BNZ international transfer: Your full guide

5 minute read

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) is one of the biggest banks in the country and has been operating in New Zealand since 1861. It’s no surprise that it lets its customers make international payments. And if you bank with BNZ, it might seem to make total sense to let it handle your foreign currency transactions.

This article will talk you through how to make an international money transfer with BNZ, and what it’ll cost.

There are also alternative methods to traditional banks when it comes to transfer money overseas. One of them is Wise, which is a simple way to transfer money and avoid high international transfer fees through its interlinked system of local bank accounts. But more on that later.

What fees does BNZ apply to make an international transfer?

If you make an international transfer with BNZ, expect to pay the following: ¹

BNZ international transfer Fee
Staff-assisted transfer NZ$25
Online transfer NZ$15
Correspondent bank fees Fees may be taken by other banks involved in the transfer - either deducted from the beneficiary’s payment, or charged directly to you
“Charges Our” fee You can choose to pay BNZ a fee of NZ$25 in lieu of any correspondent bank fees
Trace, amendment or cancellation of the transfer NZ$25

Correspondent banks and the “Charges Our” fees

Often, when international transfers are made using the SWIFT network, several different banks end up getting involved. During this process, each of them is able to charge a fee, and yet the bank where the transfer starts - BNZ in this case - might not know what these fees will actually be. That’s what’s going on in the “Correspondent bank fees” row in the table above.

For this reason, it offers “Charges Our” as an alternative to this uncertainty. If you choose this option, you’ll be charged an additional fee of NZ$25 - but then you can rest assured there won’t be any correspondent bank fees taking you or the beneficiary by surprise. So if you need certainty about how much money gets through, this could be a very useful option.

But you need to be aware of possible charges that the beneficiary bank might also charge as a receiving fee.

A cost example: Sending NZD 1000 from New Zealand to Australia online ¹

Provider Fees Exchange rate Total cost
BNZ NZ$15 + correspondent bank fees Bank’s own exchange rate (possible markup) NZ$15 + correspondent fees + possible markup
Wise 0.39% of the amount that's converted + $2.16 NZD Mid-market rate NZ$6.04

How to make an international transfer with BNZ

BNZ offers you 2 options to make international transfers: you can do it online, or in a branch. As the first fees table above shows, these 2 methods cost different amounts, with an online transfer the cheaper option.

If you want to do it in person, just head into a branch with the relevant details and someone will talk you through the process.

Online, here’s a quick overview of what to do: ²

  1. Log in to BNZ internet banking
  2. From the menu on the left of the screen, select “International”
  3. Fill in the amount and a payment reference
  4. Select an existing payee or set up a new one - enter their details if they’re not already there

You’re then pretty much done with the hard stuff.

What information does the sender need to make an international transfer?

As a BNZ customer sending the money, you’ll need to be ready to provide the following information:

  • Your details including your phone number, and which account you want to make the transfer from
  • The currency and amount you want to send
  • Also have your NetGuard card on standby for authentication.

You’ll also need to provide the following information about the payee:

  • Their full name and address
  • Their account number and the currency of that account
  • Their bank name, and the branch’s name and address.

You also need to write DO NOT CONVERT if you need the payment to stay in the currency it’s being sent in.³

Receiving international payments with BNZ - what details do I need to give to the sender?

It’s always best to check with the sender directly to find out exactly what information they need from you, if your BNZ account is receiving international payments.

If you’re receiving money from the USA, there are special details you can use - you can check directly with BNZ. ⁴

What is the exchange rate BNZ offers?

You might be wondering why international transfer fees can vary so widely. In a nutshell, one of the answers is exchange rates.

How much are your New Zealand dollars really worth in a foreign currency? The answer is actually changing all the time, as international currency markets go up and down.

Banks and foreign exchangers can set their own exchange rates. These rates will be based on the mid-market, which is an average of all the exchange rates currently in use. But they probably won’t be the mid-market rate itself, but they could be a marked-up version.

So you’ll get a slightly different deal depending on where you go - and not just because of the different fees, but also because of different exchange rates.

The BNZ exchange rates are listed online, but remember that they can change frequently. ⁵ Don’t forget to compare BNZ’s exchange rate to the real mid-market rate, which you can find easily via an online currency converter.

How long does an international transfer with BNZ take?

It’s always difficult to predict exactly how long a SWIFT transfer will take, and it’s not just down to BNZ - other banks are also involved. And of course it depends on where the money’s going.

Your best option is to check directly with BNZ, giving a few more details as necessary.

Wise - a transparent alternative

One way to avoid the uncertainty of the SWIFT network is to try something else.

Wise specialises in making international transfers as easy as possible. Via its interlinked network of local bank accounts, it’s able to offer customers international transfers that are always at the real mid-market rate. There are no hidden costs or inflated exchange rates: everything is stated clearly upfront before the transfer is finalised.

So if you want to cut down on the complexity of an international transfer, it’s well worth a look.

BNZ customer service - how to get in touch with the bank ⁶'⁷

If you have more questions about BNZ, it’s best to get in touch with them directly.

  • Try their online support centre or the BNZ Community, an online forum
  • If you’re a customer, contact them via their internet banking portal
  • Call them from New Zealand on 0800 275 269
  • Or in a branch

Good luck with your international payment, however you choose to make it. You may just want to make sure you know what it should cost you, so nothing takes you by surprise later on.

Sources used in the article:

  1. BNZ international transfer fees (4th March 2019)
  2. Instructions on how to make an international payment (4th March 2019)
  3. Info that the sender needs to complete an international transfer with BNZ (4th March 2019)
  4. Info about receiving payments (4th March 2019)
  5. BNZ exchange rates (4th March 2019)
  6. BNZ support (4th March 2019)
  7. BNZ support (4th March 2019)

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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