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Kiwibank is a New Zealand bank that offers customers a range of services and accounts including a foreign currency account. Having a foreign currency account can be handy if you work internationally, have family aboard or want to store foreign currency to pay for purchases overseas, including travel.
In this article we’ll take a look at the Kiwibank Foreign Currency Account, seeing what you need to do to open one and what the associated fees, features and exchange rates are.
We’ll also let you know about Wise, a secure alternative that specialises in currency exchange and international money transfers.
|💸 Keep over 40 currencies and get personalised account details for currencies like AUD, NZD EUR, USD, GBP & CAD – Send and receive payments from abroad like a local
Using a Kiwibank Foreign Currency Account, you can convert and store supported currencies through your internet banking.¹ It’s possible to receive electronic payments from others and you can transfer money out as needed, including to pay for goods and services.
Keep in mind that this account is an online account so it doesn’t have an EFTPOS card to spend or withdrawal foreign currency, and you can’t deposit physical cash into the account either.¹
Here are the 13 currencies that Kiwibank offers foreign currency accounts for.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
- DKK - Danish Krone
- NOK - Norwegian Krone
- ZAR - South African Rand
- SEK - Swedish Krona
The Kiwibank Foreign Currency Account has a few different fees including some that apply when you send or receive money.
Here’s a quick look at the fees you’re likely to encounter and how they compare to Wise.
|Kiwibank Fees² *
|Wise Fees *
|Inbound payments to your foreign currency account
|$12 NZD equivalent fee per payment received
|Free except for USD wire payments which have a $4.14 USD fixed fee
|Outbound payments from your foreign currency account
|$25 NZD equivalent fee per transfer done in branch or by fax
$20 NZD equivalent fee per transfer done using internet banking
|Small payout fee + 0.45% variable conversion fee. You can make a fee calculation here.
|Transfers between accounts
|Free between Kiwibank accounts only if the accounts are in the same name.
|Free to send the same currency between any Transferwise account.
|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.
* Fees as seen on 27 July 2022
When Kiwibank converts NZD and foreign currencies they make money on the conversion by applying a markup to the exchange rate.²
Here’s what they claim in the small print:
“When Kiwibank converts foreign currency into New Zealand dollars, or converts New Zealand dollars into foreign currency, or converts one foreign currency into another foreign currency, Kiwibank makes money on the conversion.”
This is different to Wise, which uses the mid-market rate just like you see on Google.
Here’s a comparison of the indicative exchange rate on the Kiwibank website and the rate Wise was offering at the same time if you were to convert NZD to these currencies.
To put the exchange rates and fees into context, here’s an estimate of what you’d be looking at if you were to send $1000 NZD to an AUD account in Australia using your online banking.
|Fees to be applied²
|$1000 NZD = $883.60 AUD
|$1000 NZD = $897.67 AUD
To be eligible to open a foreign currency account with Kiwibank you need to have a Kiwibank everyday account first.¹
Once you have an everyday account, you then need to contact Kiwibank’s international team in order to start the process of opening a foreign currency account.¹ Here's how you can do that.
- Phone 0800 222 490 within New Zealand
- Call +64 4 460 9290 from overseas
- Email email@example.com
Kiwibank doesn't specifically mention on their website what you’ll need to open a foreign currency account, other than a minimum deposit and a Kiwibank everyday account.
If you need to open a Kiwibank everyday account it’s likely you’ll need to provide some of the following documentation and information.
- Full name
- Residential address
- Contact details
- Proof of ID
- Tax information
The minimum deposit to open a Kiwibank Foreign Currency Account is $500 NZD.¹
If you have any questions for Kiwibank about their foreign currency account, here’s a few ways you can reach them.
- Visit a branch in person
- Call 0800 113 355 within New Zealand
- Phone +64 4 473 1133 from overseas
While the Kiwibank Foreign Currency Account is a viable option for New Zealanders looking to store and convert foreign currencies, it may not be right for you based on the fees, exchange rate mark up or inability to connect to a debit card. Let’s take a quick look at Wise as an alternative.
Wise offers a Multi Currency account that you can use to hold and convert over 40 different currencies, all through a single account. For certain currencies including NZD and AUD, you can also get account details that help you to send and receive funds like a local.
You have the option to order a Wise Debit card and generate virtual debit cards for your Multi Currency account. The physical card can be used almost anywhere debit cards are accepted and if a currency exchange is needed, the card takes care of it automatically. This makes daily spending in NZD and supported currencies relatively simple and hassle free.
If it sounds like the Wise Multi Currency might work for you, why not try it out for yourself. With no monthly account fees and an easy online setup, it's worth taking a look.
Sources checked on: 27 July 2022
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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