Changing Money

Do not carry large amounts of cash when you travel to New Zealand. Carrying large amounts of cash is not safe. Traveller's cheques are the safest way to carry large amounts of money, and are accepted at hotels, banks and some shops. Another option is electronic transfer from China, once you have opened a New Zealand bank account.

Bring enough cash with you for the first week. US dollars or pounds sterling are best. US$200 should be enough to last your first week in New Zealand. Once here, it's easy to change your money (travellers cheques or cash) at a bank, or Bureau de Change kiosk at the airport or in the town or city.

If you bring NZ$10,000 cash or more with you, you'll need to declare this to Customs when you arrive in New Zealand. Once in New Zealand, it’s not very safe to keep large amounts of cash at the place you are living or on your person. By large amounts we mean anything over NZ$1000.

You can use most credit cards with Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, and American Express being the most widely used. The Police recommend using credit cards rather than carry cash.

ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) are widely available in shopping malls and outside banks in all towns and cities. International credit cards and ATM cards work as long as they have a four-digit PIN (password that is made up of four numbers). Check with your bank before leaving home to make sure your PIN will work when you get here. Do not tell anyone your PIN number.

Once in New Zealand you should open a bank account because this is the safest place to keep your money.