BNZ makes it way too difficult to get an extension credit card

I recently returned to NZ after a significant period abroad. I wanted to get an extension credit card for my adult daughter who is moving back to NZ with me. This has been denied. I am utterly in shock as I have maintain extremely robust balances in my BNZ accounts for many years and have excellent credit. BNZ makes it so difficult due to its preference for a “cookie cutter” approach to dealing with customers over personal relationships. Maybe it’s time for me to move to ANZ!!!

Do you mean an additional card?

I applied for an additional card for my Mother on my BNZ Business Advantage Visa account and it was granted with hardly any questions asked. Further, I have confirmed with BNZ that it was granted purely on my standing with them.

If you are only applying for an additional card, I believe BNZ should take another look at your situation. I suggest you message @Yvonne about this.

Yes an additional card.
Apparently with BNZ they only allow one additional card for each credit card which is not the norm in other countries. As my wife is the additional cardholder on my current card I was advised to apply for a new card and add my daughter as an additional card holder.

However I was turned down as an applicant on the basis that I had not been in NZ long enough to establish my credentials as a self-employed consultant. (I returned to NZ last Nov after being away for quite a long time).

The fact that I have a perfect credit record on my current card which I have held for close to 10 years, and that I have very large deposits with BNZ for the past 8 years and have put more than $1.5M through these accounts over the past decade was of not consequence to the person handling my application for a 2nd card (which was their suggested work around). I did not fit their cookie-cutter list of questions and so that was it! Denied - of course with a “sorry”. Well I am sorry, I am not used to such impersonal dealings. And of course it is impossible to talk to anyone who can utilize any discretion, so here I am contemplation moving all my funds to another bank.

When you say “message @Yvonne” I am not sure what you are suggesting? Do you mean on FB?

BNZ do have a minimum list of questions and you do need to answer them. Any other bank you apply at will be the same.

Based on my experience (as a small business owner) of the process for both a Business Advantage Visa (Platinum) and a Low interest Mastercard, I’d be surprised if you were declined if all the following is true:

  1. You have a regular source of income and your business is making a taxable profit
  2. You have a clear credit check
  3. You have a relationship with the BNZ for at least 6 months
  4. Your accounts do not show any adverse information - for example: bounced cheques, bank-honored cheques, unauthorised overdraft…
  5. Your history on your present BNZ cards shows you are capable of handling revolving credit

I expect they also put some weight on Real Property (ie: house) ownership though I am not sure how much.

Note: I do not work for or represent the BNZ. I am just making reasonable guesses as to what their criteria is.

@Yvonne is one of the BNZ reps here.

Thanks for the response Micheal.
All the items you listed were OK except #1.

As a newly returned Kiwi, only being here since Nov of last year, I have not filed a return yet with the IRD. This was the stated reason for the decline. My accountant is handling the tax filing as an individual not as a business.

My accounts show regular monthly deposits from a USA company and a local client for work I do and I have maintained balances with BNZ of over half a million for a considerable period of time. I am also a part owner of a large South Island station where after a 8yr battle with a local Council in the Environment Court we were awarded 997 Hectares of Tourism Zoning on the property. You would think that an additional card even with a nominal credit limit would be a no brainer.

But not so - hence my referral to a cookie-cutter approach by the bank.

Based on what you have said - I offer my two cents that BNZ is the bank you are most likely to get a credit card with unless you also have banking relationship-capital elsewhere.

As a challenged case - you are more likely to get a credit card with a large bank (excluding ASB) then any of the smaller “Kiwi owned” (blah blah blah) banks.

Banks like to give lending to known quantities, regardless of what they claim in their advertising.

In your case I would recommend getting the phone number of the BNZ area manager where you live and giving them a call. Keep your request modest but take the highest limit they offer if you are comfortable with the amount.

Thanks so much for your help @michaelnz!

@AETibby I have sent you a message so we can look into your situation.

Have a great weekend,


Hi Michael
Tried your solution. Couldn’t find a listing anywhere for the Area Manager - again evidence of BNZ not being very personal. Called the 800 number and spoke with Dan (758700) who said that they are NOT ALLOWED to give out the number of the Area Managers??? Asked if he could elevate the matter to his superior who is “unavailable right now” but have been promised a call back.

So let’s see???

The more this goes on the more frustrated I am becoming at the very impersonal way this bank deals with good customers.


He is talking crap. Call up your local branch and ask for the number.

I do understand your sense of frustration. BNZ should damn well do better. I usually deal with business and avoid dealing with personal wherever possible.

While I am very much up to the play with computer stuff, I go into my local branch at least every couple of weeks even if I could have done the same transaction at the ATM. While the branches are a bit limited these days, being known can still help with certain types of issues.

AE Tibby, @yvonne and MichaelNZ.
Sadly I believe too that the BNZ is now no longer, as good or as flexible at these things as they once were.
They blame the CCCFA (Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act) and the AML/CFT rules as we have a Family Trust.
I have been a customer of BNZ for 38 plus years, we returned to NZ too but in 2006. We are building a new house now in Christchurch (which because of the earthquakes does not help their criteria) via a broker and they have considerably tightened up the rules since we last did a property transaction in 2009.
We had to cancel all our credit cards (incl BNZ Advantage Platinum) and store-cards to enable the finance plan to work. Explanations were provided, but the fact is we all rely on credit-cards and interest free deals to get through life. They do not make it easy.

Good luck!

Who is “they”? I have never heard of a bank blaming CCCFA or AML/CTF for their refusal to do lending. Generally, the later would be cited as an excuse to not provide any banking services.

Speaking of my own recent experience and my general outsider insight with BNZ credit cards (personal and business), I surmise they place weight on the following:

Show stopper

  1. Credit rating issues
  2. Account conduct (I’m guessing over the preceding 3-6 months)
  3. Very likely - customer less then 6 months

Much emphasis
4. Level of income left over after expenses
5. Length of banking relationship with BNZ and whether it’s the applicants primary banking realationship

What will affect the limit they offer
The above 2 points plus:
6. Level of indebtedness

7. Number of dependents
8. Whether the applicant owns or rents their property
9. Average balance - ie: is it always in the red or does it regularly end the day in the black?

And surprisingly, what seems to have little relevance
10. Level of income provided it’s above their minimum amount


I’m sorry to say that Dan is simply following procedures here.

BNZ will never confirm that a staff member works for them, nor will they confirm contact details for staff members. (Emails, mobile numbers or locations)

This is related to security of the staff, as well as security of the customers

Fraudsters often call up BNZ requesting staff information. If any details are confirmed they call BNZ customers advising this said staff member is concerned about their account and uses this to obtain details that will allow the fraudsters access to the customers funds

In turn the customer gets worried, calls BNZ, again if we confirm the staff member works for BNZ then both the customer and bank are conned and by the time we realise what has happened, the customers money is long gone.

If you want to talk to someone higher up, it would be a case of asking for your details to be forwarded to the relevant department where someone will be in contact.

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Sorry greeneschemes but this is rubbish - not you but this type of lame excuse. I was not asking for any “personal” information - I needed to talk to someone more senior than I had been talking with and as had been suggested - to speak with the area manager. I was taking it that as with any business such a manager would actually have an office and a phone - landline would have been fine. If you went into any business and wanted to speak to a manager and were told that “sorry we can’t give personal information” you would naturally be shocked and appalled. Same in this case.

Rather than security, it sounds more like a lame excuse to not deal with legitimate customer’s concerns. BTW no one offered to pass on my details but instead insisted on addressing my problem themselves - which was unreasonable because they couldn’t deal with it anyway, like others before them.

Fortunately after more senior people got wind of what was going on they finally put someone with actual customer relations experience on to me and my problem was almost instantly solved. I now have another card with my daughter as an extension.

I hope they take away some lessons from this as they need some help with customer service.

However passing customers details on to their “partners” like Cigna, to phone up and pretend to be the BNZ is OK.

They called me up, apparently knew I had a discussion with the BNZ about a Visa debit card and cited this in their pitch to get my guard down. As it happens, I was expecting a call from BNZ (and noone else knew about the Visa debit card thingee) so I took it at face value and proceeded to give the caller confidential information, which they accepted without complaint. It was only later on I tweaked something was wrong so I demanded to know who the caller’s employer was and I was told it was Cigna.