CurrencyCurrency used in New Zealand is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD). The coin denominations are 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2. The note denominations are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Foreign currency can easily be exchanged at banks, some hotels and Bureau de Change kiosks, which are found at international airports and most city centres.
ATMs locally known as 'the hole in the wall', are available in just about every town, even those without a bank. Most shops have Eftpos (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale) terminals for debit and credit cards, so most purchases can be made electronically. New Zealand cards can be set to have up to 3 accounts loaded hence the terminal will prompt "Cheque - Savings - Credit". Overseas cards will need to use the "Credit" option, regardless of card type.
Visa and MasterCard accepted most widely, followed by American Express. Diners Club and AMEX (due to the large fees they force on retailers), are not accepted by some merchants with Eftpos. If you are going to be in New Zealand for a while it may be convenient to open a New Zealand bank account and set up a local debit card, to avoid carrying a lot of cash around.
TippingTipping is still a relatively new phenomenon, so it is not obligatory. In lodgings, restaurants, and bars the prices charged include the services provided and tips are not expected, though the practice is becoming more common, especially bars, cafes, and restaurants that cater for tourists.
Tipjars may be placed on counters, but these are for loose change and although it is appreciated, you are not expected to place coins in them. It is common practice and polite to donate your spare change from the meal to what ever charity has a collection jar on the counter, and this acts as the standard substitute for tipping.
Tax RefundUnless otherwise explicitly stated, NZ prices include GST (Goods and Services Tax, or sales tax) of 15%. Visitors to New Zealand must pay GST on all goods and services that they buy in New Zealand. There is no refund of GST available when you leave New Zealand.
Some shops, especially in tourist destinations, will ship purchases overseas, as exported goods are not subject to GST. Ask about this service before making your purchase. Goods purchased and taken with you will be subject to GST.