When it comes to moving to New Zealand, opening a New Zealand bank account easily and getting more New Zealand Dollars for your money is the name of the game. Here’s how.
- You want to avoid dealing with physical cash and travelers cheques! The truth is that you will get a much better exchange rate by converting your money using electronic funds.
- Shop around and compare services before using banks to convert your money. You will generally find you can get a much better exchange rate using specialist dedicated foreign exchange companies compared to what your bank offers.
- You can open a New Zealand bank account before you move to New Zealand. Pretty much all NZ banks will allow you to open an account online.
- Do it all online. We certainly found it more convenient doing as much as possible online, it is entirely possible to open a bank account, convert your money, and deposit it into your new New Zealand bank account all online. We did it using Westpac Bank and OFX to convert our GBP at the best rate we could find.
How To Get The Best Exchange Rate When Transferring Money To New Zealand
When transferring money from the UK to NZ of course the goal here is to get as many New Zealand Dollars for you pound sterling (or other local currency) as possible. Here is the exact process we followed which worked out very well for us:
- Do not, I repeat DO NOT take large amounts of cash and travelers cheques! You are literally burning your money if you do this. By far the best method to convert and transfer anything other than the very smallest sums of money is via telegraphic transfer (TT).
- Open a New Zealand bank account before leaving your country of origin to ensure you minimize the amount of cash you will need to take with you. We will show you how to do this in this guide.
- DO NOT use a bank to convert your money into New Zealand dollars! You can save a small fortune in bank fees by using a specialist foreign exchange company to get a much better exchange rate and avoid those ridiculously high bank fees. We outline the process below.
Of course, you can choose to wait until you arrive in New Zealand before you open a bank account too. This will be an easier option if you prefer to use a bank who doesn’t offer the option of opening an account online from overseas. The below advice will still be relevant about converting your local currency into New Zealand Dollars as it is not dependent on opening an account before you leave your country of origin.
transferring money from uk to nz
Converting Your Money To New Zealand Dollars
Unfortunately very few people realise just how many options you have available to you when it comes to converting money into another currency. The vast majority of people will simply turn to their ‘trusted’ bank. This is the worst mistake you can make! Unless you happen to be one of their VIP customers, you will not get a great deal from your bank. Generally you will receive the worst exchange rate from your bank and then they will sting you with commission fees on top!
Ideally you want to have a bank account before converting your money to avoid the hassle of having to deal with cash. The rule of thumb is that conversion rates are much worse when dealing with cash compared with electronic funds. Therefore you should aim to convert as minimal physical cash as possible and have the converted funds electronically transferred to your new New Zealand bank account.
Depending on exactly how much you’re converting, you can save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars by using a reputable foreign exchange service. We used OFX, a New Zealand based specialist foreign exchange company, as we could secure a much more competitive rate compared to the banks, paid no commission and could transfer funds easily online at our convenience.
Just by using OFX instead of our bank, we were able to pay for the cost of shipping our stuff to Auckland. Whilst there are other foreign currency exchange providers available, we chose OFX because of how simple they made it to transfer money online.
Here is an outline of the process we went through to convert our money after we had opened our NZ bank account:
- Open a free account with OFX: It is 100% free and there is no requirement to complete regular transactions with them. You will need to send digital copies of your ID (ideally a passport copy) to complete the process. Just simply scan or take a photo of your passport and email it through to them as per the instructions they will provide you with.
- Once you have opened your account, simply login and select yourself as the receiver of the New Zealand funds (known as creating a beneficiary). Use your new kiwi bank account details to have the local currency (i.e. pounds sterling etc.) paid directly into your account.
- Convert your funds online or via telephone
- Your New Zealand Dollars will appear in your bank account less any telegraphic transfer (TT) fees your NZ bank has charged you in order to receive the funds (usually very minimal).
The entire process is really this simple. By using OFX you will have saved yourself enough to cover your move costs or your first month’s rent in New Zealand simply by not using your bank.
The above method will work whether you’re sending money from the UK or Australia to NZ (or anywhere in the world!).