Travel Money Guide: New Zealand

Sort out your currency and travel card options before your big trip for a stress-free holiday in New Zealand.


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Whether you're hitting the slopes near Queenstown, glacier hiking on the West Coast or sailing in the Bay of Islands, the land of the long white cloud has always been a popular destination for Aussie travellers.

Find out how much money you'll need, the best ways to access your money and our best tips for handling money while you're in New Zealand. Cards are widely accepted here, even if it's just for your morning cuppa, so check out our comparisons to find the best one for your trip.

Compare your travel money options for New Zealand

Take your pick of prepaid cards, debit cards or credit cards as well some cash-in-hand for a stress-free trip. Gone are the days when you needed to carry a stack of travellers cheques around.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Initial Load Fee Reload fee
Cash Passport Platinum Mastercard
USD $2.50, EUR €2.50, GBP £2.00, NZD $3.50, THB ฿80.00, CAD $3.50, HKD $18.00, JPY ¥260.00, SGD $3.50, AUD $3.50, AED 10.00
Up to 11 currencies on 1 card locked in exchange rates and no load fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Foreign currency conversion fee Overseas ATM withdrawal fee Purchase rate Annual fee
Coles Rewards Mastercard
19.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Enjoy $100 off a Coles Supermarket, a $0 first-year annual fee and a 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months (1.5% fee applies). Ends 31 Jan 2021.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
10.99% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($69 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% interest on balance transfers for 26 months, a $0 first-year annual fee, complimentary travel insurance and no foreign transaction fees.
NAB StraightUp Card
Save with 0% interest charges and 0% foreign transaction fees. Plus, $0 monthly fees when you don't use the card or carry a balance.

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Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Card access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Internatonal ATM Fee Foreign transaction fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Special offer: $100 cash bonus for new HSBC customers.
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases (T&C's apply).
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.

Citi Global Currency Account
Earn up to 0.75% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free.

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Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Minimum Order Amount Maximum Order Amount Delivery/Pickup Method Commission Fee
Foreign Xchange Travel Money
In Store,Home Delivery
Order multiple currencies in one transaction and have it delivered directly to your door anywhere in Australia. No delivery fee for orders over $1,000. A $10 flat fee applies to orders less than $1,000.

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How many dollars do I need to bring to New Zealand?


Hostel dorm

$25 - $50 per night

2 star hotel

$30 - $130 per night

5 star hotel

$80 - $850


Vegan and Vegetarian diner

$8 - $10

Dinner at a midrange restaurant

$40 per person

5 star restaurant

$100 per person

skydiveEscape room games
$20 per person
Waitomo Caves and
Rotorua Day Trip $250
Skydive from
16,500 ft. tour $425

*Prices are approximate and are subject to change.

Exchange rate history

While the Australian and New Zealand dollars are not at parity, for the past 3 years, 1 Australian dollar will get you about $1.10 - $1.15 New Zealand dollars. If you think the Australian dollar will weaken and it will be more expensive to purchase New Zealand dollars, you can lock in a rate by purchasing traveller's cheques or loading a travel card.

*Exchange rates are accurate as of 21 November 2017

Today's exchange rate AUD to NZD

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Which should I opt for: travel card, debit card or credit card?

If you're wondering about card acceptance, it works in New Zealand the same as Australia. ATMs are everywhere and nearly all businesses accept EFTPOS payments, which you can use for contactless purchases and to get cash out over the counter when you use your debit card. To give you an idea, 75% of all transactions in New Zealand go through the Paymark system (Paymark provide EFTPOS terminals to businesses), so there's no issue using your Visa and Mastercard credit card or debit card. American Express cards are accepted in fewer places than Visa and Mastercard. ATMs are available in most towns with the major banks represented: ANZ, ASB, Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) and Westpac. Some ANZ branches are branded as The National Bank.

Travel money options for New Zealand at a glance

Travel Money OptionProsConsiderations
Debit cards for travel
  • Ability to use your ATM card in most places while in New Zealand
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Debit cards will not incur an interest rate as it uses your own money from your transaction account
  • International ATM withdrawal fees may apply
  • Most of the debit cards will charge an additional currency conversion fees
  • Not a credit product. No emergency funds available though a cash advance facility.
Prepaid travel money cards
  • Ability to hold New Zealand dollars on almost every prepaid travel on the market
  • Ability to lock in the exchange rate for the funds that you 'load' on to the card before you go
  • Secured by PIN & chip technology
  • Emergency card replacement and backup cards
  • Easily reloadable via a secure online platform
  • International ATM withdrawal fees, card issue fees and initial load fees may apply
  • Reload fees could be high
  • Some travel cards charge for inactivity fee
Credit cards for travel
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Accepted worldwide
  • Some credit cards offer complimentary travel insurance
  • Interest-free days when you pay your account in full
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Withdrawing cash can be considered a "cash advance" and can charge you fees and high interests
  • Card scheme anti-fraud guarantees don't apply in a credit card with a positive balance
  • Higher spending limit (depends on your approved credit limit)
  • Attracts an annual fee
Travellers cheques
  • Have the added security of needing ID to be cashed
  • Availability to cash at banks
  • Secure and can be easily replaced if lost or stolen
  • Card schemes such as Mastercard give you a money back guarantee if you're a victim of card fraud
  • Expect to be charged a commission when cashing your cheques
  • Fees for purchasing and cashing travellers cheques may apply
  • Currency exchange rate varies over time
  • Greater payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • More difficult to manage expenses
  • Higher risk of theft

This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.

How the different travel money products work in New Zealand

Using a debit card

Like in Australia, you can use a debit card to make ATM withdrawals, purchases over the counter and get cash out using EFTPOS in New Zealand. Most of the debit cards available to Australians will charge an additional fee for currency conversion when you transact in New Zealand dollars. There's also the international ATM withdrawal fee to think about.

If you have a Westpac card, you can use it at Westpac ATMs without incurring ATM withdrawal fees thanks to the Global ATM Alliance.

Using a credit card

Credit cards can be used in a similar number of places in New Zealand and Australia. If you want to apply for a credit card to use overseas, start by looking at the credit cards we've listed in the comparison table. Look out for cards that don't charge a currency conversion fee when you're transacting in a currency other than Australian dollars. Some cards also offer up to a number of interest-free days when you pay your balance in full before the end of the statement period, which could help you save on interest costs. Some credit cards also offer complimentary travel insurance, which could save you the time and money you'd need to organise your own.

Don't use your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM if you can avoid it. Credit card withdrawals are considered cash advances and will usually incur high interest and a fee. You can avoid some of these fees by loading your own money onto a credit card. Note that the card scheme anti-fraud guarantees don't apply if you're using a credit card with a positive balance.

Using a prepaid travel card

You can hold New Zealand dollars on pretty much every prepaid travel on the market. The benefits of a travel card include that you can load Australian dollars and convert the funds to New Zealand dollars at a fixed rate of exchange. This means that you can spend in New Zealand without paying extra for currency conversion. You also get a backup travel card, which could come in handy if you lose your card.

There are drawbacks too, there are a number of fees on the front and back end such as international ATM withdrawal fees, card issue fees, initial load fees, reload fees and some travel cards even charge for inactivity.

Using traveller's cheques

Traveller's cheques have been replaced by other travel money products such as debit cards, credit cards and travel money cards. A cheaper way to get cash in New Zealand is to make an ATM withdrawal, especially so if your card provider has a relationship with the bank which owns the ATM. The main advantage of traveller's cheques is they can be replaced if they're lost or stolen, and only you can cash them. The card schemes (Mastercard for example) give you a money back guarantee if you're the victim of card fraud. This means traveller's cheques are often more hassle than they're worth.

Paying with cash in New Zealand

Save on foreign currency exchange fees by using products which lets you make cheap ATM withdrawals. Currency exchange offices charge a commission to exchange Australian dollars as well as making money off a margin applied to the exchange rate.



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Skiing in Queenstown: the adventure capital of the world

Mike says Queenstown is recognised as providing the best overall skiing experience in New Zealand. The snow, the nightlife, the food and the atmosphere are all top notch.

Where did you go?

Mike visited the Coronet resort, which is about 20 minutes away from Queenstown. He stayed in the city for a couple of weeks and did the commute each day. He also skied at The Remarkables and Cardrona peaks.

What cards did you take?

Why did you take these cards?

The Citibank Plus Transaction account is Mike's transaction account in Australia. There's no account keeping fee and Citibank offer free global transfers to a number of countries. The Citi Plus doesn't charge for currency conversion or international ATM withdrawals, which made it a perfect card for Mike to use in New Zealand, or anywhere in the world. Mike also took the Citibank Clear Platinum Visa credit card. He applied for this card before he left so he could get the 0% on purchases promotion available to new cardholders. He used this card as much as he could for over the counter purchases and paid the balance of his purchases back in the following months when he started working again.

Where could you use these cards?

Mike says he could use his debit and credit card almost everywhere. On the mountain to pay for his ski pass, rental and drinks at the end of the day. Mike says small purchases like coffee and hot chocolate are mostly cash only. In Queenstown he used his card at restaurants, at bars and clubs. He took the shuttle to the mountain and back every day and he used his card to purchase 10 tickets at a time from the Queenstown Snow Centre.

What about ATM withdrawals?

Mike says he used an ATM a couple of times, but was mostly able to pay with his Citibank Visa Debit Card. He says he got cash out when he made purchases with the Citibank Plus Visa a couple of times. He was able to get up to a hundred dollars on each occasion, but he says it really depends on the merchant and how much cash they have in the till. When he did use the ATM, he had to pay the local ATM operator fee because Citibank ATMs were hard to find. There were no issues with card acceptance at New Zealand ATMs.

What are your travel money tips?

Mike says if you're travelling by shuttle bus to the peaks, purchase the tickets in bulk. A single ticket costs $15, there's a discount if you purchase packs of 10 or 15 tickets at a time.

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Buying currency in Australia

You can bring the Australian dollar equivalent of $10,000 New Zealand dollars with you from Australia hassle-free. If you take any more than this, you have to declare your cash when you pass through customs. You will get a better deal if you wait to get your money changed in New Zealand, even better still if you make a withdrawal from an ATM rather than use a money changer. If you want to get your money changed in Australia, have a look at these companies, they can sell your foreign cash. Travelex and Australia Post have outlets at major airports, you can make an order online and collect the New Zealand cash before you get on the plane.

Exchange rates

When you use your credit card, debit card or travel card to make a purchase in New Zealand, the card scheme exchange rate applies to the transaction. When you use your card for over the counter purchases, you'll get a rate which is a touch above the market rate. The same when you make a withdrawal from an ATM.

Why you'll need a combination of travel money options

Whether you're doing a quick business trip or taking a long holiday, it's good to have a couple of ways to access your money. Choose a mix that suits your needs. Travel cards can be used to pay in New Zealand dollars, the same with travel friendly debit cards; however, most travel cards apply an international ATM withdrawal fee. A credit card gives you access to an emergency line of credit and can be used for interest free purchases, and some cards offer extras like insurance as well.

If you have any questions about travel money for New Zealand, get in touch with us using the form at the bottom of the page.

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Find travel insurance for your trip to New Zealand

New Zealand is a favourite for Aussies heading overseas. New Zealand offers Australian travellers a wondrous land to explore, from its ski fields to its volcanic hot springs, there is plenty things for the family to enjoy.

But with every journey comes and element of risk, which is why there is travel insurance. Luckily, Australia and New Zealand are part of the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA), which mean that you are covered by New Zealand's public health care system. However, travel insurance protects travellers against far more than just health issues. Travel insurance covers the following:

  • Trip resumption
  • Trip cancellation
  • Lost luggage
  • Personal liability
  • Repatriation
  • Lost travel documents
warning Finally, some good news! Domestic travel is picking up, so some insurers have started offering cover again 🦘
Just remember, you won't be covered for any pandemic related claims if you do take out domestic travel insurance.
International travel insurance is limited and sometimes unavailable at this point.

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56 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    samOctober 19, 2018

    hi,i am sam,i will take my Australia anz bank card to new nealand,can i withdraw cash from NZ anz atm?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnOctober 19, 2018Staff

      Hi Sam,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      If your ANZ bank card has a Visa/Mastercard logo on it, then the answer is yes. You would be able to use the card via ATMs in Australia which reflect the same logo. Hope this helps!


    Default Gravatar
    JimSeptember 12, 2018

    I am travelling to NZ next month with a Teachers Mutual bank Debit card and some cash. Am I best to use the debit card for most transactions or withdraw from ATMs and use cash?

      Default Gravatar
      JoelSeptember 12, 2018

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      Debit cards are a great way to take money overseas. Please note though that there will be an International conversion fee of 2.45% of transaction value in $AUD everytime you use your TM debit card to withdraw from overseas so please make less frequent but large amounts of withdrawal to save on fees. ATMs are everywhere and nearly all businesses accept EFTPOS payments which you can use for contactless purchases and to get cash out over the counter when you use your debit card. To give you an idea, 75% of all transactions in New Zealand go through the Paymark system (Paymark provide EFTPOS terminals to businesses), so there’s no issue using your Visa and Mastercard credit card or debit card. American Express cards are accepted in fewer places than Visa and Mastercard. ATMs are available in most towns with the major banks represented: ANZ, ASB, Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) and Westpac. Some ANZ branches are branded as The National Bank.

      It will still be ideal to have combination of debit cards and cash if you will be travelling to NZ.


    Default Gravatar
    LaurieFebruary 1, 2018

    I used Commonwealth bank to withdraw money with my Kiwibank Debit card in NZ. However they slapped me with a 9.5% charge for International transaction and a Au $4 fee!! What is the best Aussie bank to use or should i rather pay with debit or credit card?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanFebruary 23, 2018Staff

      Hi Laurie, thanks for your inquiry.

      Debit cards are a great way to take money overseas, one of the key benefits being $0 withdrawals overseas.



    Default Gravatar
    CorNovember 9, 2017

    Good day!

    I am traveling from South Africa to New Zealand with my partner and we have obtained our visitors Visa’s. My partner will manage all the monies and foreign currencies and has obtained a travel card in his name. He will be giving monies to me for spending in NZ. Do I need to have proof that I have exchanged the monies with my passport or will they accept that all exchanges have been done in his name? Thanks.


      Default Gravatar
      JonathanNovember 10, 2017

      Hi Cor,

      Thank you for your inquiry. We understand that sharing some travel funds can be a bit complicated.

      Usually, it is not going to be a problem as long as you’re traveling with him. However, take note that should there be issues along the way in relation to the card, only your partner can talk or report them to the relevant travel card issuer.

      You may consult the travel card issuer for more comprehensive advice.

      Hope this helps.


      Default Gravatar
      CorNovember 10, 2017

      Thanks for your response, Jonathan. Appreciated.

    Default Gravatar
    DaisyApril 7, 2017

    I have a Citibank Visa debit card in Australia and plan to use it during my holiday in New Zealand. Any idea which ATM in New Zealand does not charge ATM fees when I use the Australian Citibank Visa debit card to withdraw cash in New Zealand?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JasonApril 8, 2017Staff

      Hi Daisy,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      There is a Citibank branch located in Auckland, New Zealand but Citibank Australia don’t have any partner ATMs in New Zealand. You need to withdraw from a Citibank-branded ATM for fee-free withdrawals. Some foreign ATM operators could charge you a fee for using their ATMs. It’s important to note that this isn’t a Citibank charge and is out of Citibank’s control.

      Kind regards,

    Default Gravatar
    MickSeptember 14, 2016

    Hi , my wife and I are going to NZ for 27 days visiting both islands .We have a Visa Debit card but no credit cards .I am considering a prepaid cash passport card loaded with NZ dollars to make cash withdrawals and pay everyday expenses . Do we need a credit card as well ??
    Regards ,
    Mick & Judy

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MaySeptember 14, 2016Staff

      Hi Mick & Judy,

      Thank you for your question.

      The discretion of getting a credit card to bring for a travel abroad (apart from the travel money card/prepaid card) would depend on your own financial situation, travel plans and spending habits.

      Having a travel money card for your overseas trip does not require you to own a credit card, though. However, if you see that you also need it and want to have one for your other expenses, you may like to reconsider comparing your options for a credit card. Above, there’s a section for “Travel Credit Cards” that you can compare. You can review them and see how you can use it and if it ties into your financial situation.

      Hope that helps.


    Default Gravatar
    MargaretJuly 27, 2016

    traveling to new Zealand from Australia and taking a pre loaded travel card, can l get someone to top it up from Australia?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallyJuly 29, 2016Staff

      Hi Margaret,

      Thanks for your question.

      Most travel cards come with an online account that you can use to top up your card online. If someone in Australia has your travel card login details, they could also top up your card on your behalf. Please note that depending on what you use (e.g. online transfer, BPAY, phone transfer or in-branch load) it can take up to 3 business days for funds to appear on your account.

      If you could confirm which travel card you’re using, we could provide you with more information about loading funds on your card.



    Default Gravatar
    LIMJuly 21, 2016

    I will be travelling to NZ in November for a month there. Can I apply for a local debit card there and deposit my cash into it?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallyJuly 29, 2016Staff

      Hi Lim,

      Thanks for your question.

      There would be some debit card providers in New Zealand (such as ANZ) that’d let you apply for a card even if you’re not a permanent resident.

      Another alternative is a prepaid travel card. You can get one of these cards in Australia, load it with Australian dollars and then transfer these funds to New Zealand dollars to use without being charged a currency conversion fee when shopping in NZ.

      Currently, almost all Australian travel cards support New Zealand dollars, so you have plenty of options to choose from. You can use our travel money card comparison to compare your options.

      I hope this has helped.



    Default Gravatar
    MareeJuly 19, 2016

    We are travelling to New Zealand for holidays shortly and are wondering if it is ok to use Australian currency(cash) rather than NZ currency

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallyJuly 19, 2016Staff

      Hi Maree,

      Thanks for your question.

      When making purchases in New Zealand, you’ll need to pay in New Zealand dollars.

      If you need to access New Zealand dollars in cash, you can load your Australian dollars onto a travel money card, exchange them into New Zealand dollars and then withdraw New Zealand dollars from an ATM or use your card to make EFTPOS purchases.

      I hope this has helped.



    Default Gravatar
    MikeApril 28, 2016

    Can I pay my Commonwealth credit card (Australian) off in New Zealand?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayApril 28, 2016Staff

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      A convenient way of making payments for your credit card bills whilst you’re on a trip overseas is to set up an AutoPay on your credit card. Though Commonwealth Bank has a branch in New Zealand, their services are for most of their corporate and institutional clients.

      So it’s best to set up an AutoPay to automatically pay the minimum amount, a set monthly amount or your full closing balance each month. You can set this up via NetBank or in a branch here in Australia. For your convenience, I’ve forwarded the link to NetBank to your email.

      I hope this has helped.


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