Managing your money while travelling.

How much cash should you carry?

With the prevalence of ATM’s and credit cards all over the globe, it’s likely you won’t even need cash when you land at your destination. But, for peace of mind, it’s usually better to have some local currency tucked away just in case you want a quick meal at the airport or a cab to the hotel.

It may actually be cheaper to get your foreign currency before you head away – it pays to do you research on the best rates and fees.

Which type of cards are best while travelling?

Having a small plastic card can be a lot more convenient than managing the fiddly weight of notes and coins, especially if you have a few different currencies in your pocket. Many people also choose to take two cards, one as a backup, just in case.

The type of card you choose is up to you. Most commonly, people choose to use a debit or a credit card (you can find out more about each in the links at the bottom of the page). But there are also plenty of pre-paid travel cards on the market, which you can use just like a debit card. They allow you to load a variety of foreign currencies onto it before you leave (or top up during your trip), usually at a set rate, which is great when the exchange rate is in your favour. Suppliers will often give you two cards – one for safety.

Of course, when signing up for any type of card, always read the fine print.

Always choose a global banking ATM network

It’s cost effective if you have accounts and cards with a bank that offers cheaper or free international ATM withdrawals as part of a global network. Most bank websites will give you this information, so do some research ahead of time, as it could save you from any shocking fee surprises when you withdraw cash.

If you’re with Westpac, here’s some helpful information on our Global Alliance ATM network. You should also check our credit card and debit card transaction fees.

Tips to keep your cash and cards safe

While out and about, try to be discrete putting cash and cards in and out of your wallet (or where ever you choose to store it). Career pick-pockets can lurk about in surprising places. Consider splitting your cash and cards in various pockets, bags or travel pouches. Remember to make use of hotel lockers and safes as well.

Don’t forget that card skimming is a popular form of fraud in many countries. To avoid this, always keep a keen eye on your card at all times.

And another key tip - carry your bank’s contact details with you along with your travel insurance contacts, just in case you need to call on help immediately.

Be safe when accessing online banking

Always use secure wi-fi connections to do your banking online.

Read our tips to help you stay safe online.

Inform your bank you are heading away, before you leave

At Westpac, we have stringent security measures in place to detect fraud, so if we see your credit card being used overseas, it may be promptly blocked. So if you’re a Westpac customer, please give us a heads up (via online banking or by calling us) to avoid having your card temporarily blocked.

Find out more about the ways to let us know, and other tips when using your Westpac credit card overseas.

Load your everyday bank accounts onto a credit card

Some banks will allow you to load your bank accounts onto your credit card, so you can access ‘cheque’ or ‘savings’ at some ATMs, and get cash out without incurring the credit card fees. Note that there may still be fees for taking out cash from your regular accounts.

Consider travel insurance

Some of our credit cards offer free travel insurance - see if you’re eligible. Otherwise you could consider travel insurance that covers you for credit card fraud or loss. Once again, always read the fine print.

We can help.

Westpac Global Currency Card

Spend like a local when you travel overseas or shop internationally with the Westpac Global Currency Card. Lock in exchange rates with up to 9 different currencies.
Find out more

Getting your travel cash ready

Before you leave, check out our current foreign exchange rates and fees, and arrange to pick up some cash from a branch.

Foreign exchange rates

Currency converter

Convert New Zealand dollars into foreign currency and vice versa with our handy currency converter.
Currency converter

Credit cards

Maybe you'd like a card with great rewards, or perhaps a lower interest rate? You may also be eligible for free travel insurance.

Credit cards

Airpoints Debit Mastercard®

It's a debit card that's linked to your Westpac transaction account, not a credit card. It draws the money from your account so you don't have a credit card bill to pay. You can use it anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
Airpoints Debit Mastercard®

Foreign currency accounts

A foreign currency account enables you to hold balances in foreign currency and manage international transactions at your own pace.
Foreign currency accounts

Sending money to or from overseas

Need to send money to or from overseas? It's easy with our international payments and drafts.

Sending money to or from overseas

Things you should know.

Westpac’s current credit card lending criteria will apply for credit cards.  Credit Card Conditions of Use for the applicable card will apply. Interest rates and fees are current as at 5 June 2020 and are subject to change without notice.  Other charges may apply to some of the transactions and services mentioned –Find out more on our  Credit Card fees and rates pages. Overseas cash advances and foreign currency fees may apply.  Hotpoints terms and conditions apply. hotpoints® is a registered trademark of Westpac Banking Corporation. Mastercard is a registered trademark and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Westpac insurance products are arranged by Westpac New Zealand Limited (“Westpac”) and underwritten by various insurance companies. None of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141, Westpac, or any member of the Westpac group of companies guarantee the obligations of any insurer, or insurance product. More detail can be found on the webpage relating to the particular product.

Terms, conditions, exclusions and limits apply and more detail can be found in the relevant policy document which may be downloaded at or obtained from any Westpac branch free of charge. The availability of any insurance cover is subject to the acceptance and approval of a completed application. Any payment is subject to your claim being accepted.

The opinions expressed in the article are not necessarily those of Westpac and Westpac does not endorse or approve any goods or services to which reference is made. Westpac makes no representation as to the accuracy or currency of the materials, which are provided without taking your personal financial situation or goals into account. Westpac accepts no responsibility for the availability or content of any third party websites to which this article may link or refer.