How to get the best exchange rate on every money transfer

Compare a range of transfer options to find the best exchange rate when you want to send money overseas.

Updated

Fact checked
Promoted

WorldRemit Offer

WorldRemit Offer logo
  • Use promo code 3FREE to get three free transfers
  • Easy to use with round-the-clock help
  • Get cash to family and friends in minutes
Go to site

When you need to send an international money transfer to Australia, the United Kingdom, India or anywhere throughout the world, finding the best exchange rate is crucial. The more favourable the exchange rate, the better value for money you will get and the more cash arrives in the recipient’s wallet.

However, if you use your regular bank to send an international money transfer, the chances are you won’t receive the best exchange rate available. Shop around and compare the services of specialist money transfer companies and you may find a better deal.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
NZD 1 Within an hour NZD 3.99 0.655 USD
3,272
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
Go to site Show details
NZD 0 Same day NZD 0.00 0.654 USD
3,271
Send money in more than 60 currencies. Fee-free international money transfers with a global brand. Go to site Show details
AUD 250 1 - 2 days NZD 15.00 0.651 USD
3,245
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in 45 currencies. No fee if you transfer over AUD$10,000. Go to site Show details
NZD 250 1 day NZD 0.00 0.651 USD
3,254
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply. Go to site Show details
NZD 2,000 2 days NZD 0.00 0.651 USD
3,254
Exclusive offer: $0 transfer fee and discounted exchange rates for all Finder customers.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in more than 60 currencies.
Go to site Show details
NZD 1 1 - 2 days NZD 40.00 0.657 USD
3,261
Make online transfers with transparent exchange rates, low fees and low minimum amounts. Go to site Show details
NZD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.653 USD
3,267
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
Get bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

What is an exchange rate?

An exchange rate details the value of one currency in relation to another. You will probably have heard the exchange rate mentioned in the finance news, when the value of one New Zealand dollar is expressed in terms of a range of other currencies. For example, 1 New Zealand dollar may be equal to 60 US cents. Exchange rates are affected by a wide range of factors including the supply and demand of each currency, world events, the performance of national economies and even the level of trade between the two countries.

When you want to send money overseas, you will need to convert your New Zealand dollars into the local currency of your money transfer destination. If you want to send money to France, banks and money transfer companies will convert your New Zealand dollars into euros, at a specified exchange rate.

How does the best exchange rate work?

The exchange rate you see reported on financial news bulletins of on Google is the wholesale or mid-market exchange rate. Banks and other financial companies make their money on international transfers by purchasing currency at the mid-market rate. They then offer it at a lower rate to you on your transactions. This is why it is always a good idea to shop around for the best available exchange rate. While banks usually offer low exchange rates, many specialist online transfer companies offer far better exchange rates to their customers. This means much better value for money for you.

What are the benefits to getting the best exchange rate?

Finding the best exchange rate means you will get the best deal on your international money transfer. A higher exchange rate means more money arrives in your beneficiary’s bank account or wallet, and the bank or money transfer provider takes a lower cut from your transaction. If you need to send a specified amount of money in a foreign currency, you will hand over fewer New Zealand dollars to ensure your beneficiary receives the correct amount.

How do I compare exchange rates?

  • Look online. Start researching online to see the exchange rates available from banks and different money transfer providers. It is also a good idea to identify the wholesale exchange rate, so you have a baseline to compare these rates against. You will soon work out which companies offer the best rates.
  • Make sure you know what rate you’re getting. Many transfer providers include money transfer cost calculators on their website, but some include what they refer to as an “indicative” rate, rather than the exchange rate you will receive. When you do get a quote, make sure it includes the actual exchange rate you will be given.
  • Watch out for fees. Exchange rates are only one half of the puzzle when it comes to determining the cost of your transfer. Most providers also charge a transaction fee, so remember to take these into account as well.
  • Consider other factors. Some companies offer flexible options, so you receive a better exchange rate, such as placing a limit order. Other companies may offer fast cash transfers that are processed in as little as a few minutes, but these often attract lower exchange rates.

Case study: International money transfer service vs bank

ben

Ben wants to send $1,000 from New Zealand to his brother Hamish in Italy and decides to shop around for the best possible deal. Hamish is currently on holiday in Europe but unfortunately had his wallet stolen in Rome and is running short of funds. Ben decides to compare his bank’s exchange rate and transfer fee, with those offered by a specialist transfer company online.

As you can see below, Ben can send an extra €16 just by using a money transfer company instead of a major bank and he will also save NZ$25 in transfer fees.

BankMoney transfer company
Exchange rate1 NZD = 0.563 EUR1 NZD = 0.579 EUR
Transfer fee$30$5
Transfer methodBank account transferBank account transfer
Processing time1-3 days1-3 days
Amount received (in EUR)€563€579

How do I know if my international money transfer service is giving me the best rate?

The best way to ensure you get a great rate from an international money transfer service is to compare the exchange rate with the rates offered by other providers. You can also check the mid-market exchange rate, to get a better idea of whether you are getting value for money.

Many specialist transfer services offer flexible options, to help you lock in a better exchange rate. For example, you can initiate a forward contract to enable you to lock in an exchange rate now for a transaction that will take place months into the future. Alternatively, you can place a exchange rate limit on the order, so your transfer is automatically executed when your desired exchange rate becomes available.

What are the risks of using an international money transfer?

The main risk in using an international money transfer is failure to do your research before you part with your money. When you research and compare options it not only allows you to find the best exchange rate, but also works out the full cost of a transaction before you commit, so make sure you review all the details of a transfer before you agree to anything. It is also important that you make sure you are dealing with a reputable transfer provider.

Frequently asked questions

You may also be interested in

Western Union vs MoneyGram

Western Union vs MoneyGram

To find the best rate for your next money transfer, check out our comparison of the fees, exchange rates and transfer speeds of Western Union and MoneyGram. Read more…

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site