“There is no such thing as free banking in New Zealand”
This is slowly (and thankfully) becoming a more of a myth each day in New Zealand as the population grows banks are competing for your business. Personally for us coming from the UK we are very much used to being paid and incentivised to put our money with certain banks. Halifax in the UK for example actually pays you to bank with them, they offer £5 a month and a welcoming £100, reward banking has become the norm in the UK. Here this is not the case and it does take some getting used to, however there are some exceptions.
Kiwi Bank – The Free Up Account:
A fee free account! We opened this account after we arrived into NZ as it was a little tricky to do online before we arrived (Check out my bank account blog post for more info on how to do this before you arrive in NZ) into the country. The account has no monthly charges and gives you a free Ethpos card . You do have to pay $10 if you want to upgrade your card to visa debit card (basically allows you to buy things online, the Ethpos only allows you to buy things in shops). Electronic transfer’s are also free as are direct debits and ATM withdrawals (from a Kiwi Bank ATM machine). We have found it is the best account around and plus the bank is owned by the same crowd as the post office (basically owned by the government) so you can pretty much do your banking in most’s towns across NZ whilst be assured your money is in a safe and stable bank.
To keep up to date with all the latest and best savings account in NZ we highly recommend visiting and then revisiting www.interest.co.nz There charts will help you to keep up to date with the best offers available. Saving interest rates have in the last few months seen a state of recline, since June 2015 I have had a email by my preferred savings account (Kiwi Bank) three times informing me that my interest on savings are being reduced. That being said the rates are far better than the rate you can get with a current ISA in the UK (1.30% with a ISA if your lucky!) so you will be getting more interest on your money even though NZ doesn’t offer tax free savings.
The “Notice Savers” are by far the most beneficial accounts in NZ at the moment. These are either accounts that are 32 days notice or 90 days notice (meaning you cannot obtain your money straight away you need to give notice). Kiwi Bank again offer great rates on these accounts – a whooping 3% currently which trumps the UK’s measly 1.30% – Click on the link below for more info!
Another option you may want to consider if you are trying to get the best return on your money is peer to peer investment. In New Zealand there are a handful of companies in this area like Squirrel Money – their P2P offering is 8.06% – 8.85% when you commit to a 2 – 5 year term. The nice thing about peer to peer in my opinion is that you are borrowing from people and not banks.
Either way, as you will now be aware your move to NZ will become a strain on your wallet so we cannot stress enough how important it is to keep a eye on the latest information available to you when it comes to banking in New Zealand.