If you are currently paying an annual fee on your debit card, CHANGE YOUR CARD TODAY.
There is no reason to be paying fees on a debit card.
Why Debit Cards?
Debit cards are a useful financial tool.
For payments they operate just like credit cards, meaning you can use them to pay for anything where Visa/Mastercard is accepted.
However, they do NOT let you purchase things on credit.
This means you should never be paying interest on a debit card.
You can only spend money that you actually have in your account.
If you ever find yourself paying late payments fees or interest on your credit card, I would strongly recommend changing to a debit card.
Zero Fee Debit Cards
If you live in New Zealand, there is no reason to be paying bank fees.
Banking is very generous in New Zealand from a retail banking perspective.
Due to property mania in New Zealand and Australia, banks make most of their money on business banking and mortgages.
Therefore, they don't need to rely on monthly bank fees and account fees to make money.
Almost all banks offer bank accounts with zero fees.
I haven't paid a single bank fee in years, and I have six bank accounts.
Debit cards are no different.
If you are going to use a debit card, make sure you get one that doesn't have an annual fee.
Which Banks Offer Zero-Fee Debit Cards?
Wise is not actually a New Zealand bank, it is a London based neobank that started as a foreign exchange service.
I have been with Wise since 2017 and love them.
Wise currently offers an account that allows you to hold over 50 currencies AND get a bank account number in most of those currencies.
If you've ever wanted an Aussie dollar or USD bank account to hold cash in, Wise is your answer.
The account is completely free with no monthly fees.
It also offers you a debit card that connects to all your accounts.
Not only does it have no monthly fee, it will also save you a ton on foreign exchange fees whenever you travel or purchase things online.
If you use the card in Australia, it will automatically take from your AUD account. If you use it in Europe, it will automatically take from your EUR account. And of course, it has an NZD account as well.
It also has a fantastic app that lets you track all your accounts, manage your card, you can even freeze your card with a single swipe if you ever lose or misplace it, plus sends you notifications whenever your card is used.
The card does have a one-time $14 NZD delivery fee, but from there it's no-fee and the FX exchange rates are significantly better than anything you will get from a bank.
One of the ways banks make money on debit cards is via currency conversion.
For example, anything you buy in a foreign currency, they shave 2% off the conversion as a fee.
This makes Wise a superior debit card to almost all NZ bank options, as FX is their specialty and you will save a lot in fees this way.
For anyone who travels or purchases things from overseas, it will definitely be worth it.
ANZ Debit Card
ANZ is one of the few major NZ banks to offer a free debit card.
There is no annual fee and you can apply directly through the ANZ goMoney app.
It offers you all the same features as regular ANZ credit cards such as fraud protection, tap and pay, and overseas payments.
There is a $2,000 ATM daily withdrawal limit, and a $10,000 daily transaction limit.
It's also compatible with Google Pay and Apple Pay.
BNZ Flexi Debit Visa
The BNZ Flexi Debit is a Visa card with everything you need from a debit card.
There is no annual fee and no fee for replacement cards, which is generous.
It works with Apple Pay and Google Pay.
The ATM daily limit is $2,000, the daily spending limit is $10,000.
You can also manage the card within the BNZ app such as freezing the card and managing the PIN.
If you're trying to choose between this card and the ANZ card, I would say this card is slightly better with a few more perks and the BNZ app is noticeably better than the ANZ app.
SBS Debit Mastercard
The SBS Debit Mastercard is a free debit card offered by SBS Bank.
SBS is a lesser known bank in New Zealand, formed out of the old Southland Building Society.
Even though SBS is a smaller bank, the debit card still offers all the basic features of a Mastercard debit such as tap and go, fraud protection and global ATM withdrawals.
There is no annual fee.
The downside with SBS is they're not quite up to par with the tech side of things - their app is limited as is their internet banking. Things are not as advanced as the big Australian banks.
I don't see any reason to go with an SBS debit card over a Wise card or even BNZ or ANZ, unless you have a specific desire to support one of NZ's smaller banks.
In any case, it's still better than any debit card you're paying fees on!
Stop Paying Bank Fees!
Cleaning up your banking is one of the easiest ways to save some money and put your finances onto the right track.
There is no reason to be paying bank fees in New Zealand on regular banking services.
If you're currently paying an annual fee on a debit card, call up and close the card TODAY and move to a zero-fee card.