfers
  • FX considerations
  • Using a financial planner

This guide will help provide you with essential information you need if you are looking to take your pension with you on your move to Auckland.

Download the publication here.