Getting the best New Zealand dollar Exchange Rate

No matter how much cash you have at your disposal to start your new life, you’ll end up with more New Zealand Dollars in your pocket if you use a specialist foreign exchange broker to exchange your money rather than a high-street bank. We can show you how to use their services to get the best possible exchange rate – this could save you thousands.


Use a foreign exchange broker

When you’re planning to exchange sizable sums of money it is wise to consider alternatives to using a bank, as they seldom offer the most competitive rates on currency exchange.

A good alternative is to use a reputable foreign exchange broker for your currency transactions. The best brokers will offer you better rates than the banks, and will also be able to direct you on how to get the best possible rate. We recommend Convera to our clients because they offer:

  • A Dedicated foreign Exchange specialist for you
  • No Transaction fees
  • Real-time Rates
  • Ability to hold multiple foreign currency accounts
  • The ability to open an account prior to leaving the UK
  • Risk Management strategies

We have been consistently impressed with the service we have received both in terms of securing great rates and efficient administration.

For more information about Convera look at their website or you can contact the team:


P: Dave Swadel  +64 (0)3 365 4992

M: +64 (0) 21  960 485

Plan ahead

You’ll probably start keeping an eye on the exchange rate once you have decided to emigrate to New Zealand. It is good to open an account with Convera at this stage – it will cost you nothing, and doesn’t take long to process. Opening an account with a broker puts you under no obligation to trade with them, but it does give you the opportunity to utilise their resources and expertise. It may be wise to open an account with Convera at this stage.

Another point that is worth mentioning is that you do not have to exchange all of your funds at once – you could change what you need for your first few weeks in New Zealand if the rate is not where you would ideally like it to be, then change the rest when the rate has improved. You do not have to exchange your funds all at once.

Have a currency Market Order

The timing of your currency transfer is typically dictated by practical considerations, such as the availability of liquid funds or the need for them. The sooner you talk to your broker, the more flexibility you will have within these constraints.

An example of the specialised service they provide is a Market Order, whereby you can specify a target exchange rate. When (and if) the market reaches your target, you will automatically buy the New Zealand Dollars. You can cancel or change the market order at any time until your order is fulfilled, and it costs you nothing to put a market order into place. The beauty of this is that you don’t have to constantly monitor the market.

Another example of their specialised services is Forward Contracts; if exchange rates are favourable now but you do not have liquid funds quite yet, you can use forward contracts to “lock in” the current rate. A forward contract means that you can buy the currency now and pay for it later (when, for example you receive funds from a house sale or an investment maturity). You will be required to pay a deposit straight away.

We cannot stress enough the value of using the services of a specialised foreign exchange broker. It really is a simple way of maximising the money you’ll have available to you in New Zealand.

How the Currency Exchange Process Works

You may be used to fronting up to your bank or to a currency exchange booth at the airport when you need to change some money for a holiday, paying your money in at the counter and wandering out with a brightly coloured, unfamiliar pile of Pesos, Dollars, Yen or Euros. It seems like a simple process, but when you imagine doing this with the much larger sums of money that you will probably be exchanging when you emigrate to New Zealand, it gets a bit more complicated – and a lot more expensive.

Your bank can of course arrange to wire your money from your account in the UK to a bank account in New Zealand, changing it into New Zealand Dollars in the process – but they will use their own exchange rate, which won’t be as good as the rate you would get from a currency exchange specialist. And of course, the whole process takes days, so you don’t get the opportunity to pick exactly the rate you want. Both the sending and sometimes even the receiving bank add their charges, meaning that you end up with fewer Dollars than you should. UK banks are often also restricted by their own or government red tape, and have restrictions on how much you can exchange in one transaction.

Using a specialist foreign exchange broker is a more efficient and economical way of changing your Pounds into New Zealand Dollars. Once you’ve opened an account with a broker the steps you need to take to transfer your money are:

Step 1: Contact your broker

When you’re ready to change some money you need to contact your broker to organise the transaction. You can do this over the phone with Convera. The broker will agree a rate with you and specify a Value Date, which is the date by which you’ll need to get your money to them to complete the transaction.

Your broker will also confirm where you want your money sent once the transaction has been completed and your money has been converted into New Zealand Dollars – this is sometimes referred to as the Beneficiary Account.

Step 2: Confirm the transaction

You’ll be sent a Contract Note to confirm the transaction within an hour or two – it is important to check this over carefully.

Step 3: Complete the transaction

Transfer the Pounds you need to complete the transaction to the account (sometimes referred to as the Nominated Account) specified by your broker. In most cases this will be detailed on the Contract Note.

Your New Zealand Dollars will be transferred in to your Beneficiary Account, and your currency exchange transaction will be complete.

To receive the benefits of being a referral from Henderson International when you email or call in please mention Jeremy Henderson or Henderson International. For more information about Western Union Business Solutions look at their website or you can contact the team.


P: Dave Swadel  +64 (0)3 365 4992

M: +64 (0) 21 960 485

Options when the Pound to Dollar exchange rate is not favourable

There are some strategies that may help you to reduce the impact of poor exchange rates if the Pound to New Zealand Dollar exchange rate isn’t great when you are thinking about emigrating to New Zealand:

  • Remember that you don’t have to change all of your money at once – a better strategy may be to change only as much as you need for your immediate needs.
  • Using a foreign exchange broker rather than a bank to change your money and will get a better rate for your Pounds, and you’ll also get free market information.
  • If you’re leaving money in the UK, it may be best to hold it in a high-interest bank account. Make sure you complete a P85 form when you leave the UK (and let your bank know) so that any interest you receive can be paid to you without tax being deducted. If you qualify as a Transitional Resident you will not have to pay NZ tax on the interest you receive for 4 years. The transitional Resident tax exemption also applies to other types of investment income held offshore, such as stocks and shares.
  • You could think about renting a house in New Zealand rather than buying one while you wait for the exchange rate to improve. If you really want to buy a house, it may be better to get a larger New Zealand mortgage rather than converting your Pounds into New Zealand Dollars at a poor rate – a variable rate mortgage that you can afford comfortably would be our recommendation for most migrants.
  • Remember that our preferred New Zealand QROPS for UK pension transfers allow you to keep your transferred pensions in Pounds while you wait for an exchange rate that you are happy with, a facility that has been of great benefit to our clients.

The greatest ally that anyone can have when they are contemplating exchanging a large amount of money is time – if you don’t need to change your Pounds into New Zealand Dollars by a certain date you will have more flexibility. A couple of extra weeks or months can make all the difference.

Regular Payments from the UK

If you are transferring regular payments from your UK bank account to New Zealand you may find that bank overseas transfer charges really eat in to your income, and that currency fluctuations make it hard to predict how many Dollars you will get for your Pounds.

Our foreign exchange partner Western Union Business Solutions has an excellent service for setting up regular payments from the UK to New Zealand. This is particularly handy for pension payments.

More information about Western Union Business Solutions look at their website or you can contact the team>

P: Dave Swadel  +64 (0)3 365 4992

M: +64 (0) 21 960 485

No matter how much cash you have at your disposal to start your new life, you’ll end up with more New Zealand Dollars in your pocket if you use a specialist foreign exchange broker to transfer your money rather than a high-street bank.