Point Hacks Guide

Earn Airpoints Dollars on spend with OneSmart prepaid debit card

OneSmart is a prepaid debit card that doubles as your Airpoints membership card. The card has an earn rate of 1 Airpoints Dollar per $200 for spend in New Zealand Dollars, and 1 Airpoints Dollar per $100 spent in foreign currency (either abroad or online).

This is a guide that looks at the card basics, the costs to use, and our take on whether it’s worth using on spend either in New Zealand, or abroad.

Offer history

  • September 2018: Earn 2x Airpoints Dollars when spending overseas with your OneSmart card
  • April – May 2018: up to 50 Airpoints Dollars for loading $3,000 NZD or more in foreign currency (offer is tiered)

It’s important to compare the exchange rates of other options and consider the trade-offs before jumping in and loading your OneSmart card in order to earn Airpoints Dollars.

OneSmart – the basics

Card Details

Loyalty ProgramAir New Zealand Airpoints
Points earned from spend1 Airpoints Dollar per $200 on domestic spend
1 Airpoints Dollar per $100 on spend in foreign currency (either online or abroad)
Load feeNo load, reload or card to card transfer fees; except from a bank debit card, where the fee is 1.5%
Domestic ATM withdrawal fee$2.00
International ATM withdrawal fee3 free per month, and then $3.00 NZD equivalent (depends on local currency)
Currency conversion fee (for spend in NZD)2.5% of the transaction value
Foreign CurrenciesGBP, AUD, HKD, CAD, JPY, EUR, SGD, USD
Monthly fee$1.00

For many points collectors, the OneSmart card doesn’t rate very highly, but it could be a good card to have for those who can’t get or who don’t want a credit card.

For example, OneSmart has a lower age restriction than most credit cards (16 years vs 18 years), so high schoolers can start earning their own points from their own personal spend.

This card’s attractiveness is not in its (un)favourable exchange or earn rates, but rather its convenience.

You also won’t need a credit check to apply for one.

Digging into the details of the OneSmart card

OneSmart is a reloadable prepaid debit card, meaning that you are never spending the bank’s money (credit), but rather need to load it up with your own money before it can be used.

It markets itself primarily as a travel card, but there is limited value here – we’ll go into more depth on the reasons why later. But as a daily spender, it could be useful to some.

It’s also your Airpoints membership card, so you can use it to fast-track check-in at the airport, for example.

The card can be loaded via debit card, bank transfer, or bill payment, all of which can take up to 2 business days at worst. The option of loading up the card using a bank debit card will see you cop a 1.5% load fee. It is not possible to load up using credit cards and other card types. You can cash out any unspent money to your bank account.

Spend in New Zealand

As highlighted at the top of the article, the OneSmart earns a paltry 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $200 spent domestically on eligible transactions.

Currently, eligible transactions include pretty much everything (including paying tax with the IRD) but specifically excludes money orders, traveller’s cheques, gambling chips, purchasing foreign currencies in cash, and ironically, flights with Air New Zealand.

If you spent $2,000 per month on this card, a return trip from Auckland to Wellington with your partner at $100 per person will take you more than 1.5 years to save up for!

Spend outside New Zealand

On the flip-side, OneSmart earns you 1 Airpoints Dollar per $100 (NZD equivalent) spent on foreign currency transactions. You are “buying” Airpoints Dollars at a slightly better rate than you would for domestic spend, but still not one that I consider good value, given the poor value of Airpoints Dollars generally.

For example, this comparison shows that you’ll earn points at a better ‘rate’ using either the Qantas Cash or Amex Airpoints Card:

 OneSmartAmex Airpoints CardQantas Cash
Cents earned per $1 NZD112.1
Annual Fee$12$0$0

Note: these figures assume that you are not loading money onto the OneSmart or Qantas Cash cards in a foreign currency type, which results in an effective currency conversion fee of slightly worse than 5%, as opposed to 2.5% for NZD spend.

Make sure to read our guide on how we value points in New Zealand.

By far the biggest problem with travel cards are their poor exchange rates when they are loaded with foreign currencies – specifically, the “padding” over and above the base Mastercard rate.

They are big on suggesting you ‘lock in’ your exchange rate now by converting everything over to the foreign currency you need. However, I don’t see this as a good strategy.

If our dollar falls, great – you’ve saved some money. But if the dollar goes up, you’ve just lost out. We’re not all professional currency traders (and even they get it wrong).

Granted, this is a free card, and this is a big part of how they make their money. You can do much better by simply loading the card with NZD and using these overseas or using a standard credit card.

Lost or Stolen Card

Should you lose your OneSmart card or if it has been stolen while you are travelling, you may be eligible to receive an emergency cash disbursement. This is a benefit that is similar to that offered with any standard credit card.

To access emergency assistance simply call the OneSmart Customer Service Centre helpline on 0800 787 555 (local call) or +64 9 377 8535 (from outside New Zealand).

Once a customer service representative has established that you have sufficient means of payment (through the availability of money on your OneSmart card), they will arrange for the money to be made available to you at a convenient location, which could include Western Union, MoneyGram and other MasterCard Prepaid Management Services approved agent locations.

Purchasing flights with Air New Zealand

You can use the OneSmart card to avoid paying any fees when purchasing flights direct from Air New Zealand.

Though if you pay for the flights via internet banking transfer, there is also no card fee incurred – and how did the money get on the OneSmart card in the first place? Probably internet banking transfer.

As such, I wouldn’t recommend loading money onto the card to use for this purpose alone – noting that you’ll also incur the $1 monthly account keeping fee.

Fine print

Make sure to read the Product Disclosure Statement and Terms & Conditions for OneSmart before using.

Summing up

I have observed over the years that travel cards seem to provoke some pretty extreme responses from friends and family – some people love them, and others (like myself) hate them.

They are not good cards to use for travel (despite the marketing) and have a particularly abysmal earn rate when used here at home in New Zealand. Though for many, the OneSmart card could be handy little points earner if the alternative is earning no points at all, particularly for those who may not otherwise be able to apply for and access a standard credit card.

Have you used OneSmart before? What are your thoughts on its benefits?

Earn Airpoints Dollars on spend with OneSmart prepaid debit card was last modified: October 2nd, 2018 by Daniel Kinnoch

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Comments Expand Comments

  1. Hacked Off

    Oh well, I made a big mistake by paying for an item using my AirNZ Onesmart card. I loaded funds into the USD wallet and paid an invoice for a USD amount . I was able to select to pay in USD from my Onesmart Mastercard Debit card and all appeared fine up to then. The payment was accepted by Paypal however the payment wasnt taken from the USD wallet. It was taken in this order, First – funds from NZD wallet, second – AUD wallet and a small amount thirdly taken out of the USD wallet. This meant that I had accrued a currency conversion fee against all of the AUD funds. Plus, when I moved the USD back to NZD the same day, I lost on that too. Total loss for that screw up was an extra $65 . If you draw USD off your card account whilst in the USA, the funds will automatically come out of the USD wallet. While yu are in NZ, even if you select to pay in USD, the funds will be taken in an order where NZD is the first call. SO BEWARE 2018

  2. Grace

    I was travelling through Southeast Asia and then on the the UK. The card had been really useful until the week before I left for the UK. I load a large sum of NZ Dollars onto my card via bill payment on Tuesday after Cambodian time. I knew it wouldn’t go through that day but there was still Wednesday Thursday and Friday. But come Friday very early morning NZ time the money wasn’t on the card. So I call them up the lady checks that I made the payment I made had the right references, it did. So she says its just taking longer became of when I made the payment. But it will be on the card by end of NZ business Friday. Asked if she was sure because I was flying to the UK and wouldn’t be able to check until after I’d landed.
    So I land in the UK and try to get money out at the airport but my card declines. I then have to ring them off the shoddy airport WiFi at 10pm. The lady then tries to tell me I didn’t use the right reference code, but I did and then says its because I transferred the money to late in the week. Which I argued it was Tuesday afternoon for me and its now Saturday morning in NZ.
    Then she says she’ll have to pass it on to another department, they will call you within a couple of hours. But I had been travelling for 22hrs and was going on the tube for another hour and a half, by that time it will be midnight and I’d really like to sleep. So she says call us back and we’ll investigate it while we’re waiting.
    Come the next day it’s already Sunday NZ morning so I decided to wait until its Monday NZ time. After another day of travelling and nights sleep its NZ Tuesday and no money in my account.
    Again I ring and after 20 mins they find the problem. They’ve lost my money.
    It’s been a week and I’ve no money as I sent the last of it to my card.
    I’m on holiday and they’ve misplaced my money.
    Thankfully two days later they find it and put it on the card. But it was a very stressful week and ruined my holiday.
    When it works its pretty decent but be prepared for them to lose your money.

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