Getting a credit card in New Zealand is easy; getting one of the best credit cards in New Zealand? Not so much. There are several reasons for that: one being that the definition of ‘best credit cards in New Zealand’ is different things to different people.
In this article, we’ll analyze different credit cards for New Zealanders and compare them to help you determine the best credit cards in New Zealand. Rather than choose a single one-size-fits-all winner, you’ll get recommendations for the best credit cards in New Zealand across different categories.
Before we get into that, let’s quickly look at how to choose a credit card in New Zealand.
Table of Contents
There’s no perfect credit card for all residents of New Zealand; what’s best for you depends on your specific use case. Before jumping to apply for the most recommended card in the ‘best credit cards in New Zealand’ listicles, it’s essential to determine if it’s good for you by analyzing its features and comparing it to your needs.
That said, here are some features to analyze when hunting for the best credit cards in New Zealand.
Unlike in some countries, almost every card in New Zealand has charges you’ll have to pay to use them. While these charges are typically negligibly small, some providers charge an unjustifiably huge amount of money for credit card maintenance, and you probably want to stay away from them.
Before jumping on any promise of the best credit cards in New Zealand, you should consider the fees as one of the crucial factors determining your choice. If you have to pay too much to access commonplace features, maybe you’re not looking at one of the best credit cards in New Zealand.
It’s not a matter of whether or not a credit card has rewards in today’s New Zealand, but it’s about what kind of rewards it has. If you want useful rewards, you’ll need a decent credit score and a pretty lengthy credit history.
When choosing a card, ensure it has rewards you’re likely to use, while making sure it also falls within the range of your credit score. Of course, the worse your credit score is, the less likely it is for you to get the best credit cards in New Zealand with useful rewards.
Another crucial factor to consider when choosing the best credit cards in New Zealand is the purpose you have for them. You may need to look at a different set of options if your purpose is to build your credit limit as opposed to buying high-ticket items.
Before settling with any recommendation of the best credit cards in New Zealand, it’s essential to verify it suit the purpose you have for a credit card.
4. Credit Limit
A card can be severely limited by its limit, which is why you need to pay attention to the credit limit when choosing among the best credit cards in New Zealand.
You don’t have to choose the card with the highest limit you qualify for; you only need to choose what’s sufficient for you.
If you plan to buy many high-ticket items using a credit card, you’ll need one with a pretty high limit. On the other hand, a low credit limit will suffice if you’re only trying to build your credit, as you don’t overspend and you can repay pretty easily.
1. ASB Visa Light
The ASB Visa Light Credit Card is one of the best credit cards in New Zealand for anyone looking to spend the least amount for maintenance to keep their card. It has no annual fee and 0% on transferred balance, making it excellent for users looking to pay off large credit card debts.
ASB Visa Light has no annual account fee, and the bank promises never to charge you forever. You also get a purchase interest rate of 13.50%, which is around the industry average.
The card’s flagship feature is Smart Rate which allows you to make big purchases without incurring the purchase interest rate. When you buy anything over $1,000 the credit card automatically applies the Smart Rate feature, writing off the standard purchase interest rate.
However, the feature is only available for a fixed period after getting the card, and for now, it’s six months. Since ASB Visa Light reserves the right to change the period without expressly informing you, do well to keep an eye on their website to ensure your purchases are still covered.
The main downside of this card is its outrageous cash advance rate of 22.95% per annum. It’s usually the same as the purchase interest rate for most credit cards, so you probably want to avoid cash advances if you’re using the ASB Visa Light credit card.
Since it’s an everyday card, you don’t have to be a huge spender to get this card. As long as you’re a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand with a good credit score, you should qualify for the ASB Visa Light card.
2. ANZ Frequent Flyer
New Zealand has a significant population of tourists, which is why many financial organizations have special premium cards for frequent flyers. Talking about frequent flyer cards, the ANZ Frequent Flyer is unarguably one of the best.
Before considering the card, it’s essential to note that it carries an annual fee of $425 (New Zealand Dollars). While it’s not quite as much money as $425 US, it’s still a significant amount to pay for a mere credit card, especially if you’re not using most of its perks.
Talking about perks, here are some reasons why the ANZ Frequent Flyer is one of the best credit cards in New Zealand.
- 110,000 Qantas Points bonus if you spend $5,000 within the first three months of approval. To understand how much that is, you can fly from Canberra to Seoul twice and still have 19,000 Qantas points left over.
- 1 Qantas Point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases up to $7,500.
- 0.5 Qantas Points for every $1 on eligible purchases over $7,500.
- Two complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations annually when you fulfill the requirements.
- 24/7 personal concierge for travel-related assistance.
- International travel insurance.
- Rental vehicle insurance in Australia and New Zealand.
- Extended warranty insurance, etc.
To access this card, you must be a citizen of Australia or New Zealand that has celebrated their 18th birthday. You need a decent credit rating, as it’s a premium card. Also, closing or opening any of the company’s frequent flyer cards recently will automatically disqualify you.
If you’re not a citizen, you can be eligible if you’re a permanent resident or a visitor with more than nine months left on your visa. The application and approval process should be seamless if you meet the pretty steep requirements for the card.
3. Kiwibank Zero Visa Credit Card
The Kiwibank Zero Visa Credit Card is for New Zealanders in search of something incredibly simple without unachievable requirements. It’s very low on fees, making it an attractive option if card maintenance charges annoy you, but its excellence ends there.
Unlike most low-rate cards, you don’t have to pay any annual fees to use the Zero Visa card from Kiwibank. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements and use the card as stipulated in the terms and conditions, there should be no fees.
However, it maintains the same 12.90% interest rate per annum for purchases and cash advances like the Low Rate Visa card it replaces. Since the figure is also the industry standard for the best credit cards in New Zealand, we have no complaints here.
The credit card has a minimum credit limit of $500, qualifying it as a decent card for everyday purchases as opposed to something to use for infrequent large payments. You also get 55 interest-free days, which is about the same as every other card on this list.
This card has pretty lax eligibility requirements, as the Kiwibank website only lists being a New Zealand citizen and having a good credit history as the only requirements. While you don’t get a definition of a ‘good credit history,’ it’s shouldn’t be strict, as a $500-limit credit card is not exactly premium.
The simplicity and hassle-free nature of the Kiwibank Zero Visa card is exactly what qualifies it as one of the best credit cards in New Zealand.
4. The Co-Operative Bank Fair Rate Credit Card
The co-operative bank fair rate credit card is one of the most popular for both visitors and citizens of New Zealand, thanks to its ‘fair’ rate and low annual fee.
It doesn’t do better than most other cards on this list, but compared to the majority of the best credit cards in New Zealand, it’s a rare gem.
It comes with a respectable purchase rate of 12.95% per annum and an equally matching cash advance rate. The annual fee for the card is $20, but you only pay $10 every six months, which is more or less the same.
The Fair Rate Credit Card’s limit starts from $1,000, a figure that may increase depending on your usage and credit history. Here’s a list of requirements for the Fair Rate Credit Card by the Co-Operative bank.
- Proof of income
The bank generally accepts your most recent payslip, a copy of your bank statement including your salary deposit, an IRD summary of earnings notice, your tax return (for self-employed individuals), or an authorized letter from your employer confirming how much you earn.
- Valid identification
Examples of documents that serve as a means of identification include your international passport, a driver’s license, a New Zealand 18+ card, or a Photo Credit Card. Any club card, debit card, or community services card should also suffice, provided you have valid proof of income.
Fair Rate Credit Card won’t be the perfect card for you if you’re after bountiful rewards, but if you need something with low rates that will build your credit history, it’s one of the best credit cards in New Zealand.
5. Westpac Low Rate MasterCard
The Low Rate MasterCard from Westpac is another everyday card with low fees and benefits that don’t suck. It features amazing benefits like fraud protection, shopping discounts, and unique repayment tools to streamline your experience.
When applying for the Low Rate MasterCard, you’ll get two offers: one for up to $250 cashback in the first five months and the other offering you 0% p.a on balance transfers for the first 28 months.
Apart from the opening bonuses, the cards are the same otherwise. The Low Rate MasterCard offers a 13.74% variable purchase rate, a $500 minimum credit limit, and up to 55 interest-free days on purchases. Westpac will waive your card fee for the first year, and you’ll pay $59 annually thereafter.
Here are the requirements for the Westpac Low Rate MasterCard credit card for New Zealanders.
- Applicants must be at least 18 to apply for the card.
- They must be citizens, permanent residents, or non-residents in New Zealand with at least one year left on their visa.
- Their income must be taxable in New Zealand.
- They must live primarily in New Zealand.
- They must have a decent credit history.
- Applicants must provide or be willing to provide all required documents, including a valid driver’s license, a passport, a birth certificate, a photo card, and a Medicare card.
There might be additional eligibility requirements, and the bank will communicate the extras you need to provide to you. While the card doesn’t seem like much, its accessibility and simplicity makes it one of the best credit cards in New Zealand.
What’s the most common credit card in New Zealand?
You’ll likely see a healthy distribution of cards among New Zealanders, but the ASB Visa Light is a bit more popular than most. In any case, your experience shouldn’t differ much regardless of what card you’re using, as long as it’s either Visa or MasterCard.
Do New Zealanders prefer cash or credit card?
It depends on what you’re buying and what the business accepts. Of course, merchants will expect credit cards for large transactions, but there’s no harm in using banknotes for small transactions.
There’s a healthy selection of credit cards in New Zealand, but only a few offer a competitive experience. The ANZ Frequent Flyer works best for the high-spending tourist; the everyday user will appreciate the versatility of the ASB Visa Light, while the Kiwibank Zero Visa credit card is one of the best credit cards in New Zealand for users that can’t tolerate annual fees.