Best Foreign Currency Accounts in New Zealand.

Roberto Efflandrin

If you are shopping around for a foreign currency account in New Zealand (NZ), you are in luck, you have a few options to choose from. However, each provider and account has different eligibility requirements, features and fees you need to consider based on your needs.

That is why we are here to introduce you to some of the top foreign currency accounts in NZ and compare each option to make your decision easier when you decide to choose.

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Wise Multi-Currency account

What is a foreign or multi-currency account and what are the benefits?

A foreign currency account allows you to hold, send or receive transfers in currencies other than your home currency. It is also common that this type of account is referred to as a multi-currency account. Some benefits include:

  • Ability to hold, receive and make payments in multiple foreign currencies
  • Faster transfers/conversions between foreign currencies
  • Sometimes cheaper fees to make and receive international transfers
  • Sometimes access to good exchange rates on conversions

Each foreign currency account provider will differ on currencies available, fees of transacting and other fees associated with opening and managing this account type.

Here are some of the top Foreign Currency accounts in New Zealand

Let’s check out the top foreign currency accounts in NZ in no particular order.

Wise Account

Not a bank, but a secure payment provider, Wise specialises in international transfer services and the Wise multi-currency account. Customers with a Wise account can easily hold, receive and convert between many of the world's currencies. You can see the full list here.

Account Fees:

If you want to open a Wise multi currency account, here are some fees to expect.

  • No monthly account keeping fees
  • Free ATM withdrawals up to 350 NZD per month
  • $14 NZD one-time fee to order the Wise debit card
  • Free to receive money in 9 major currencies

Main features of this account

Some great features that come with this account include:

  • Free to open and quick sign up process online
  • Send and convert into 53 currencies using the mid-market rate
  • No hidden fees
  • Get local account details in 9 major currencies
  • Option to order a Wise Debit card to spend in 150+ currencies

What about some pros and cons of this account?

Pros **Cons **
  • Usually cheaper than traditional banks for international transfers
  • Can be opened and managed completely online
  • Global support team in multiple languages
  • No hidden fees on conversions or transfers
  • Not a full fledge bank account
  • Support can only be sought online or via the phone app
  • No cash withdrawals or deposits

multi-currency-account-card-small


Westpac New Zealand

Westpac New Zealand is one of NZ’s largest banks. Apart from a large selection of personal and business banking products, they offer existing customers the option to open a Westpac foreign currency account.

Account Fees

This account has no ongoing account maintenance fees, but varying transaction fees are incurred on international transfers.¹

Main features of this multi currency account

The Westpac foreign currency account allows personal and business customers to make international transfers easily through their online banking platform. Here are some pros and cons that come with this account.¹

Pros **Cons **
  • No account maintenance fees in any currencies
  • No minimum deposit
  • Accept and pay bills in foreign currencies
  • Can only open an account in a branch
  • Must be a pre-existing Westpac banking customer
  • Minimum fee of $35 NZD on cash deposits²
  • Transactions are subject to commission charges including potential intermediary bank fees, plus either a 1% fee for converting from NZD and a fee starting from $5 when converting from a foreign currency to NZD²

Kiwibank

Kiwibank is a popular, publicly-owned bank in New Zealand. Kiwibank offers foreign currency accountsto pre-existing Kiwibank account holders.³

Account Fees:

Some of the fees associated with a Kiwibank foreign currency account include⁴:

  • No ongoing maintenance fees
  • Minimum deposit of $500NZD or currency equivalent³
  • International transfer fees

Main features of this multi currency account

With this account, some main features include³:

  • Can open currency accounts in 13 major currencies
  • Make payments in foreign currencies
  • Receive payments in foreign currencies
  • Access to FX services

Some pros and cons of opening any one of the Kiwibank foreign currency accounts are as follows.³

Pros **Cons **
  • Accessible through internet banking portal
  • Free to open foreign currency accounts⁴
  • Conversion services available 24/7 online
  • No online application to open
  • High fees for inward and outward transfers⁴
  • Kiwibank makes money on each conversion
  • No card access or withdrawals
  • Cannot deposit cash
Read more: Kiwibank foreign/multi currency account

ASB

ASB is one of New Zealand's oldest savings banks. ASB has an extensive range of products including foreign currency accounts for personal or business account holders.

Account Fees:

Some of the fees to expect with this account includes⁵:

  • No monthly fees for any foreign currency account opened
  • Fee for inward and outward transfers⁶
  • Margins taken by ASB on currency exchanges

Main features of this multi currency account

Some features include⁵:

  • Choose from 7 major currency accounts
  • Can open one or more accounts
  • Foreign exchange whenever you like
  • Deposit foreign cheques in branch
  • Can open a standard foreign currency account or term deposit

Let’s break down the other pros and cons of this account.⁵

Pros **Cons **
  • Can open account online
  • Some accounts can accrue interest
  • Guides available online on how to operate accounts
  • Access and manage accounts 24/7 online
  • Must be a pre-existing ASB customer to open
  • High minimum deposit amount required to open
  • Subject to intermediary bank fees on inward and outward transfers
Read more: ASB foreign/multi currency account

HSBC New Zealand

HSBC NZ is a subsidiary of Hong Kong based multinational HSBC corporation. They offer new or existing customers the HSBC multi currency savings account.

Account Fees:

Some account fees include⁷:

  • Monthly account fee, ATM withdrawal fees and International transfer fees for personal account holders
  • An initial and maintain balance of $50,000 NZD is required

Main features of this multi currency account

With this account, you’ll get the following features⁷:

  • Hold and manage up to 10 major currencies
  • Make international transfers between your international HSBC accounts
  • Real time access to exchange rates
  • Easy to ready statements
  • 24/7 online access to accounts

With this in mind, here are some other pros and cons.⁷

Pros **Cons **
  • Can open an account as a new customer
  • Manage currencies online anytime
  • No monthly fees for premier customers
  • Potential to earn interest on some accounts
  • Only a savings account
  • Designed mainly to transfer between international HSBC foreign currency accounts
  • Cannot sign up online unless an existing HSBC customer
  • High minimum deposit required

Bank of New Zealand

Bank of New Zealand or BNZ, another local banking option in NZ allows personal and business customers to open foreign currency accounts in 13 denominated currencies.

Account Fees:

Some fees that you should expect with this account includes⁸:

  • Monthly maintenance fees if required balance isn’t met each month
  • Transaction and transfer fees from NZD
  • Margin included in FX rate⁹

Main features of this multi currency account

The main features of holding a BNZ foreign currency account include⁸:

  • Hold have 13 different currency account
  • Earn interest on balances in 6 currency accounts
  • Can make and receive payments from abroad
  • Access to currency conversion services

Let’s go through some other pros and cons with this foreign currency account.⁸

Pros **Cons **
  • Access to accounts online 24/7
  • Earn interest on account balance in 6 currencies
  • Access to FX services
  • Make international transfers in designated currency
  • Can apply only through internet banking portal
  • Only available to pre-existing BNZ customers
  • Each currency account incurs different fees if average account balance not met monthly
  • Only available via the BNZ online banking portal

ANZ – Australia and New Zealand Bank

Australia and New Zealand Bank or ANZ for short, is another large private bank with customers across Australia and New Zealand. For customers that frequently make or receive international transfers, ANZ offers foreign currency accounts in most major currencies.

Account Fees:

The main fees that you will incur with this account include¹⁰:

  • Inward international transfers
  • Outward international transfers
  • Fees on foreign cheques

Main features of this multi currency account

The main feature of ANZ foreign currency accounts are¹⁰:

  • Real time transfers between ANZ accounts
  • Send money overseas directly through this account
  • All major currencies supported and minor currencies may be possible on request
  • Accounts can accrue interest

Here are some pros and cons with opening an ANZ foreign currency account.¹⁰

Pros **Cons **
  • New and existing customers can apply¹¹
  • No monthly fees
  • Can be accessed and managed in 3 ways
  • Can choose to open a term deposit
  • Still incur fees on foreign transfers
  • Subject to ANZ FX rate at all times

Foreign Currency Accounts compared

So you can get a good idea of how each account compares, we’ve created this table to see the differences.

Provider* Account opening fee and Initial deposit** Supported Currencies Currency conversion fees and Exchange rate International Transfer fees —

Incoming and outgoing**

Monthly/annual maintenance fee**
Wise No initial deposit or fee 53 currencies + 9 local account details Mid-market rate & no hidden conversion fees Small up-front one time fee on outward transfers,

No fee on inward transfers

Free
Westpac NZ² Free to open but with a Minimum $35¹ Undisclosed 1% of amount + commission on rate Inward (Non westpac customer) = $25

Outward = starting at $10

Free
Kiwibank⁴ Free to open with a $500 minimum deposit Five - AUD, EUR, GBP, USD, JPY Kiwibank makes money off each conversion Inward - $12 NZD

Outward - $20 (online) + possible intermediary fees

Free
ASB⁵ $5000 AUD minimum deposit (other currencies vary) Nine - GBP, EUR, HKD, SGD, USD, AUD, JPY, CHF Interbank wholesale rate + Margin taken by ASB⁶ Outward = starts at $15

Inward = $15 + possible intermediary fees⁶

Free
HSBC NZ¹² Minimum deposit of $50 000⁷ Nine - USD, AUD, GBP, EUR, SGD, HKD, CAD, JPY, CHF⁷ HSBC international buyers or sellers rate Inward = starts from $15

+0.50 transaction fee

Outward = starts from $15 + 0.50 + intermediary fees

$5 each currency account held per month
BNZ⁸ Undisclosed Thirteen - AUD, USD, EUR, JAP, CAD, GBP, SKK, CHF, HKD, SAR, SGD, NOK, DKK BNZ's indicative exchange rate includes a margin. Rate gets better the more converted⁹ Outward = starts at $5

Inward = starts at $10

+ Intermediary fees¹³

Starts at 6.50USD for a USD denominated account
ANZ NZ¹¹ Minimum deposit starts at $10,000 AUD AUD, USD, GBP, JPY, EUR, CAD ANZ indicative rate with potential commission¹⁴ Outward = starts at $9

Inward = $15 for transfer over $300¹⁴

Free

*As seen on 8th September 2022
**Any values listed are in NZD unless specified


What you need to open a foreign currency account in New Zealand

Each provider has different eligibility requirements to open a foreign currency account. In most cases, you will need to be a pre-existing customer with an active transaction or savings account. A common document that is required across all providers is a valid identification document. Always check with your chosen bank or account provider what exactly you need to open an account.

Things to consider when selecting your next multi currency account

With so many options available, here are some other things to consider when shopping around for your next multi currency account.

Do you need a multi currency account?

Some tell tale signs that you need a multi currency account include:

  • You want to save money in a different currency
  • You need to or are transacting in other currencies regularly
  • You are planning to travel or move abroad
  • You need to send money to friends or family overseas in a different currency
  • You own a business that operates across different countries

Even if none of the above signs resonate with you, having a multi currency account ready to go can be a great help if your circumstances change.

Account opening deposits?

There is no reason why the minimum deposit to open an account should be high, especially for personal use accounts. Always look for foreign currency accounts that have a low barrier for entry - aka low to no minimum deposits.

What are the fees — local and international transactions

Transacting in foreign currencies can get pricey very quickly if you aren’t aware of the terms of your account. Fees can be incurred for international transfers, transaction handling, and on conversions. Surprises are common from hidden fees incurred from intermediary banks.

What are the account limits

Some accounts will have transfer and balance limits. In most cases, these limits will only be an issue if you are moving large sums of money, or looking to deposit too small or too large amounts.

Can you control your money / account online?

The ability to manage your money and account online varies by provider, and is an important feature to have if you aren’t readily available to make trips to a local branch. Always check if this way of account management is possible before signing up to any account.

Customer support availability and timeframes

This goes without saying that having customer support options that are round the clock, easily accessible and free to use should be a top priority when choosing your next multi currency account.

Wrapping up

As you can see, there's alot to consider when choosing your next multi currency account. Which account you choose will come down to personal preference and your needs when it comes to holding, spending or receiving foreign currencies.

Getting a Wise account can save you all the hassle of minimum deposits, hidden fees on transactions and not having to pay marginal rates each time you convert between currencies.

Register your Wise account in minutes 🚀


Sources:

  1. Westpac NZ foreign currency accounts
  2. Westpac NZ fees
  3. Kiwibank foreign currency account
  4. Kiwibank fees
  5. ASB foreign currency account
  6. ASB foreign currency account
  7. HSBC NZ multi currency savings account
  8. BNZ foreign currency accounts
  9. BNZ exchange rate
  10. ANZ foreign currency accounts
  11. ANZ account opening
  12. HSBC NZfees
  13. BNZfees
  14. ANZ fees and exchange

Sources checked on: 14 Sept 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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