4 Easy and Economical Ways to Exchange Currency in New Zealand

Map with pins and currency to show where travellers have beenThis article will explore the various ways you can exchange currency in New Zealand. In this ultimate guide, we will cover everything you need to know about currency exchange in New Zealand.

This guide will cover:

  • The cheapest ways to buy currency
  • The ‘best’ way to buy currency
  • Currency tips and tools

The cheapest ways to exchange currency in New Zealand

You can buy currency online

Purchasing currency online is hands down the most popular way currency exchange in New Zealand. This is due to the convenience and cost-effectiveness of these websites. With new apps being released every day, there is always a new competitor in the field. There are so many providers to choose from. Which is great for you because it means rates and fees remain competitive. It can mean the choice is a little overwhelming.

Online websites also offer better exchange rates than in-store. It’s also extremely convenient to order the currency online and pick it up at a location that suits you best.

Using a specialist currency exchange store

The cheapest way to buy currency, particularly if you are buying larger amounts of US dollars or Euros, is to go into a store. Getting the best exchange rate comes down to how competitive the place you are buying it from is. In major city centres, there are more businesses selling currency that compete against each other and they can provide the best rates if you shop around.

The downside is that these places can have a limited supply of currencies, and will only stock a number of them. When buying currency online, you will get a lot more variety offered to you at better rates.

You can read our article about currency exchange in Auckland city, here.

Using your bank

Exchange rates from banks for common currencies, such as the US dollar and Euro dollars aren’t particularly competitive when compared to other currency exchanges providers. The upside to using your bank is that they are easy and convenient. For smaller transactions too, their exchange rates will not have such a drastic effect on your money so it might be worth going through them.

From a friend

We do not recommend buying currency from a friend, but buying the left-over currency from their holiday can be an option. It’s known as peer-to-peer or p2p. Basically, you arrange to buy your currency from a friend and work out an exchange rate that you both agree on. It’s so cheap because you are avoiding the costs, charges and margins of using a bank or money-exchanger. And if they are a close friend, you could negotiate mates-rates!

Overseas

Generally, we would recommend avoiding this. In some cases, it is cheaper to buy your currency in the country you are going to, rather than converting it before you leave. Good examples are Bali and Singapore. However, safety-wise this isn’t a good idea –  it is a lot harder to find the best exchange rate when you are outside of New Zealand, particularly if you don’t speak the local language.

You can use our comparison page to compare the rates and fees of different providers and banks for Currency Exchange in New Zealand.

The ‘best’ way to buy currency

When you want to buy currency for a holiday

Our recommendation: Order online. These days, very few banks charge a flat fee which means that the difference in cost lies in the exchange rate. With the emergence and development of more online companies, the exchange rate is far more competitive online than in-store.

If you need a non-mainstream currency

If you are travelling to some parts of Asia or another location that uses a less common currency, we would recommend using your bank. Banks will always have a larger variety of currencies available to you and are likely to be able to provide this. If you want a reasonable amount for your holiday, their exchange rates shouldn’t have a huge effect on your total.

Buying currency last minute

Don’t order it online. It usually takes at least 3-4 business days. Travelex offers a 1 business day pickup from the airport but you have to pay by card which will come with additional bank fees.

Alternatively, you could try Western Union with their Money in Minutes, they have 345,000 pick up locations worldwide.

Currency Tips and Tools

Here are some tips and tools to help you save money in general when either buying currency or transferring money internationally.

  • Look out for fees when researching the best method of payment
  • Always ask for a better rate if in-store
  • Call first
  • Shop around – it is generally recommended to buy some currency in cash before you travel. The rest is up to you, but do have a look at a variety of companies before you decide. You can use our comparison page too.

 

Case Study

Riley is planning on making the move to New Zealand from the UK. Although extremely excited for her adventure, she is nervous to be so far from home. If anything were to happen, she’ll be relying on her parents to help her financially. Riley also had to be very aware of the best way to take her GBP with her on her trip – as she has over £2000 with her, she didn’t want to carry that all in cash on her travels.

She noticed The Currency Shop provided simple articles explaining the best way to carry currency worldwide and decided to read through a few of the reviews. Due to the longevity of her stay, Riley knew she would be opening a local New Zealand account when she was there, but from what The Currency Shop recommended, money transfer companies were her best bet to transfer her GBP-NZD. She also knew the importance of carrying cash with her, as she will need to factor in the time it would take to transfer her money to New Zealand. It would likely be a couple of weeks before Riley could eventually access her funds in NZD.

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