Money and banking

It’s a good idea to open a bank account as soon as you get to NZ, so you don’t have to carry large amounts of cash or pay big fees to use your home account.

Money in NZ

In New Zealand:

  • sales tax is called GST. It’s 15 percent, it’s charged on all goods and services and it’s automatically included in the price
  • people generally don’t tip. You can tip a waiter if you’ve had exceptional service (many places have a bowl at the counter for this), but it’s never expected
  • you go to the counter to pay after a meal at a restaurant
  • taxi fares are not negotiable
  • most people pay by debit card (called EFTPOS) and don’t carry much cash.

Banking in NZ

New Zealand has one of the safest banking systems in the world. A full range of accounts and banking services are available.

It’s safer to deposit your money in a bank account than to carry large amounts of cash around with you.

The major New Zealand banks are:

On campus:

  • there are ATM machines located on Kelburn campus
  • Kiwibank ‘tertiary pack’ customers can use any ATMs on campus without paying a fee.

Banks are generally open from 9 am–4.30 pm, Monday to Friday. Some bank branches also open on Saturday mornings.

Open an account

Most banks offer a student package or an international student package, with special benefits for students.

To open an account, you’ll usually need:

  • your passport
  • to prove that you’ll be a full-time student—you can usually use your Offer of Place or a fees invoice for this. Some banks might require a student ID card, so you’ll need to wait until you’ve got yours
  • a residential address in New Zealand, or an Offer Letter from your hall of residence.
  • your Tax Identification Number from every country that you are a tax resident.

Some banks allow you to open an international student account before you arrive in NZ.