Where to Get the Cheapest Currency Exchange in New Zealand
A fiddly but compulsory aspect of planning a trip to New Zealand is getting some New Zealand Dollars. In order to avoid paying for everything on your credit/debit card, in turn, paying unnecessary fees, it’s a good idea to just pay one (or two or three) currency exchange fees and pay your way with cash. But where are the best places to exchange money in New Zealand? Find out with this New Zealand currency exchange guide.
To compare the different methods of paying for things in New Zealand, including cash, debit and credit cards, check out The Best Way to Pay in New Zealand.
Is it Better to Exchange Money in New Zealand or Overseas?
Better exchange rates, therefore cheaper currency conversions, to the New Zealand Dollar, can be found in New Zealand compared to overseas. This is often due to overseas currency exchange bureaus and banks having to buy in the New Zealand Dollar themselves before selling it to customers. Of course, there are exceptions, but if you’re unsure whether your local overseas currency exchange bureau offers a good deal, the general rule is that you’ll likely get cheaper exchange rates in New Zealand.
Exchanging currency overseas, however, does come with the benefit of being prepared with some New Zealand Dollars before arriving in New Zealand. This often brings peace of mind knowing that exchanging currency is something you can remove from your list of things to do on arrival.
Currency Exchange at New Zealand Airports
Your first encounters with currency exchange bureaus in New Zealand are at international airports. Travelex is the only currency exchange you’ll find in New Zealand airports, including Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown. With no competition in the airports, their exchange rates and fees are at a premium.
On the other hand, exchanging currency at the airport is often the most convenient way to exchange money in New Zealand, considering most travellers arrive through these airports. Exchanging currency at the airport means that you don’t have to spend time finding currency exchange bureaus later.
By the way, make sure you check out our guide, Arriving in New Zealand: Airport Customs, Biosecurity & the Arrival Process so you’re prepared for all of the arrival formalities.
Currency Exchange in New Zealand Cities
The currency exchange bureaus in New Zealand’s cities tend to offer much better value than what is found at the airport. Because there are several currency exchange bureaus, there’s more competition to keep prices competitive.
If you want to get the best deal, we recommend doing your own research. Visit several currency exchange bureaus and write down their percentage fees/fixed rate plus the exchange rate. Or easier, just ask how much they’ll give for your desired quantity of currency and make a note of it. After comparing, simply exchange your currency for New Zealand Dollars with the company that’s going to give you the most New Zealand Dollars.
11 Best Currency Exchange in Auckland
- Lotus Foreign Exchange – 228 Queen Street (Burger King)
- Lotus Foreign Exchange – 166B Great South Road, Papatoetoe
- No 1 Currency – 175 Queen Street
- No 1 Currency – 238 Queen Street
- City Forex – 44 Wellesley Street West
- Relianz Forex – 32 Queen Street
- Tasman Foreign Exchange – 3B/23 Dundonald Street,
- XE Money – Level 4, 32 Mahuhu Crescent
- Travel Money NZ – 163 Queen Street (temp closed)
- Travel Money NZ – Unit G3, 239 Queen Street (temp closed)
- DP Money Exchange – 263 Queen Street (temp closed).
Plan the rest of your time in Auckland using The Complete Travel Guide to Auckland.
4 Best Currency Exchange in Christchurch
- Lotus Foreign Exchange – 41/129 Riccarton Road, Riccarton
- Lotus Foreign Exchange – Shop 50A/55 Main North Road, Papanui
- Travelex Kiosk – 13/129 Riccarton Road, Riccarton
- Travel Money NZ – 55 Main North Road, Northlands (temp closed).
Plan the rest of your time in Christchurch using The Complete Travel Guide to Christchurch.
2 Best Currency Exchange in Queenstown
- Travelex – Travel & Visitor Information Centre, Clocktower Building, Camp Street
- Travel Money NZ – 7 Shotover Street (temp closed).
Plan the rest of your time in Queenstown using The Complete Travel Guide to Queenstown.
Withdrawing New Zealand Dollars from ATMs
More abundant across New Zealand than currency exchange bureaus, ATMs are another worthy way to get New Zealand Dollars in New Zealand with an overseas debit or credit card. However, you cannot exchange foreign currency at an ATM; only make a withdrawal.
Withdrawing New Zealand Dollars with a Debit Card
New Zealand ATMs and banks accept overseas debit cards, most commonly issued by Visa and MasterCard, but some also accept Maestro and Plus, as long as there is a four-digit PIN encoded. There is likely to be a withdrawal fee for withdrawing currency from an ATM from an overseas bank account, usually around NZ$5 flat fee, and some might charge an additional conversion surcharge of around 3%. (Not to mention, your bank to which the card is issued will charge you an exchange rate).
Withdrawing New Zealand Dollars with a Credit Card
The most widely accepted credit cards are those issued by Visa or MasterCard, while American Express, Diners Club and Bankcard are less accepted. Credit cards tend to not have a fee for withdrawing cash or paying from a foreign currency, but there is still a currency conversion fee, usually around 3% with MasterCard and Visa.
More Ways to Pay in New Zealand
For more information about paying with a debit and credit card, travel money card and more, see our comprehensive guide, The Best Way to Pay in New Zealand.
Transferring Money from Overseas to a New Zealand Bank Account
Finally, if you’re staying in New Zealand long-term and are opening a New Zealand bank account, it may be cheaper to transfer foreign currency to your New Zealand bank account.
A few options are available for transferring money to your New Zealand bank account. You can do it through your home bank in an online transfer (telegraphic transfer) or with an international bank draft. Alternatively, you can use a foreign exchange broker, like XE Money or Wise, to transfer money to your New Zealand bank account, avoiding hefty bank fees.
Follow our tips in How to Transfer Money to Your New Zealand Bank Account for all of the pros and cons of each transfer method.
More About New Zealand Currency Exchange
That’s it for our guide to the best places to exchange money in New Zealand. For more money talk, take a look at these:
- The Travel Guide to New Zealand on a Budget
- How Much Does it Cost to Travel New Zealand?
- How to Transfer (& Spend) Money Without a Bank Account
Plus, find more essential travel advice in the 31 Tips for Travelling in New Zealand.