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New Zealand Money

Of course you always want to have enough New Zealand money in your pockets when touring New Zealand. But what’s the best way to take care of that? Order New Zealand money in advance, rely on a credit or debit card or maybe take some traveller’s cheques with you?

It’s always a good idea to have some cash on you for the first one or two days of your New Zealand vacation. That way, you won’t have to queue up at the bureau de change at the airport, or start looking for a bank or ATM the minute you arrive. Furthermore, banks can be closed when you arrive (in New Zealand, banks are open from Monday to Friday between 9 am and 4.30 pm), and the nearest ATM can be temporarily out of order. Don’t take too much cash with you though, because when you loose it or it gets stolen, your travel insurance company probably won’t cover the loss. A good thing about New Zealand is that ‘eftpos’ is virtually everywhere, and most shops have no minimum spend limits – so you can use your card even just to buy the newspaper, meaning you don’t need to carry a lot of cash.

Credit and debit cards
Also make sure you have a credit card with you. Even if you don’t plan to use it in shops or restaurants, you’ll still need it to pick up your New Zealand camper van. The major credit cards (MasterCard and Visa) are widely accepted. American Express and Diners Club are accepted in a lot of places as well. Credit cards can also be used to withdraw New Zealand money from ATMs, although you’re better to use a debit card for cash withdrawals. By using a credit card you will be paying interest from the date you take the cash, even if you pay off your account on time. For both credit and debit card use in ATMs you’ll have to pay a small withdrawal fee, and withdrawal limits apply. To avoid this, put some money on your credit/debit card before you leave, that way you can cash more than the daily withdrawal limit at the counter of the bank. Make sure your card has a Cirrus or Plus logo, as most of the ATMs accept Cirrus cards.

Traveller’s cheques
For security reasons, you might want to have some traveller’s cheques as well. The big advantage of traveller’s cheques is that they are refunded when they are lost or stolen, usually within 24 hours. To replace a lost credit card can take much longer. It doesn’t matter whether your traveller’s cheques are in NZ dollars, US dollars or pounds; banks will cash all. Using traveller’s cheques can turn out to be more expensive than withdrawing New Zealand money from ATMs though. The exchange rate of ATM withdrawals is usually more favourable than the rates banks charge to cash traveller’s cheques.

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