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International Currency Transfer for Emigrating New Zealanders

After living overseas for several months in Canada, and attempting to find the best deal on transferring money overseas, I quickly discovered a lot of online comparison services do not provide specific information to New Zealanders. As some transfer services don’t even allow you to send New Zealand Dollars, or charge you in a foreign currency anyway resulting in bank fees, it’s not immediately obvious which services are the best, or even which you can use.

After signing up to a number of services, I have found three of them seem to make sense when sending NZD$, each in slightly different circumstances.

Best for small transfers: Xendpay

Xendpay only allows New Zealanders to pay by credit card – no bank transfers available. This incurs a 2.5% payment fee. The good news is that this is the only compulsory fee – as Xendpay sets a pay-what-you-want model. Xendpay processes the payment as a standard purchase to your credit card, so there is no cash advance or international transaction fee – and you also earn reward points (which may redeem some of the 2.5% payment fee). Xendpay’s currency hedge is minimal – around 0.1-0.2% compared to mid-market rates.

Xendpay is also the fastest service I have found – payments to Canada can sometimes arrive in as little as 4 business hours (Xendpay quotes 1-2 business days).

You can try it and get $10 off your second transaction by using this Xendpay link.

Recommended where:

  • The transfer is urgent
  • Transfers under approx. NZ$500.00

Best for larger transfers from bank accounts: Transferwise

Transferwise is definitely one of the ‘big players’ in the online money transfer arena. Their fees are very transparent, and claim to use the mid-market rate (in reality I find this varies by a small amount). You can pay by bank transfer from New Zealand bank accounts, to transfer at no cost. They do, however, charge the highest service fee (around 0.7%, with a minimum of NZ$2.94).

Transfers are pretty quick – next business day. You can by credit card, but with a 2% fee, this now means Xendpay is cheaper as the total fee would be 2.7%.

You can try it and get a free transfer up to £500 (or equivalent in NZ$) by using this Transferwise link.

Recommended where:

  • You are paying by bank transfer
  • Transfers over approx. NZ$500.00

Best for larger transfers from credit cards: Worldremit

Worldremit uses a slightly different fee mechanism. They have a hidden hedge built in to the exchange rate of approximately 1%, and then charge a fixed fee of NZ$3.99. They do not charge a credit card payment fee, however they do warn some banks will charge this as a cash advance.

They do have the best joining bonus – get NZ$35 off your second transfer by using this WorldRemit link. Your first transfer must be at least NZ$175 to qualify.

Recommended where:

  • You are paying by credit card
  • Transfers over approx. NZ$500.00

Due to the fixed-fee portion of the cost, larger transfers are more cost-effective with Worldremit. Note, however, some New Zealand banks (e.g. Kiwibank, and likely others) put a NZ$4000 daily limit on credit card transfers – so you may need to keep the amount below that cap including the fee.

Other companies

I have previously tried other companies like NZForex (also known as OZForex and other brands), but found they are either not cost-effective for either small or large transfers, or are slower, or just don’t even allow local transfers from New Zealand despite allowing signups (like CurrencyFair – you then need to send by SWIFT/wire transfer, so you might as well just wire the whole way…)