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How to send money to the USA

Here's how to send a quick, affordable and secure money transfer to the United States from New Zealand.

While your local bank branch might be the most obvious option for sending money across borders, you can save on fees and take advantage of more competitive exchange rates with an online money transfer company.

In this guide, we’ll go through tips on how to get the best deal and what options you have.

Send money to the USA with OFX

OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.

  • Large range of currencies
  • Online and phone transfers
  • Regular payments available
Promoted

Compare services that send to the USA

The table below will help you compare different money transfer services so you can find the best deal for your needs.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
NZD 250 1 day NZD 0.00 0.679 USD
6,792
Send guarantees to match any competitor’s exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Send has fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.
Go to site Show details
AUD 250 1 - 2 days NZD 0.00 0.679 USD
6,792
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
NZD 1 Within an hour NZD 3.99 0.678 USD
6,779
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
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NZD 1 1 - 2 days NZD 80.00 0.682 USD
6,765
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
NZD 10,000 1 - 2 days NZD 0.00 0.677 USD
6,765
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace. Go to site Show details
NZD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.677 USD
6,767
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
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NZD 0 Same day NZD 0.00 0.679 USD
6,786
XE has fast transfers with competitive rates and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
NZD 250 1 day NZD 0.00 0.679 USD
6,792
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details
NZD 2,000 2 days NZD 0.00 0.679 USD
6,792
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for all Finder customers.
WorldFirst sends 60+ currencies at competitive rates. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
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’s the best way to send money to the United States?

Online money transfer providers typically offer the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees on money transfers to the US. Some offer transfers straight to US bank accounts, while others allow the money to be picked up in US dollars in person. Banks, PayPal and other options are available but come with high fees, weak rates and longer turnaround times.

Digital money transfer services

Companies like XE and OFX specialise in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to your recipient’s US-based bank account, often in as little as a day or two.

Cash transfers

Services like MoneyGram allow you to transfer cash for pick-up at a local branch in the US — often in 15 minutes. While it’s a fast way to send money, you’ll pay for the convenience in weak exchange rates and high fees. Compare MoneyGram to digital services like WorldRemit when possible to save money on your transfer.

Banks

US dollars are almost certainly carried by your New Zealand bank. Although your local bank can convert your currency into US dollars, beware of high fees and wide margins on the exchange rate compared to digital and other options.

How to send money to the USA online

Sign up and send money with a digital money transfer specialist in four steps:

  1. Sign up for a free account. Pick a provider and sign up for a free online account using your contact information, proof of ID and your preferred payment method.
  2. Provide transfer details. Submit your recipient’s contact information and pick a delivery method. If you’re transferring to a bank, you’ll need your recipient’s US-based bank account details.
  3. Confirm transfer details. Double-check your payment method, expected fees and destination.
  4. Save your receipt. Record your receipt’s confirmation number to track the progress of your transfer to the US. Some money transfer providers send a text or email when your transfer is complete.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $2,000 to the US

To put this into perspective, let’s see what a transfer with each of these options looks like. This table uses real fees and exchange rates so is current as of 6 May 2019.

Bank transferCash transferMoney transfer service
Fee$24$30$3.99
Exchange rateNZD$1 = USD$0.6823NZD$1 = USD$0.6857NZD$1 = USD$0.7045
Transfer speed2–4 daysMinutes1–3 days
Amount receivedUSD$1,340USD$1,341USD$1,405
Overall
  • Slowest and most expensive
  • Fastest
  • Best value

The bank option ends up being both slow and getting the least amount of money to your recipient. If you go with the specialist money transfer service, your recipient ends up with USD$65 more. However, if speed is what’s most important, the cash transfer can’t be beaten for instant transfers.

How to get the most out of your money transfer to the USA

Weigh costs and fees against convenience, and learn how to compare money transfer providers that send to the US to meet your needs:

  • Exchange rates. The USD relationship with other currencies fluctuates daily, so using a service that allows you to lock-in exchange prices may help you save money down the line if exchange rates take a turn for the worse in the future.
  • Transfer fees. Transferring money overseas nearly always requires fees, but they might be hidden in the exchange rate. When sending large amounts, it may be cheaper to pay a flat fee to secure a stronger exchange rate.
  • Transfer limits. How much you can send varies by company, and different amounts can attract higher or lower fees. Shop around for the best deal on the number of US dollars you’re sending.
  • Turnaround. Transferring money through a local bank can take a business week or longer. If you need the funds delivered quickly, seek out a digital specialist that offers instant transfers to the United States.
  • Maximum limits. When exchange rates are favorable, sending more money can save you money in the future. If you plan to send large amounts of money to the US, be sure to pick a provider that won’t limit you.
  • Transfer methods. Whether you want money sent to a US-based bank account or picked up as cash at a local agent, narrow down a company that matches your preferred delivery method.

Emergency cash transfer to the US

When it’s more important to get your money to the US quickly, look for money transfer companies that support cash pick-up in minutes. You can pay with a credit or debit card for fast pick-up, but fees are higher than other methods.

How to send money to the USA without a bank account

Cash transfer services can help you if you’re unbanked or marginally banked. If you don’t have a bank account, look for a local company that supports storefronts for cash payments. These services include agent locations in other countries that allow your recipient to pick up cash without a bank account.

What to watch out for

If you’re sending a lot of money to the US, your recipient will need to declare it to the IRS. US citizens and residents will need to fill in Form 3520 if the transfer is one of the following:

  • A gift worth USD$100,000 or more and it’s from a non-resident.
  • A gift of USD$15,601 or more from a foreign corporation or partnership.

While foreign gifts generally aren’t subject to income tax, you still need to file the form with your taxes or face penalties.

Documentation you’ll need to send money to the US

  • The recipient’s full name. Your recipient will need to show photo identification if they’re picking up the money, so make sure the name on the order is the same as the name on their ID.
  • The sender’s full name. As an additional security measure, the agent may ask for the full name of the sender. Be sure that the recipient knows your complete name.
  • Your recipient’s contact information and bank details. Both the sender and the recipient must have each other’s address and contact details.
  • The tracking number. Keep the tracking number given to you upon sending the transfer as the recipient must provide this to the agent before the cash can be released.

It’s always best to keep all the paperwork to do with your transfer, just in case you need proof that the money was sent.

Bottom line

Sending your hard-earned money to the US shouldn’t cost a fortune. Compare transfer companies that specialise in foreign for the strongest rates, lowest fees and flexible delivery.

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