Authority to operate and power of attorney

There's a few ways you can authorise someone else to operate your bank accounts on your behalf. We call these authority to operate and power of attorney.

Authority to operate

Authority to operate is when you give another person the authority to use and transact on your account on your behalf. An example of when you would do this is when you're away for an extended amount of time e.g. living overseas.

How do I set up authority to operate?

You'll need to visit your nearest full service Kiwibank branch with the person you'd like to give authorisation to.

We'll need to verify the identity of you both, so make sure you bring your photo ID as well as proof of address. See what types of identity and proof of address documents we accept.

To set up your named person as being authorised to use your account, we’ll provide you with an authority to operate form for you both to sign. Once signed, a copy of the form will be kept on record as evidence of the named person's authorisation.

What can an authorised user do with my account?

Your authorised person will be able to:

  • Deposit, withdraw or transfer funds from your specified accounts
  • Load, alter or cancel bill payments or automatic payments
  • Request account balances on your specified accounts
  • Be issued with a Visa Debit card or an EFTPOS card for your specified accounts
  • Have internet and phone banking access for your specified accounts

Unless we agree otherwise with you, they will not be able to:

  • Open additional accounts in your name or close any accounts
  • Access to view or transact on any of your other accounts that you have not given them the authority to operate on
  • Establish new facilities
  • Change your details
  • Close any of your accounts or cancel any of your products
  • Add or remove other authorised users from your account
  • Establish or change credit or lending limits, or authorised overdrafts

To cancel an authority to operate, you or the authorised person can contact us at any time through internet banking, by visiting your nearest Kiwibank or calling us on 0800 113 355.

Power of attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone (the attorney) the authority to act on another living person’s (the donor’s) behalf.

Sometimes the power being conferred can be quite narrow and relate to a particular matter (such as operating someone’s bank account), but it can be wider such as managing the donor’s affairs more generally.

There are two types of power of attorney

  • Ordinary power of attorney
  • Enduring power of attorney for property

Ordinary power of attorney

Enables a donor to appoint an attorney (or attorneys) to look after their affairs for them, but doesn't stop the donor from continuing to manage their own affairs.

It can be either a general power to act on the donor’s behalf in all matters or only on specific issues stated in the power of attorney (for example, to manage a bank account while the donor is overseas). An ordinary power of attorney is valid until it expires (if it's for a fixed term), but will be immediately revoked if you die or become incapable of making decisions.

Enduring power of attorney for property

Enables a donor to appoint an attorney (or attorneys) to look after their property and finances for them, and also doesn't stop the donor from continuing to manage their own affairs. But unlike an ordinary power of attorney, it will continue even after the donor no longer has the mental capacity to manage their own affairs.

The attorney can have a general power, for example, to act generally in all matters relating to the donor’s property, or a specific power, for example, over a bank account or finances.

This type of power of attorney is popular with retired customers wanting to give their children or loved ones the ability to deal with their property or finances if they become incapable of doing so.

How to lodge a power of attorney with Kiwibank

If you've given someone the authority to manage your bank accounts that you hold with us by appointing them as your attorney, you'll need to visit your nearest full service Kiwibank together with your attorney/s or they can come on their own (if you're mentally incapable). In both cases we'll require:

  • Original power of attorney documents, or a copy certified by a solicitor, which includes the signatures of both the donor (you) and attorney/s.
  • The attorney/s identity and address documentation, so we can set them up as a Kiwibank customer.

For an enduring power of attorney for property that states it takes effect in the event of the donor’s mental incapacity, we'll need to see a valid health practitioner’s medical certificate.

If an enduring power of attorney for property was created after 24 September 2008, we'll also need to see a certificate of witness. This must be signed by a lawyer or legal executive, or in the case of a trust signed by an employee/officer of the trustee corporation.

Once the power of attorney is set up on your account you can remove it at any time while you're still mentally capable, by visiting a branch, calling us on 0800 113 355 or through internet banking.

What can an attorney under a power of attorney do?

When you give someone your full authority to act on your behalf in relation to your accounts, this means they'll be able to do all the things you can do, including (but not limited to):

  • Open new accounts
  • Close your accounts
  • Cancel automatic payments
  • Sign loan agreements in your name
  • Change your account details (e.g. your postal address)

Remember, it's up to you to decide how much power the property attorney will have. Your attorney’s powers are limited to the scope that's described in the power of attorney.