What is the New Zealand Currency?
The unit of currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar, often seen written as “NZD” or “NZ$”. This guide to New Zealand currency will go through how money is commonly using in New Zealand, from currency values to banking in New Zealand to the Goods and Services Tax.
Due to the ever-changing exchange rates, it is best to look up the up-to-date exchange rate from your home currency to the New Zealand Dollar. However, we can show you the common customs for paying for things in New Zealand, including tipping, using cash or card, and what the hell is EFTPOS?! If you are staying in New Zealand a while, you may also be interested to know how to open your own New Zealand bank account and what is the best way to transfer money from your overseas bank account to New Zealand. All of this is in the New Zealand Currency guide below!
New Zealand Currency Culture
There are a few ways New Zealand deals with money that might be different from what you are used to back home.
Tipping in New Zealand
In New Zealand, it is not mandatory to tip. Nevertheless, it is appreciated as an added reward for good service. For more details, check out Tipping in New Zealand.
Swedish Rounding / Cash Rounding
Due to the discontinuation of the 1 cent, 2 cent and 5 cent coins, when buying something in cash, the retailer will either “round” the price of the good up or down. A price ending in 1, 2, 3 or 4 cents will be rounded down to the nearest multiple of 10, while 6, 7, 8 and 9 cents are usually rounded up to the nearest multiple of 10. What happens when the price ends in 5 cents is up to the retailer. For example, a purchase of NZ$25.13 would be rounded down to NZ$25.10 and a purchase of NZ$25.19 would be rounded up to NZ$25.20.
Cash or Card?
New Zealanders have a culture of using a credit or debit card for most purchases except in small instances like paying for bus travel or buying from a market. Paying by card in New Zealand is widely known as EFTPOS, which stands for Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale. Most major credit cards can be used in New Zealand that are Visa or MasterCard, but we recommend carrying a little bit of cash on you just in case. Oh yeah, and don’t even bother with those travellers’ cheques.
By the way, you might be interested in how much to expect to pay for everyday items in New Zealand, which we cover in How Much Does it Cost to Travel New Zealand?
New Zealand Currency Values
New Zealand Coins
Coins have a value of 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, $1 and $2.
New Zealand Banknotes
Notes have a value of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.Fun Fact: The New Zealand notes are made of a plastic-like material making them tear and water-resistant, so if you happen to forget that you have spare cash in your pocket when jumping in the water, you won’t lose it all.
To see what the New Zealand banknotes look like (and learn a little something on the side), check out Who are the People on the New Zealand Banknotes?
Currency Exchange in New Zealand
Although currency can be exchanged in most banks, airports and currency exchange kiosks in city centres in New Zealand, we recommend exchanging some cash before arriving in New Zealand where you are more likely to find a better deal. Find out more in The Best Places to Exchange Money in New Zealand. There are no restrictions on how much cash you can bring into New Zealand, however, those who bring in NZ$10,000 or more must complete a Border Cash Report.
When withdrawing money from a New Zealand bank from your Visa or MasterCard, the money will be withdrawn in New Zealand Dollars.
The best way to exchange currency, for those staying in New Zealand on an extended trip or working holiday, is to transfer money from your home bank account to your New Zealand bank account. Find out how to transfer money at How to Transfer Money to Your New Zealand Bank Account.
Banking in New Zealand
New Zealand banks are open weekdays 9.30am-4.30pm and sometimes on a weekend. ATMs are widely available in New Zealand. Most will work with an international credit or debit card as long as your card has a four-digit pin code. We recommend talking with your bank before your trip.
If you are travelling in New Zealand for two months or more, or are in New Zealand as part of a working holiday visa, then you may want to open a New Zealand bank account. It is compulsory if you work in New Zealand. This will make it easier and cheaper to do EFTPOS transactions in New Zealand.
For information on opening a New Zealand bank account, see How to Open a New Zealand Bank Account.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
All goods and services purchased in New Zealand are subject to a 15% goods and services tax known as GST. This price is always included in the displayed price unless stated otherwise. Learn more in Tax System in New Zealand: What is GST?
A few exceptions to GST are bank services, rent, wages (although that gets another form of tax) and duty-free goods. Read more in Duty-Free Shopping in New Zealand.
The Cost of Living in New Zealand
When planning a trip or a working holiday, it’s good to know what to expect from the cost of living. This includes food, transport, activities… Basically, anything you might need to pay for while you are in New Zealand. For this reason, we have put together the following articles to give you an idea of the cost of living in New Zealand.
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