Money and paying
New Zealand uses a decimal currency based upon the NZ Dollar. Coin denominations are 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2. Bills are available in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. If you have a New Zealand bank account, most retail outlets, hotels, restaurants etc. use an EFTPOS system (Electronic Fund Transfer at Point of Sale). This is now the most common form of financial transaction in New Zealand. It requires that you have an EFTPOS card – supplied on request by all banks, with a PIN (Personal Identification Number) number. You can pay for almost all goods and services with an EFTPOS card. Most retailers will also allow you take out cash with your card – usually on top of the cost of other purchases.
Most retailers and service industries also accept all major credit cards, although some prefer not to, since they are themselves required to pay a surcharge to the credit card company for the service.
All banks are open for trading from 9.00am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday, except for public holidays. In the event that a bank is closed, most have ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) that can dispense cash through credit card and EFTPOS transactions.
You can change currencies at banks, but they levy a surcharge for the service. It pays to shop around for the best surcharge rates.
Travellers Cheques can also be cashed at banks, as well as at Bureaux de Change, large stores and major hotels.
Most retailers and service industry outlets accept all of the major credit cards, although some do not. It is wise to ask before entering into a purchase.
The main postal service provider in New Zealand is New Zealand Post. They have more than 1000 postal centres and 5000 post boxes throughout the country.
Often, particularly in the smaller towns, you will find the Postshop combined with other retail services such as news agencies, etc. Postshops sell stamps, envelopes, mailers, boxes, phone cards, greeting cards and a variety of prepaid courier packages. You can also sometimes send faxes and telegrams from a Postshop. Many Postshop outlets are also agencies for the New Zealand owned Kiwibank. They accept all major credit card and EFTPOS transactions.
The cost of sending a standard letter is 60c. It can take up to 4 days to deliver, although from the main centres, delivery is usually quicker. If you want a guaranteed 24 hour delivery (within and between the main centres), there is a Fastpost system which costs $100 for a standard letter.
Staff at the Postshop will advise on the best way to send packages overseas, and of the charges involved. These differ for air-mail, surface mail, registered post and courier. By spending $8 extra, for a Customs Parcel, you are insured for up to $1500 for loss or damage.
For sending parcels to Japan, there is a Kiwi Yu Pack service which will ensure delivery from 2-4 working days for packages up to 5kg.