Key Points:

The ASB bank has dropped its charges to the Red Cross for credit card donations made to its Victoria bush fire appeal.

The announcement was made yesterday after a story appeared on

ASB bank spokeswoman Debbie Bell said credit card fees are confidential but the bank had decided not to charge the charity after being approached by the Red Cross.

The New Zealand Red Cross and the New Zealand Salvation Army are collecting money to send to Australia to help the victims of the bushfires that have so far claimed over 180 lives.

As of yesterday morning the Red Cross had collected $579,000 through credit card donations, bank deposits and their 0900 number.

Red Cross spokeswoman Kelly Mitchell said the charity passes on 100 per cent of any donation and pays for any bank fees through money raised in its shops and by its first aid courses.

"One hundred per cent of any donation is forwarded to the appeal," Ms Mitchell said.

The ASB and ANZ banks have also opened their own collection for the bush fire appeal.

The Red Cross is also accepting donations by an 0900 number for which they would normally be charged a fee by Telecom.

However on Wednesday Telecom spokesman Mark Watts said the company would not be charging the Red Cross.

"We think it is absolutely the right thing to do after the absolute calamity that hit Victoria," Mr Watts said.

He said Telecom would also deduct charges from the Salvation Army's phone bill.

Salvation Army spokesman Major Robbie Ross said the 0800 number provider, Zintel, would also wipe charges for the month of February.

Captain Richard Morris refused to comment on the organisation's banking situation.

"I don't think that's information that needs to go public," Mr Morris said.

The New Zealand Rugby Football Union are supporting collections for the bushfire appeal at all Rebel Sport Super 14 games this weekend.

Pumpkin Patch are asking customers to make donations with their purchases and Diners Club are inviting their customers to convert their club reward points into a cash donation for the appeal.