Westpac NZ foreign transaction fee. What you need to know.

Roberto Efflandrin

Do you wonder whether your bank or financial provider is getting you the most out of your money when spending in foreign currencies or while abroad?

There are a lot of options nowadays when it comes to spending and withdrawing your money across the world. Let’s have a look at what Westpac NZ offers you when it comes to foreign transaction fees on your bank card.

💸 Hold over 50 currencies in your account and spend at the mid-market rate with the Wise card while abroad.

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Wise Multi-currency account

Westpac Bank in New Zealand

Having operated for over 150 years, Westpac has now grown to over 1.3 million clients in New Zealand.¹

It’s a bank that portrays itself as focused on sustainability and awareness, whilst also providing a modern customer experience.

In the current day, your money needs to be more international than ever. Westpac is one of the options Kiwis can turn to if they’re looking for a bank account that supports overseas transactions and foreign exchanges.

But what sort of things should you be on the lookout for before settling on the right card to use on your travels or for spending overseas?

What is a foreign transaction fee?

Usually, when making an everyday transaction with your bank card in New Zealand (in NZD) your bank doesn’t charge you a fee.

When overseas though, there can be small costs added on to many transactions. This can include when you’re doing things like paying for a coffee with your card, getting out a tenner in the local currency at the ATM, or booking into some local places on credit.

Foreign card transaction fees are usually applied by payment providers or banks under two main circumstances.

  • Transactions processed outside of Australia
  • Foreign currency transactions

A foreign currency service fee is either a predetermined sum or percentage of your transaction that is charged when you’re using your card for another currency.

Some providers say they don’t have these fees, but will give you their chosen exchange rate that means you’re paying more in total for another currency in the end. “No fees” doesn’t mean no cost, sometimes the fees are just hidden!

Can you use your Westpac NZ card internationally?

Yes you can. With Westpac, it’s possible to use your card abroad, but there may be fees depending on how you use it.

Additionally, ATMs that are part of the Global ATM Alliance network will allow you to use your Westpac card to make withdrawals for free.²

Westpac’s international options also let you use your chip and pin abroad.

Westpac international transaction fees

Here below is a summary of the foreign transaction fees charged by Westpac NZ for using your regular bank card abroad or for transactions processed outside NZ.

Fee Fee amount Frequency
Foreign currency fee (personal credit or debit cards) 1.95% of transaction amount Per transaction
Foreign currency fee (business credit cards) 2.5% of transaction amount Per transaction

There are quite a few different ways fees can pop up there, and not all are exclusive of one another.

The foreign currency fee will affect you most often, taking effect every time you use your card for another currency. Some of the minimum fees may make these options too expensive for people looking to convert their money for trips abroad more often, but for those who plan ahead or only spend abroad rarely, these fees could be manageable.

But your main focus will be the foreign currency fee. The 1.95% foreign currency fee means that each time you take out some money at an ATM abroad or buy a ticket to a local landmark, there could be an additional 1.95% charged to the original cost.³

So if you take out £10 with your Westpac personal debit card and there’s a £2 fee at the ATM for any withdrawal, you’ll need to pay Westpac 1.95% of the £12 total. So an extra £0.23 will be charged to your account (taken in NZ$). This happens for each withdrawal or card payment.

Withdrawing at foreign/international ATMs with your Westpac card

As we mentioned before, your best bet for dodging expenses with a Westpac card is to find an ATM that’s part of the Global ATM Alliance network.

Which banks to look out for whilst abroad to find these ATMs can be found on Westpac’s website.

Foreign/international ATMs fees

If none of these ATMs are available, you’ll need to pay NZ$3 to take money out with your Westpac debit card or $2 for your credit card.¹

Other options, such as Wise’s card, allows you to take out money around the world for free twice a month for withdrawals under NZ$350 (note that additional charges may occur from independent ATM networks).

It then costs $1.50 per transaction. Withdrawing over NZ$350 in a month incurs a fee of just 1.75% on top of that. Full card pricing fees can be seen here – Fees for the Wise card NZ.

💳 Meet the Wise debit card
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No monthly or annual charges
  • Hold, send and spend in over 50 currencies
  • Manage all your spend at the tip of your fingers with the Wise app

Wise sign up

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

Are there any Westpac cards with no international transaction fees?

Westpac Fee Free Mastercard

This is the go-to choice for most people who want to use a Westpac card internationally without those pesky fees popping up.

You’ll be charged an interest rate of 12.90% p.a. on purchases if you don’t pay your balance off in full by the payment due date, but it’s the $0 fees on cash advances overseas at ATMs or bank branches that makes this card interesting.⁴

Westpac Global Currency Card

This card lets you “lock in” an exchange rate for up to 9 different currencies before you go travelling so that you can spend without worrying about fluctuations and conversion costs on your trip. It also has no fees for using an overseas ATM.

However, there is a fee of 2.95% of the initial transaction value when the currency conversion is initially locked in, as well as a 1.5% Debit Mastercard Load fee.⁵

What is the exchange rate used by Westpac for foreign transactions?

Westpac provides a foreign exchange converter that can be used to have an indicative rate idea. Let’s take a payment example to see how that works.

To convert 1000 NZD to USD, the rate indicated by the calculator

Westpac NZ Wise⁷
Indicative rate NZD to USD 0.6278 See rate here 0.63935 See rate here
What you get You get 627.8 USD for your 1000 NZD You get 639.35 USD for your 1000 NZD

As seen on 9 December 2022.

While the Westpac indicative exchange rate is not too bad, it’s clear to see that with Wise’s mid-market rate, you get $11.55 more USD for your $1000 NZD. Exchange rates are a very important factor and can be a hidden fee sometimes.⁶

Advice for using your Westpac card abroad

  • Use Westpac’s online banking to inform them when you’ll be spending money abroad and when you’ll be back home. This helps them make sure no one is misusing your card and that it’s always available when you need it.
  • Keep an eye out for Global Alliance ATMs so you can skip the transaction fees!
  • Get a PIN loaded onto your card before travelling to help keep your money safe.
  • Use the local currency whenever you can so that you benefit from the credit card network’s currency conversion, which usually offers a better exchange rate.

The Wise Account and Card

If you’re looking for a low fee way to complete foreign transactions then it’s worth taking a look at the Wise Account.

With a Wise Account you can hold money in over 50 currencies and spend it in 174 countries. Whenever you exchange currencies it’s done using the mid-market rate with a small conversion fee shown upfront.

To make everyday spending easier you can order a Wise Debit card for your Wise Account and generate virtual cards as needed. If you have the local currency in your Wise Account the Wise card will use it and charge no fees. If you don’t, it uses smart technology to auto-convert your money at the mid-market rate, for a small conversion fee.

To see how a Wise Account could benefit you, why not take a look for yourself? There are no monthly account fees to worry about and registration can be done in minutes.⁸

Open your Wise account in minutes 🚀

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.


  1. Westpac About us
  2. Westpac Using ATMs whilst overseas
  3. Westpac fee for international credit card transactions
  4. Westpac Fee Free Mastercard
  5. Westpac Currency Card
  6. Westpac Currency converter
  7. Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.
  8. Eligibility is subject to verification of customers identity
    Sources checked on 22 November 2023

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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