Auckland Savings Bank foreign currency account.

Roberto Efflandrin

If you have family or business overseas, or simply love to travel, you might find yourself needing a bank account that can hold, send and receive international currencies. In New Zealand, Auckland Savings Bank is one of the banks that offers a foreign currency account.

This article will take a look at the fees, features and exchange rates of the ASB Foreign Currency account. We’ll also introduce Wise as an alternative provider of international money transfer and currency services.

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Wise Multi-Currency account

Intro to the ASB foreign currency account

The ASB Foreign or Multi Currency account allows you to send and receive money internationally without having to convert it to NZD. You can have one or more accounts in any of the supported currencies and it’s possible to deposit foreign checks into the account at any ASB branch.¹

ASB foreign currency account supported currencies

Here’s a list of the foreign currencies you can open an account in with ASB.¹

  • AUD - Australian Dollar
  • GBP - British Pound
  • CAD - Canadian Dollar
  • EUR - Euro
  • HKD - Hong Kong Dollar
  • JPY - Japanese Yen
  • SGD - Singapore Dollar
  • CHF - Swiss France
  • USD - US Dollar

In comparison, Wise enables you to convert and hold over 40 different currencies including all 9 listed above.

Withdrawing funds without a card

As there is no attached bank card, There are 3 different ways for you to withdraw funds from your ASB Foreign Currency account.⁴

  • Make an International Money Transfer using FastNet Classic internet banking.
  • Visit an ASB Branch and make an International Money Transfer in person.
  • Transfer funds to your linked foreign currency and NZD accounts using FastNet Classic internet banking or the ASB Mobile App.

As you can see there isn’t an option to withdraw cash and the account doesn’t have an attached debit card. This means it may not be suitable for your needs if you’re looking for a foreign currency account that also enables you to spend and withdraw your stored currencies overseas.

ASB foreign currency account fees vs Wise

Like most bank accounts, the ASB Foreign Currency account has fees for certain activities and services. Here’s some of the fees you’re likely to encounter and how they compare to Wise.

Service ASB Foreign Currency account Fees² Wise Multi Currency account Fees
Outbound international money transfer $30 NZD in branch

$15 NZD using FastNet Classic

Small payout fee + 0.45% variable conversion fee. You can make a fee calculation here.
ATM withdrawals No debit card attached You can take out money for free twice a month — as long as the total amount is under $350 NZD. After that, there is a $1.50 NZD per transaction fixed fee. If you take out over $350 NZD in one month, there is a 1.75% on the amount exceeding that. See card fees here.

ASB foreign currency account exchange rates

When opening an international currency account it’s a good idea to see how the exchange rate and fees compare to other providers to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

Here’s a look at what it would cost with Wise and ASB to send $1000 AUD from your account using internet banking to an account in Australia.

Exchange Rate Fee Total Cost
Wise 0.902823 5.37 NZD 1,113.01 NZD
ASB³ 0.8851 15.00 NZD 1144.82 NZD

In this example, there’s over a $30 NZD difference between the cost of the transfer with ASB compared to Wise. Part of this is due to the ASB fee being higher, but as you can see there’s also a difference in the exchange rate that’s used.

Some banks choose to put a profit margin on the exchange rate they offer customers, while Wise exchanges money using the mid-market rate just like you see on Google. This may explain the difference between the exchange rates offered by Wise and ASB in this example.

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How to open a foreign currency account with ASB

There are a few ways to begin opening an ASB Foreign Currency account.¹

  • Online through your ASB FastNet Classic internet banking portal
  • Emailing
  • Calling the ASB Global Markets Team on 0800 806 280

Before you can open an ASB Foreign Currency account you will need to hold a transaction account with them.¹ For new customers they suggest the Streamline Introduction package, which includes an everyday transaction account.

Documents needed to open a multi currency account at ASB

The ASB website doesn't mention which documents are needed to open their foreign currency account, but if you are a new customer you;ll likely need to provide some of the following documents and information.

  • Full name
  • Contact details
  • Residential address
  • Identification documents
  • Tax information

Minimum Deposit required to open this account

To open an ABS Foreign Currency account you’re required to make a minimum deposit. How much that deposit is depends on the currency of the account.¹

Currency Minimum Opening Balance
Australian Dollar 5000 AUD
British Pound 5000 GBP
Canadian Dollar 5000 CAD
Euro 5000 EUR
Hong Kong Dollar 50,000 HKD
Japanese Yen 500,000 JPY
Singapore Dollar 5000 SGD
Swiss France 5000 CHF
US Dollar 5000 USD

Contacting ASB

If you want to know more about the ASB Foreign Currency account you can contact them directly.

  • Phone 0800 803 804 in New Zealand
  • Call +64 9 306 3000 from overseas
  • Visit a branch in person

A smart alternative - Wise multi currency account

Wise is a secure international payments specialist that makes it simple to store and exchange foreign currencies.

Using a Wise Multi Currency account, you can hold and convert over 40 different currencies through a single account. For 9 of those currencies, including NZD, USD, AUD and EUR, you can also get local bank account details so you can send and receive money like a local.


For easy daily spending you can also order a Wise Debit card which connects to the Multi currency account. The card takes care of any foreign exchanges automatically using the mid-market rate, and can be used almost anywhere debit cards are accepted.

To see if a Wise Multi currency account is the foreign currency account for you, why not try it for yourself. There’s no monthly account fees to worry about and registration is simple - it can be done in minutes.

Register your Wise account
in minutes 🚀


  1. ASB - ASB Foreign Currency Account and Term Deposit
  2. ASB - Guide to fees: An overview of bank fees and charges
  3. ASB - Foreign exchange calculator
  4. ASB - How can I withdraw funds from my ASB Foreign Currency Account?

Sources checked on: 23 July 2022

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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