Repatriation of Funds: Converting Foreign Currency Back

Information verified correct on December 5th, 2016

Banks usually combine high fees and poor exchange rates, so it’s a good idea to investigate alternative money transfer options.  

International money transfer companies trade large amounts of money, which means that they’re able to offer more competitive exchange rates, lower service fees and quicker delivery. Thanks to the poor transfer deals offered by banks, there’s been a proliferation of money transfer companies offering quick, cheap repatriation services at increasingly competitive rates.

You can even opt for a pick-up service where your recipient collects cash in person.

Rates last updated December 5th, 2016
Description Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received
TorFX International Money Transfers
TorFX International Money Transfers
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply NZD 200 1 day Online, Phone, Agent Go to site More
Exclusive: CurrencyFair International Money Transfers
Exclusive: CurrencyFair International Money Transfers
Exclusive offer: 3 Free transfers (after your first transfer)
A peer-to-peer transfer service with a large range of currencies on offer.
NZD 5 2 days Online Go to site More
Currency Online International Money Transfers
Currency Online International Money Transfers
Is committed to save money whenever you make a purchase or sale involving foreign currency. Highly competitive exchange rates and low or zero fees. NZD 0 2 days Online, Phone Go to site More
Currencies Direct International Money Transfers
Currencies Direct International Money Transfers
$0 online transfer fee that you can access 24/7. NZD 100 2 days Online, Phone Go to site More
Currency Solutions
Currency Solutions
Send money overseas for a range of reasons, including regular payments and buying overseas property. 97% Trustpilot score. NZD 3,000 2 days Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account Go to site More

Have we missed anything in the comparison table? Tell us

What is repatriation of funds?

Whether you’re transferring a pension payment, your salary or all your liquidated assets, using a money transfer company can help you save in a big way, which means better value for your money. This kind of service is ideal for expats who regularly send larger amounts of money back to New Zealand, like whole salaries or pension payments.

If you’re considering moving back to New Zealand after a period spent abroad, you can have all your assets repatriated. Check for maximum amount restrictions and the fees implied.

Can you show me how it works with a case study?

After nine years spent in Texas, Adrian and his family have decided to move back home to Wellington. They have a house in Texas, two cars and a small flat they rent to students. Both Adrian and his wife have resigned and opted to have their pensions paid out as lump sums into their joint bank account. Both properties are in escrow and they’ve found buyers for both cars. Adrian was put off by his bank’s high fees, so he’s doing research on cheaper, quicker ways to repatriate their funds.

Money transfer service Bank
Exchange rateUS$1 = $1.49US$1 = $1.35
Transfer feesUS$0$18
Amount for US$20,000$29,802$26,903
Transfer delayOne business dayTwo business days
Transfer optionsOnline, telephoneOnline, telephone
Difference$2,899
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Can I benefit from repatriating funds?

Unlike banks, money transfer companies buy currency in bulk. This means that they benefit from lower exchange rates and are able to provide their customers with cheaper foreign exchange and repatriation services. Money is transferred quickly, usually within a maximum of three business days. If you’re sending money to a friend or relative, you can choose the pick-up option so your recipient can collect the money in person.

What’s the process for repatriating funds?

Ready to send money back to New Zealand? Be sure that the service you choose will accept sending your amount – some services have restrictions or charge a fee for transfers over a certain amount. Here are the steps to take when repatriating funds:

  • Step 1. Read up on the rules. Make sure you understand the transfer company’s rules. Minimum and maximum sending amounts vary from country to country.
  • Step 2. Check restrictions, foreign exchange controls and tax impositions. Depending on the sending country, you might have to apply for permission or register with that country’s foreign exchange authority. You may also have to pay certain fees and taxes for the repatriation service.
  • Step 3. Sign up for an account. You’ll have to provide certain personal and financial details. In most cases, you send the money to the transfer service’s account and they in turn send it to your recipient account.
  • Step 4. Leave a paper trail. There are several regulations in place to fight money-laundering, so document every step of the process so that you can show where your money has been.
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What are the pros and cons to using a specialist service compared to a bank?

When deciding how best to send money back to New Zealand, keep these pros and cons in mind.

Pros

  • There are usually better exchange rates. Since money transfer companies buy currency in bulk, they’re able to pass along considerable savings to their customers. This means that you get more NZ dollars out of the currency conversion process.
  • You can look forward to low to zero fees. Whereas banks’ repatriation services come with high fees, transfer companies levy low (sometimes zero) charges for the repatriation service.

Cons

  • There are usually high tax rates. If you have a permanent residence in New Zealand while working abroad, you are still considered a New Zealand tax resident, meaning you will be taxed on your worldwide income. Depending on the company you choose, check to see how this will impact the amount received in New Zealand after tax.
  • You could come across limits. In most cases, countries apply restrictions to the amount of money you can repatriate to New Zealand. Whether you intend sending a single amount or instalments, make sure you understand the restrictions rules.

Are there any risks?

The onus is on you to make sure that the transfer company you choose is well-reputed, reliable and recognised with the proper accreditations (like the Financial Conduct Authority). Doing thorough research about security is especially important when sending across large amounts of money like lump-sum pensions and liquidated assets.

Find out about the best periods to benefit from a favourable exchange rate, applicable income taxes and associated fees for the transfer and conversion to NZ dollars.

Frequently asked question

Here are a few common questions about repatriation.

What exactly is repatriation?

Repatriating funds means converting money from foreign currency to your home currency. You can send home salaries or money from selling off assets. Businesses with international branches repatriate funds to pay employees in their various offices.

What is the best way to repatriate funds?

You can go through your bank or use an international transfer service. Whereas banks may be the safe option, they charge high fees and don’t always offer favourable exchange rates. Transfer companies deal with large amounts of currency, so they offer better exchange rates, lower fees and quicker delivery.

Are transfer companies safe?

Generally transfer companies offer secure repatriation services, but it’s up to you to do research on which company is best for your needs. It’s always best to go with well-known services like Travelex or OFX. It’s imperative to be thorough, especially with big sums of money.

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