BNZ international transfers: fees, rates and transfer times explained

Samuel Clennett
07.07.20
5 minute read

A reliable, fast and affordable way to send money abroad is absolutely essential for many businesses. You might also need to make an international payment for other reasons – for example, to send a birthday gift to a friend, pay for goods or services, or help a family member out with a loan.

If you’re a customer of Bank of New Zealand (BNZ), you’ll be able to make international payments through your account. But how much exactly will it cost, and how long will the transfer take to go through? We’ll answer these questions and more below, so that you’ll have all the info you need to complete an international transfer with BNZ.

But remember that your bank isn’t the only option for sending and receiving international payments. Solutions such as Wise could be as much as 6x cheaper¹. Get a Wise multi-currency account and you can send money at the real exchange rate, receive money for free, convert currencies at low fees and spend in any currency worldwide with a linked Mastercard.

A cost example: Sending $1,000 abroad

Let’s imagine you want to send $1,000 to a friend or family member in France, Europe. How much will it cost you to use your bank, compared to using a dedicated international transfer solution like Wise?

To work out which is cheaper, you’ll need to factor in all costs including intermediary bank fees and exchange rate markups charged by your bank. Let’s take a quick look:

ProviderFeeExchange rateTotal cost
BNZ²$15 for self-service online, $25 for staff assisted + correspondent bank feesExchange rate + markup$15 + correspondent fees + exchange rate markup
Wise³$6.89The real mid-market exchange rate$6.89

What are the fees for BNZ?

If you send and receive money internationally on a regular basis, it’s essential to be aware of the full range of fees charged by BNZ for transfers between countries. After all, you don’t want to be caught out by an unexpected charge.

Also, remember that fees may vary depending on the country you’re sending to, what kind of account you have with BNZ and a range of other terms and conditions.

BNZ international transfer fees table

International TransfersRegular fees⁴
Incoming international transfer
  • $15 if credited to a BNZ account
  • $25 if credited to another bank or uplifted in cash
Outgoing international transfer
  • $15 for online payments
  • $25 for staff-assisted payments
Additional fees may apply
  • See below for fees for amending or cancelling payments, plus correspondent bank fees

BNZ exchange rates

Exchange rates can sometimes make the process of sending money internationally a little more complicated – and expensive.

When payments are made between banks in different countries, there are often intermediary banks involved along the way. Your payment may not go directly from your BNZ account in New Zealand to your friend’s bank in France, for example.

If you’re sending or receiving money in a different currency from your own NZ bank account, one of these intermediary banks may apply an exchange rate of their choosing. This rate could differ quite a lot from the mid-market or real exchange rate that you’ll see on Google or currency sites like xe.com.

This is because banks can add a markup on top of the exchange rate, which makes the transaction more expensive for you or the recipient.

A similar thing can happen when you send NZD to your friend’s bank in France. The receiving bank applies their own currency conversion, pocketing the rate markup. The receiver may be charged for the conversion and/or receive a poor exchange rate as a result.

Additional fees

When sending an international transfer, banks generally use the SWIFT system. This is a worldwide financial messaging system, which banks and other financial institutions use to securely send and receive information, such as money transfer instructions for example. ⁵

With BNZ international transfers via SWIFT, there is the possibility that anywhere between 0-3 intermediary banks within the network will be involved. It often depends on where you’re sending money from and to.

It’s custom for these intermediary banks to charge flat fees of between $20-$50⁶ for their involvement in the transfer. When converting your money from one currency to another, they may also apply their own exchange rate – which could vary quite a bit from the mid-market rate you’ll find on Google or XE.com.

Although these aren’t BNZ fees, it’s still important to ask your bank about additional fees from intermediary banks. Disappointingly, this is something that not all banks mention upfront, and it can catch many customers by surprise. Your bank may not provide you with the exact fees or exchange rate markup, but it should be able to give you some information.

There is an alternative to all this uncertainty though. Banks like BNZ have something called a ‘Charges Our’ fee. This is a flat fee of $20 which you can tell BNZ you’d like to pay instead of all those correspondent/intermediary bank fees⁷. Exchange rate markups will still apply though, and it’s the Charges Our option isn’t applicable for all payments to all countries.

Now, let’s take a look at the other additional fees BNZ charges for international transfer services:

International TransfersAdditional Fees⁸
Sending/recipient bank and/or intermediary bank(s)
  • Correspondent/receiving bank fees + or BNZ’s ‘Charges Our’ fee of $20 per payment in lieu of correspondent bank fees + exchange rate markup
Cancelling a transfer
  • $25 per payment
Tracing a transfer
  • $25 per payment
Amending a transfer
  • $25 per payment

How do you make an international bank transfer with BNZ in New Zealand?

There are three main ways you can make an international money transfer (IMT), also known as a telegraphic transfer (TT):

Online

Login to your account on the BNZ internet banking portal and follow these steps⁹:

  1. Open the menu on the left-hand side and select ‘International’ from the list of menu options
  2. If prompted, follow the instructions for authenticating the transaction using the BNZ mobile app or NetGuard card
  3. Choose the account you want to send your payment from and fill in other required details
  4. Choose an existing payee or set up a new payee
  5. Follow the instructions to complete and confirm your payment.

In person at a local branch¹⁰

The easiest and quickest way to arrange an international transfer is via internet banking, but it’s also relatively straightforward to do it in person. Head to your nearest branch with the relevant details (i.e. the recipient’s bank details) and a member of staff will guide you through the process.

By phone

BNZ tends to signpost customers towards making international payments online or in a branch, but it is also possible to do it by phone. You can call the 24-hour phoneline on 0800 275 269¹¹ for assistance setting up or managing an international transfer.

What do I need or what should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer?

If someone in another country is planning to send money to you here in New Zealand, you may need to provide them with a few key details. You’ll need to do a little research yourself as the requirements can vary from country to country, and from bank to bank, but these details will usually include¹²:

● Your IBAN (International Bank Account Number) or local bank account number for countries such as the US where IBANs are not used

● Your bank’s SWIFT or Bank Identifier Code (BIC) – you can find your bank’s unique code¹³ here.

● Your full name and address

● Your bank’s address

● The amount and the currency you’d like to receive the payment in

You might also need to agree with the sender who is going to pay any charges that apply to the payment.

How long does an international bank transfer with BNZ take?

The short answer to this is that it varies¹⁴. It all depends on where you’re sending from, the country you’re sending to and how many intermediary banks are involved. This is the case for all SWIFT international transfers, not just with BNZ.

If you need your transfer to happen particularly urgently or are worried about delays, get in touch with BNZ directly for an idea of how long it may take.


This guide should give you all the info you need to know to arrange BNZ international transfers. As you can see though, banks aren’t always the cheapest, fastest or most convenient for whizzing money around the globe – especially considering the uncertainty of intermediary bank charges that may be added in along the way.

So, make sure you check out and compare all fees and exchange rate markups carefully before hitting ‘confirm’, and perhaps consider using alternative services like Wise which could save you money.


Sources used:

  1. Wise Multi-Currency Account
  2. BNZ Fees
  3. Wise Pricing
  4. BNZ Fees
  5. SWIFT
  6. BNZ Fees
  7. BNZ Fees
  8. BNZ Making an International Payment
  9. BNZ International Transfer
  10. BNZ Making an International Payment
  11. Wise SWIFT Codes
  12. BNZ International Transfer

Sources checked on 29-June 2020.


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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