Kiwibank International Transfers: Everything You Need To Know

Byron Mühlberg, writer at Monito.com
Mar 11, 2021
Affiliate disclosure

Are you sending money overseas from New Zealand? While speedy and secure, international payments at Kiwibank are some of the most expensive among New Zealand's banks, especially for smaller transfers.

Have a look at Monito's money transfer guide to discover everything you need to know about sending money overseas with Kiwibank and your best alternatives.

A state-owned company affiliated with New Zealand Post, Kiwibank is a large local bank offering a wide range of banking services to New Zealanders. Among its online offerings are telegraphic transfers, which allow customers to send New Zealand dollar from their bank account to a bank account in a foreign country and currencies.

However, at Kiwibank, these overseas payments are considerably pricier than they are at other New Zealand banks (especially for transfers of under NZ$5,000.00) and often significantly pricier than the specialist service alternatives available on the market.

What Will Kiwibank Charge You?

Transferring money internationally with Kiwibank is done using wire transfers (sometimes called "telegraphic transfers" in New Zealand) which can be done online, by fax, or in-branch. For online transfers, you'll be charged a fixed fee of NZ$20.00 per transaction, while for fax or in-person transfers, you'll be charged NZ$25.00.

Kiwibank Exchange Rates: Beware The Hidden Fees

However, the above transaction fees are not the total extent of Kiwibank's charges for international payments.

In addition to the NZ$20.00 or NZ$25.00 fee, you will also pay an exchange rate margin on each New Zealand dollar you convert into foreign currency. This is essentially the difference at which the bank buys the currency (known as the mid-market exchange rate) and the rate at which you buy the same currency from the bank.

Expressed as percentages, these exchange rate margins typically hover in the region of 1% to 3% of the value of the transfer at Kiwibank and can fluctuate considerably depending on the currency. As a general rule, major global currencies such as the US, Australian, Canadian, and Singaporean dollars, as well as the British pound, tend to have lower margins and are thus cheaper to convert into from New Zealand dollars than many other currencies such as the Indonesian rupiah and Bahraini dinar.

The Costs Combined

With both the exchange rate margin fee and the NZ$20 transaction fee taken into account, the full extent of Kiwibank's pricing for international payments quickly becomes clear.

For example, suppose you were to make two NZ$1,000 bank transfers to two family members living in the Philippines — one with Kiwibank and the other with Wise (which was the cheapest service for this transfer on Monito's comparison engine at the time of writing.)

For the former, after paying NZ$45.34 in total fees with Kiwibank (derived from the NZ$20.00 transaction fee and the NZ$25.34 exchange rate margin fee), your first family member would receive ₱33,341 at the time of writing. In the case of the latter payment, after paying NZ$7.16 in transaction fees and no exchange rate margin with Wise, your other family member would receive ₱34,677 — a 4% difference in receiving amounts despite the same amount of money having left your bank account on both occasions.

To get a better sense of how these combined fees impact the final receiving amount, take a look at the fee breakdown below (as of 15/03/2021 at 15:00 +01:00 GMT):

Compare the market to save up to 95% in fees compared to the bank:

Kiwibank International Money Transfers: Other Fees to Anticipate

As we explored, in addition to the transaction fee of NZ$20.00 for international payments online, you will also pay extra in exchange rate margin fees, and also if you'd like to instruct your transfer via fax or in-person.

However, the fees don't necessarily end there, and you may also find yourself paying the following fees depending on your individual circumstances:

  • A NZ$25.00 service fee if you'd like to investigate, trace, amend, or cancel your transfer after sending it;
  • A 1.85% commission fee if you use your credit card, rather than your bank account, to transfer money abroad;
  • A NZ$10.00-NZ$100.00 correspondent bank fee should Kiwibank not have the operational resources to transfer your funds directly into your beneficiary's bank account. In this case, Kiwibank will rely on a correspondent bank or intermediary bank to get the money across, thereby incurring the fee that will then be passed on to you as the customer.

Is Kiwibank New Zealand Right For You?

If you're looking to send money overseas, Kiwibank is certainly a fast and safe option for getting the job done. However, it's not the cheapest out there, even for transfers to major foreign currencies such as Australia and the US. As such, we only recommend Kiwibank for international payments if you already trust the bank and don't mind paying the extra fees that come along with the service.

However, if you're interested in keeping the costs low on every transfer (or ensuring that as much money arrives in your beneficiary's account), then we recommend that you explore your options. Run a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine to compare the market and find the transfer specialist service that will get your money to your destination as quickly and as cheaply as possible.

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

At Monito, we frequently recommend money transfer specialists because they're significantly cheaper, faster, and just as secure as banks, and they frequently outcompete the banks on factors that are important to consumers. To get a better picture of how Kiwibank stacks up against some of these services, take a look at the following comparison of a NZ$500.00 transfer to Australia (as of 15/03/2021 at 15:00 +01:00 GMT):

Service

Time

Recipient Receives (AUD)

Payment Option(s)

Cost Overview

Kiwibank

1-5 days

AU$439

Wire transfer

Upon paying

Go To Kiwibank

Wise

~ 2 days

AU$462

Bank transfer, credit/debit card

In advance

Go To Wise

OrbitRemit

~ 2 days

AU$457

Bank transfer

In advance

Go To OrbitRemit

Skrill

~ 1 day

AU$451

Credit/debit card

In advance

Go To Skrill

Xendpay

3-5 days

AU$446

Credit/debit card

In advance

Go To Xendpay

You May Still Be Wondering...

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You’re probably all too familiar with the often outrageous cost of sending money abroad. After facing this frustration themselves back in 2013, co-founders François, Laurent, and Pascal launched a real-time comparison engine to compare the best money transfer services across the globe. Today, Monito’s award-winning comparisons, reviews, and guides are trusted by around 8 million people each year and our recommendations are backed by millions of pricing data points and dozens of expert tests — all allowing you to make the savviest decisions with confidence.

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