Before I went on my trip, I wasn’t sure how I should go about spending my money overseas.
As I was away for 3 months I didn’t want to just take cash with me and I didn’t want to use my Credit Card for everything either.
In this post, I’ll talk about the different types of cards you can get in New Zealand to help you spend your hard earned cash overseas!
(If you’re interested in one particular card, scroll through and see the benefits I’ve researched about that card)
Click the title of the card to head to the website 🙂
ONESMART – AIR NEW ZEALAND
This is the card I used when I was travelling and I loved it.
As I’m an Air NZ frequent flier member it was beneficial for me to use. For every NZ $100 I spent overseas, I received 1 Airpoints Dollar. (Which is basically $1 That can go towards a flight)
So if you have about NZD $1,000 on your card and you spend it all, that’s still $10 that can go towards a flight or something from the Air NZ Airpoints store.
The card works like many of the travel cards I’m going to talk about. It has a travel wallet function that lets you lock in up to four foreign currencies before you travel. So you can have either Australian dollars, US dollars, Pounds sterling, Euro, Canadian dollars, Hong Kong dollars, Japanese yen and Singapore dollars.
First of all, before you go, you need to load money in the New Zealand dollar wallet of your OneSmart Account, then you can lock in an exchange rate on up to four foreign currencies at any one time. The have an app you can use and it’s so easy to just move money around into different wallets and it gives you the exchange rate at that time so you know how much you’re going to have in the other currency before you move it.
I traveled to the US first so before I went, I budgeted for $100 USD a day and put all that money into my 1 wallet.
When I made a purchase in the states, the OneSmart Account recognized this and automatically took money from that currency wallet!
I went to the UK next for 5 days so I put 500 Pounds in my ‘Pounds wallet’ and it did the same thing and took money out of my ‘Pounds wallet’ I had set up.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a wallet for places like Switzerland where they use Swiss Franc, or when I went to Croatia and had to use their currency called Croatian Kuna.
The OneSmart card is pretty smart however, when I paid for stuff in Switzerland it automatically took money out of my Europe wallet as it was the closest currency to what I was trying to use.
Same as Croatia, it just took money out of my Euros.
You can also use the card for shopping online. You just enter the 16 digit MasterCard number, expiry date and security code as you would with your debit or credit card and make your purchase.
It’s great if you’re shopping on a European website and you have Euro’s left on your card, you can just use them!
- Getting Airpoint Dollars (If you’re an Air NZ Member)
- Three free international ATM withdrawals per month
- Can use it anywhere Mastercard is accepted
- Lock in exchange rates when they’re good
- It never charged me any fees to swipe my card in stores all around the world (Even for random little $10 purchases) **
- You can download a handy OneSmart App on your Iphone or Android to see how much money you have and view your transactions
- It’s free to load funds!!
- You can sign up for YAP Mobile Services where it sends you texts every time you make a transaction (Costs like 10c per text though)
- E-mails you whenever you make a purchase saying how much you spent. GREAT as I always knew when my card was being used
- I only had 1 OneSmart card and needed another (As a back-up) so they quickly sent one to the place I was staying in LA for me. Got there so fast!!
- CHIP + PIN protected
** – This just happened for me, I don’t know if I just got lucky or they actually don’t charge you.
Cash Passport Mastercard
I’ve used this card twice.
Once when I went to Thailand (And it was great) and the other when I went to Bali (Not so great)
These are the cards you always see at Flight Centre or ANZ if you bank with them. They will usually recommend this Travel Card to you.
I know they have a deal on at the moment that if you get this card you’ll get an extra $25 NZD* of travel money when you choose Cash Passport.
It works similar to the OneSmart card. It has 9 Currencies on the card NZD, AUD, EUR, USD, GBP, JPY, CAD, HKD & SGD. And it has its different ‘wallets’ as such where you can load money into them and lock in the current exchange rate.
Back when I went to Thailand, I’m so sure that Thai Baht was one of the currencies on the card so I was never charged any ‘conversion’ fees. However, now when I look at their website it seems they don’t have Thai Baht as one of the currencies anymore which is a bit disappointing.
However I went on the Australian website for Cash Passport and they do! Weird…
Anyways, the reason I wasn’t too fond of this card was because in Bali as their currency wasn’t one of the ones available on the card, I was charged the MasterCard® rate plus 5.95% every time I withdrew money. I think I was just more annoyed that my travel agent didn’t tell me that when I said I’d be using it.
I found that in Bali, you can only get out a certain amount of money at a time (which is not much) so I was always getting charged 5.95% of however much I withdrew whenever I needed money.
You also have to pay when you first get the card and put money on it through your travel agent. This fee is set and charged by the agent from which you purchased the Card.
“For example, for an agent charging a 1.0% initial load fee, if you purchase a Multi-currency Cash Passport Card and load NZ$800, you would be charged (NZ$800 x 1.0% = NZ$8), unless a minimum fee of NZ$10 applies.”
I also hated how I couldn’t choose my own PIN number. It automatically came with the card and you’d have to remember it. Not so good when you’re drunk and trying to enter your card number at an ATM in Thailand which then proceeds to freeze your card as you’ve done the PIN incorrectly 5 times.
- Replacement Card is Free
- Automatically comes with 2 cards (Different PIN numbers on each)
- Prepaid and re-loadable.
- Lock in exchange rates and know exactly how much foreign currency you have to spend
- International ATM withdrawal fee (outside New Zealand) is free
- Can be used in-store, online or to withdraw cash from international ATMs in local currency
- Has an APP so you can track your money
- Is automatically set up as a Payee with ANZ banking
- CHIP + PIN protected
- 24/7 Assistance overseas (has a number to call on the card) so you can cancel/report you card stolen or lost. Get your PIN read back to you, or talk to someone at Cash Passport
Westpac Travel Card
I’ve never used this card before, but I think my friend used it in Thailand because her Mum worked for Westpac.
It’s a little different to the other cards as you don’t have any money locked into an exchange rate.
It works more like a pre-paid card. You buy it from Westpac for $20 with some cash to put on it and the load it up with a PIN number.
You can use it anywhere VISA is accepted and withdraw cash from overseas ATM’s. You’ll also pay no international transaction fee – saving you up to NZ$8 every time. Westpac is the only bank in New Zealand to give you this saving.
As you don’t have any wallets on your card where you can change your money into currencies like USD or THB , whenever you use your Westpac credit or debit card to withdraw money from overseas ATMs your transactions will incur a foreign currency conversion fee. This is currently 2.5% of the New Zealand converted value of the foreign currency transaction amount.
- Can use it anywhere VISA is accepted
- You won’t over-spend as you’re spending what you’ve loaded onto your card
- Safer than carrying Cash around
- You can top up the card using Online Banking or Phone Banking while you’re overseas (or ATMs, or at a Westpac branch if you are in NZ)
- Unlimited maximum load of money
- Can be 13 years and older to have one
- You don’t need to be a Westpac Customer
LoadedFor Travel Card – NZ Post
I haven’t used this Travel Card, But I was reading up on it last night for someone else as they were going to Thailand. It’s another pre-paid travel card where you can load up to 11 different currencies.
- New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
- Australian Dollar (AUD)
- United States Dollar (USD)
- Great Britain Pound (GBP)
- Euro (EUR)
- Canadian Dollar (CAD)
- Singapore Dollar (SGD)
- Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)
- Thai Baht (THB)
- Japanese Yen (JPY)
- South African Rand (ZAR)
The order in which they are displayed is also the wallet order in which the card goes through to find funds in when you are trying to pay for something and you don’t have enough currency in the relevant currency wallet.
It works like the OneSmart card, so if you’re shopping in America and you have USD loaded onto your card, the card will recognize that and take money out of that wallet.
It works just like a Credit Card so it’s accepted anywhere that has Visa, except instead of owing the bank any money, you’re just using the money you already loaded onto it at the Post Office.
However much you load at one time, for each currency, the reload fee is just 1% but capped to a maximum of NZ$10 each time for each load. You’re also given a second card just incase you loose the first one while you’re travelling.
To get one of these cards, just head to your nearest KiwiBank or Post Office with some ID like a drivers license and a eftpos card with your name on it or your passport.
I was looking over the fee’s associated with this card and I still think using the OneSmart Card is better. (But it really depends on your preference)
You get one free ATM Balance Enquiry every month at an ATM but after that you pay $1 when you use your card to make an ATM balance Enquiry at a New Zealand or overseas ATM.
It also charges you NZD $6 every time you make a withdraw overseas.
When you use your card for a transaction in a currency other than New Zealand dollars and the other 10 currencies on the card, you’re charged 2.5% of the Currency used to make the payment.
There’s a very small charge to load money onto the card and it’s $12 to set up the card in the first place.
Overall, I guess the fee’s aren’t too bad. I just wouldn’t want to be paying NZD $6 every time I made a withdrawl from an ATM. But that’s just me being Cheap 😉
- Can be 10 years old and above to have one
- Has Chip & PIN for security
- You have a card to use straight away and a second card for emergencies in case your first card is lost, stolen or retained by an ATM.
- If you buy it from the Post Office, it’s already activated
- Your NZD Wallet & 1st Currency wallet is free to set up (The next wallets have a fee)
- You can load up to 11 currencies, or have as little as 2
- Can load it with money at the Post Shop instantly
- If you’re a KiwiBank Customer you can transfer money over and it’s instant (Other banks take up to 2 days)
- Choose to load your card when the exchange rates are looking good.
- Use up any remaining balance shopping online or using your local ATM.
Credit Cards/Debit Cards
The only time I used my Credit Card overseas was when I paid for my accommodation. I set up a bank account before I left and put all the money I knew I needed for my accommodation in there, and when it came to paying I’d just pay with my Credit Card and then immediately pay it off. I actually ended up over-saving because I wasn’t sure with the exchange rates how much I’d need.
ANZ Credit Cards & Debit Cards Fees (From talking with someone from ANZ)
- ANZ customers don’t have to pay any fees on withdrawals from everyday and savings accounts at ANZ ATMs in Australia and 18 other countries throughout Asia Pacific.
- There is a 2.5% currency conversion fee on the New Zealand dollar equivalent of what is spent on purchases on a Visa debit or Credit card.
- If withdrawing cash from an ATM machine there is also the same currency conversion fee along with a $5.00 overseas ATM fee (unless displayed otherwise on the ATM).
- You would also be charged cash advance interest at a rate of 22.95% per annum (subject to change) when using the credit cards credit limit for the cash advance. Of course using your own funds from your bank account via Visa debit wouldn’t have this interest rate charged.
BNZ Credit Cards & Debit Card Fees (From the BNZ Website)
- When you buy things and make cash withdrawals in foreign currencies using your credit or debit card overseas, you’ll be charged a foreign currency service fee. The fee is 2.25% of the transaction (in NZ dollars).
- Also, remember if you withdraw cash from your credit card (cash advance), interest accrues straightaway and you won’t earn any rewards on the amount you withdraw.
Westpac Credit Cards & Debit Card Fees (From the Westpac.co.nz website)
- The Credit Cards & Debit Cards seem to have a $8 fee per transaction whenever you use them in an ATM overseas.
- You will also get charged 2.50% NZD of the converted value of foreign currency transaction amount
- Cash advances overseas always incur a charge
- To find out your balance on an ATM overseas with Debit Cards is 60c
Kiwibank Credit Cards & Debit Card Fees
- Overseas Cash Advance is $6 per transaction.
- When you need an emergency cash advance overseas without a card. $52 per request.
- When you use your credit card for a foreign currency transaction. 1.85% of the New Zealand dollar amount is charged once converted.
- If you urgently need another card overseas, it’s $52 per request
- For Debit cards, it’s $1 when you make a balance enquiry overseas
ASB Credit Cards & Debit Card Fees
- For overseas transactions made using your ASB Visa card, Offshore Service Margins of 2.10% of the New Zealand dollar amount of the transaction are charged.
- $7.50 Overseas ATM or Teller Fee
- For overseas card transactions made using your FastCash or Cashflow card Offshore Service Margins of 1.10% of the converted New Zealand dollar amount are charged
I’d say if you were going somewhere where you needed to pay in Cash alot of the time (Say for tipping in America or South East Asia for market shopping) I’d defiantly bring cash or a travel card so you’re not paying ‘Cash Advance’ fees all the time on your Credit Card.
A tip for overseas- hide some money in your suitcase just incase!
Wallets do get stolen. And cards do get lost.
To really enjoy your holiday, try not to compare the exchange rates when you’re shopping overseas. When you live in NZ and you go overseas you’ll find that you’re spending alot more money on stuff compared to back home (As I write this our exchange rate is shit)
Unless you go to South East Asia than compare all you want!!