Kiwibank international transfers. How to send money overseas

Roberto Efflandrin
30.05.22
7 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.

💰 Wise provides you the real exchange rate and low transparent transfer fees shown upfront.

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Wise money transfers

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 banks, 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 card.


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 via online banking to a friend’s USD account in the US. Let’s look at the main fees involved:

Provider Fee Exchange rate Total transfer cost
Kiwibank¹ 20 NZD if sent online + correspondent bank fees Exchange rate + markup $20 + correspondent fees + exchange rate markup
Wise $5.31 NZD

See calculation here

The real mid-market exchange rate $5.31

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 Transfers Regular fees in NZD
Incoming international transfer¹ $12 if credited to a Kiwibank account. Other fees may apply if sent via another NZ bank
Outgoing international transfer¹ $20 for transfers sent via Internet banking
Additional fees may apply See below for fees for amending or cancelling payments, plus correspondent bank fees

Note that Kiwibank mentions on their international transfer page that¹:

With international money transfers, other banks involved in processing the transfer may deduct fees from the amount transferred. These fees vary from bank to bank.

Kiwibank international transfer 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.

Kiwibank states¹:

When Kiwibank converts foreign currency into New Zealand dollars, or converts New Zealand dollars into foreign currency, or converts one foreign currency into another foreign currency, Kiwibank makes money on the conversion.

It doesn’t get any clearer than that. While the fees may seem like a one-off payment to get your money transferred over to your recipient, it’s the exchange rate that actually determines how much more or less your recipient will get for every unit of currency you send.

Wise uses the real exchange rate, just like the one you see if you did a search on Google. Together with the low fees shown upfront, you can rest assured your recipient will receive the most for what you send.

Wise transfers

Additional fees

Most banks use the SWIFT system for international transfers. SWIFT is a worldwide financial messaging network, 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 banks 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 for moving the money through their systems. 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:

Service Additional transfer service fees in NZD¹
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
Read more: How to open a Kiwibank account

Kiwibank Telegraphic transfers vs Direct transfers.

Kiwibank offers the possibility to do direct transfers to bank accounts in the UK and Australia and Canada.² This helps with direct crediting of money to the recipient account in these countries without the need for a SWIFT transfer that happens with telegraphic transfers. In the majority of international transfers though, you will rely on their SWIFT/telegraphic transfer service.

The main benefit of a direct credit transfer is you know what the recipient will get once sent. In this case, you should still keep an eye on what currency exchange rate Kiwibank offers for your transfer to see if you’re getting a good deal or not.

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

There are a few different ways 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 via Internet Banking

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 after filling in a request form

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 details do you need to send an international transfer with Kiwibank

The details you need depend on the type of transfer you make.²

For Direct credit transfer to supported countries, you need

  • Bank and branch number
    • often referred to in the UK as sort code
    • often referred to in Australia as BSB number
    • often referred to in Canada as institution and transit number or Electronic Fund Transactions (EFT) routing number
  • Account number or IBAN
  • Recipient’s account name
  • Recipient’s physical address

For Telegraphic transfers or IMTs to other countries

  • The account details mentioned above and their bank’s SWIFT code.

What should you 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.²

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 need 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 code 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 days to complete.²

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.

The Wise way

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.

Check out how much you could save on your next transfer using our calculator below.

You could save money with an alternative solution such as Wise, which only charges tiny fees and guarantees the mid-market exchange rate. There are no correspondent bank fees, and transfers are both quick and secure.

Open your Wise account in minutes 🚀

Wise for all


Sources used:

  1. Kiwibank International transfer fees
  2. Kiwibank sending money overseas

Sources checked on 30 May 2022.


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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