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This article is a part of my travel tips series for New Zealand travellers.
You can see the rest of the Kiwi traveller guides by clicking.
As a New Zealander, finding the right bank, credit, and debit card options for travel has been quite a frustrating affair.
Banks in larger countries are faced with higher competition and are forced to give their customers bundles of perks, while in NZ the banks enjoy a nice oligopoly which leaves us at the mercy of a few big players.
What that means is we never enjoy double and triple frequent flyer point deals, large signup bonuses, zero foreign transaction fees and ATM fee refunds.
However, what we can do is arrange our money in a way that will keep our bank fees as low as possible.
Note: This is a long post with a lot of numbers.
In my case, the fee is 1.
Overseas ATM Fee: This is a fee charged for using an ATM outside your banking network.
As you can see, I wanted 10,000 pesos, but got charged 10,200.
So, how do we avoid this?
Choose a bank with no foreign ATM fees When I first wrote this article a few years ago, the only bank that offered free foreign ATM withdrawals was Westpac, through their membership with the.
Things have changed since then.
In early 2018, ANZ announced they were waiving ATM fees both in NZ and overseas, and ASB followed suit later in the year.
Meaning we now have three banks that waive all foreign ATM withdrawal fees.
ASB has a much lower FX fee than all the other major banks.
I usually withdraw the maximum so I can use the ATM as little as possible, so ASB suits me best.
Also, if any of you are wondering how you can use your NZ EFTPOS card at overseas ATMs, it works exactly the same as it does back home.
As long as your Eftpos card has a PLUS, Cirrus or Maestro symbol on the back, you can use it at almost any ATM in the world.
Check the back of your card and you should see one of those symbols, most NZ cards are either PLUS or Cirrus.
Some also offer free ATM withdrawals.
The 3 main ones are the Air NZ Onesmart, The Travelex Cash Passport and the Loaded for Travel card.
Onesmart The is a Mastercard debit card by Air NZ.
However the Onesmart does give you other perks, such as earning Air NZ Airpoints on your purchases and 3 free ATM withdrawals a month.
Getting the card is free.
Travelex Cash Passport is available from Travelex and also from ANZ and Westpac.
Could be better than a Onesmart though, depending on how often you plan on using it.
The Onesmart exchange rate is so crap that I would disregard it altogether — there is no way you would save money using it.
That leaves the Cash Passport and the Loaded card.
If you plan on doing mostly ATM withdrawals, take the Cash Passport — they are free and the exchange rate is passable.
Therefore I just use my regular EFTPOS card.
On that date the interbank rate was 0.
Still ok but any fee is a bad fee.
I personally do not want to add 2.
Unfortunately there is currently no bank in New Zealand that offers a card without foreign transaction fees, so this is unavoidable however if you live in Aussie, I would recommend grabbing yourself a or a — both have no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
For just purchasing stuff on your card in shops and buying train tickets etc, the Kiwibank Mastercard Zero will have the lowest fees.
If the average New Zealander uses an Airpoints credit card in their day-to-day life, they should easily get a free air ticket to Aussie or Bali each year.
Sometimes shops and websites will ask if you want to click at this page in NZD instead of local currency.
This can be a good idea sometimes.
Nine times out of ten they will have loaded the amount with a fee.
There are good opportunities to do this though.
Take a look at this example.
This is a hotel booking form from one of my favourite booking sites.
Therefore I often make online bookings in NZD assuming the rate is goodwhich eliminates foreign transaction fees and allows me to save my ATM withdrawn cash for other stuff.
Part 4: Foreign exchange fees The next fee and probably the most annoying one is the foreign exchange fee.
Basically they buy NZD from you at a cheap rate and sell it to someone else at an expensive one.
So how do we get the best rate?
The N26 card One new arrival on the travel scene is the rise of neobanks or mobile banks.
While we have yet to get one in New Zealand, they have been popping up all over Europe and the UK.
Basically, mobile bank account that you manage completely through an app on your phone.
You also get free ATM withdrawals and no foreign exchange fees!
If you are travelling around Europe, this is the best possible card you can have.
While you can sign up for N26 with a NZ passport, your account must be registered to a European address.
Also if you still have access to a European address from a previous trip, you could still try and apply.
It is hands down the best bank account I have — I love it.
When it comes time to load your N26 account from NZ, just do a bank transfer it comes with a bank account number, remember!
You can just use — super easy.
What do I use?
So that was a lot of info.
Nothing else is anywhere near as good.
Also good to have article source as a backup.
I use this for pretty much everything I buy while in New Zealand.
Between these options I manage to keep my bank fees reasonably low — in fact you might have noticed every single card has no annual fee.
The only fees I pay are for currency conversions.
I also get to earn a few frequent flyer points along the way.
What should you use?
This all depends on your travel specifics.
This earns you Airpoints, which equals free flights every year.
They are simply awesome.
I have a longer write up on N26.
I would go with a for purchases, and a Westpac or ASB For ipad money old card for ATM withdrawals.
It might all seem pedantic, but those fees do really add up.
Flying out of New Zealand can be expensive but if you follow some basic tips you can find something affordable and save some money.
Prices are on par or even cheaper than new zealand money into australia New Zealand companies.
I use them often.
You will find many good offers that will be cheaper and more comfortable than hotels and hostels.
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Another great usuful post Bren!
I avoid inactitve fees using my card now and then in That spending money in vegas sorry and plan on using it for the 2 years the card is valid for so wont pay to cancel it.
I heard, but have not verified, that if you put money into your normal credit card, as in paying it more that you owe, you dont pay international transaction fees, It would be pretty good if it is true but I am still very jealous of canadians and americans with their awsome deals and rewards!!!
Otherwise I would definitely be doing that.
I feel like I remember reading in your elance post that you worked in finance or something before.
Great post — thanks for doing all that research and sharing it with everyone.
What I meant is that I tried to pay with my card as much as I can instead of getting cash from an ATM.
For the amount of money I loaded for my Italy trip I would have to withdraw cash many times for Loaded for travel to be more expensive than Cash passport because of the loading fee and exchange rate difference.
All depends on how you plan on using it I guess.
Thanks for that info Bren.
I emailed you through a question in regards to the money situation about a month ago and wanted to thank you for your reply.
My partner and I decided to go with the westpac credit card and the Air NZ Onesmart card as we already had both of these.
Thanks for all the other informative blogs.
Off to Indonesia next week to start our backpacking adventure around asia!
Yes I believe they do, I know Westpac does anyway.
I presume there is not offshore service charge because the money has already been changed to the local currency… As far as I know the Westpac card can only be used for ATM withdrawals.
As for the prepaid cards, there will be no fees if you have money loaded in the correct currency.
What would you recommend?
Would hotels, car rentals etc accept the Onesmart card?
Also, do you know from your experience whether the States is a cash friendly place to visit or do merchants prefer credit cards?
Yes I was also using my Westpac card in the States, there are no ATM withdrawal fees but they do charge a currency conversion fee when you make a withdrawal which was quite hefty at 2.
To answer your other questions, the Onesmart should be accepted anywhere that accepts Mastercard.
Most of the states should be card friendly — depends on the city I guess.
Hope that helps, Bren Have you done any research on opening up accounts with international banks?
I know a lot of my American friends use Charles Schwab.
They offer great interest rates and no fees for overseas ATM withdrawals.
Hey Kate, no worries!
This post was exactly what I have been looking for.
Joining ANZ however does not seem very helpful as to get to the ATM locations would cost me more new zealand money into australia the fees required normally, the ATMS are too far and few.
Thanks for this post however very helpful and informative.
I am planning on using the westpac card in most of my journey through Europe and USA but I will be doing a bit of travel in Asia first so I have just done a bit of research, and looking at Westpac, BNZ, ANZ and Kiwibank they all charge 2.
As stated above I would not really be willing to go with the ANZ card as it seems to be a bit awkward to get to the ATM locations.
Are there other hidden transaction costs that I am not seeing here with the onesmart card?
Would like to know your thought.
Last I checked ASB only charges 1.
I have an ASB, a Westpac and a Onesmart and I cycle them, depending on the situation.
Hi Bren, thanks for your post!!
My question to you, is whether you have travelled SA and whether you had any trouble finding the global banks aligned with Westpac to avoid fees???
I will also keep my ASB cards as the give a marginally better conversation rate than westpac.
In other words, withdraw from your ASB checking account rather than your credit account.
And is it possible?
Cheers Graham Hi Graham.
And yes, that will avoid the foreign currency rates.
Hi Bren, Just been reading your useful article.
I have a Warehouse Credit card and overseas transaction fees are only 1%!
This is easily the cheapest.
Cheers Paul PS I am in the process of contacting Charles Swarb bank USA re opening a no fees chequeing ac in USA for a Kiwi resident.
I will post on their reply.
Until then I pay with most things in cash.
Do let me know what Charles Schwab say!
Hi Bren, Just had an online chat session with Charles Schwab.
It is possible to open an account with them for free chequeing and them also providing a Visa card!
It has after all been converted from a currency that is not mine at some stage!!
Westpac credit cards WERE free if your card was money download casino all this credit but they axed that about 6-7 years ago!!
Hi and thank you!
I am going to Cambodia and so got myself a ANZ account for free ATM cash withdrawals but will have to pay 2.
My Kiwibank Air NZ mastercard only charges 1.
Any experience of this double ATM charge in Cambodia please?
Difficult to work out which option will cost less.
ANZ banks are there but I only saw one or two.
They use USD there too.
We are getting slammed in Central and South America using our ANZ australia account, so have switched back to kiwibank unfortunately not much cash on that side of the ditch.
ANZ Australia and Westpac Australia both charge a 3%!!!
To answer the global alliance questions, the only countries in Central and South America that are included are Mexico apparently difficult to find but I never triedPeru and Chile.
Nicaragua for example was the best, they basically converted at the mid-market rate everywhere.
Also, had a look at the Charles Schwab thing.
Our US friends are always rubbing it in our faces… Thanks again JC Yes, Ecuador is great because they use the USD.
ASB is still the best I know of for that region.
Just try and take your money out in big chunks to keep the number of withdrawals as low as possible.
Hi Bren I live in the USA and I have a ASB card that I use!
What is the best option for me to cut down on offshore fees?
Hi Bren, thank you for the article.
Appreciate the work you have put in explaining these financial issues to a lay person like me.
Can I ask if you know of the best travel card for Thai Baht?
I will be heading to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos but most of my time will be in Thailand.
I bank with ASB and have a Visa Debit Card.
Thanks, Hi Colm, Thailand is not great for Kiwis when it comes to currency.
Alternatively you could do it in Cambodia, because the ATMs there give USD, then you can change that to local currency in the other countries.
Hi Bren, Great information here about the charges on the cards and the best ones to use overseas, but the other side to this is the customer service backup when things go wrong.
I have contacted Kiwibank more info times over the last 10 days and they have been so unresponsive and I cannot believe the lack of response to this serious situation.
There systems and customer support are obviously not sophisticated enough to deal with problems when things go wrong.
People really need to check the support they will get before deciding on which card to use.
They should definitely use one of the bigger banks and not Kiwibank and Loadedfortravel.
Hi Louise, thanks for the tip.
Really good information thanks!
Just wanted to let people know if they travel to Singapore and Malaysia, moneychangers are very heavily regulated by the respective governments.
But NEVER ever change your cash at the airport, the rates are terrible and nobody local would ever do that!
This is so helpful, thank you so much!
Love this blog post!
Which is best please?
If it were me, I would just withdraw everything from ATMs in South Africa.
You can either just use your eftpos card or if you prefer you can get a travel card.
Loaded for Travel is probably the best card for that amount of money as there is no load fee.
We are off to the UK, Europe and Dubai and am just debating how much cash to carry vs loading my Onesmart.
Decisions decisions, any hot tips for Europe would be much appreciated.
There are Global Alliance ATMs in UK and Europe so you can use Westpac for free ATM withdrawals but they charge 2% conversion fee anyway which can add up to quite a lot.
But try and figure out which one will work best based on your budget.
ASB is fine too — they charge 1.
Onesmart is probably not a good idea as the rates are usually really bad on that.
Great tips Bren My ASB Visa Platinum reward card has a 2.
What am I missing?
Plus I often use my ASB cash card over my Westpac at ATMs these days, as the fee usually works out lower.
Crunch some numbers and if it works out cheaper for you to go Visa then go for it!
The Gem onecard Visa now has a currency conversion fee of 1.
By simply prepaying your credit card you avoid the interest on the cash advance.
Just gotta keep an eye out!
Slightly different thread but the lounge benefits of the Amex card rocks!
The free food and grog was spectacular,we were like kids in a candy store.
Nearly worth flying to Sydney for lunch!
Thanks for great info Bren.
Used Westpac alliance to withdraw cash on last trip mainly in France and Italy.
This time it is Croatia and Greece — seems no global alliance ATM options there and no ANZ branches.
I usually just use an ASB eftpos card and will take the max withdrawal out of the ATM.
Not perfect but will get the job done.
What a can of worms this is.
Fortunate to have a son in England who will get me Euros and Pounds, which has the disadvantage of carrying a lot of cash, but which avoids a lot of fees.
I can load up my ASB Visa so that it is in credit and any overseas ATM withdrawals come new zealand money into australia at Fastcash rates of 1.
Thanks heaps I had a friend who used the Loaded for Travel debit card.
Because she was buying everything with plastic it worked out best for her — it has a low loading fee and she never did ATM withdrawals.
Thanks so much for all your advice Bren on this site, it has really helped me a lot on my travels.
Can I ask for your thoughts here…im going to North Cyprus for 8-10weeks.
They use Turkish lira, but also evidently Euro and English Pounds are accepted.
I have an ANZ debit card and a Onesmsrt Card.
What should I do money wise.
I leave next week.
I am not making money so am always using NZ dollars as my main source.
For that period of time I would probably avoid using your Onesmart.
The exchange rate will catch up with you a lot.
Thanks for the reply.
Wish I had known about your site sooner!
I am planning to try and be away for at least 12 months.
Sorry to ask another two questions…so am I actually better off using my ANZ eftpos visa debit card in atm machines rather than converting NZ dollars to euros on my Onesmart card and then using that to withdraw money.
Thanks Been in advance for your suggestions.
But with the data I have it looks like your ANZ card would be better for actually paying for things with your card.
ANZ would give you a better rate but Onesmart ATM withdrawals are free, so it will probably even out.
Again it really depends on how much you withdraw and how often.
Hi Bren, Thanks heaps for your article.
I am travelling to Switzerland for 6 weeks shortly and I am wanting to know the best way to get money and pay for things while over there.
I am wondering if it is better just to use my Westpac eftpos card at shops since doing this or using an ATM will have the 2.
Thanks for your help.
The best card to use at an ATM would be an ASB EFTPOS card.
Westpac is expensive to use at ATMs.
Otherwise it might even be worth getting Swiss Francs from the bank in New Zealand and taking them with you.
Just finished https://money-slots-promocode.site/money-210/hack-minecraft-money-7510.html 3 year trip and boy this kinda info woulda been usefull.
Had to make do with ANZ Eftpos very useful in Asia overall most places for compatibility ASB Debit visa unfortunately has 2.
It is now a Platinum Mastercard if you notice, and has the Mastercard Platinum Benefits also like inclusive travel insurance etc.
ASB EFTPOS is still the best I know of for standard ATM withdrawals.
Gah correction been looking at this and Travel insurance only for Platinum Visa, though there are some standard fraud benefits as standard Hey Bren, Thanks for the article.
I feel my ASB visa debit card and extra cash would be more than enough.
Hey Bren, What an extremely useful blog — thanks for sharing!
Will also look to open an ANZ account in case we find those ATMs for eftpos.
Can I ask whats the benefit of having a Kiwibank and AMEX that earn Airpoints?
Why not stick to one, e.
Hi Bren, Thanks so much for this post — so, so helpful!
Would you recommend getting a Westpac for the smaller withdrawals which I already have an account with and an ASB Streamline account for the larger withdrawals?
If you plan on doing lots of small withdrawals definitely take a Westpac card with you.
The ATM fee really just depends, kind of 50-50.
More often in some countries than others.
For example Thailand always has it.
Cheers The most I ever tried to take out was 1,000 euros and it worked fine.
When I compared the Air NZ card which won Canstar 5 star rating….
Just got a Westpac Account.
Had a lot of interesting questions.
She states the US has a right to request access to your bank account details if it deems it necessary to.
This is an agreement 3 years ago many countries have signed up to just to allow the US no other country mind you to allow snooping on your bank account details if they want.
Hi Bren, This was a great read.
What would you suggest?
Cheers Dominic Hi Dominic.
Getting my card was really quick just a few days.
Hi there, great post.
Not much choice in NZ but you have made it easier for me.
Luckily have an ANZ no fee eftpos card and a no fee credit card.
Hi mate, Great blogg for kiwis, Really good work on here, thank you.
The AMX air points card you use in NZ only, Would i still be able to use this overseas for retail purchases and online purchases air tickets etc and gain air points or new zealand money into australia you only get points when buying in nz?
Hi Bren, I am about to go to Oz for an extremely short trip so was trying to find out how to get cash out using my eftpos card.
Looked on a number of sites before stumbling on to your blog.
This is the most helpful article i have found!
Wish I had found it earlier!
Taking into account the airpoints it would seem that the Amex would be the best option e.
This is compared to: — Mastercard Zero 1.
Only thing I can think of is that the AMEX might not be accepted everywhere.
So it would be good to have the Mastercard on hand just in case.
That will give you a Mastercard in Euros you can use on European soil.
Hi Bren, When I use my kiwibank platinum MasterCard on international transactions, I get charged a 1.
Airpoints accumulation only applies to transactions not cash withdrawals though.
Am I missing something?
Cheers Antony Hey Antony.
Hi Bred, how come you use transfer wise over the normal ASB international transfer option.
Cheers in advance Hey Joel, I use TW because last time I sent money using the ASB service they took a huge chunk off the other end.
Also, Transferwise fees are much lower if you use the bank deposit option over the credit card option, and faster.
Just much better overall!
Hi Bren, thanks for your posts.
Found this one great and the shengen visa one too.
We are travelling to Spain in sept to spent the next year cruising the Med on a boat, then sailing to the Carribean, thru the Panama Canal, and back down to NZ through French Polynesia.
How strict is this?
Like, can I use the address of a marina we will be at for a week or so?
Or maybe my cousins address in Spain?
Will they need proof that I live there or anything?
Thanks in advance for any help.
Your cousins address will probably be fine, as long as you have access to the mail there.
Do you have to give proof of address when signing up for an N26 card?
Or can I just use a friends address or address of a place I am staying at?
However, with a Westpac global alliance banks, the Westpac overseas + local ATM fees are both waved.
So potentially this can be a better deal although less coverage compared with the ANZ card.
Thanks for your blog, it has been very informative Hey Michael, Just get them both.
Both banks have free accounts, and you can easily move money between them with internet banking.
Hi Bren, we are off to India for three weeks.
Very hard to find information on the best way to access money while there.
Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Erica, Take some USD with you, take an ANZ eftpos card to use at ATMs and a standard Mastercard or Visa as a backup.
For two years on the road, it is hands down the best option and will save you tons of money.
Hi Bren, I just opened an account at TransferWise, using my NZ address, so now I am wondering if I can still open an N26 account using an address in Sweden I have access to.
We are going to be in Europe for a couple of months next year so would love to have that N26 card…but given how closely they work together, have I shot myself in the foot?
Thanks very much I did it, and it worked fine.
Hi Bren, as others have said — great post thanks!
I just wanted to double check with you what you think the best approach for us will be.
We are taking our four kids to Europe and the UK to travel in a motorhome for 8 months and will travel as cheap as poss but it will add up.
Currently we are Westpac and Kiwibank customers.
It sounds like the best approach for us would be to withdraw large amounts of cash on go here asb eftpos card as we travel so as to minimise fees.
Is this still the case you think?
And what credit card would you recommend for Europe and the UK?
We currently only hold Westpac platinum I think.
I use that card exclusively now on all my travels worldwide.
As for your backups, I would take an ASB Eftpos, and then just any credit card, Westpac would be fine.
Just came across this a week before flying out — too late to get the Warehouse Visa unfortunately, but will be in the UK in a few months so a reminder to sign up for an N26 account in now in my calendar!
Thanks for all the time put in to writing these posts, they are really helpful.
This is a great post, thanks.
Yes, NZ is really behind the curve on this one.
I am only 21 and live in Beijing at the moment, but have been in Europe for a few months for research purposes.
Or if you have access to an address there you could apply for one now.
Hey Brendon, thanks for the great tips.
Just wondering is it possible to start up a foreign currency account and transfer money into it using transferwise then use a card issued for that currency?
Do any big international banks like HSBC offer cards for their foreign currency accounts?
The closest to this is going to be the N26 card that I mentioned in the post.
I transfer NZD into it using Transferwise and now I use my N26 card for literally everything while travelling and even in NZ sometimes.
Thanks for a great post!
I am living in NZ but going traveling around Europe soon and I want to get a n26 card.
Do they ask for proof of address?
Yep, list that as your living address.
Travelling through Asia soon and you have definitely helped clarify some things and provided some great check this out />Cheers This is such a good post.
If you want to buy foreign, you want the HIGHEST rate; if you want to swap foreign for with philippines new money 2019 similar, you want the LOWEST rate.
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