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Organising your Foreign Currency

September 9th, 2013 -


Wherever you travel, it’s a good idea to have different ways of paying for things. Cash and a least two other methods of payment are recommended.

If you are traveling with a partner it is useful for you both to have at least two methods each.

Do you homework before you leave, find out what fees you will incur on the cards you take, write down the exchange rates of each country you are going to visit and be aware of what the NZD equivalent will be this is particularly helpful if you are purchasing expensive goods.  Take a small calculator with you.


Foreign cash is extremely useful and is almost a must in some instances, from the moment you arrive, taxis, food and during your stay, at airports or bus depots.  Often when you arrive it can be difficult to find a currency exchange place and an/or ATM, having some cash with you can save you some stress. (some countries require you to pay for the toilet).

If you are not able to obtain the currency you need for each country before you leave, take some USD as it is almost always an easy currency to use and exchange, particularly in South America where if you are traveling through several countries and each country has it’s own currency it is difficult to know how much of each currency you will need.  All countries in South America accept USD, most tourist areas have currency exchange booths, Hotels will exchange it and so will many shops.  Make a note of the correct conversion rate before you arrive as there are some who may try to rip you off, also be wary of counterfeit notes – check for the watermark on each note before you accept it.  Convert only enough to last your time in the country or exchange it back to USD before you leave as in many cases it is difficult to convert it back once you have left the country particularly in the case of South America.

Cash for USD, EURO, GBP, JPY, CAD, HKD, AUD and SKD are all available at most New Zealand banks and currency exchange facilities and these currencies can be converted back to NZD when you return.

Cash Passport 

The Multi-Currency Cash Passport provides you with a convenient way to carry your travel money while you’re overseas. Carry up to nine currencies on a single card; choose from  NZD, AUD, EUR, USD, GBP, JPY, CAD, HKD and SGD. Simply load up your prepaid card before you go, then you can access your funds anywhere MasterCard is accepted, including online and at millions of ATMs, restaurants and shops worldwide. You can load funds now, even if you’re travelling later. You can have peace of mind, plus the added benefit of global emergency assistance 24/7. Cash Passports can be organized through most Credit Union’s, Banks and Travelex Offices.

Credit cards and Debit cards are great for bigger purchases in stores, paying for the hotel and any tours or trips.

ATM’s overseas can be confusing particularly if you cannot read the language, most will have an English option but often operate slightly different to machines in NZ, remember that your card may not be ejected until after you have received your cash.  Many machines have a fairly low withdrawal limit, aim to get amounts less than the equivalent of NZ$200.

EFTPOS – a good way to purchase goods in shops and tourist areas. Cash

maybe a better option in smaller shops where the language could prove to be an issue.

Talk to your friendly NZCU team if you are travelling overseas.

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