Currency-exchange fees are unavoidable whatever you do. Travel cards offer convenience and the security of carrying less cash – but how much does this cost?

What are they?

Travel cards are prepaid cards on which you load money and then convert a set amount into one or more foreign currency “wallets” within the card. The cards allow you to load New Zealand dollars and a range of other currencies including: Australian dollars, US dollars, UK pounds, or euros.

Apart from the convenience of having a number of currencies on hand, a selling point of these cards is that you can lock in the exchange rate when you load them. So if you’re planning a holiday you can keep an eye on the exchange rates and load your card when the rates are favourable.

The cards

There are 3 of these cards:

  • Kiwibank’s Loaded for Travel (Visa)
  • Multi-Currency Cash Passport (MasterCard) – offered by ANZ, ASB, BNZ, SBS Bank, TSB, several credit unions and major travel agents
  • Air New Zealand OneSmart (MasterCard).

Westpac also offers a Visa Travel Card (see below) but this doesn’t have foreign currency wallets. You can load only NZD on it – so we haven’t compared it with the other 3 cards.

Become a Gold or Silver member to find out more about travel cards and their costs.

Card comparison table