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Best way to transfer large amounts of money internationally

Your bank may be more convenient to transfer large amounts of money, but a money transfer specialist will probably offer a better deal.

It’s common for people in New Zealand to send large amounts of money overseas and the best way to do that will depend on your specific situation. When making your decision, it is important to take into consideration things such as transfer fees, exchange rates, speed and more.

6 ways to transfer large amounts of money overseas

  1. International money transfer specialist
  2. Bank-to-bank transfers
  3. Cash-to-cash transfers
  4. International bank draft
  5. Prepaid debit card
  6. Cryptocurrency

1. International money transfer specialist

You will find that money transfer specialists often offer the most competitive exchange rates for your transfer and charge lower fees than what you’ll find at your bank. Certain providers such as TorFX and OFX specialise in helping people make large transfers overseas. These types of companies exist to make the process of sending money overseas faster and more straightforward.


  • Typically cheaper than bank transfers.
  • Diverse payment options, including payment by credit card, debit card, bank account and more.
  • Many transfer specialists offer step-by-step guidance for the entire process.
  • Can be sent entirely online.


  • Many options exist, so finding the best one may seem tricky.
  • Some money transfer specialists don’t have transparent fees and exchange rates.
  • You have to trust a company with your money, so vetting them is important.

2. Bank-to-bank transfers

While most banks are able to initiate an overseas transfer, they tend to be the most expensive option. When dealing with smaller transfers, the ease of using your local bank can be worth the fees and unfavourable exchange rate. But for larger transfers, you’ll see a noticeable cut taken. It is also worth keeping in mind that your bank may have wire transfer limits in place, so you’ll need to ask ahead of time if you plan on making a large international wire transfer over a certain amount.

  • Wire transfer. This is where you can send money directly from your bank account to another bank account, usually by filling out a form with the contact and account details of the recipient. This tends to be the more expensive option, and you should double-check how much your bank charges for outgoing international transfers before sending money.


  • You already trust your bank with your money.
  • You can typically initiate the transfer online, in-person or by phone.
  • You don’t have to trust any companies with your money.


  • More expensive than other options.
  • Typically far slower than other options.
  • Have to pay with funds that are already in your bank account.

3. Cash-to-cash transfers

Sending money for cash pickup is a convenient way to complete your international money transfer, particularly if you or your recipient is under or unbanked. There are several companies that offer cash-to-cash transfers including Ria Money Transfer, MoneyGram and Western Union. Finding the right company for your cash-to-cash transfer is important, so make sure to compare your options.


  • Recipient doesn’t need a bank account.
  • Sender doesn’t need a bank account.
  • Cash transfers often transfer faster than bank-to-bank transfers.


  • Most cash-to-cash specialists have a maximum sending limit.
  • Large amounts of cash will have to be picked up by the recipient, which could be dangerous.
  • Higher fees are typically applied to cash-to-cash transfers, compared to using an international money specialist that transfers to a bank account.

4. International bank draft

An international bank draft is issued by a bank on behalf of the payer. It allows another bank, typically in another country, to draw funds directly from the issuing bank. International bank drafts can be drawn in a foreign currency, removing the need to speculate on future exchange rates.

Overall, international bank drafts operate similarly to domestic orders sent within New Zealand, except that they are created in a foreign currency.


  • Accepted in many parts of the world.
  • Relatively cost effective when compared to wire transfers between international banks.
  • Can only be cashed at a bank by the person listed on the international bank draft.


  • Slow, as they have to be physically mailed or hand delivered between countries.
  • Difficult and time consuming to replace if lost or stolen.

5. Prepaid debit cards

With some services, you can send funds via a prepaid debit card. The sender loads a prepaid debit card with cash funds. The recipient can then withdraw them using the prepaid debit card. Alternatively, you can transfer money from the prepaid card to a bank or card account.

Prepaid debit cards tend not to charge transfer fees. However, you will most likely have to pay an activation fee or monthly fee.


  • Relatively cost effective when compared to bank transfers
  • Recipient doesn’t need a bank account
  • You can lock in a set exchange rate


  • Most prepaid debit cards carry an activation fee or a monthly fee
  • There may be a limit on how much you can load onto the card

6. Cryptocurrency

If you hold cryptocurrency, you can send it to a wallet anywhere in the world. Many cryptocurrencies will also let you trade cryptocurrency for fiat currency (a government-issued currency like New Zealand dollars or euros). Which means it is possible to exchange New Zealand dollars for a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, then trade your cryptocurrency for euros.

However it’s not a simple process, and you’ll likely encounter percentage-based fees at each step, which makes it an expensive option. Here are the key steps to take when transferring money overseas using cryptocurrency:

  1. Transfer funds to an online cryptocurrency exchange.
  2. Use your local currency to buy cryptocurrency, which goes into a digital wallet.
  3. Sell your cryptocurrency for a foreign currency.
  4. Withdraw your funds from the exchange platform.


  • You can send money directly to your recipient’s cryptocurrency wallet address, removing the need for companies as intermediaries.
  • Your transaction can’t be cancelled.


  • Requires a lot of technical know-how to avoid errors.
  • Prices can be volatile, so although you may save money by avoiding fees, you could lose it if the price of the cryptocurrency you’re using as an intermediary drops.
  • Depending on the route you use, there may be many fees to pay.

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