Compare Foreign Exchange Companies and Rates

Discover how to get the best rate on your money transfer, buying foreign currency

There are so many options for transferring your money from country to country. We all want to get the most from our money transfer when buying a foreign currency. Find out how to keep more of your money, low to zero fees and pay less margin (added cost). Stop losing your hard earned cash to the banks!

Below is a list of the content you will find on this page, with links to the sections:

Scroll down to read our comparison of the different foreign exchange/money transfer companies and find out how to get the best rates.

However, lets first go through what is foreign exchange/money transfer…

Foreign Exchange/Money Transfer

Foreign exchange is the conversion of a country’s currency into another. Moving money from one country to another through money transfer, from bank to bank. Foreign exchange also refers to the global market where currencies are traded virtually around the clock.

Foreign Exchange Explained

If you have been overseas and exchanged your New Zealand dollar into a foreign currency, then you have completed a money transfer and delved into the world of currency exchange market.

The currency exchange market is one of the biggest markets in the world. Government, large companies and banks trade trillions of dollars in foreign currencies everyday. With all that money being exchanged come a truck load of rules and regulations. Complicated things that don’t mean much to the average person.

Now let’s get into what does affect you with foreign exchange… how much money will you get to keep.


Currency refers to a legal tender, which includes all banknotes and coins used as a medium of exchange.

What are Exchange Rates?

Exchange rates tell you what your currency is worth in another country. It is the price you will be charged to buy one currency with another. Example: an exchange rate will tell you how much Australian dollars (AUD) your New Zealand dollars (NZD) will buy you.

We need exchange rates because different countries have different currencys. USD (United States dollar), EUR (Euro), AUS (Australian dollar) and so on. So if you are going on holiday to Italy, first you need to purchase Euros with your NZD and then you can enjoy your holiday in Italy.

There are 180 currencies in the world. Many of the world’s countries have their own currencies. The United Nations currently recognizes 180 currencies that are used in 195 countries across the world.

Note, exchange rates change daily so getting to know what is a good and average rate is important. You can ready more on this below.

Online Rate vs Market Rate

Online rates offers customers a competitive market exchange rate for the online purchase of foreign currency.

The online rates are only online rates and are not available in-store.

Why is the online rate different to the rate I see on the news?

The rate you see on the news is the rate that banks or large financial institutions charge each other when trading large amounts of foreign currency. It is not the retail rate and you will not be able to buy currency at this rate, as you are buying relatively small amounts of foreign currency in comparison.

In everyday life, it is similar to the difference between wholesale prices (what a store purchases items for) and retail prices (what is charged to a customer to purchase an item in-store).

Get the best rate for your transfer

If you are going to regularly be transferring money between countries, then you need to start researching rates and finding out what is a good, bad and average rate. Then use this to your advantage. If time if not an issue and you can wait a few weeks, then you can maximize your transfer by transferring at a great rate!

Here’s an example of what is a good rate between Australia and New Zealand dollars:

NZD to AUD Stats
Last 30 daysLast 90 days

Over the last 10 years the currency rate has fluctuated a lot more:

19 Oct 2008 – 16 Oct 2018
Low: 0.72703
High: 0.99670

If I transferred NZD100,000 to Australia, the difference can be massive:

Low: 0.72703 – AUD727,030
High: 0.99670 – AUD996,700
Difference = $269,670 (out of pocket)

Even in the last 90 days you could be $25,170 better off if you know enough about exchange rates to transfer at a good time.

Exchange Rate Tracker

Looking for the best exchange rates? Online currency exchange companies usually offer an exchange rate tracker. You will need to choose a currency pair, set your desired mid-market rate and then you will get sent an alert when your chosen currency has reached your desired rate. Simple!

Low or No Fees

This is an easy area to save some money. Not everyone charges you fees to make your transfer.

Banks charge fees to transfer your money overseas, usually $30.

Online foreign exchange companies either don’t charge fees or will wave fees if referred, see below.

You can save money here, but even more with the below advice…

Added Margin

This is the massive one… all companies add a margin on top of your transfer rate, but how much differs greatly. That’s why the below comparisons of online companies vs the banks vary so much.

Banks vs Online Transfer Companies

A company providing foreign exchange needs to cover all of the costs that come from the transaction. The cost of supplying foreign currency online is usually less compared to a physical retail store, so you’ll usually get a better rate online.

To give you an idea of how much you could save, XE have done a recent comparison with three New Zealand major banks for a $1,200,000 NZD to AUD transfer. Depending on which bank you use, XE would have saved you between $9,070 and $25,870.

XE - Bank Rate Comparison

**This comparison was made on 21.08.17, by speaking to the foreign exchange teams at 3 of the leading banks.

So if your not going to use your bank, who are you going to use?

We compare and review only trusted regulated foreign exchange brands

To make sure we are giving you the very best advice, no matter what your money transfer needs, we have partnered up with the only two NZ based online foreign exchange providers. See below, in no particular order:

XE Foreign Exchange  OFX Global Money Transfers

Compare international money transfer rates and services

Below is a comparison of the main foreign exchange companies that transfer New Zealand Dollar and the Australia Dollar. The table compares international money transfer rates, services, speed, min transfer and the online transfer fee.

NameMin. TransferSpeedServicesOnline Transfer Fee
XENZD 01 dayOnline, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account, APPNZD 0*
OFXNZD 2501 dayOnline, Phone, Bank Account to Bank AccountNZD 0*
World FirstNZD 2,0002 daysOnline, Phone, AgentNZD 10.00
fc exchangeNZD 3,0001 dayOnline, Phone, Bank Account to Bank AccountNZD 10.00
HiFXNZD 502 daysOnline, Phone, AgentNZD 15.00
Bank AverageNZD 01 day (extra $25)Online, Phone, In-storeNZD 15.00-25.00
* The online transfer fee is wavered if registered through our referral link.

As you can see from above, rates, fees and services differ a lot. Let us help find you the best rate and services for your transfer needs.

How does online foreign exchange work?

If you have always used your bank to make your money transfers, then you might be wondering how online money transfers work. See below…

There are a number of options on how to make a transfer. Different options suit different people better:

  • Online
  • Phone
  • Account to account
  • Using an app
  • Agent

Steps involved in an online transfer

  1. Register Online
  2. Lock-In your transfer – how much are you transferring, which currency and who to send it to.
  3. Send your funds – make a bank transfer from your account (e.g. online banking electronic bank transfer or BPay).
  4. Money is delivered – most transfers take 1-2 business days. You can track your transfer online or on the companies app.

Once your registered it’s pretty similar to using your bank. Please note, most of the online FX companies have fantastic customer service departments available 24/7 to answer any questions or help if need be.

Currency Converter

Calculate live currency and foreign exchange rates with the below free currency converter.

Live Rate Chart

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