Expat Living in NZ: Getting The Best Debit Card

Date Oct 26, 2020
Blog category Debit Card
By Sieg C

Getting a debit card is one of the best ways to manage your finances if you’re an expat in New Zealand. It can be used to receive your salary, pay bills or rent, dine, and even pay for your credits. Luckily, opening a debit account in the country is really easy! As a foreigner, you just need to prepare your documents ahead for a faster application.

To get the best debit card fit for expat living, here are the important things you need to know.

Validating your identity

New Zealand banks don’t require a ton of requirements. They simply need some of your basic details like full name, country of origin, contact information, and other relevant details. 

Aside from these, they also need some legal documents to verify your identity. These include, but are not limited to: valid IDs like passport or driver’s licence, and proof of address. If you don’t have a permanent address, enter your temporary address like the hotel you’re staying at, and just change it after you move.

Applying for a debit card

Most banks will allow walk-ins. Simply bring your requirements, and let the teller assist you with the process. However, some banks may require you to book an appointment, so it’s best to conduct some research before coming to the bank.

Some NZ banks also allow you to open an account even if you haven’t set foot in the country yet. Visit their website, fill out their form, and scan your verification like IDs, visa, and more. 

Before completing your application, you can also choose to have your debit card delivered in your NZ address as soon as you arrive.

Best debit cards for expats in New Zealand

Almost all banks in the country offer a debit card with a free-fees everyday account. This is a $10 per year payment for using your debit card daily. Aside from this standard charge, you may also have to pay for overdraft interest and excess fees. 

Upon receiving your debit card, it’s usually EFTPOS-ready. This is especially useful because most merchants in NZ are equipped with this feature. However, you can’t use it overseas; if you want to use it internationally, upgrade it to VISA.


Bank of New Zealand is one of the pioneers in finance, so it’s no wonder that they offer one of the best debit cards in the country. They have no annual fees and no overseas ATM cash withdrawal fees. Aside from this, it’s important to take note of the following:

  • Card replacement fee: $10 per card in New Zealand
  • Account balance interest: None
  • Overdraft available: Yes, but with varying interest rates vary
  • Branches: Over 100+ branches nationwide


Westpac has a long history of servicing finance to Kiwis. Their debit card offerings are packed with plenty of useful features like the freedom to block and unblock your card. Other features and charges include:

  • ​​Annual Fee: $10/year (waived for the first year)
  • Overseas ATM cash withdrawal fee: $3 per withdrawal
  • Overseas foreign exchange fee: 1.40% for every transaction (in NZ dollar)
  • Account balance interest: None


Kiwibank may be a young company, but they’ve become one of the best banks to offer debit cards. They pack features like Tertiary Pack and Graduate Pack, which are perfect for transfer students that want to start saving. Other features include:

  • ​​Annual Fee: $10/year (waived for the first year)
  • Overseas ATM cash withdrawal fee: $6 per withdrawal
  • Overseas foreign exchange fee: 2.50% for every transaction (in NZ dollar)
  • Account balance interest: None


Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited offer debit cards with plenty of perks and discount offers that you can use in your everyday shopping. Before opening a debit account from them, take note of the following:

  • ​​Annual Fee: $10/year
  • Overseas ATM cash withdrawal fee: Free
  • Overseas foreign exchange fee: 1.580% for every transaction (in NZ dollar)
  • Account balance interest: None


ASB lets you manage your card’s spending limits with cash withdrawals, in-store and online transactions, and lock and unlock features if ever stolen. Aside from having no overseas ATM cash withdrawal fee, here are some charges that you need to know:

  • ​​Annual Fee: $10/year
  • Card replacement fee: $10 per card in New Zealand
  • Overseas foreign exchange fee: 1.580% for every transaction (in NZ dollar)
  • Account balance interest: None

Find the best debit card for you

Debit cards are a great way for expats to manage their finances. Aside from these banks, there are also plenty of great deals from other banks in New Zealand. Searching for them one by one may be a hassle, but the great thing is — you can save time, effort, and money in getting a debit card.

Find the best debit card that matches your needs here at glimp!

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