How to Move Funds to New Zealand

If you’ve been living overseas and are planning to move back to New Zealand, you’ll need to know how to transfer your funds. Here’s Canstar’s comprehensive guide to transferring funds back to New Zealand.

Thanks to international money transfers, it’s relatively simple to transfer funds to New Zealand. Canstar looks at the steps you’ll need to take.

How do I transfer funds back to New Zealand?

When you come back to New Zealand, any money you have in foreign currency will need to be repatriated and changed into New Zealand dollars. You can do this by using either a bank or a specialised international money transfer service. The money can be deposited into a bank account, digital wallet or, if it’s not a huge amount, some money transfer agencies will allow you to arrange for the money to be paid out in cash.

However, whichever transfer service or bank you use, you’ll still need to open an account with them, which will require you to provide various items of identification to comply with anti-money laundering legislation.

Money transfer providers vs banks: which is better?

The best option for transferring money from overseas will depend on your specific needs and preferences. However, opting to use a money transfer provider can often work out cheaper and easier than using the services of a bank.

Money transfer providers

Specialist international money transfer providers are companies that focus on helping people and businesses send money across borders. They usually offer good exchange rates, lower fees, and specialised services designed for international transfers.

Benefits of money transfer providers

Money transfer providers offer several benefits compared to traditional banks when it comes to transferring money internationally:

  1. Cost-Effectiveness: money transfer providers often offer lower fees and better exchange rates compared to banks, resulting in cost savings for the sender
  2. Speed: many money transfer providers offer faster transfer times, enabling recipients to receive funds more quickly than traditional bank transfers. Once you open an account, transfers between most major countries can be completed within 24 hours
  3. Convenience: money transfer providers typically have user-friendly online platforms or mobile apps, making it easy for customers to initiate and track transfers from anywhere at any time

Disadvantages of money transfer providers

While money transfer providers offer various benefits, they also have some potential disadvantages:

  1. Limited physical presence: unlike traditional banks, many money transfer providers operate primarily online or through digital platforms. This lack of physical branches may be inconvenient for individuals who prefer in-person assistance or who have limited access to the internet
  2. Potential for fraud: although reputable money transfer providers prioritise security measures, there is always a risk of fraud or unauthorised transactions. Customers should remain vigilant and ensure they are using trusted platforms to avoid falling victim to scams
  3. Transfer limits: some money transfer providers impose limits on the amount of money that can be transferred within a certain time frame. This could be restrictive for individuals or businesses looking to send large sums of money overseas

Compare travel money cards with Canstar

International bank transfers

An international bank transfer is a way to send money from one bank account to another located in different countries. It allows people or businesses to make payments or transactions across borders. This involves providing bank account details of the recipient, and the funds are electronically transferred from the sender’s account to the recipient’s account, often with fees and currency conversion.

Benefits of international bank transfers

International bank transfers offer several benefits:

  1. Security: bank transfers are generally considered secure, as they involve established financial institutions with rigorous security measures in place to protect the transfer of funds
  2. Direct deposit: international bank transfers allow funds to be deposited directly into the recipient’s bank account, eliminating the need for physical cash or checks and providing added convenience
  3. Convenience: many banks offer online banking services, allowing customers to initiate international transfers from the comfort of their homes or offices, at any time of day

Disadvantages of international bank transfers

International bank transfers come with several disadvantages:

  1. Higher fees: banks typically charge higher fees for international transfers than many online currency transfer services, including flat fees and additional charges for currency conversion. These fees can significantly increase the cost of transferring money
  2. Exchange Rates: banks often offer less favorable exchange rates compared to other currency exchange providers. This means that recipients may receive less money than expected due to unfavourable exchange rates
  3. Slow processing times: international bank transfers can take several business days to complete, particularly if multiple banks or intermediary institutions are involved in the process. This delay can be inconvenient, especially for urgent transfers

Are there any transaction fees?

Despite most international money transfer providers charging lower transaction rates than banks, there will typically still be a small transaction fee. Here are the transaction fees of some well-known international transfer providers:

International money transfer provider Fee
CurrencyFair The equivalent of €3
OFX NZ$15 if < NZ$10,000
Revolut 0.30% – 1% fee by currency
Send $0
TorFX $0
Wise From 0.42% – varies by currency
WorldFirst Up to 0.8%
XE $0

Before deciding on an provider, it’s always prudent to compare the combined fees and exchange rates on offer, just to make sure that they’re competitive. Note that the comparative market rate on offer on the front page of a provider’s website might not be the actual rate the provider charges its customers.

Will I have to pay tax?

If you’re considered a taxpayer in New Zealand, you’ll likely need to pay taxes on any income you earn worldwide, even if taxes were already taken out in the country where you earned the money. However, there are some cases where you might be eligible for an exemption to prevent the same income from being taxed twice when bringing it into New Zealand. For example:

  • You are a new tax resident
  • You are returning to New Zealand after ten years
  • New Zealand has a double taxation agreement with the country you are moving from

Certain types of income may also be exempt, including:

  • Income attributed under NZ’s controlled foreign company rules or foreign investment fund rules
  • Withdrawals from foreign superannuation funds
  • International income subject to non-resident withholding tax or approved issuer levy
  • Income from international employee share options
  • Accrual income from overseas financial arrangements
  • International royalties, interest, dividends or rental income

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a content writer, before joining the Canstar team.

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