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Westpac NZ International Transfers: Everything You Need To Know

Mar 11, 2021
Advertiser disclosure

Are you sending money overseas from New Zealand? Despite being fast and reliable, Westpac may not be the best choice for you if you're interested in keeping the costs low. Have a look at Monito's money transfer guide to discover everything you need to know about sending money overseas with Westpac.

🦘 From Australia? See our Westpac Australia guide here.

Part of the Australia-based Westpac Banking Corporation, Westpac New Zealand is a large and prominent local bank offering fully-fledged financial services to over 1.5 million customers in New Zealand from around 200 locations.

When it comes to international money transfers, which form one of the myriad services on offer to Wespac customers using online banking, the bank is reasonably-priced. However, due to a combination of transaction fees and poor exchange rates, Westpac NZ is rather pricey for smaller transfers and easily outpaced by cheaper alternatives available on the market.

What Will Westpac New Zealand Charge You?

Sending a wire transfer (referred to as a "telegraphic transfer" by Westpac NZ) is very straightforward. When using the Westpac One online banking service, instead of a commission fee where you'd be charged a percentage of your transfer value, Westpac will charge you the following fixed fee for each transaction, regardless of the amount:

  • A NZ$10.00 fixed transaction fee for transfers to foreign bank accounts;
  • A NZ$0.00 fixed transaction fee for transfers to bank accounts in the Pacific Island countries of the Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, American Samoa, Vanuatu, Kiribati, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Fiji.

Westpac Exchange Rates: Beware The Hidden Fees

Over and above the fees highlighted above for international payments, Westpac NZ will also include a hidden fee into your international money transfer. These fees, known as exchange rate margins, are formed by offering a slightly worse exchange rate than the real one on the market, known as the mid-market exchange rate.

Westpac NZ's exchange rate margins vary depending on the destination country and currency in question and tend to hover anywhere between 2% and 4% of the transfer value, with the exchange rate margin for currency conversions into Pacific Island currencies soaring upwards of 5% for the bank to turn a profit on these transfers, given that they waive fixed fees to these countries.

The Costs Combined

When we take both the hidden exchange rate margin fee, and the NZ$10 fixed fee into account, international payments with Westpac New Zealand quickly become very expensive.

Suppose you were to send NZ$500 to a family member in the Philippines, for example, and you chose Westpac New Zealand to get the job done. After paying NZ$23.72 in total fees (derived from the NZ$10.00 transaction fee and the relevant NZ$13.72 exchange rate margin fee), your friend would receive ₱16,683 at the time of writing.

Contrast this to sending 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. With Wise, you'd pay a NZ$5.75 transaction fee and only NZ$0.18 in exchange rate margin fees. This would get your friend ₱17,144 at the time of writing or nearly 3% more than with Westpac.

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 11/03/2021 at 12:30 +01:00 GMT):

Amount Transferred (NZD)

Exchange Rate Margin Fee (NZD)

Fees & Commissions (NZD)

Total Cost (NZD)

Total Cost (%)

Amount Received (AUD)

NZ$150

NZ$2.60

NZ$10.00

NZ$12.60

8.40%

AU$128

NZ$500

NZ$9.11

NZ$10.00

NZ$19.11

3.82%

AU$447

NZ$2,500

NZ$46.28

NZ$10.00

NZ$56.28

2.25%

AU$2,272

NZ$10,000

NZ$185.67

NZ$10.00

NZ$195.67

1.96%

AU$9,117

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

Westpac International Money Transfers: Other Fees to Anticipate

The transaction fees and exchange rates we explored above may not end up being the only fees you run into when sending money abroad with Westpac New Zealand. In addition, there may be other expenses still before your money arrives in your beneficiary's account, which might include:

  • NZ$30.00 service fee per transaction if you send your transfer with staff assistance, for example, in-branch or over the telephone. (This is in place of the NZ$10.00 fee for online banking transfers.)
  • A NZ$25.00 service fee per transaction if you wish to amend, investigate, verify, cancel, or trace your transfer after having sent it.

Also, if Westpac 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 Westpac New Zealand Right For You?

All things considered, Westpac New Zealand is indeed a trustworthy and world-class partner for your everyday banking needs, and as a customer, you'll be able to rely on a secure and distinguished institution to help you with a wide range of services.

However, when it comes to international payments, in particular, we only recommend Westpac NZ if you already use the bank and trust them, and you don't mind paying slightly more in transfer fees compared to the cheapest alternative. If you're somebody who values saving money, on the other hand, then Westpac may not be the best choice for you, and we instead recommend that you explore your options on the many low-cost money transfer specialist services available to New Zealanders.

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

To get the job done, simply run a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine, and you'll be able to take advantage of the lowest fees and best exchange rates on the market.

To get a better picture of just how Westpac NZ's foreign exchange services weigh up against those of a few such services on a NZ$500.00 transfer to Australia, take a look at the comparison table below (as of 11/03/2021 at 12:30 +01:00 GMT):

Service

Time

Recipient Receives (AUD)

Payment Option(s)

Cost Overview

Westpac

1-5 days

AU$449

Wire transfer

Upon paying

Go To Westpac

Wise

~ 2 days

AU$461

Bank transfer, credit/debit card

In advance

Go To Wise

OrbitRemit

~ 2 days

AU$458

Bank transfer

In advance

Go To OrbitRemit

Skrill

~ 1 day

AU$451

Credit/debit card

In advance

Go To Skrill

Photo credit: Ingolfson on Wikimedia Commons, distributed in the public domain

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