It is effortless to transfer money to New Zealand. It is also easy to transfer money from New Zealand. You first need to open a New Zealand bank account. There are many different options that you can use to send money to and from New Zealand.
The traditional way is to send money via wire transfer from your bank. Most banks have a fee to send and a fee to receive money orders. The exchange rate that banks offer consumer customers is typically less favorable than the mid-market rate. The combination of the exchange rate and fees puts the typical fees above 2%.
Transferwise is a company that specializes in international money transfers and can be used to transfer money to New Zealand. The fees vary depending on the sending and receiving country. The fee to transfer money from the United States to New Zealand is 0.6% plus $1.25 USD. The fee to transfer from New Zealand to the United States is 0.4% plus $1.50 NZD. The transaction is a domestic bank transfer on both ends, so you do not get international or wire transfer fees from your bank. The exchange rate is the mid-market rate. This rate is better than the rate most banks charge. Transferwise has a rate comparison tool that you can use compare to other transfer services.
The first step in transferring money with Transferwise is to log a transfer with Transferwise. No money is automatically transferred at this stage. Depending on the type of transfer, you then transfer the money to Transferwise via a domestic bank transfer and Transferwise then deposits the money in the target account via a domestic bank transfer. Transferwise acts as the middle man and frequently will not transfer your actual money to the new country. Instead, they pay you with funds that already in your destination country. This allows them to keep transfer costs down. Transfer times range from instant to four days, depending on exactly how you choose to send money.
You can find out the current transfer rate with Transferwise before you create an account. When you create an account, you will have to provide your social security number or your tax identification number from your country. You will need to upload documentation including proof of address and your passport. You do not need a New Zealand drivers license to transfer money. Transferwise does have an app to make the process easier.
XE Money Transfer
XE Money Transfer is owned by Euronet Worldwide Inc, a NASDAQ traded company, and operates similarly to Transferwise. The total exchange rate tends to be 0.1% to 0.5% better than Transferwise (between the US and New Zealand. I have not tested other companies). They market their service as fee-free, but they make their money by offering an exchange rate, which is slightly lower than Transferwise.
XE Money Transfer does not show you the exchange rate before you create an account. You need to provide all of your information, including your tax identification number when you create your account. Once your account is created you can see the exchange rate offered. Before you complete a transfer, you need to upload your passport and address verification information.
Western Union has good rates that tend to be in-between Transferwise and XE Money Transfers for sending money to New Zealand. Their rates for sending money from New Zealand are definitively worse than Transferwise or XE Money Transfer. They do tell you their transfer rates before you create an account.
There are a host of other online transfer services available. I have found that Worldfirst and Currencyfair do not offer better rates than the options above.
I recommend checking at least two different services each time you transfer money since exchange rates do change. There are many ways to think of money when you are operating in a different currency than your home currency. What is your preferred way to transfer money to New Zealand?