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Anyone for a real debit card?

For some years, I was aware that Westpac New Zealand were (past tense) offering a Visa-linked debit card, which from what I was able to tell, they called a 'cheque card'. One of those you can actually use online or over the phone, that is. But they weren't offering it to new customers. Now, in the guise of something called Westpac Debitplus Visa, it's present tense again.

(These appear to be the cards with a Visa logo and hologram and the word 'debit' under the logo.)

At $10 per year, linked to a current account or cheque account, it seems quite nice. 2.5% for the foreign currency fee is a bit on the high side, though. If one gets enough mailorder stuff from overseas or actually goes overseas often enough, there probably are cheaper options (taking into account the foreign currency charges) for a bit more in terms of the annual fee.

On the other hand, I don't tend to like credit cards myself, so this is somewhat attractive. I wonder why though the banking system here hasn't tried to popularise it -- maybe the EFTPOS system is too lucrative a revenue stream (in Australia, some banks appear to offer Visa-branded debit cards as a way to avoid EFTPOS charges) to give up, if it is lucrative at all? I've no idea. With the low or no fee transaction accounts already here in NZ, though, that doesn't seem to me to be a reason for not having them already.

No young ones getting the card, though, if one defines younger than 18 as young.

Disclaimer: I'm not being paid for, nor have I been asked to write the above. Heck, I'm not even a customer. I think.


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