New Zealand has a decimal currency system – with money broken down into a mix of coins and notes. The smallest coin is 10c, then there are 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 coins. New Zealand also issues $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. Smaller notes are more commonly used.
Many items are priced by retailers to a figure other than the nearest 5 cents. This can also happen when GST (Good and Services Tax) is added to or removed from a sale price.
If you pay cash for something with an price that does not end in 5 or zero cents, most businesses round the amount up or down using the Swedish rounding system. That is if the amount is ends in 1c/2c/3c/4c/5c – round down, and if it ends in 6c/7c/8c/9c – round up
However if you pay by cheque, EFTPOS or credit card, then the amount you pay is the amount on the price tag.
Other payment methods
The usual international credit cards are available - VISA, Mastercard, AMEX and Diners - and are offered through local trading banks.
Debit, or EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer Point Of Sale) cards - nowadays usually just called a ‘Cashcard’ are very popular and widely used. New Zealand was the first country to introduce this payment system in 1986. When you open a New Zealand bank account you will be offered a cashcard.
The usual credit options exist; bank loans, credit cards, and some short-term credit suppliers. Hire purchase is offered by many retailers on higher value items.
When entering into any credit or hire purchase agreement it is very important to read and understand the terms of the contract - in particular if English is not your first language. If you need someone to help you understand a contract, contact your nearest SSNZ or Citizens Advice Bureau.
Prices are similar throughout the country. Short-term discounting is common and it may be worthwhile getting several prices from different suppliers before making any large purchase.
GST – Goods and Services Tax
GST of 15% applies to all retail transactions. GST is included in quoted retail prices, unless it specifies that the price is GST exclusive. Clarify before you agree to a price, especially a verbal quote, if it includes GST.