Posted in Living Overseas.

A Money Transfer Guide for Expat New Zealanders Living and Working in Australia

Portrait of an attractive young woman in a home environment

Many New Zealanders see little difference between life back home with expat life in Australia but money transfer issues are something that can’t be ignored.

Setting up an Australian bank account while you’re still back home in New Zealand is a good way to prepare – you will need to provide 100 points of identification, with a passport, driver’s license and birth certificate all providing a good start.

The transition between New Zealand and Australia is easier than most – with little differences between accent and lifestyle. Employment opportunities in Australia are definitely better – a good stepping stone for more expat adventures around the world.


What are the cheapest ways to send money home, or from home?

If you regularly need to send money overseas while you’re away, consider setting up a foreign currency account. This way, you can take advantage of currency fluctuations and only convert the money when it is most cost-effective to do so.

Sending money back to New Zealand can be done in many ways – from Western Union and PayPal (fast and affordable for smaller amounts, such as birthday gifts), to specialist currency exchange providers who offer a variety of rates and deals.

There can be some bargains to find for first-time customers but just make sure you compare to get the best savings. One that waives fees might seem like the most positive deal but the small print may show that the exchange rate is not as competitive. There will be many competing for your business, so ask lots of questions, do lots of research and get the one that suits your needs.


How often should I send my savings home?

No perfect answer to that question – it really does depend on how much you’re sending. Some currency providers waive fees for amounts over or under a certain figure – but those fees and charges can be offset by currency exchange rates that are less than ideal.

It’s smart to use PayPal and Western Union for smaller amounts but when it comes to larger funds transfers, research will reveal what is right for you. Be realistic about how many transfers you might need to send in the year ahead and then talk to currency experts to compare prices.

It might work out that it is more affordable to send large amounts less frequently – or your individual needs might mean smaller amounts transferred more often save you more money. Try to take advantage of special ‘first-time’ customer deals – as an expat in Australia, there will be lots of currency transfer businesses who want your business so that gives you some buying power.


Are there other places I could park my money?

Some expats spend their working lives being promoted between one international city and another – and off-shore investments can be a really effective way to manage your money, rather than having savings in a variety of places all across the globe.


What’s the best way to schedule payments?

Setting up bill payments ahead of time is possible and can be done up to 1-2 years ahead. Your bank will tell you what they have on offer and give you all the advice you need about how to verify and schedule the payments you need to take care of.