Travel Money Guide: New Zealand

Rates and Fees verified correct on December 7th, 2016

Your guide to ensuring you have the best combination of products when travelling with money to NZ

Since the Lord of the Rings, the land of the long white cloud has been growing in popularity as a destination for tourists and expats alike. In fact, about half of all visitors to New Zealand are Australian. Whether you’re heading across the Tasman to see the Redwoods of Whakarewarewa Forest or to hit the slopes near Queenstown, find out the best way to access New Zealand dollars when you’re there.

Which option is right for your next trip?

ANZ Travel Card

ANZ Travel Card

The ANZ Travel Card is a prepaid card that can be loaded with up to 10 foreign currencies to make purchases overseas at over 36 million locations.

  • Lock in your exchange rates and know how much money you have to spend
  • No transaction fees for electronic purchases in Australia and overseas
  • Multiple reload options - online, over the phone or in person
  • Manage your money online or over phone 24/7
  • Spare card if in case one is lost or stolen

    Compare travel cards for New Zealand

    Rates last updated December 7th, 2016
    Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
    ANZ Travel Card
    ANZ Travel Card
    AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD, AUD 3.50, CAD 3.00, EUR 2.20, GBP 2.00, HKD 20.00, JPY 260, NZD 4.50, SGD 4.00, THB 95, USD 2.50 1.1% of the value purchased $0 Go to site More
    NAB Traveller Card
    NAB Traveller Card
    AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD $0 per withdrawal on international ATMs and $3.75 per withdrawal at any Australian ATMs $0 $0 Go to site More
    Cash Passport MasterCard
    Cash Passport MasterCard
    AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD $2.50 for withdrawals made overseas 2.95% of the amount withdrawn for domestic withdrawals $0 $0 Go to site More
    Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
    Qantas Card with Qantas Cash
    AUD, AED, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD AUD 1.95, CAD 2.00, EUR 1.50, GBP 1.25, HKD 15.00, JPY 160, NZD 2.50, SGD 2.50, USD 1.95, THB 70.00, AED 6.50 $0 $0 Go to site More
    Travelex Travel Card
    Travelex Travel Card
    AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD Travelex does not charge an ATM withdrawal fee when you use your Travelex Multi-currency Cash Passport to withdraw currencies that are loaded on the card at overseas ATMs where MasterCard is accepted. The greater of 1.1% of the initial load / reload amount or AU$15.00 $0 Go to site More
    Rates last updated December 7th, 2016
    Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (MC) Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (VISA) Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Annual fee
    Bankwest Zero Platinum MasterCard
    An introductory offer on balance transfers with $0 annual fee. Complimentary travel insurance & 24/7 Concierge service and $0 foreign transaction fees.
    0% of transaction value $0 $0 p.a. Go to site More info
    28 Degrees Platinum MasterCard
    Benefit from no international transaction fees on purchases, no currency conversion fees and no annual fee.
    0% of transaction value $0 $0 p.a. Go to site More info
    Rates last updated December 7th, 2016
    $
    Monthly Account Fee Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Fee Free Deposit p.m. Details
    St.George Complete Freedom Account
    $0 Overseas ATM fee when you withdraw from the Global ATM alliance network.
    Visa $0 $2,000 No account keeping fees, if you deposit $2,000 per month plus no minimum balance required. No ATM fees when using St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. Open More
    Westpac Choice
    $0 Overseas ATM fee when you withdraw from the Global ATM alliance network.
    Mastercard $0 $2,000 No ATM fees when using St.George, Westpac, BankSA or Bank of Melbourne ATMs in Australia. Deposit at least $2,000 per month and enjoy no monthly service fee. Open More
    Bank of Melbourne Express Freedom
    $0 Overseas ATM fee when you withdraw from the Global ATM alliance network.
    Visa $0 $1,000 No ATM fees when you use Bank of Melbourne, St.George, Westpac and BankSA ATMs. No monthly fees if you deposit $1000 into your account each month. Open More
    Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account
    No overseas ATM withdrawal fees (charged by Bankwest), 3rd party ATM fees and international transaction fees may still apply.
    Mastercard $0 $2,000 No monthly fees when you deposit at least $2,000 into your account each month. Free access to Bankwest and CommBank ATMs in Australia. No overseas ATM withdrawal fees (charged by Bankwest) though third party fees may apply. Open More
    Citibank Plus Everyday Account
    No international transaction fees and no overseas ATM withdrawals fees if you use a Citibank ATM overseas.
    Visa $0 $0 No ATM fees using Citibank, Westpac, BankSA and St.George branded ATMs in Australia. Use overseas Citibank ATMs for free. More

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

     AucklandBudgetMidrangeExpensive
    sleep

    Hostel dorm

    $25 - $50 per night

    2 star hotel

    $30 - $130 per night

    5 star hotel

    $80 - $850

    food

    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.

    YearAverage annual exchange Australian Dollar (AUD) to New Zealand dollar (NZD)
    20121.278383
    20131.179829
    20141.087153
    20151.076405
    20161.089255
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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
    Cash
    • Greater payment flexibility
    • Convenience
    • More difficult to manage expenses
    • Higher risk of theft
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    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 too.

    The Citibank Plus Transaction Account is the only debit account on the market which won’t charge you for currency conversion or international ATM withdrawal, which makes it a good option to take on a trip to New Zealand. However, Citibank do not have a presence in New Zealand. If you use the Citibank Plus Transaction Account, you won’t pay for currency conversion or international ATM withdrawals, but the local ATM fee will still apply.

    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, though. 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 travel prepaid card

    With the exception of the American Express Globaltravel card, you can hold New Zealand dollars on 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 a 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 product 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.

    nzbanknotes

    NZcoins

    Back to top

    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. 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.

    Find cash and ATM's in New Zealand

    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

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    This page was last modified on 16 November 2016 at 14:53.

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    45 Responses to Travel Money Guide: New Zealand

    1. Default Gravatar
      Mick | September 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

      • Staff
        May | September 14, 2016

        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.

        Cheers,
        May

    2. Default Gravatar
      Margaret | July 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?

      • Staff
        Sally | July 29, 2016

        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.

        Cheers,

        Sally

    3. Default Gravatar
      LIM | July 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?

      • Staff
        Sally | July 29, 2016

        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.

        Cheers,

        Sally

    4. Default Gravatar
      Maree | July 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

      • Staff
        Sally | July 19, 2016

        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.

        Cheers,

        Sally

    5. Default Gravatar
      Mike | April 28, 2016

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

      • Staff
        May | April 28, 2016

        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.

        Cheers,
        May

    6. Default Gravatar
      Jessie | March 31, 2016

      I just got back from NZ and checked my account transactions and found that I had been charged $34 for withdrawing $1000 NZD using my CBA card in a Westpac ATM at Auckland Airport. Why is the charge so excessive?

      • Staff
        Sally | April 1, 2016

        Hi Jessie,

        Thanks for your question.

        As stated in our Commonwealth Bank Travel Money review and in the product disclosure statement, you’ll be charged NZD$3.50 per ATM withdrawal in New Zealand. However, the additional fees may have been charged from the local ATM provider.

        Usually, ATMs will state how much you’ll be surcharged when you withdraw funds, so you might have missed this warning when you were withdrawing your funds?

        If you’re still unsure, you may need to contact Commonwealth Bank directly to confirm that you haven’t been charged incorrectly.

        I hope this has helped.

        Cheers,

        Sally

    7. Default Gravatar
      joe | January 13, 2016

      Hi there. We are heading to nz soon and im looking at finances. I have a credit card and debit card with bankwest. Should i get NZ cash here in australia before i go and have my debit/credit card. Or organise to have a travel card as well? Which travel card would be best to use? As this is all new for me. Thanks

      • Staff
        Sally | January 14, 2016

        Hi Joe,

        Thanks for your question.

        As a financial comparison service, we can’t recommend any one specific travel money strategy as the ‘best’ option will depend on your financial situation and travel plans.

        It’s always good to have a mixture of travel money options (such as cash, debit card and credit card) to give yourself a backup in case of emergency. Plus, different travel cards are more suitable for certain situations. For example, you could use a debit card for smaller purchases and ATM withdrawals, cash for everyday transactions and credit cards for large purchases or emergencies. Consider how you intend to spend your cash overseas and this should help you decide.

        It’s difficult to compare whether you should take your Bankwest credit cards or debit card without knowing what card you’re using. If either of the cards offer no currency conversion fees on transactions made in foreign currencies, then they could come in handy overseas. Bankwest doesn’t have an ATM alliance in New Zealand, so you could also stand to collect ATM withdrawal fees as well.

        Most Australian travel cards support New Zealand dollars, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one that can help you manage your funds in New Zealand. Consider the other costs that come with the card (e.g. ATM withdrawal fees, card closure fees etc) as well as the features available through the card (such as a frequent flyer program) and determine which one will be of most use to you. You can begin comparing prepaid travel cards here.

        I hope this has helped.

        Cheers,

        Sally

      • Default Gravatar
        | January 14, 2016

        Thanks for the quick response Sally. I have checked out the traveller cards, and will certainly get one of these. You are right that a mix of cash, travel & credit are the best options. And the way you broke them down to uses of purchasing makes sense.

      • Staff
        Sally | January 15, 2016

        Hi Joe,

        Thanks for getting back to us.

        No worries at all. Glad to hear that you found the information useful.

        Good luck and enjoy your trip to New Zealand!

        Cheers,

        Sally

    8. Default Gravatar
      Greig | August 11, 2015

      Hi I am in Hawaii if I run out of money am I better to use my credit card or my effpos card? Thanks Greig

      • Staff
        Sally | August 12, 2015

        Hi Greig,

        Thank you for your question.

        However, as a financial comparison service, we can’t actually recommend any one product, strategy or service to our users as the best option will always depend on your individual needs and situation.

        Depending on which card you’re using, you may wish to use whichever option offers less currency conversion and foreign transaction fees.

        You may wish to visit our travel money guide for further tips and information.

        I hope this has helped.

        Thanks,

        Sally

    9. Default Gravatar
      Michael | July 5, 2015

      Can I bank a australian citibank cheque in New Zealand ?

      • Staff
        Sally | July 6, 2015

        Hi Michael,

        Thanks for your question.

        There are Citibank branches in New Zealand, so you should be able to bank your cheque in store.

        I hope this has helped.

        Thanks,

        Sally

    10. Default Gravatar
      Jordan | May 20, 2015

      Is new zealand money withdrawn from a NZ atm, with an australian debit card?

      • Staff
        Sally | May 22, 2015

        Hi Jordan,

        Thank you for your question.

        You can use any Visa debit card or MasterCard debit card in New Zealand, but most Australian debit cards will incur a currency conversion fee if you complete a purchase in a foreign currency.

        Visa and MasterCard credit cards are also widely accepted throughout New Zealand. You do however, need to keep in mind that you’ll be charged a cash advance fee for using ATMs, and if you withdraw cash you’ll start accruing interest straight away (usually at a much higher interest rate than for purchases). Credit cards also don’t have locked-in exchange rates, which can pose problems if you’re travelling to a budget. There may also be ATM fees – both from your bank and from the ATM operator – and foreign currency fees each time you withdraw.

        Travel cards are another option. If you load New Zealand Dollars onto your travel card, you can avoid incurring currency conversion fees when you complete purchases and transaction in New Zealand. Travel Cards also have the advantage of locking in the exchange rate for the funds that you ‘load’ on to the card before you go, so there’ll be no unexpected currency variations for each transaction as long as you have the currency you are using loaded on the cards.

        I hope this was helpful.

        Thanks,

        Sally

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