BNZ International Payments: Everything You Need To Know

Mar 11, 2021
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Are you sending overseas and wondering whether BNZ is the best bet to get the job done? While the bank is relatively cheap for international payments from New Zealand, its combination of exchange rate and transaction fees make it far from the cheapest out there.

Take a look at Monito's guide to international payments with BNZ, from exchange rates and transaction fees to when look for alternatives, and more:

One of New Zealand's "Big Four" banks alongside ASB, ANZ, and Westpac, Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) provides a broad range of retail and business banking services from its headquarters in Aukland, where it has been doing so for more than 150 years.

Today, BNZ offers services to suit almost every everyday financial need, including international money transfers. Interestingly enough, these transfers are reasonable cheap insofar as traditional banks worldwide go, especially for larger transfer amounts and for transfers to countries such as Australia, the US and the UK.

However, BNZ does charge a rather steep service fee if you're sending a smaller amount (i.e. <NZ$500), and the bank is easily outpaced by faster and cheaper alternatives for transfers of this kind.

What Will BNZ Charge You?

The fee structure for sending a wire transfer (called a "telegraphic transfer" by BNZ) is very straightforward. Instead of a commission fee, in which you'd be charged a percentage of your transfer value, BNZ will charge you a fixed fee of NZ$15.00 for each transaction, regardless of the amount.

BNZ Exchange Rates: Beware The Hidden Fees

Over and above the NZ$15.00 fee that BNZ will levy on each transfer you make overseas, you'll also be charged another fee that the bank makes less transparent.

This fee, known as an exchange rate margin, is essentially the difference between the "real" exchange rate that the bank has access to (e.g. the one you will see on Google) and the one at which you are charged (called the mid-market exchange rate.)

At BNZ, exchange rate margins vary significantly from currency to currency but generally fall anywhere between 1.5% and 3% of the value of your transfer. For transfers to some currencies, such as Pacific Island currencies, these margins can be higher still — as much as 5%.

The Costs Combined

While not the most expensive as far as traditional banks go, BNZ's exchange rate margins taken in combination with its standard fees on wire transfers leave its international money transfer service a rather expensive choice indeed.

Let's assume you were to send NZ$500 to a family member in the Philippines, and you used BNZ to instruct the transfer on your behalf. After paying NZ$25.95 in total fees (i.e. the NZ$15.00 transaction fee and the associated NZ$10.95 exchange rate margin fee), your friend would receive ₱16,573 at the time of writing.

Compared to making the same transfer with Wise (a London-based transfer specialist that was the cheapest service for this transfer on Monito's comparison engine at the time of writing), BNZ is by no means the cheapest option. With Wise, you'd pay a NZ$5.75 transaction fee and only NZ$0.18 in exchange rate margin fees at the time of writing. This would get your friend ₱17,144 or nearly 3.5% more than with BNZ.

Take a look at the examples in the tables below to get a better idea of how BNZ's fees are broken up and what you might expect to pay when you send money abroad (as of 11/03/2021 at 10:45 +01:00 GMT):

Compare the money transfer marketplace and save up to 95% in fees on your next transfer from New Zealand to any currency or country across the globe:

BNZ International Money Transfers: Other Fees to Anticipate

In addition to the fees laid out above, you may incur traditional costs when sending money abroad with BNZ. These include the following:

  • A NZ$25.00 service fee if you send your transfer with staff assistance, for example, in-branch or over the telephone. (This is instead of the NZ$15.00 fee for online banking transfers.)
  • A NZ$25.00 service fee if you need to amend, cancel, or trace your transfer after having sent it;
  • If BNZ cannot transfer your funds directly into your beneficiary's bank account and needs to rely on a correspondent or intermediary bank, then you may pay a correspondent bank fee that can range anywhere between NZ$10.00 and NZ$100.00.

Is BNZ Right For You?

All things considered, BNZ is not only a reliable choice as an everyday banking partner but also a service for sending money overseas from New Zealand. As a customer, you'll be able to take advantage of fair exchange rates for most currencies. And while the NZ$15.00 fee is rather high for international payments; the bank will give you security and convenience if you're already a customer.

As such, if you already bank with BNZ and don't mind paying slightly more in fees to send money overseas, then we recommend you stick with the bank. On the other hand, if you'd like to save money on every transfer you make abroad, then BNZ is not the cheapest option of all, and we recommend you compare the marketplace instead.

Wise was the cheapest transfer service on 38.8% of all comparisons from New Zealand on Monito in 2020

Using Monito's comparison engine, you'll be able to access real-time fees and exchange rates from all of the top services offering international money transfers from New Zealand. This way, you'll be able to make often considerable savings and faster transfers, even to countries to which BNZ sends money very cheaply, such as Australia.

To get a better picture of just how much you could be saving by switching to one of these services, take a look at how they compare to BNZ on a NZ$500.00 transfer to Australia (as of 11/03/2021 at 10:45 +01:00 GMT):

You May Still Be Wondering...

Photo credit: Michal Klajban, distributed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license

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