Foreign Currency Options
Before you go
In the lead up to your trip, you should decide how much currency you plan on taking with you and keep an eye on exchange rates in order to get the best rate available. While you can usually exchange money when you reach your destination, it's generally advisable to have some local currency with you prior to arrival, particularly if you arrive late at night to pay for any incidentals you may require.
Foreign currency can be exchanged at most banks, hotels and selected outlets at your destination. It is less advisable to exchange your money at an airport or at street kiosks once you’ve arrived, as both are likely to charge a hefty commission. Should you need to change your money once you’ve landed, banks and licensed currency exchange outlets are likely to offer the best rates available on the day.
Types of foreign currency
Fluctuating exchange rates can impact on holiday spending habits, so understanding the value of the New Zealand dollar is helpful when it comes to managing your travel budget. One of the easiest ways to pay for goods and services overseas is to carry a sensible amount of local currency.
Major currency exchange specialists such as Travel Money carry stocks of all major currencies, while a wide range of other currencies are readily available to order in advance of your departure. Paying in cash helps avoid additional surcharges and ensures your travel funds are easily manageable.
Don't keep all of your cash on you when you're out and about. Take what you need and leave the rest securely at your accommodation.
Credit and Debit Cards
Where once travellers’ cheques were the preferred form of payment for holidaymakers, today credit cards have largely replaced them for making transactions overseas. The benefits of using either your credit or debit card overseas include not having to carry large amounts of cash and taking advantage of wholesale bank exchange rates.
Credit and debit cards can nevertheless incur additional surcharges, including fees of around 3% - 3.5% on all international purchases, as well as withdrawal fees for every ATM transaction. Your credit or debit card may also not be accepted in certain stores and ATM network coverage is not always extensive, so carrying a combination of cash and card is advised.
Make sure to tell your bank when you are travelling overseas. If they see different activity on your account they may freeze it, which can be quite a hassle when you're in another country!
Cash Passport / Pre-loaded Travel Card
A Travel Money Cash Passport is useful for travellers visiting more than one international destination. It allows you to pre-load a travel card with multiple currencies at a fixed exchange rate, as well as top up the balance of your account on your travels. You can manage your funds online at your convenience and avoid currency fluctuations by locking in a fixed rate prior to your departure.
Even if you’re only travelling to one international destination, a Cash Passport is a useful alternative to carrying cash, which is less secure and cannot be replaced if stolen or lost. You can top up your account on your travels and use your travel money card to withdraw cash at participating ATM outlets. Pre-loaded travel cards are fast becoming the preferred way for most travellers to take money overseas.
Check out our travel blog for our tips on travelling with card vs cash, as well as tips for travelling with credit cards.
The Multi-currency Cash Passport™ (“Cash Passport”) and Cash Passport™ Platinum Mastercard® (“Cash Passport Platinum”) are unsecured debt securities issued by EML Payment Solutions Limited (“Issuer”). Cash Passport and Cash Passport Platinum are not guaranteed by the Issuer or any other entity. Before you make a decision to acquire a Cash Passport or Cash Passport Platinum, we recommend you read the Product Disclosure Statement (link to https://www.cashpassport.co.nz/media/227361/cash_passport_platinum_-_pds...) for the relevant Cash Passport facility which is available free of charge here (link to https://www.cashpassport.co.nz/help/important-information/).
Mastercard® is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
* The exchange rates set out in this website apply to reload transactions that are booked on this website only and that are settled within four hours. Subsequent card reloads will be processed at the then prevailing exchange rate on the day of the reload transaction, and will be locked in at that rate. You will be notified of the exchange rate applicable before you confirm your transaction using a particular reload method. When you book a transaction and load NZD or a foreign currency directly onto your card, you will receive the exchange rate notified to you in the "Today's Exchange Rate for Direct Currency Loads" table. Where you conduct a purse to purse transfer and transfer funds already loaded on your card into another currency, you will receive a different exchange rate than when loading funds directly onto your card. You will be notified of the applicable exchange rate before you confirm your purse to purse transaction which may be less favourable than the rate displayed in the "Today's exchange rate for Direct Currency Loads" table. We will provide you with settlement instructions at the time you book a reload transaction. Different exchange rates will apply to card loads and reload transactions in our partner locations or to reload transactions that are conducted directly via Bank Transfer or Bill Payment (i.e. without booking an online transaction). For more information on how we set exchange rates please see the Terms and Conditions.
^ Some ATM operators may charge an additional withdrawal fee.
~ T&Cs apply. Customer must contact Customer service to report lost or stolen card. Emergency cash can be arranged up to the balance on your Cash Passport, subject to availability of funds at the approved agent location
Getting your foreign currency
A multi-currency prepaid travel card can be purchased in person from banks and currency exchange outlets, as well as from Travel Money stores around New Zealand.
Though less prevalent than they once were, travellers’ cheques are still accepted in some international outlets, including stores and restaurants, and can be ordered from participating currency exchange outlets and selected banks.
Travellers’ cheques have been largely superseded by alternative methods of payment and as such cannot easily be cashed, making them a largely redundant form of payment.
Travel Tip: Cash Passports or pre-loaded cards can be ordered online and posted to your preferred address.
Airport departure and arrival taxes are a common feature of international travel, however most taxes are included in the cost of your airline ticket. As a precaution against situations where departure and arrival taxes are not included in the cost of your flight, it can be helpful to carry a small amount of local currency with you to help pay for such costs.
The United States of America
United States Dollar - USD - $
Australian Dollar - AUD - $
British Pound - GBP - £
Most European countries
Euro - EUR - £
Japanese Yen - JPY - ¥
Indonesian Rupiah - IDR - Rp
Thai Baht - THB - ฿
Singapore Dollar - SGC - $
Hong Kong Dollar - HKD - $
Canada - CAD - $