Our tips for sending money overseas

send-money-overseasIt’s easy to send money overseas. Read on to find out which method suits you best.

The world continues to shrink in more ways than one. Advancements in technology now let you send money overseas through different means, with some service providers even offering same-day transfers.

If you wish to send money from New Zealand to any other country, our guide can help you make the right decision.

What is an international money transfer?

Simply put, an international money transfer involves sending money from one country to another. More often than not, the process requires changing one currency to another at some point. For example, if you wish to send money from New Zealand to the UK, you’ll send New Zealand dollars and the recipient receives British pounds.

There are instances when you may have to carry out an international same currency transfer. This can be if you’re sending money to dependent territories or self-governing states such as Cook Islands, Tokelau, Ross Dependency, Niue and Pitcairn Islands, where the New Zealand dollar is legal tender.

How does an international currency transfer money transfer work?

When you wish to send money overseas, you have to choose from a number of service providers, which include banks and money transfer companies. Various aspects that can vary from one service provider to the next require your attention. These include ways to send and receive money, exchange rate, fees, payment options as well as turnaround time. The process you have to follow depends on the method you choose.

Case study

Joseph Brown wished to send $1,500 to his brother who lived in the UK. His bank allowed him to transfer funds to the UK from New Zealand. However, he felt he could get a better deal by comparing his options. This is what he found.

New Zealand bankMoney transfer company
Exchange rate$1 = £0.4475$1 = £0.4521
Transfer optionsBank accountBank account
Transfer time3-5 daysOne day
Transfer fee$22$0
Amount received for $1,000£661.41£678.15
Difference of£16.74

Joseph’s decision to go with the money transfer company was obvious. Not only did his brother stand to receive extra money, it would get to him sooner as well.

Back to top

Why are online currency transfers so cheap?

Money transfer companies that limit their operations to the online world tend to offer cheaper currency transfers when compared to banks. One reason is they don’t have to deal with the typical overhead costs associated with financial institutions such as banks.

The exchange rates that banks offer include a mark-up through which they make money. Since money transfer companies specialise in international money transfers, they deal with considerably larger volumes when compared to banks. This is also why they can offer more competitive exchange rates.

Back to top

How do I send money overseas?

The steps you have to follow when sending money overseas depend on the method you choose.

  • Transfer from bank account. If you wish to send money directly from your bank account, you can initiate the process by visiting a local branch, or by using your bank’s online or phone banking system. You’ll have to provide the recipient’s name, account number, bank’s name and SWIFT code to complete the transfer. A reference number lets you track the transfer at any time.
  • Money transfer company. There are some money transfer companies that let you send money in person, by visiting a store or a kiosk. If the recipient wants to collect transferred funds at a cash pick-up centre, you have to provide the recipient’s name along with a desired centre. If you want to transfer money directly into the recipient’s overseas bank account, you’ll have to provide the recipient’s name and account details, as well as your own bank account details. Tracking the transfer is easy using a reference number you get when you complete the transfer. Some money transfer companies such as PayPal allow fund transfers between user accounts.
  • Mail. Sending cash via mail is never a good idea, given that it can fall into the wrong hands easily. However, you can consider sending a bank-issued international money order, draft or cheque via mail.
Back to top

What are the pros and cons to using a specialist service compared to a bank?


  • Quicker. Most money transfer companies tend to offer quicker turnaround times when compared to banks. While the former can take one to three days, the latter can take up to 10 business days. If you’re sending money to a cash pick-up centre, the transfer can go through almost instantly.
  • Can save money. You can find money transfer companies that offer fee-free transfers. In such cases, you may have to deal with a minimum transfer limit. Typically, money transfer companies offer more competitive exchange rates when compared to banks.


  • Not as diversified. While money transfer companies normally limit their operations to transferring funds overseas, you’ll find more diversity in the offerings of banks. Some banks let you open accounts using foreign currencies. Some offer international travel insurance as well.
Back to top

Are there any risks?

The online foreign exchange marketplace has its share of unscrupulous elements, so it is important that you deal with a reputable business. If you find a business that offers no more than an email address as contact information, move to your next option.

Remember that exchange rates are subject to fluctuations. What this basically means is that a favourable rate today might not remain the same tomorrow.

Frequently asked questions

Read further on this topic

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

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 only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    KarlMay 13, 2018

    How can I send money back in Philippines without Nz Driver’s licence?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaMay 14, 2018Staff

      Hi Karl,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well for you. :)

      I understand that presenting an NZ Driver’s license is one of the requirements for some of money transfer service companies. However, if this isn’t available, you can use other valid government-issued IDs such as passport or firearms license.

      Alternatively, you may look for companies that don’t require you to present an ID when sending money, though this is a requirement for anyone who will claim the money for verification purposes.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


Go to site