5 Best Banks for International Money Transfers [2023]

If you need to send an international payment you may be considering using your normal bank as a secure and convenient option. Sending an international wire with your bank shouldn’t be too much of a headache – but it can be quite expensive, and because third party fees may creep in, your recipient might get less than you were intending in the end.

This guide walks through the pros and cons, features and fees of sending money overseas with 5 major New Zealand banks.

Banks aren’t your only option for moving money overseas – an online specialist service like Wise or TorFX may be able to offer a better exchange rate, a lower overall cost, and a faster delivery. We’ll touch on a few alternatives to regular banks later, to help you compare and choose.

More about Wise
More about TorFX

Which bank is best for international transfers?

The best bank for your international transfer may not be a bank at all. Specialist services can often provide lower fees and a better exchange rate compared to your bank. We’ll look at a few specialist alternatives in just a moment, but first let’s see how our 5 big banks measure up against Wise or OFX on fees and exchange rates.

Provider International wire fee Exchange rate
Wise Low fee which varies by destination Mid-market exchange rate
OFX 15 NZD for transfers under 10,000 NZD


No fee for higher value payments

Exchange rate includes a small markup
ANZ 9 NZD + 3rd party fees if applicable Exchange rate includes a markup
BNZ 5 NZD + 3rd party fees if applicable Exchange rate includes a markup
ASB 15 NZD + 3rd party fees if applicable Exchange rate includes a markup
Kiwibank 20 NZD + 3rd party fees if applicable Exchange rate includes a markup
Westpac 10 NZD + 3rd party fees if applicable Exchange rate includes a markup

Alternatives to international wire transfers with banks

Sending your international payment with a bank is secure and familiar. But it may also be expensive and slow. Specialist services are safe to use – they’re usually regulated in the same way your bank is – and can often offer a lower overall cost. Here are a few to consider:

  • Wise: Send to 80+ countries, with the mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees. 50%+ of payments arrive instantly
  • TorFX: Send money online or over the phone, and get award winning customer service if you want to talk through your options
  • OFX: Make payments in 50+ currencies online, in app and by phone. There’s no transfer fee and the rates offered can beat the banks
  • WorldRemit: Online and in app payments to a range of countries around the world, with a good range of pay out methods
  • Remitly: Send digitally on popular remittance routes, and pick a faster Express fee or a cheaper Economy service

At the end of the day there’s no single best way to send your international payment. It depends on the transfer value and currency, so comparing a few different options is your best bet.

Online providers like these we’ve detailed above can often offer lower overall costs and give you an instant quote online so you can easily see which works best for you.

Go to Wise
Go to TorFX

Looking for the best New Zealand bank for an international wire transfer?

Let’s start with an overview of the fees that apply to international wires from 5 big banks:

  • ANZ – 9 NZD + 3rd party fees if applicable + exchange rate markup
  • BNZ – 5 NZD + 3rd party fees if applicable + exchange rate markup
  • ASB – 15 NZD + 3rd party fees if applicable + exchange rate markup
  • Kiwibank – 20 NZD + 3rd party fees if applicable + exchange rate markup
  • Westpac – 10 NZD + 3rd party fees if applicable + exchange rate markup

*These outbound wire transfer fees do not take into account the exchange rates charged by the banks which almost always include additional costs and charges.

As you can see, the upfront transfer fees from major New Zealand banks do vary widely. Exchange rate markups and third party costs can also apply, which push up the price further.

You may find alternative services such as Wise or OFX for international transfers with more transparent fees and – often – a better exchange rate. More on that later.

Things to consider when choosing an international transfer provider

Not sure how to arrange your international wire? Here are some factors to consider when you’re deciding:

  • Costs – before you get started make sure you’ve thoroughly read the payment fee schedule. The transfer fee you pay can vary widely depending on how you structure the payment.
  • Speed – international wires commonly take 3 to 5 days to arrive in the destination account when sent with a traditional bank. Check the delivery times when you arrange your payment.
  • Exchange rates – compare the exchange rate your bank offers against the mid-market rate you’ll find on Google. It’s common for banks to add extra fees here, so doing a bit of homework and looking at a few alternatives can save you money.
  • Convenience – check out the options for sending your payment – while many banks let you set things up online or in an app, some still require you to head into a branch in person.

Type of fees for international wire transfer with banks

New Zealand banks will charge you in several different ways for an international wire transfer:

Bank sending fee: The bank will charge a fixed fee for each international money transfer that you make. This fee can vary depending on the type of account you have, how you’re making the transfer and the currency you send.

Exchange rate markup fee: A New Zealand bank typically offers a worse exchange rate than the base exchange rate, often between two and four percent worse than you might get elsewhere. This is a hidden fee as the bank pockets the difference.

Correspondent bank fee: Third party charges which can be called agent fees, intermediary fees, SWIFT fees or correspondent bank fees. You may not be able to see the exact cost of these charges in advance of confirming your transfer.

Receiving bank fee: Finally, the beneficiary’s bank will probably charge a fee for them to receive the money into their account.

All of these fees do add up and can mean the beneficiary ends up receiving quite a bit less than you sent them. When we’re comparing fees below, we’ve only included the bank sending fees, as most New Zealand banks don’t share the exchange rates they use and the correspondent and receiving bank fees vary so much.

International wire transfer fees for New Zealand banks

Here’s an overview of the typical costs for sending an international wire with 5 large New Zealand banks. The exact price you pay may vary based on how you set up your transfer – in branch payments are often more expensive than online transfers for example, and payments made in NZD overseas can also attract further fees.

Provider International wire fee
ANZ 9 NZD + 3rd party fees if applicable + exchange rate markup
BNZ 5 NZD + 3rd party fees if applicable + exchange rate markup
ASB 15 NZD + 3rd party fees if applicable + exchange rate markup
Kiwibank 20 NZD + 3rd party fees if applicable + exchange rate markup
Westpac 10 NZD + 3rd party fees if applicable + exchange rate markup

How to avoid international transfer fees with Banks

With charges added into the exchange rates and hard to spot intermediary bank fees, international wire transfers with traditional banks can be costly.

Here are some tips on how you could keep your costs down:

  • Sending money through your bank’s online or mobile banking service is almost always cheaper than visiting a branch
  • If you need to send someone a lot of money, using one larger payment can be cheaper than sending several small transfers, thanks to the fixed transfer fees that apply
  • If you can, use a specialist international payment provider. You’ll be able to make your payment online or in an app for convenience, and can often find lower costs and a better exchange rate compared to a regular bank
  • Compare some different transfer services to make sure you get the best value for your particular payment

Best bank for international wire transfers

We’ve looked at 5 of the most popular banks in New Zealand, to see how they measure up on international wire transfers. We’ll look at the fees, rates, limits, pros and cons of each of the following banks in New Zealand:

  • ANZ
  • BNZ
  • ASB
  • Kiwibank
  • Westpac

ANZ international transfers

ANZ offers international transfers you can arrange online, in-app, by phone or in a branch. Flat fees apply, depending on the way you arrange your payment. However, as higher value payments must be set up by phone or in branch, these automatically come with higher fees. ANZ payments are processed through the SWIFT network, which can mean extra costs apply which are payable to third parties involved in the process. ANZ will cover these fees for select destinations – otherwise they’ll be deducted from the payment as it’s processed.

Transfers can be made in around 30 currencies. However, if the currency you need to send isn’t supported, ANZ may still be able to help if you call them to discuss your requirements.

Pros Cons
  • Flat 9 NZD fee, ANZ also cover the third party fees for some destinations
  • Send online or in person depending on your preference
  • Exchange rate markups apply
  • High value payments can not be arranged online or in-app, meaning higher fees apply

ANZ transfer fees

The ANZ fee you pay will depend on the destination and how you set up your payment. Here are the ANZ transfer fees:

  • International transfer arranged online or through mobile banking – 9 NZD
  • International transfer arranged by phone or in branch – 28 NZD

In addition to this, you may also pay third party bank charges. ANZ will cover these charges for payments made to Australia, the UK, US, India and select Pacific countries. For other destinations, third party fees apply which are deducted from the payment amount as it is processed. That means your recipient may get less than you expected in the end.

ANZ exchange rate

You’ll notice that the rate you’re offered isn’t the same as the one you can find online with a Google search, or using a currency converter tool. What you find online is the mid-market exchange rate – the rate banks get when they buy currency themselves. However, most banks – like ANZ – don’t pass this rate on to customers. Instead they add in their own fees and costs to calculate a retail exchange rate, which means you pay an extra fee here.

ANZ international transfer limits

ANZ international transfer limits depend on how you arrange the payment:

  • ANZ transfers arranged through internet banking – send 100 NZD to 50,000 NZD
  • ANZ transfers arranged through mobile banking – send 100 NZD to 10,000 NZD
  • For payments of 50,000 NZD to 100,000 NZD you must use phone banking
  • Payments of 100,000 NZD or more have to be arranged in branch

BNZ international transfers

BNZ offers customers the option to send to 200+ countries, in 31 different currencies, online, in app, by phone or in a branch. Staff assisted transfers have a higher fee to pay. It’s also worth noting that you’ll pay an exchange rate markup which is wrapped into the rate used to convert from NZD to your desired currency, and because the payment is processed through SWIFT, third party fees may also apply.

You can often choose to cover most of the third party costs yourself, by paying an extra 20 NZD charge. If you don’t cover these costs, any fees paid to intermediaries will be deducted from the amount as it’s processed.

Pros Cons
  • Send 31 currencies, to 200+ countries
  • Send transfers in branch, online or using the mobile app for convenience
  • Exchange rate markups and third party fees may apply
  • Internet banking transfers not available overnight

BNZ transfer fees

  • Staff assisted BNZ transfer – 25 NZD
  • Self service BNZ transfer – 5 NZD
  • OUR fee if you choose to cover third party fees – 20 NZD

If you choose to pay the OUR fee your recipient won’t pay extra third party charges to correspondent banks – but their own bank may charge a receiving fee. If you do not cover this fee, the recipient will bear both charges.

BNZ exchange rate

The BNZ exchange rate is likely to include a markup on the mid-market exchange rate. That’s an extra fee, which may include a spread and commission.

The exact rate you’re offered depends on the account you hold, the specific payment being made, the currencies and payment amounts involved.

BNZ international transfer limits

BZN has a 100,000 NZD daily limit for international transfers made through internet banking. For higher value payments you may need to visit a branch.

ASB international transfers

ASB supports 22 currencies for international payments, which can be set up online, by phone or in person. If you’re sending a payment online or through mobile banking the fees are lower – but you’ll be limited to transfers with a daily limit of 100,000 NZD if you’re arranging them in banking hours, or 60,000 NZD out of banking hours. Higher value payments will need to be set up in a branch.

When you set up your payment you can choose whether you want to pay the third party costs associated with the SWIFT network yourself, or have the recipient cover them.

Pros Cons
  • You can choose whether you or the recipient pay third party fees
  • Send money online for convenience, or visit a branch if you’d prefer in person service
  • Fees vary based on the way you set up your payment – online transfers have a fairly steep 15 NZD fee
  • Exchange rate markups apply

ASB transfer fees

  • Staff assisted ASB transfer – 30 NZD
  • Self service ASB transfer – 15 NZD

ASB exchange rate

The ASB exchange rate includes a markup on the mid-market exchange rate. That’s a fee for currency conversion, but it’s hard to spot because it’s rolled up into the rate you’re offered for your payment.

ASB international transfer limits

ASB has different daily transfer limits depending on whether you’re setting your payment up during business hours, or out of hours via internet banking.

If you’re arranging your payment in normal banking hours, in a branch, by phone or online, you can send up to 100,000 NZD. Payments made out of banking hours are limited to a maximum of 60,000 NZD per day.

Kiwibank international transfers

Kiwibank payments can be sent in around 30 currencies, to more or less any country in the world. You can either set up a payment on your own in the Kiwibank internet banking service, or have someone help you by visiting a branch in person. Fees are higher for assisted transfers – but even for online payments the Kiwibank transfer fee comes in fairly high at 20 NZD.

Exchange rate markups and third party fees may also apply to your Kiwibank international transfer.

Pros Cons
  • 30+ currencies supported
  • Send payments online or in person at a branch
  • Exchange rate markups apply
  • Fees are relatively high

Kiwibank transfer fees

Here are the standard Kiwibank fees – you’ll need to double check the terms of your own account before you get started to make sure there are no surprises:

  • Staff assisted Kiwibank transfer – 25 NZD
  • Self service Kiwibank transfer – 20 NZD

Kiwibank exchange rate

The Kiwibank exchange rate includes a markup which is an extra fee rolled up in the exchange rate you’re offered.

The rate you find when you run a Google search or use a currency converter tool is the mid-market exchange rate. However, this isn’t the same as the rate you’ll be given when you send an international transfer with Kiwibank. Instead, Kiwibank – like most banks – will add a markup to the mid-market rate to calculate their retail rate. That means a less favorable rate for you, and a little more profit for the bank.

Kiwibank international transfer limit

Kiwibank may apply limits to the amount you can transfer per day, particularly for online payments. You’ll be shown any limits which apply to your particular payment when you set it up online.

Westpac international transfers

Our final big New Zealand bank, Westpac, offers international transfers online, by phone and in person. You can send to a broad range of countries, with the fees varying depending on whether you arrange your payment online, in a branch, or through another route like by phone.

As well as the transfer fee you pay, you can opt to pay the correspondent bank fee yourself instead of passing this on to the recipient. Exchange rate markups are likely to also apply, which will be rolled into the exchange rate you’re given when converting your transfer from NZD to the currency you need.

Pros Cons
  • Safe and familiar option
  • Make your payment in a branch for in person service
  • Payments can’t be made at weekends
  • High transfer fees + possible third party charges + exchange rate markups apply

Westpac transfer fees

  • Westpac staff assisted transfer: 30 NZD
  • Westpac online transfer: 10 NZD
  • Any other Westpac transfer: 20 NZD
  • Optional correspondent fees: 25 NZD

If you choose not to pay the optional correspondent bank fees, they will be deducted from the payment as it is processed, meaning your recipient will get less than you expect in the end.

Westpac exchange rate

The Westpac exchange rate is likely to include a markup on the mid-market exchange rate you’d find on Google or with a currency converter tool.

Westpac International transfer limits

Limits may apply to the amount you can send overseas with Westpac. It’s also helpful to know you can’t initiate a transfer overseas on weekends. You’ll see any limits which apply to your payment when you set it up in the Westpac online banking service.

Conclusion: What is the best bank for international wire transfer?

Using banks for international wire transfers can be convenient and secure but is also often expensive thanks to complicated fees and poor exchange rates. It’s also not often the fastest option, with bank wires commonly taking several days to arrive, depending on the destination.

Specialist services like Wise and OFX are a good option for a faster payment which can be cheaper too. Compare a few options to see which works best for you.

FAQs on best banks to make international transfers with

What is the best way to transfer money internationally?

There’s no single best way to send money internationally – but specialist digital providers like Wise, OFX or WorldRemit can often offer a lower overall cost compared to your normal bank.

What is the cheapest way to wire money internationally?

Sending a payment with a specialist online service may work out cheaper than using your banks. Compare a few options – you can often get an instant, no obligation quote, so it’s easy to see which works best for you.

Which bank does not charge wire transfer fees?

All of the New Zealand banks we looked at charge wire transfer fees. In addition to upfront transfer fees, exchange rate markups and third party costs also often apply.

Which New Zealand banks accept international wire transfers?

Get paid from around the world into your New Zealand bank account – most major banks will let you receive an international wire to your account, although fees may apply. You can also check out online specialist providers like OFX, Remitly and Wise which often offer better rates and lower overall costs on international wire transfers.

Claire Millard
Fintech copy and content writer
Claire Millard is a content and copywriter with a specialty in international finance. Her work has featured in The Times and The Telegraph, as well as industry magazines and leading personal finance blogs.
Read more
Ileana Ionescu
Content manager
With a background in business journalism, Ileana is an experienced content manager, creating content for Exiap that helps its audience make informed decisions about their finances.
Read more
Last updated
March 21st, 2023