AUD card in New Zealand: What are the options? 2023
Australia is a super popular destination from New Zealand. In fact, recent statistics show that an amazing 40% of all international tourists in Australia are from New Zealand. If you’re planning a visit some time soon, it could be well worth getting an AUD card before you go. Hold and exchange Australian dollars for convenient spending, and you’ll often get better NZD-AUD exchange rates compared to using a bank card.
Read on for all you need to know about popular AUD cards available in New Zealand, including how to order an AUD card and why it can help.
Let’s dive into a deeper look at 3 of the best AUD cards in New Zealand:
What is an AUD card?
You’ll usually find that your AUD card can actually be used to hold and spend AUD alongside a selection of other major currencies - which is why this type of card is often called a multi-currency card. That means that as well as using your AUD card for your next trip to Australia, you can also use it when you travel to a whole lot of other popular destinations from New Zealand.
Most AUD cards are linked to a digital multi-currency account which lets you add money online or in-app with your debit card or by bank transfer. You can then convert to AUD or the currency you need to lock in the rate and set your travel budget. Some cards also let you keep things flexible, by adding money in NZD to convert to Australian dollars or whichever currency you need at the point of payment. Some cards charge extra for this option, though, so it’s important to understand the specific features of the card you pick - more on that later.
3 best AUD cards in New Zealand
Let’s look in more detail at our top 3 picks of AUD cards you can get in New Zealand, so you can decide which is right for you.
Wise AUD card
Register for a Wise account online or in-app, and order your Wise card for a one time fee of 14 NZD, with no ongoing charges and no minimum balance. Your Wise account lets you hold and exchange 40+ currencies including NZD and AUD for spending in 150+ countries globally.
All currency conversion uses the mid-market rate and low fees from 0.43%. If you want to exchange your money in advance you can, but you can also choose to leave your money in NZD and let the card’s autoconvert tool do the conversion for you at the point of payment, with the lowest available fee and no foreign transaction charge.
✅ Currency conversion uses the mid-market rate, with fees from 0.43%
✅ No need to convert funds in advance as the card can automatically switch to AUD at the point of payment with no extra charge
✅ No monthly fees or minimum balance
❌ You’ll need to pay a 14 NZD one time fee to get your card in the first place
❌ Some transaction fees apply, including ATM fees once you’ve exhausted your fee free allowance
Westpac Global Currency Card
Westpac’s Global Currency Card is designed for spending and withdrawals, and for shopping online, in 9 major global currencies including AUD. You can order your card online, using your New Zealand passport or driving licence for verification, top up for free with a bank transfer, and then your physical card will arrive in about 5 - 10 business days.
Once you have your card you can spend securely anywhere that you see the Mastercard logo. It’s free to spend a currency you hold in your account, although a fee applies if you’re spending in an unsupported currency, or if you don’t hold enough of a particular currency in your account to cover a purchase. That means it’s important to switch over your funds from NZD to the currency you need right away to avoid a 2.95% conversion fee.
✅ 9 currencies are supported - free to spend a currency you hold
✅ No Westpac international ATM fees apply
✅ No fee to top up by bank transfer
❌ 2.95% fee if you spend in a currency you don’t hold in your account
❌ 1.5% fee to load funds with a debit card
❌ Exchange rate markups may apply when you convert from NZD to the currency you need for spending
Mastercard Cash Passport
The Mastercard Cash Passport can be ordered online or picked up in person at branches of various partner organisations like First Credit Union and Travel Money NZ. It’s free to order your card online, although there may be a fee to pick up and add funds to your card in person, which may vary based on the location you use.
Once you have a card you can hold and exchange 10 major currencies including AUD, spend in person and online, and make cash withdrawals. Perks include free access to airport lounges if your flight is delayed. There are various fees you’ll want to be aware of, including an ATM fee which varies by currency, and a high currency conversion fee of 5.95% if you don’t have enough of the currency you need loaded onto your card to cover a transaction.
Mastercard Cash Passport pros
✅ 10 supported currencies, free to spend currencies you hold
✅ Extras like some lounge access if your flight is delayed
✅ Pick up in person or order online
Mastercard Cash Passport
❌ ATM withdrawal fees apply, including a 3.5 AUD charge if you’re in Australia
❌ 5.95% currency conversion fee if you don’t have the currency you need on your card
❌ Cash out and some load fees may also apply, depending on how you use your card
Costs of getting an AUD card in New Zealand
As we’ve seen, there are several different providers you can choose to get an AUD card in New Zealand. Each card has its own fees, so it’s important to check over the costs of the one you choose to get. Here’s a rundown of the key costs for the cards we looked at earlier.
|Provider and card||Wise Card||Westpac Global Currency Card||Mastercard Cash Passport|
|Get a card||14 NZD||No fee||No fee to order online - buying in store may mean a fee for the card, or to top up|
|Add money||Free to add money with local bank details in 9 currencies||Free to load money by bank transfer
1.5% fee to use a debit card
|Some online top ups are free
Debit card top ups cost 5 NZD
In store top ups cost the greater of 1% of the top up value, or 10 NZD
|Account maintenance fee||None||None||None - 10 NZD cash out fee applies if you close your account and withdraw remaining funds|
|Spend in AUD||- Free to spend currency you hold
- Convert currencies from 0.43%
|- Free to spend currency you hold
- 2.95% fee if you don’t hold the required currency, or if your balance in that currency isn’t enough to cover the transaction
|- Free to spend currency you hold
- 5.95% fee if you don’t hold the required currency, or if your balance in that currency isn’t enough to cover the transaction
|ATM withdrawal||2 withdrawals, to 350 NZD in value free every month
1.5 NZD + 1.75% after that
|No international ATM fee
4 NZD local ATM fee
|Fee varies by currency: 3.5 AUD for withdrawals in Australia, or 3.5 NZD in New Zealand for example|
*Information correct at time of writing - 28th September 2023
What exchange rate will be used?
Exchange rates are important - and can vary widely depending on the provider you pick. It’s common for providers to add extra fees into the rates used to convert from NZD to AUD or the currency you need. These fees may not be easy to spot, but they mean you’re paying more overall for your international spending.
Avoid hidden or surprise fees, by choosing a card from a provider like Wise which uses the mid-market exchange rate with all conversion costs split out. That means you don’t need to do any complex maths to work out what you’re paying for your travel money - you can easily check and compare the rates, fees and overall costs in the Wise app any time.
Another thing to watch out for is whether or not your card adds a charge if you spend in a currency you don’t hold in your account, or if you don’t have enough of a particular currency to cover the costs of a transaction. If your card does charge this fee it’s important to check you have enough balance in your account in the right currency, before you spend - otherwise you could accidentally rack up high fees.
What is an AUD card good for?
There are 2 main times an AUD card is handy - when you’re travelling in Australia in person, and when you shop online with Australian retailers. Whenever you need to spend in AUD, using a specialist travel card can mean you get a better exchange rate and lower overall costs compared to using your bank card, and there are usually ways to avoid foreign transaction fees as well.
An AUD card can mean that you pay less overall when spending in Australian dollars, thanks to relatively low fees and decent exchange rates. The other key benefit is that using an AUD card can offer extra security because it isn’t linked to your everyday account. That means you can use it safely online and overseas, and if you have any concerns that it’s been compromised, lost or stolen you can freeze or block it in an app, without having to cancel your main bank debit card.
Pros and cons of AUD card
- AUD cards are often multi-currency cards, which can support AUD, NZD and many other currencies for holding and spending
- Cards may be free or low cost to order, and you’ll often get a preferential exchange rate - and no foreign transaction fees
- Using an AUD card can be safer than carrying lots of cash or using your bank debit card
- It’s usually free to spend currencies you hold in your account
- There’s no need to sort your AUD travel money in advance - just make cash withdrawals on arrival in your destination
- You’ll often have to apply for your card in advance and wait for it to arrive by post, so you’ll have to be organised in advance of travel
- Most AUD cards do have some fees which can include transaction and fair usage charges
- Topping up your card might incur a fee, depending on how you make your payment
Where can I use an AUD card?
An AUD card can be used just as conveniently as your bank debit card, for spending in person and online, and for making cash withdrawals. Just look out for the card network’s logo - but as most AUD cards are offered on major global networks like Mastercard and Visa, you should have no problem finding retailers and ATMs which can accept your card.
Make sure you know how your card works for currency exchange before you start to use it. Some let you leave your money in New Zealand dollars and just convert automatically for you when you pay - but for others, you’ll need to manually switch your balance to AUD for spending, to avoid hefty fees.
The main time you’ll use your AUD card - naturally - is when you need to pay in Australian dollars. However, you can also use your AUD card to spend and make cash withdrawals at home in New Zealand - just double check if any extra fees may creep in for this. We’ll look at using your AUD card in New Zealand in more detail next.
AUD card in New Zealand
As we have already mentioned, most AUD cards can be used anywhere in the world where their network is supported. That means you can use your card to pay and make withdrawals in New Zealand too.
Before you use your AUD card at home, check if there are any extra costs. One common problem occurs if you switch your money from NZD to AUD, then come back to New Zealand with a balance left over in AUD. You’ll have paid a fee when you converted this from NZD in the first place - even if that fee wasn’t obvious - and if you then later want to convert back to NZD, you’ll pay again - meaning less to spend in the end. You might also find that exchange rates have changed since you first exchanged your money which again could mean you get back less than you initially put in.
Planning your travel money carefully so you spend all you exchange - or choosing a card that lets you keep your balance in NZD until you need it - may cut costs overall.
How to get an AUD card in New Zealand
The AUD cards we’ve looked at above can all be ordered online or in an app, and the Mastercard Cash Passport can also be picked up in person through select Mastercard partner organisations.
Ordering online is usually most convenient - as long as you can wait a few days for your card to arrive in the mail. To get your card set up online or in an app you’ll need to register with your personal and contact information, and then get verified by uploading an image of your passport or driving licence. You’ll be asked to top up your account and pay any card fee that applies, and your card will arrive by mail 5 to 10 working days later.
Wise cards also offer a virtual card which you can get instantly once your account has been verified - making this a good alternative if you’re short on time. Just order your physical card and then activate your virtual card, and add it to your favourite mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay, to start using it for mobile payments immediately.
Check out the process to order an AUD card with the provider you prefer, so you can prepare everything that’s needed.
Conclusion - Is an AUD card worth it?
Using an AUD card when you travel or shop online and pay in AUD can mean you get better exchange rates and lower overall costs compared to using your bank debit card overseas.
Compare a few options to see which might suit your needs. If you want a flexible account and card you can use for your trip to Australia, and also in 150+ other countries, you might like Wise. Or, if you’re in a hurry and need to get a physical AUD card very quickly, the Mastercard Cash Passport can be convenient as you can get it instantly in branches of partner organisations like First Credit Union and Travel Money NZ.
Use this guide to kick start your research and help you find the perfect AUD card for your specific spending needs.
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Benefits of using an AUD card
Using an AUD card can mean you pay lower overall costs when you’re travelling in Australia, or when you’re shopping online with Australian merchants. Many cards let you convert to AUD in advance if you want to see your travel budget clearly, and can lock in an exchange rate. Some cards also let you leave your money in NZD and convert at the point of payment with no extra costs, if that’s what you’d prefer.
Are AUD cards available in New Zealand?
Yes. You’ll find options from several providers, including the Wise card, Westpac’s Global Currency Card, and the Mastercard Cash Passport which are all available to customers in New Zealand.
How much does an AUD card cost?
The costs of an AUD card can vary depending on the specific card you select. You’ll often find there are free ways to add money, and some transactions are free too. However, in many cases there are some fees to pay for currency conversion or ATM withdrawals - double check the fee schedule for the card you prefer so there are no surprises.