What is Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and how could it affect me?

Last Updated: 24 Jun 2019

Money laundering is the process of disguising the illegal origin of criminal profits. Criminals use a range of methods and levels of sophistication to make money from their criminal activities appear legitimate.

Terrorist activity may be  financed from funds raised through legitimate sources and criminal activities. People who finance terrorism often use similar methods and tools to those used for money laundering.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Act (AML/CFT) came into effect in 2013 and is designed to help detect and deter money laundering and terrorism financing.

Under this law all financial institutions in New Zealand are required to do more to verify a customer's identity and, in some cases, account activity. This helps protect New Zealand from financial crime, improve our financial reputation overseas, and meet our international expectations. These laws mean that all banks will need to collect specific information from customers to verify their identity and address, and understand how customers intend to use their accounts. The same goes for those acting on behalf of customers.

From time to time, we will need to ask existing customers if that information is still up to date. We may also need to ask customers for additional information if their account activity changes over time and ask how customers intend to use their products or services.

You'll be asked for this information mainly when opening bank accounts, but there may be other instances, such as:

  • When you want someone else to have signing authority on your account.
  • When you deposit cash into another person’s account.
  • When a non-customer deposits cash value into your account.
  • Sending, receiving or transferring funds.


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