Kiwibank international transfers - a guide to fees, rates and transfer

Samuel Clennett
07.07.20
5 minute read

Need to buy something from the US, or send some birthday money to a friend in France? Perhaps you run your own business and have overseas suppliers or freelancers to pay. Whatever your plans, you’ll need a fast, cheap and secure way to make an international transfer.

One option is to send international transfers through your bank. If you’re a customer of Kiwibank, you can send money overseas from your personal or business account. Here, we’ll look at how much it may cost you to use Kiwibank for international transfers, including fees, exchange rate mark-ups and intermediary bank charges.

This guide will also cover the process of setting up an international payment with Kiwibank, along with estimated transfer times.

There are, of course, other options than Kiwibank for sending and receiving money internationally. Solutions such as Wise can be up to 6x cheaper than traditional banks¹, as you always get the mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees.

Plus, get a Wise multi-currency account and you can also receive money for free and spend in local currencies worldwide with a linked debit MasterCard.

A cost example: Sending $1,000 abroad

To work out which international transfer method is cheaper – Kiwibank or another service like Wise - let’s imagine you want to send $1,000 NZD to a friend in the US. Let’s look at the main fees involved:

ProviderFeeExchange rateTotal cost
Kiwibank²$20 NZD using internet banking, $25 NZD in branch/by fax + correspondent bank feesExchange rate + markup$20 + correspondent fees + exchange rate markup
Wise³$7.83 NZDThe real mid-market exchange rate$7.83

What are the fees for Kiwibank?

Bank fees for sending international payments catch many people by surprise – and it’s not a pleasant surprise. These charges can vary quite a lot depending on where you’re sending to, the type of bank account you have and other factors.

If you aren’t careful, your transfer could become seriously expensive. This is why it’s really important to check the small print before hitting ‘send’ on an international money transfer.

Here are some of the headline charges you need to know about with Kiwibank international money transfers.

Kiwibank international transfer fees table

International TransfersRegular fees
Incoming international transfer⁴
  • $12 if credited to a Kiwibank account
  • Other fees may apply if sent via another NZ bank
Outgoing international transfer⁵
  • $20 for payments made through internet banking
  • $25 for in-branch or email (staff assisted) payments
Additional fees may apply
  • See below for fees for amending or cancelling payments, plus correspondent bank fees

Kiwibank exchange rates

Exchange rates are a key part of making international payments. Unfortunately, they can make the process more complicated and costly than you may expect.

When a payment is sent from your bank in New Zealand to a bank in Europe, for example, it doesn’t always zip directly there. It’s common for one or more intermediary (also known as correspondent) banks to be involved along the way.

Each of these banks can apply its own choice of exchange rate as they convert the money from one currency to another. And these exchange rates are often quite different from the mid-market rate you’ll see with a quick Google search or on a currency site like xe.com. This is because banks tend to add a mark-up on top of the mid-market rate. So, this means more money for the bank but a poorer rate and a more expensive transaction for you.

Additional fees

Most banks use the SWIFT system for international transfers. SWIFT is a worldwide financial messaging network⁶, designed so that banks can communicate with each other securely and send accurate information. For example, Kiwibank will use the SWIFT system to send/receive instructions for your international money transfer.

With SWIFT transfers, anywhere between 0-3 intermediary/correspondent banks⁷ can be involved in the process. This number can vary depending on where the money is being sent from and to, as it depends how many intermediary banks are in the network on that route.

These intermediary banks tend to charge flat fees of between $20 and $50⁸ per transaction. These aren’t Kiwibank’s fees, but they may still apply to the international transfer you make with Kiwibank. To avoid being caught out by unexpected charges, make sure to ask Kiwibank about potential extra costs before starting your transaction.

Another thing to be aware of is that the intermediary banks may also apply exchange rates of their choosing to your money, as it’s converted between currencies. This is unlikely to be the mid-market rate and will usually include a mark-up, so it can make your transfer cost more overall.

To make sure you’re fully clued up on fees before starting an international transfer, here are the other key Kiwibank fees which could apply to your transaction:

International TransfersAdditional Fees⁹
Sending/recipient bank and/or intermediary bank(s)
  • Correspondent/receiving bank fees + exchange rate markup(s)
Cancelling a transfer
  • $25 per payment
Amending a transfer
  • $25 per payment
Investigation fee (i.e. in situations where the recipient claims they haven’t received the funds)
  • $25 per payment

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

There are a few different ways¹⁰ you can arrange a Kiwibank international money transfer. This is also known as an IMT or a telegraphic transfer (TT). Far easiest is online, through the bank’s internet banking service, but you can also set up a payment by email, or in person at a Kiwibank branch.

Online

To arrange an IMT using Kiwibank internet banking, make sure you’re registered to use the online portal and then login to your account. You can then follow the on-screen instructions to set up your payment, choosing an existing payee or entering details for a new recipient. Once you’ve checked all of the details and are happy with the fees, you can confirm your transfer.

By email

Another way to make international money transfers with Kiwibank is by email. You’ll need to fill in an International Money Transfer Request form with all the relevant details and email it to supportTT@kiwibank.co.nz. Bear in mind that this staff-assisted method of setting up your transfer comes with a higher fee than using online banking.

In-branch

The third way to set up an international money transfer is to head to your local Kiwibank to do it in person. You’ll need all the relevant details with you and may need to fill in the International Money Transfer Request form. And just like with transfers arranged by email, setting up your payment in-branch may cost you slightly more in fees than using online banking.

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

If a generous friend or family member in another country wants to send you money, you’ll need to give them some information in order to receive the transfer.

The requirements can vary depending on the country they’re sending from, so it’s worth doing a little homework beforehand just to make sure you’ve got everything they’ll need to set up the payment.

But generally, here’s what you’ll need¹¹ in order to receive money from overseas into your Kiwibank NZ account:

  • Your full name and address
  • Your Kiwibank bank account name and 15-digit account number – some countries require an IBAN (International Bank Account Number) but this shouldn’t be needed to send money to New Zealand
  • The full bank name (i.e. Kiwibank Limited) and address
  • Your bank’s SWIFT or Bank Identifier Code (BIC) – you can find your bank’s unique code¹² here.

You’ll also need to agree on who will pay any associated fees – you or the sender.

How long does an international bank transfer with Kiwibank take?

Your recipient won’t need to wait too long to receive money from your international transfer. With Kiwibank, international transfers take around 2-3 business days¹³ to complete.

However, remember that the exact time can vary depending on where you’re sending to and from. The final delivery time could depend on the number of intermediary banks involved and of course on the receiving bank.


After reading this guide, you should have all the info you need to set up and manage international transfers with Kiwibank. You’ll know roughly how long it takes, how to set up a payment and how to receive money yourself from overseas.

Importantly, you should now have an idea of how much international transfers cost when you use Kiwibank – even if there is uncertainty as to how much intermediary banks and their exchange rates may add to the cost along the way.

If you’re put off by the extra expense, remember that traditional banks aren’t the only option out there. You can also make international payments with solutions like Wise, where fees are low, transparent and you’ll always get the mid-market exchange rate. It could end up saving you a small fortune if you regularly send money overseas.


Sources used:

  1. Wise Multi-Currency Account

  2. Kiwibank Fees and Rates

  3. https://wise.com/nz/send-money/

  4. Kiwibank Fees and Rates

  5. Kiwibank Fees and Rates

  6. How Swift System Works

  7. Kiwibank Fees and Rates

  8. Kiwibank Europe Telegraphic Transfer

  9. Kiwibank Receiving money from abroad

  10. Wise - Swift Codes

  11. Kiwibank Europe Telegraphic Transfer

Sources checked on 1-July 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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