Best Ways to Access Your Holiday Funds in New Zealand

Access your holiday funds in New Zealand

New Zealand is on many people’s bucket list — with such beautiful nature and friendly people, it’s not hard to understand why. The US dollar fares pretty well against the New Zealand dollar, but it still important to research the best ways to access your holiday funds in New Zealand.


Travel money cards, credit cards, and debit cards all have their ups and downs, but regardless whether your trip is for business or pleasure doing a bit of research ahead of time is going to save you money.


Purchasing New Zealand Dollars for Travel

Before you buy your travel currency be sure to check around, rates and fees can vary dramatically.


How Much Money Do You Need to Take to New Zealand?

The wise traveler knows it’s almost always best to show up with some cash and a card option as well. Cash is always going to be accepted but your card might not be and who knows, perhaps you’ll have a few too many pints and lose your wallet. So, how much should you actually bring?


This is, of course, a matter of personal preference and how much you’ll need depends on your lifestyle and budget. Here are some general guidelines:


DAILY BUDGET (Auckland) Low ($150) Mid ($150-500) High ($500)

$20-37 per night

Standard hotel

$150 per night

Luxury hotel or B&B

$250 per night (and up)

Fast Food



$30 per person

Fancy Restaurant

from $85 per person

Bus, subways


Campervan rental

$30 a day

Car rental, Toyota Corolla

$80 a day

*All prices are estimated in New Zealand Dollars


Exchange Rate and Currency Conversion Fees

A look at the big four banks shows the following: withdraw local currency at an ATM and your bank could add a $1 to $5 charge per transaction, and you may also pay a percentage — typically 1% to 3% — of the transaction amount. If that weren’t enough, the ATM’s owner may charge a few added New Zealand dollars.


Things You Should Know About Currency Exchange

To check out our top tips when buying currency, click here


How To Access Your Holiday Funds In New Zealand

Using A Credit Card in New Zealand

In terms of acceptance in New Zealand, Visa and Master are the clear winners, with American Express running a distant third. If you’re traveling on a modest budget don’t forget that with every credit card transaction there is no way of being sure the exact exchange rate being used.


The other negatives of using a credit card in New Zealand are:

  • Poor exchange rate
  • Foreign currency fees
  • Cash Advance fees


Using a debit card in New Zealand

You can of course opt to pay via direct debits or with cash (withdrawn from ATM) during your stay in New Zealand. But remember you are unlikely to be in control of the exchange rate in this scenario either and ATM withdrawal plus foreign transaction fees can add up quickly.


Only you know exactly how you’ll need to access your holiday funds in New Zealand and spend your money while abroad. So be sure to analyze things and come up with the method that best suits your needs.


Should you use a travel card in New Zealand?

While prepaid travel cards are commonplace for travelers from the rest of the world, they are a relatively new phenomenon for Americans.


It may be a tempting solution to load some New Zealand dollars onto a card and be done with it. But don’t forget about foreign transaction fees for ATM withdrawals, which can add up if your trip is a long one.


A better option may be locking down a good exchange rate back home and showing up with an ample cash supply. Then you can use your card(s) as a fallback in case of emergency.


There are always traveler’s checks, too. Although slightly dated this method is still used by some people and due to the ID check requirement the risk of theft is minimal. If they did get stolen (or more likely lost) replacement ones can get secured quickly.


For the most recent information and further advice talk, to one of our money travel experts at The Currency Shop.

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