The Best Ways to Send Money to a New Zealand Bank Account
The trip of a lifetime is about to start! To get set up on a New Zealand working holiday or travel experience, whether it’s a few months to a whole year, you’ll need some money. Without a doubt, setting up a New Zealand bank account is the cheapest and easiest way to pay for things while you are here. You can even start setting one up from overseas, which you can read more about in How to Open a New Zealand Bank Account. Once you have a New Zealand bank account, the next step is to transfer money to your New Zealand bank account. How much money you transfer is up to you, but check out What is the Cost of a Working Holiday in New Zealand? to see what we recommend for those on a gap year.
A few options are available for transferring money to your New Zealand bank account. You can do it through your home bank in an online transfer (telegraphic transfer) or with an international bank draft. Alternatively, you can use a foreign exchange broker, like XE Money or Wise, to transfer money to your New Zealand bank account, avoiding hefty bank fees.
All options have their pros and cons, so take a look at the information below on how to transfer money to your New Zealand bank account, so you can make an informed decision.
Information You Will Need When Transferring Money to Your New Zealand Bank Account
When transferring money from your home bank account to your New Zealand bank account, you will need to provide the following information:
Bank Details of Your New Zealand Bank Account
- Bank account name (your name)
- Your physical address in New Zealand
- Your full NZ bank account number (found on your bank statement or online banking account)
- Your NZ bank address details
- Branch identifier, if available (i.e. IBAN, NCC, sort code or BSB number).
From Your Home Account, You May Need:
- IBAN and BIC or home bank credit/debit card details
- Some banks in the US require a US phone number (check with your bank).
For much more detail on what’s required to send money to New Zealand, see What Details Do You Need to Transfer Money. You can also send money to New Zealand without a bank account, which we go through in How to Transfer Money Without a Bank Account.
Online Transfer (Telegraphic Transfer)
Making an international telegraphic transfer is similar to transferring money online between bank accounts back at home. However, it requires different bank account information (see above) and there are significant fees involved from both your home bank and NZ bank. Because it is the most direct way of transferring money overseas, it is usually the safest. However, you are not necessarily getting the best exchange rate.
Things to Consider Before Using a Telegraphic Transfer to Transfer Money to Your New Zealand Bank Account
- Fees charged by both your home bank and NZ bank are far more significant than other international money transferring options.
- For security, your first international payment from your home bank account may need to be made at a bank branch or made in writing – make sure to check with your bank before you leave home. After that, you may be able to do these payments easily online.
- Banks vary in how fast they provide this service. While some take 2-6 days, others can take up to two weeks. Some banks charge an extra fee for an express service.
By the way, if you’re using this service from New Zealand, you’ll probably need tips on getting good internet. See How to get Internet and WiFi in New Zealand for more details.
Using a Foreign Exchange Broker (Money Transfer Service)
Foreign exchange or Forex or FX is the market where currencies are traded. Because of this, foreign exchange brokers (simply known as money exchange services) usually offer competitive exchange rates, like Wise. They also have fairly low fees (or sometimes no fee, as is the case with XE Money) to use their service, as well as sorting out payments quickly (within a week, usually).
How Does Using a Foreign Exchange Broker to Transfer Money to Your New Zealand Bank Account Work?
Forex brokers usually work online. Once you set up an online account with them, you make either a telegraphic transfer (online transfer) or online debit/credit payment into the Forex brokers’ bank account in your home country. Once the forex broker has your money, they will exchange it into their own New Zealand bank account, and finally, into your New Zealand bank account. This method allows you to avoid international bank transfer fees charged by banks.
Things to Consider Before Using a Foreign Exchange Broker to Transfer Money to Your New Zealand Bank Account
- Give yourself a couple of days to open an account with a foreign exchange broker. For security reasons, you will need to send a copy of your photographic ID (usually your passport or driver’s license), as well as proof of residential address to open an account. This should be reviewed within a couple of working days.
- If the company that you use happens to go bust while your money is in their hands, it is unlikely that you will get compensation.
International Bank Drafts
International bank drafts or international bank cheques are like personal cheques but written in your chosen currency. Just take this international bank draft to your chosen New Zealand bank branch and this will transfer the written amount to your account.
Things to Consider Before Using an International Bank Draft to Transfer Money to Your New Zealand Bank Account
- Before obtaining your draft, make sure you look at the different fees involved from both your home bank and your NZ bank. Although not often seen as expensive as an online bank transfer between your home bank and NZ bank, there will still be costs involved.
- Make sure that your NZ bank account accepts international bank drafts.
- Look at the different ways you can apply for a bank draft. Some banks need the sender in person or permission in writing, while others can be applied for online.
- Bank drafts can either be sent to an address or picked up at the bank by the sender.
- Bank drafts typically take a long time to process. If someone is sending you a bank draft to your New Zealand address, then this is additional time.
One of the benefits of this is that a bank draft takes the money from your home account straight away, so your draft will not “bounce” from having insufficient funds. Additionally, bank drafts can only be deposited into a bank account, rather than being cashed, making them secure. That being said, because a bank draft is a physical item, losing it would be a major inconvenience.
What NOT to Use for Transferring Money to Your New Zealand Bank Account
Let’s be honest, some methods of transferring money from your overseas bank account to your New Zealand bank account just have so many disadvantages that there’s nothing more to say about them other than, don’t use them! Here are the international money transfer methods to avoid:
Expensive and hard to redeem, the length of time to sort out how to use them in New Zealand makes travellers’ cheques an absolute no-no when transferring money into your New Zealand bank account.
Travel Money Cards
“Loaded” with money in multiple currencies, travel money cards claim to be as usable as a credit card anywhere in New Zealand. However, we have found that they are not accepted everywhere and credit card usage fees incur on each use (usually around 2-5%). Plus, the exchange rates are usually pretty poor.
“No Fees” Credit Cards
Many credit cards offer “no fees” when using them overseas. However, this comes at a much worse exchange rate than if you were to simply transfer your money. Credit cards also often incur extra fees (2-5% extra) on many transactions in New Zealand. Over a whole trip in New Zealand, this can really add up.
For obvious safety reasons, we are not advising you to carry thousands of your home currency in cash with you when arriving in New Zealand. (But having some spare cash to last your first week in New Zealand, just as a safety, is advised). When arriving in New Zealand with your home currency, make sure to shop around to exchange your cash, as you will find a huge difference from one money exchange place to another. Extra tip: Avoid exchanging your money in banks or at the airport as the rates are generally lower – read The Best Places to Exchange Money in New Zealand instead.
For more tips about using money in New Zealand, see our guide on The Best Way to Pay in New Zealand.
More About Sending Money to New Zealand
That’s it for our guide on how to transfer money from overseas to a New Zealand bank account. For more tips on sending money to New Zealand, check out the following:
- How to Open a New Zealand Bank Account
- How to Transfer Money Without a Bank Account
- What Details Do You Need to Transfer Money
Finally, plan the budget for your extended trip to New Zealand with What is the Cost of a Working Holiday in New Zealand?