5 Major Reasons You Might Need to Transfer Money Internationally

View of The Empire State Building from Rockefeller CentreThis article will explore the various reasons you may have for transferring money internationally.

This guide will cover:

  • Factors that impact your costs to send money internationally
  • Sending and receiving money to and from friends and family
  • Life events requiring you to transfer money overseas
  • Paying for goods and services in another country
  • Foreign currency exchange for property
  • Business international transfers
  • Conclusion

Factors that impact your costs for transferring money internationally

There are various contributing factors that will affect the fees you can expect to pay when you are transferring your money internationally. These factors are as follows:

  • The company you decide to entrust your transfer to
  • The currency exchange rate you are given on the currencies you are converting from and to
  • The actual exchange rate provided by your provider
  • Additional fees on the transaction
  • The amount of money you send

We’ve put together a table below to show you of the costs of some companies and banks out there:

Transfer Method US Dollar Amount Exchange Rate Fee Total Cost
WorldFirst 1000 0.720 $10 $1398.30
HiFX 1000 0.7201 $12 $1401.39
OFX 1000 0.7199 $12 $1399.90
TorFX 1000 Indicative rates – obtain quote $0 $1388.30
ANZ 1000 1.0296 $18 $1047.60
Westpac 1000 0.7409 $20 $1369.71

All rates were collected in February 2017 and were correct at that time.

You can use our comparison table to compare the rates and fees of different providers and banks.

1. Sending and receiving money to and from friends and family

Moving to New Zealand from overseas

OFX is one of the most popular choices for people relocating to New Zealand. Account setup and management are easy, and they provide competitive exchange rates no matter how much or how little money you’re exchanging.

OFX has a skilled and dedicated customer support team who can guide you through any financial questions on exchanging and transferring money. OFX rates are consistently close to mid-market rates, and they consistently beat PayPal, Moneygram, and banks when transferring any amount.

You can read our article here about transferring money back to New Zealand.

Sending money from New Zealand to your home country

If you’re regularly sending money home, you want a service that’s quick, simple, and easy to use. TorFX provides up-to-date currency information, together with professional currency conversion experts to answer your questions. Their exchange rates are often within 1% of the mid-market rate and they support this with several tools to reduce your risk of currency fluctuations.

Transferring to friends and family

Unlike many other providers, Western Union has a low “minimum payment” size, making it more cost effective to send small amounts to loved ones living abroad. They also generally have more competitive exchange rates than banks or Moneygram, and a greater number of funding options than dedicated currency exchange providers. For example, you can fund your account via debit or credit card and your relatives can receive the money into their bank account or in cash.

2. Life events requiring you to transfer money overseas


Getting married overseas:

OFX has an excellent track record for these type of payments, and their superb, local customer service teams will help remove any anxiety before your big day.

For more on settling the bill for an overseas wedding, click here.

Transferring your pension

When it comes to receiving payments or moving your pension, the security of your personal information and your money is essential. For regular transfers from overseas, OFX is a great choice. In addition to considerable experience with pension transfers, their customer service team can make sure you get a great exchange rate.

Inheriting money from overseas

Losing a family member or friend is a traumatic experience, and the last thing you want to think about is the details of finances and exchange rates. The dedicated customer service and support team at OFX is used to dealing with these situations and will be understanding and sensitive while giving you the right information to transfer your inheritance into New Zealand.

3. Paying for goods and services in another country

Paying small transactions

For smaller transactions, we would suggest going through your bank for convenience. They will charge you a more unfavourable exchange rate but this will not have a huge effect on your transfer if it is small (under $200). Otherwise, we would mention OFX for a dedicated currency provider.

We would also suggest Paypal here, as they offer both convenience and fast payments at a reasonable rate for smaller payments. Unlike many providers, they have no minimum payment size. In some cases, Paypal may be a cheaper alternative to using a bank transfer because they charge a relatively small transfer fee.

4. Foreign currency exchange for property

Buying, Selling or Investing

When you’re transferring money internationally in relation buying, selling, or investing in a property, you need to do it at the best time to take maximum advantage of the exchange rate. You also need to make sure that money is there when you and other parties need it. When you’re juggling offers, contracts, and settlement dates, you need reassurance your transfer is secure and safe.

That’s why we recommend World First. You will get a dedicated account manager who can talk you through every step of transferring your money, help you with any issues, and make sure your money is where you need it to be when you need it to be there. They have a global support network, so they will help wherever you are moving money from or to.

Mortgage payments

TorFX provides an excellent service for regular mortgage payments, including locking in exchange rates so you’ll be certain how much you will pay. Their low minimum payment size of $250 allows you to transfer large or small amounts at a low cost.

5. Business international transfers

If you regularly receive payments from customers overseas

If you regularly take payments from customers in other countries, variations in the exchange rates can eat into your profits. HiFX helps you get around this problem through providing foreign currency accounts where you can keep your money until exchange rates improve. They also have a $0 fee structure, which can prove very useful if you’re moving smaller amounts on a regular basis.


To recap, you have several ways of transferring money internationally, each with its pros and cons.

  1. Your bank – you must log into your internet banking and select ‘International Money Transfer’. You then input your beneficiary’s details.
  2. Paypal – Fast, easy, convenient and a well-known name in the money transfer world.
  3. Money Transfer companies:

Case Study

Cameron and his wife Susan have lived in New Zealand their entire life, and have never had reasons for to transferring money internationally. They have three children, two of whom reside in New Zealand and one who moved to the UK.

Since their youngest moved away, Cameron and Susan have had to try to come to grips with finding ways to support him financially if he ever needed it. With the help of their two children in New Zealand, Cameron and Susan learnt that if they wanted an easy and convenient way of transferring money internationally, it could be set up through Internet Banking. This would be the easiest way for them with minimum hassle.

Susan asked her daughter to set her up and she showed Susan how to work it. They input their youngest UK bank details into their account and were thrilled to know that his details would be retained. They could help him once again in a flash if he needed it.

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