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Contents

How to open a bank account in Canada

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If you’re planning to move to Canada, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Between getting your visa in order, looking for a place to stay and figuring out what clothes to pack, there’s just way too much to do. Thankfully, once you’ve sorted out your immigration papers (which is probably the most complicated part), opening a bank account is very simple. That’s one less thing to worry about. Here’s what you need to do.

What documents do I need?

If you’re not a Canadian citizen, you’ll need the following documents in order to open a bank account:

  • your valid, unexpired passport; and
  • your permanent residency card or immigration papers.

Different banks may have specific requirements, so it’s a good idea to get in touch beforehand to make sure you have everything you need.

As a general rule, however, it’s likely that your bank will accept one of the following immigration papers:

You’ll need to obtain at least a Temporary Residence Permit or a work or study permit before you travel to Canada. Without them, you won’t be allowed to enter the country.

Can I open a bank account from abroad?

It is possible to open a bank account remotely before you arrive in Canada. To apply for a bank account remotely, you’ll need to get in touch with the bank either via live chat, by email or by phone.

First, you’ll be asked a few questions to determine your immigration status (whether you’re a temporary resident on a work or study visa or a permanent resident).

You’ll then have to wait to be contacted by a dedicated account-opening team, which should happen in the following days. You’ll also need to have your immigration papers in order, as otherwise you won’t be able to proceed with your application.

As you can see, the process isn’t straightforward and will take at least a few days to complete. In most cases, you will have to make an appointment and visit a branch once you’re in Canada.

The good news is that Canada’s major banks all have tailored products for newly arrived immigrants. It’s also easier to iron out any difficulties in person. With this in mind, and given the limited choice and waiting time involved in the remote procedure, it may be a good idea to open your account once you’re in Canada.

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International bank accounts

You also have the option of opening an international bank account. Several international banks have operations in Canada, including BNP Paribas, Citibank and HSBC. If you hold an account with one of these banks in your home country, they can help you set up a bank account remotely ahead of time.

That said, these accounts are often targeted at high net worth individuals and may be expensive to open and maintain, so they might not be a good fit for you.

Many banks also offer accounts in Canadian Dollars. These products are offered by your bank in your own country, so they may be easier for you to open. However, because the account isn’t a Canadian domestic account, using it in Canada will probably be very expensive.

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Old-world bank accounts only work properly in one country. They hold money only in one currency. And it gets expensive when you try to use them across borders. TransferWise’s new Borderless accounts solve all of this.

Now you can send, receive and organise your money internationally, without crazy fees or even-crazier exchange rates – just a small, fair charge when your money moves between currencies.

Which Canadian bank is best for my needs?

There are five major banks in Canada, all of which have special packages for newcomers. They are the Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Scotiabank, Bank of Montreal and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Let’s have a look at what each of these banks have to offer.

Royal Bank of Canada

The Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and offers customer service in more than 200 languages. It also has a comprehensive Newcomers to Canada package. If you’re on a temporary visa, you can open an RBC Signature No Limit Banking Account or an RBC VIP Banking Account at no cost for up to 6 months. You’ll also get a fee-free credit card.

Once you obtain permanent resident status, you will also qualify for a car loan and for a mortgage, even if you don’t have a credit history. If you’re a student, the RBC No Limit Banking Account For Students has no monthly fees and comes with a free Visa Gold or MasterCard credit card. Finally, if you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, you’ll get all the perks of the Newcomers to Canada package plus a CAD$50 credit to start you off when you open a business deposit account.

TD Bank

The Toronto-Dominion (TD) Bank’s New to Canada package includes a checking account that’s fee-free for up to six months and a free credit card with a credit limit of up to CAD$1,000. You may also qualify for a mortgage, even though you don’t have a credit history.

The bank’s student package includes a bank account with no monthly fees and free and paid credit cards. When you use your credit card, you can get points to redeem on flights and other travel expenses.

If you’re planning on starting a business, you can get a tailored service plan that includes overdraft protection and a number of fee-free transactions each month.

Scotiabank

Scotiabank is the third largest bank in Canada and has more than 4000 ATMs around the country. It has a range of accounts to choose from, all of which come with their own perks.

Even on a basic banking plan, you can earn points to redeem on free movies. The account costs CAD$9.95 a month, which will be waived if you keep CAD$2,500 in your account at all times.

The Student Banking Advantage Plan has no monthly fee and unlimited transactions, while the bank’s range of business bank accounts includes overdraft protection of up to CAD$5,000, a tailored business plan and a visa credit card.

Bank of Montreal

Canada’s oldest bank, the Bank of Montreal has a package for newcomers that covers workers, students and business owners. You’ll get a bank account with unlimited transactions and no monthly fee for up to one year, a free MasterCard credit card and even a free safety deposit box for up to one year. You may also qualify for a mortgage even though you’ve just arrived in Canada and don’t have a credit history.

Bank of Montreal’s student banking package includes an account with no monthly fees and a free MasterCard credit card. You’ll also get a student card that entitles you to discounts at various shops all over Canada. You can also choose from a range of business bank accounts, depending on the size of your business.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Like the other four major Canadian banks, CIBC has a Newcomers to Canada Plan that’s available to both temporary and permanent residents. The package includes a CIBC Everyday Checking Account with no monthly fees and unlimited transactions for the first year and a visa debit card. If you’re a permanent resident, you can also get up to CAD$55 cashback on a safety deposit box.

CIBC’s student package is more or less the same as the newcomers’ package, but remains fee-free for as long as you’re enrolled as a full-time student.

There’s also a range of business bank accounts to choose from. These include unlimited transactions, flexible fee structures depending on the size of your business and access to a line of credit at preferential rates.

What are the costs associated with opening an account?

In Canada, fees and charges can vary quite a bit from bank to bank, so it’s best to have a look at your bank’s terms and conditions. However, you can expect at least the following costs.

Monthly fees

Banking is free for students and heavily discounted for people over 60. It’s also free for newcomers to Canada, but only for a limited time. Once that period expires, you may be faced with a monthly fee of up to CAD$30. Many banks will waive this fee if you leave a minimum amount in your account. In most cases the minimum balance is in the region of CAD$3,500.

Transaction fees

You will only get a limited number of free transactions per month on many accounts. Anything over this limit will incur a fee (about CAD$1 per transaction). Some accounts do offer unlimited transactions. However, these usually have the highest monthly fees and the highest minimum balance requirements to waive the fee.

ATM fees

Withdrawing cash from an ATM is free if you use your bank’s machines, but costs about CAD$1.50 per transaction when you use another bank’s ATM.

Even worse, it can cost up to CAD$5 plus a 2.5% commission when you withdraw money from an ATM abroad.

International transfer fees

All the major banks include a limited number of free international transfers on their newcomers to Canada packages.

However, while these transfers are advertised as being free, in many cases you will actually have to pay the fee when you make the transfer and then get it back at a later date. Other terms and conditions may also apply, so you should read the fine print carefully before you decide to use the service.

In addition, keep in mind that your home bank may still charge you a fee to complete the transfer.

You may not be getting the best exchange rate, either. Always have a look at what other options are available before you make an international transfer through your bank.

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The Government of Canada now has the power to remove legal tender status from bank notes—something it could not do before. Effective January 1, 2021, the Government will remove that designation from certain bank notes that are no longer being produced—the $1, $2, $25, $500 and $1,000 notes— the final step to fully removing them as transactional notes in Canada. This initiative is supported by the Bank of Canada.

Canada’s official notes and coins are called legal tender

Every bank note issued by the Bank of Canada since we opened our doors in 1935 is still redeemable at its face value. Technically, you can use a 1935 $25 bank note when you go shopping or pay a bill. The cashier might refuse it because it looks unfamiliar, but it is still worth $25. In fact, some bank notes, especially the rare ones, are worth more than the number on their face to collectors.

Bank notes issued by the Bank of Canada, together with coins issued by the Royal Canadian Mint, are what is known as “legal tender.” That’s a technical term meaning the Government of Canada has deemed them to be the official money we use in our country. In legal terms, it means “the money approved in a country for paying debts.”

Today, money is not just bank notes but takes many different forms: credit cards, debit cards, cheques, and contactless payments using mobile devices. You can pay with any of these forms of money, even though they are not considered “legal tender.” In fact, anything can be used if the buyer and seller agree on the form of payment. So “legal tender” has little impact on our everyday lives.

Bank notes will not lose their face value

In short, removing legal tender status means that some older bank notes will no longer have the official status of being approved for payments of debt. Essentially, that means you will no longer be able to spend that 1935 $25 bank note to buy items at a store. But these bank notes will not lose their face value. If you have any of them, you will still be able to take them to your financial institution or send them to the Bank of Canada to redeem their value.

International experience

Many other countries have been doing this for years. More than 20 central banks around the world have the power to remove legal tender status from their notes, including the Bank of England, the Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden), the Swiss National Bank and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, to name a few.

Current, high-quality and secure bank notes

Having the power to remove legal tender status from bank notes means that we can do a better job of keeping the notes in circulation current. Newer bank notes have better security features that make them difficult to counterfeit, and they are in better condition overall. Keeping notes current means they work more efficiently for all of us.

Officially taking the $1, $2, $25, $500 and $1,000 notes out of circulation will help achieve that goal. This decision will have little impact on most of us.

That’s because these bank notes have not been produced in decades. In fact, you almost never see them. Some people do not recognize them, which means they likely would not be accepted in transactions.

  • The $1 and the $2 notes stopped being issued in 1989 and 1996, respectively, and were replaced with coins.
  • The $25 note was a commemorative note. Both it and the $500 note were discontinued shortly after they were issued in 1935.
  • The $1,000 note stopped being issued in 2000.

By removing these old notes from circulation, we can ensure that our bank notes stay current, of high quality and secure. It also guarantees they are always easy to use.

For now, the government has indicated it has no plans to take any other bank notes out of circulation. The government will be able to remove other notes in the future as needed.

What to do with older notes

If you wish to redeem your bank notes, the simplest way is to bring them to your financial institution. You can also send them to the Bank of Canada to redeem their value. Or, you can always decide to keep your notes.

Affected bank notes

The following bank notes will be officially taken out of circulation. The total value of these notes still in circulation (in thousands of dollars) can be found in this chart.

The Best USD Bank Account Options For Canadians

Posted by Enoch Omololu | Updated on Jan 25, 2020 | Save Money | 25

I recently opened a US Dollar account in Canada to accept the US currency payments I get from my blogging business. Over the last year, I initially experimented with accepting U.S. funds through PayPal. When I needed to pay for services in USD and they had PayPal as an option, it was easy to make direct payments in USD and save on the 2.5% foreign transaction fee that would otherwise be charged by my credit cards.

However, there was a problem with accessing the U.S. funds for use elsewhere. When I transferred the money from PayPal to my Canadian chequing account, it was automatically converted to Canadian dollars at an exchange rate that was ridiculous at best.

So, I started looking at the various options available to me:

  1. Open a U.S. Dollar Bank account (chequing or savings) in Canada. This would make it easy to receive and keep USD. I would not need to convert U.S. Dollars to CAD unless required, and then I could exchange my money utilizing third-party FX companies with friendlier exchange rates.
  2. Get a U.S. Dollar Credit Card. This would save me on the 2.5% or more in foreign currency conversion fees when I have to pay in USD. However, these usually come with a hefty annual fee. Alternatively, I could also use a no-FX markup no-annual fee Canadian credit card and only worry about the exchange rate set by Visa or Mastercard.
  3. Open a U.S. Dollar Bank account at a U.S. Bank. This option would make it easy to transfer USD from PayPal without incurring losses due to the exchange rate. With a U.S. address, a U.S. dollar account at a bank resident in the U.S. also makes it easier to conduct some transactions, particularly if you are a Canadian snowbird who lives part of the year in the U.S., owns a property in the U.S., or who often needs to write U.S. dollar cheques.

Best U.S. Dollar Accounts in Canada

I finally went with a USD account at a Canadian bank. These were the Canadian banks I researched before making a choice and they offer U.S. denominated accounts that have different pros and cons. The U.S. dollar chequing and savings accounts did not appear to be much different as some offered to pay interest on your balances and transaction fees applied subject to certain conditions.

1. TD Canada Trust US Dollar Accounts

TD Bank offers two U.S. dollar accounts:

TD U.S. Daily Interest Chequing Account: This account has no monthly account fee and pays interest on balances of $1,000 or more. There is a transaction fee of $1.25, however, you pay no transaction fees if you keep a minimum of $1,500 balance in your account at the end of the month.

TD Borderless Plan: This account comes with a monthly $4.95 USD fee and unlimited free transactions. If your balance at month’s end is $3,000 or more, the monthly fee is waived. The interest rate paid on both accounts ranges from 0.00% to 0.10% depending on your balance.

You can also pair these accounts with the TD U.S. Dollar Visa Card which comes with a $39 U.S. annual fee (this fee is waived if you open a Borderless Plan account).

TD U.S. bank accounts can easily be opened online or in-branch.

2. Royal Bank of Canada US Dollar Accounts

RBC has two main U.S. dollar accounts:

RBC U.S. Personal Account: Comes with a $2 monthly account fee that includes 6 free debit transactions per month and $1.60 per transaction after. Personalized cheques, bank drafts, and overdraft protection are available at a fee. There is no minimum balance requirement.

RBC U.S. High-Interest Savings Account: This account has no monthly fees and comes with 1 free transaction per month. Thereafter, a $3.00 fee applies per transaction. Cheques are not allowed. You can earn up to 0.25% interest on your account balance.

You can open either of these accounts online or by going into an RBC branch. They can also be paired with RBC’s U.S. dollar credit card i.e. the U.S. Dollar Visa Gold at a $65 annual fee.

3. Bank of Montreal US Dollar Accounts

BMO has two main U.S. dollar accounts:

BMO U.S. Dollar Chequing Account: The cost of this account depends on whether you already pay monthly fees on any other BMO account. If so, this U.S. chequing account has a $0 monthly fee. The minimum account fee at BMO is $4 and comes with 12 free transactions across all your accounts. A $1.25 fee applies to any transactions exceeding 12 free ones.

BMO U.S. Dollar Savings Account: You earn 0.05% on your balance. This account is similar to their U.S. chequing in that there is no monthly fee if you already own another BMO account. The minimum monthly fee payable across all your accounts is $4 and comes with 12 free transactions and $1.25 per transaction after.

Seniors over age 60 do not pay the $4 monthly fee.

4. CIBC US Dollar Account

CIBC offers only one U.S. account:

CIBC US$ Personal Account: It offers a 0.25% interest rate on your balance (no minimum requirement) and has no monthly account fees. However, you pay 0.75 USD for all transactions. This account allows you to write U.S. dollar cheques and withdraw USD from any CIBC branch or their U.S. currency ATMs in Canada.

You can combine this account with the CIBC U.S. Dollar Aventura Gold Visa card which has a $35 annual fee. Accounts can be opened online or by stepping into one of their branches.

5. National Bank of Canada US Dollar Account

They offer only one USD account:

USD Progress Account: There is no monthly fee and you earn 0.10% interest on account balances of $5,000 or more and 0.15% on balances exceeding $10,000. There is a transaction fee of $1.50 USD for withdrawals and transfers. This fee is waived if you have a minimum balance of $2,500.

A $2 USD fee is applicable for automated bill payments. Personalized cheques, bank drafts, and overdraft protection are also available at a fee. To open an account, you will need to visit a branch unless you already have another account with the bank.

6. Scotiabank US Dollar Account

Similar to the National Bank, Scotiabank offers only one U.S.account:

Scotia U.S. Dollar Daily Interest Account: This account comes with a $1 monthly fee and you get 2 free debit transactions per month and $1.25 per transactions after. The monthly is waived if you keep a $200 USD minimum balance or if you are a senior who is age 60 or over.

The interest rate earned on your balance depends on your account balance (tiered) and is up to 0.15%. You can open an account in person or by phone at 1-800-747-3208.

7. Tangerine US Dollar Account

Tangerine Bank which is known for one of the best high-interest savings and free chequing accounts in Canada, also offers one U.S. dollar account.

Tangerine US Dollar Savings Account: This account has no monthly fee and offers a 0.80% interest rate on all balances and with no minimum balance requirement. You also get free unlimited transactions.

To open an account, check in at one of their pop-up locations, cafes, or kiosks. Alternatively, you can simply open it online.

Which U.S. Dollar Account Did I Choose?

I ended up choosing the TD USD Daily Interest Chequing Account because:

  • Has no monthly fees.
  • Pays interest on balances of $1,000 or more.
  • It waives the $1.25 transaction fee with a minimum balance of $1,500 which is a reasonable amount for my intended use.
  • I have other accounts with TD and opening a USD account online via their EasyWeb platform took me about 2-3 minutes.

I am still deciding on whether I need a U.S. dollar credit card and if to go with one of the cards on my list of no-foreign transaction fee cards or to choose the TD U.S. Dollar Visa card. If I choose the latter, I will switch my TD USD account to their Borderless Plan so I can waive the $39 annual fee on the credit card.

USD Accounts in Canada vs. USD Accounts in the United States

When I was researching how to decrease my U.S. Dollar exposure to unfavourable exchange rates, one of the options I looked at was opening an account at a U.S. based bank.

Some of the big Canadian banks like CIBC, TD, and RBC have divisions/branches in the U.S. that allow for ‘seamless’ cross-border banking.

CIBC Bank USA

CIBC Bank USA Smart Account: It automatically links to your Canadian CIBC Online Banking profile. You get a CIBC Bank USA debit card, can write USD checks, pay bills in U.S. dollars to U.S. billers, have free access to multiple ATMs in the States, and can receive U.S. payroll deposits. You do not need a U.S. address or SSN to open an account.

RBC Bank USA

Similar to CIBC, the U.S. based branches of RBC allow Canadians to open an account without needing to have a U.S. address or SSN. Your U.S. account syncs with RBC Online Banking and gives you access to over 50,000 free ATMs in the U.S. RBC’s cross-border offering include:

Direct Banking: Annual fee of $39.50 or $3.95 per month. You get 10 free debits per month and $1.00 per transaction after.

Premium Checking: $99.95 annual fee (or $9.95 per month) and unlimited transactions.

TD Convenience Checking

This account has a $15 monthly fee which can be waived if you keep a minimum daily balance of $100.

BMO Harris US

You can open the following accounts: Smart Money Account, Smart Advantage Account, and Premier Account.

Opening a USD account located in the U.S. comes with a few advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

  • Easier to pay your bills in the U.S.
  • You can build a U.S. credit history
  • Save on foreign transaction costs
  • Easily transfer U.S. PayPal funds to your account

Disadvantages

  • Opening an account can be cumbersome
  • You can’t conveniently go into the branch if you need to while in Canada
  • Interest earned on your account may trigger taxes payable in the U.S.
  • One more additional bank account and headache to deal with

An Additional USD Account Option For Canadians

One other US Dollar account available to Canadians is through Transferwise.

I came across the company’s Borderless Account while looking for low-fee USD options and it looks really interesting. When you open an account with Transferwise Borderless account, you can receive money from multiple countries with zero fees. You get a:

  • US account number and routing number
  • British account number and sort code
  • European IBAN
  • Australian account number and BSB code, and
  • New Zealand account number

You can hold over 40 different currencies in your borderless account and switch between them as required to send, get paid, spend money, and to avoid having to pay FX fees. The account also gives you access to a real mid-market exchange rate that significantly beats what your bank offers.

While I ended up choosing TD for my USD banking needs, the $0 monthly account fees offered by Transferwise are worth checking out.

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You can also order more than 65 currencies using their Foreign Cash Service. The funds are delivered to your house or you can pick up at the nearest Canada Post office. For both services, you receive a $25 bonus when you first use them.

How to Open a New Zealand Bank Account

Opening a New Zealand bank account.

For many backpackers and working holidaymakers, opening a new bank account when travelling overseas can be quite daunting. You may find yourself lost and drowning in the options of banks, interest rates, and fees attached. So where do you start?The good news is our guest writer, Luke Wing has done the hard work for you and paved the way to your first few options for companies to bank within New Zealand, as well as honing in on the types of bank accounts best suited to travellers. If you are travelling New Zealand for a year or studying and don’t have any real intentions with your money, the basic no-fee accounts are your best options. These bank accounts allow you access to your money electronically with free EFTPOS cards, which we’ll go through below.Opening a bank account is all part of your first week steps in New Zealand. Check out this article for more guidance for your first week on a working holiday.

EFTPOS, debit and credit cards

Firstly, let’s assume you are the average traveller that wants a place to store your money in bank X and you are in need of a way of accessing that money electronically, then good news! It is going to be a free ride for you. All the bank accounts listed below come with a free EFTPOS card that’s your debit card to use at ATMs and to pay on-chip and pin machines in stores.If you want to be able to pay for things over the Internet, then you’ll need a Visa or MasterCard. Acquiring a Visa or MasterCard debit card will cost you an annual or one-off fee of around NZ$10. This card usually takes about a week to process, so is delivered to your postal address.It is very unlikely that you will be able to get a credit card in New Zealand, as a proof of income would be needed and you need to be a permanent New Zealand resident of 18 years old or above. That’s why many travellers come to New Zealand with a credit card from their home country.For more information on using money in New Zealand, wise up with our article on the currency in New Zealand.

how to set up your bank account before arriving in New Zealand

Opening up a bank account before arrival

Setting up your bank account from overseas before entering the country is much easier and quicker to set up overseas bank transfers from your home bank branch rather than doing it from New Zealand. Plus, it can earn you some interest on the money deposited prior to entering the country. However, you will not have access to this money until you present proof of ID and a proof of address in-person at a branch of the bank you have enlisted to. (More of that in the section below).Do bear in mind the exchange rate, thus transferring money to your new New Zealand bank account, is likely tocost you money.To apply to open an account with most major banks, you will need to fill out an online application form which can be emailed or posted to the address found on their website under contact details. Be aware, you need to fill out your application form and have it sent to them 10 days prior to entering the country to allow for the application to be processed. We suggest then sooner you get this done, the better.

Opening your bank account in New Zealand

For most working holidaymakers, you can only apply to open a bank account once you are in New Zealand. Book a bank appointment as soon as possible, especially if you intend to stay in Auckland Central for the first few days. If there are no appointments available in the near future in Auckland Central banks branches, then we recommend making an appointment with one of the suburb branches instead.When you go to your bank appointment, you will need the following to open your bank account and access your money:

  • Proof of address This is a standard requirement. Only a New Zealand address can be used.This can bea hostel or hotel address, but be sure to speak to the manager of the hostel first.
  • Proof of IdentificationYour passport is a valid form of ID in New Zealand.
  • Your overseas Tax Identification number – This goes by different names depending on what country you are from, for example, national identity, social security, personal or tax number.
  • Copy of your visa Some banks check your visa, so have a printed copy or show them the visa if physically printed in your passport. To find out how to print a working holiday visa, follow this guide.

By the end of your bank appointment, you should have an EFTPOS card and have selected a pin number for it. Other types of debit card may take longer to process and will either be available to pick up at the branch at a later date or sent to a specified postal address.

New Zealand Bank Account Comparison ANZ

ANZ stands for Australia and New Zealand and is one of the big banks in New Zealand. The two accounts they offer are:

  • Go Account no fees. Simple.
  • Online Account no fees, 1.9% interest.

Setting up these accounts online and depositing money from your home country to one of these accounts will incur an NZ$15 charge for incoming payments. After that, transferring your money domestically in New Zealand will be free of charge.

New Zealand Bank Account Comparison Westpac

Westpac isalso a big banking corporation and have business both in New Zealand and Australia. They offer the following accounts:

  • Electronic Account a paperless account, meaning it’s all on the Internet. There are no fees attached with this account unless you are depositing and crediting cheques. However, if you have NZ$20,000 stashed away then there are no fees for cheques. A MasterCard debit card will cost you an NZ$10 one-off fee.
  • Online Saver unlimited withdrawals and deposits. Italso has a 2.2% interest rate per annum.
  • Online Bonus Saver unlimited density and withdrawals and has a 3.3% interest rate.

New Zealand Bank Account Comparison BNZ

The Bank of New Zealand, as it is formally known, has two of their own accounts which are worth a look.

  • You Money Account at NZ$5 a month you can have a BNZ account with up to 25 sub-accounts with unlimited transactions and a freephone helpline. A Visa debit card will cost you an NZ$10 annual fee. It’s important to note that if you have come to the country to studying some bank fees may be wavered.
  • On All Account free account offering a 2% interest rate. BNZ try to encourage you to save by charging you NZ$5 per withdrawal from this account unless money is transferred to an everyday account with the bank or the “You Money Account”, as it is formally known.

Transfer Money Onto Your New Zealand Bank Account

Now that you are sorted with a bank account in New Zealand, you can finally transfer your savings from back home to your New Zealand bank account. Travellers Cheques and Amex are a BAD IDEA. They are extremely slow to process and are not accepted by every bank in New Zealand.One way to transfer your funds is with a simple bank transfer. You can transfer money from your bank account back home to your bank account here in New Zealand using a simple bank transfer. It takes a week or two and every bank has a different fee for this. Be aware that the currency exchange rates are pretty bad on this kind of transfer so you are likely to lose a few cents. Here are the fees involved:

  • Bank fee: from your bank back home to initiate an overseas transfer.
  • Currency exchange: lower than the exchange rate you can find online.
  • Bank fee: from your bank in New Zealand to receive an overseas transfer.

An alternative solution is to use a money transfer company like XE Money. They transfer your money much faster than traditional banks, their fees are lower (or non-existent in the case of XE Money), and the exchange rates are much more advantageous. They do a better job because well, it is their only job. They have accounts in every country they serve and can transfer your money directly into your account saving on most fees above. It’s a huge saving when transferring a few thousand. That means:

  • No fee from your bank back home since you transfer money onto an account in your own country.
  • Better currency exchange rate than the one offered from your bank.
  • No bank fee from your New Zealand bank since you are receiving the money from a New Zealand account.

Spend that money on a rafting trip instead of giving it to a banker, will you?!For a more in-depth look at overseas transfers, take a look at our guide to How to Transfer Money to Your New Zealand Bank Account.

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