Best money transfer services

We give you everything you need to compare international money transfer services in NZ and get the best rate and lowest fees.

Updated 17 May 2023

The breakdown

  • The best service for your money transfer can depend on how much you want to send.
  • When comparing services, check the final amount your recipient gets, not just the exchange rate.
  • An online money transfer service is likely to be a lot cheaper and faster than using a bank.
  • If you’re looking for the best option to spend while you’re abroad, use our guide to find the best travel money card.
What's in this guide?
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    Author: Kevin McHugh, Head of Publishing at Banked.

    Compare international money transfer services

    Platform Min. transfer amount Transfer fee Payment methods Learn more
    Xe logo Xe $1 NZD Varies with payment method and currency
    • Bank transfer
    • Debit/credit card

    Xe review
    Wise-logo Wise $1 NZD From 0.43% (varies with currency)
    • Bank transfer
    • POLi
    • Debit/credit card

    Wise review
    OFX-200x128 OFX $250.00
    • $15 for transfers up to $10,000
    • $0 for transfers over $10,000
    Bank transfer OFX review
    Orbit Remit logo OrbitRemit $5
    • $4 for transfers up to $10,000
    • $0 for transfers over 10,000
    • Bank transfer
    • POLi
    Torfx logo TorFX $250 $0 Bank transfer

    If you’re looking to transfer money to friends in New Zealand, check out our review of Dosh.

    3 ways to get the best deal on a money transfer

    Make sure more stays in your pocket when you send money internationally by following our 3 top tips.

    1. How much you transfer can determine the best price. Choose a service that provides the cheapest transfer for your amount.

    Money transfer services make money in 2 ways: on the fee they charge to transfer your money, and the margin they add to the exchange rate.

    Some services will charge a lower transfer fee than others, but make their profit on a higher margin on the exchange rate. For other services, it may be the other way around. This means that there’s rarely a best service for all transfers — the best deal might come down to how much you want to transfer.

    We got a number of money transfer quotes from different money transfer services to show what this looks like in practice. We transferred 4 different amounts from New Zealand Dollars to United States Dollars using Orbit Remit, Wise, and World Remit.

    Service $500 NZD $5,000 NZD $10,000 NZD $15,000 NZD
    Orbit Remit Received: $340.60 USD
    Fee: $4 NZD
    Received: $3,406 USD
    Fee: $4 NZD
    Received: $6,812 USD
    Fee: $0 NZD
    Received: $10,218 USD
    Fee $0 NZD
    Wise Received: $340.42 USD
    Fee $2.93 NZD
    Received: $3,407.53 USD
    Fee $24.42 NZD
    Received: $6,815.41 USD
    Fee: $48.31 NZD
    Received: $10,223.31 USD
    Fee: $72.19 NZD
    World Remit Received: $339.17 USD
    Fee: $3.99 NZD
    Received: $3,391 USD
    Fee: $3.99 NZD
    Received: $6,78.33 USD
    Fee: $3.99 NZD
    Received: $10,176.81 USD
    Fee: $3.99 NZD

    All quotes were obtained on 9 April 2022.

    In this example, it was cheaper to use Wise for $5,000 to $15,000, but Orbit Remit was cheaper for $500. Wise’s fees were also a lot higher than the competition for larger amounts, but because its exchange rate was better, it still provided the best deal.

    The lesson is that the best way to find out which service will save you the most money on a transfer is to compare multiple services with the amount you plan to transfer. Many online money transfer services have money transfer calculators on their websites that will show you how much your recipient will get, inclusive fees and exchange rate mark up.

    2. Avoid the banks

    Going through a bank used to be the default option when transferring money overseas. But now, online transfers services like Wise, OFX and Western Union outperform banks in almost every way.

    Online money transfer services typically offer:

    • much lower fees
    • faster transfers
    • more user-friendly platforms.

    BNZ has become the first NZ bank to drop international payment fees, but it still uses a higher exchange rate than a platform like Wise so it continues to be a more expensive way of transferring money.

    If you are used to transferring money through your bank, check how much more you will save with an online money transfer service.

    3. Choose the right payment method

    While some online money transfer services and apps only give you the option of a bank transfer as a method of payment, others also have options including credit or debit card, or POLi. Payment methods can also vary with the country you’re sending money to.

    Each payment method will have a different fee and you will often have to pay more for your payment to arrive faster. A bank transfer may take a business day or two for your money to arrive and cost you relatively little in fees, while a transfer with a debit card payment could be complete in moments (with some services), but will come with a heftier fee.

    However, this is not always the case. With some services, the slowest transfer method is also the most costly in fees. For example, in our research XE had a $25 fee for paying with a credit card and it has a slower expected delivery time.

    What’s the lesson? If you want to pay less for your transfer, always identify the payment method with the lowest fees.

    How long does a money transfer take?

    The time it takes to complete a money transfer can take just moments, to days. These are the factors that will determine how long it takes for you to transfer your funds:

    • The payment method: As described above, the time it takes for your transfer to be complete will depend partly on the payment method you choose. Credit and debit card payments can sometimes be faster, but this is not the case with every transfer service.
    • The service you use: You may think all transfer services move your New Zealand dollars at the same speed, but that’s not the case. Even for the same payment method, the speed at which your money gets where you’re sending it can vary
    • The day of the week: In most cases it will take longer for your transfer to complete on a weekend as it may not be a business day for the receiving bank.

    How to send money overseas in 3 steps

    These are the 3 steps you need to complete to transfer funds abroad using an online money transfer service:

    1. Compare and choose the best service for your money transfer

    Choose the best money transfer service or app for your transfer needs by following our tips at the top of the page.

    Once you know that the best service for you can depend on how much you want to transfer, where you want to transfer it to, and the speed with which you need to complete it, you will have the information you need to select the best service for you.

    Remember to check how much it would cost to make your transfer with multiple providers (including the fees and the exchange rate they offer) before you settle on one.

    This is especially important if you are making a large, one-off transfer, or plan to make a smaller transfer, but on a regular basis. In both these instances, you could keep a lot more of your hard-earned New Zealand dollars in your pocket by taking a little time to find the best deal.

    2. Create an account

    Opening an account with an online money transfer service is simple and only takes a couple of minutes. The standard steps are:

    • Go to your chosen service’s website or download their app (if they have one).
    • Register with your email address: You will also likely have to provide a valid mobile phone number to which the service will text you a verification code.
    • Provide a government ID for verification: Your driver’s licence or passport is fine.

    Once you have completed these steps you will be ready to send your money.

    3. Make your transfer

    You will need the bank details of your recipient. Here is the information you’ll need for recipients in these countries:

    • Australia (AUD): BSB code and account number.
    • United Kingdom (GBP): UK sort code, Account number, and IBAN.
    • India (INR): IFSC and account number.
    • United States (USD): Routing number and account number.
    • Singapore (SGD): Bank code, bank name, and account number.
    • Canada (CAD): Institution number, transit number, and account number.

    If you, or someone else, needs to send money to you here in New Zealand, you will just need to provide your bank account number.

    For some services you will have several payment options, such as bank transfer, credit card, debit card and POLi. Each will have different fees and will take more or less time to complete the transfer, so choose the right option for you.

    Once you have completed the transfer you may have the option to save the recipient’s details to make future transfers easier. You should also receive an email from the transfer service when your transfer is complete.

    Why is my transfer exchange rate different to the one I see online?

    When you Google the exchange rate for a currency pair, you’re seeing what is known as the ‘mid-market rate’. This rate is the middle point between the wholesale cost to buy or sell a particular currency at that particular moment in time.

    You might have then assumed that this is the exchange rate that you will get when you send your money abroad, but sadly this usually isn’t the case. One of the ways money transfer services make their money is by adding a bit extra on top of the mid-market rate to get the exchange rate you see on their websites.

    Wise (formerly TransferWise) does allow you to transfer at this mid-market rate. However, remember that they will still charge a fee so it’s important to make sure to check the final amount the recipient receives, rather than simply comparing just fees or exchange rates.

    Picture of Kevin McHugh

    Kevin McHugh

    Kevin is the founder and Head of Publishing at Banked. With years of experience working in personal finance, insurance, and related areas, Kevin created Banked to help Kiwis make better financial decisions.