Helpful things to know about handling money in New Zealand

When making certain transactions in New Zealand (and probably other countries as well), you sometimes have the option of paying in New Zealand Dollars (NZD) or USD. When still in the USA, I asked two of my financial institutions, is it better to pay in NZD or USD? The answer both times was USD–WRONG! I read somewhere on the web that I should do the opposite so when booking a flight on Air New Zealand I tried paying in New Zealand Dollars since the price was posted in NZD. If you select USD, they show you the equivalent amount in USD. I made a note of it and switched to NZD and paid. Afterwards I checked my online credit card info and sure enough, the amount posted in USD was a bit less than I would have been charged had I chosen to pay in USD. It wasn’t a lot but why pay more when you can pay less!

Two other things to note. Before I came to New Zealand, I read that a Barclaycard won’t charge any foreign transaction fees. This has also proven to be true. And for withdrawing cash from ATMs a lot of people recommended a Charles Schwab account. They will refund any foreign transaction charges incurred at the end of the month. That also has proven to be true. Another thing that is nice about both cards is that they are chip cards which are more secure than swipe only cards. Not many card readers in the US, at least in Vermont, have implemented chip readers. All the readers I’ve used here are chip readers.


Author: korkiley

Systems Administrator at University of Vermont (retired as of 7/1/2012) Married Favorite Activities: Condor Glider Online Competition, Developing web sites, making espresso, and keeping a blog

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