KiwiSaver Questions

Changing KiwiSaver - How To Switch KiwiSaver Step-By-Step

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4 simple steps to changing KiwiSaver:

Switch KiwiSaver - Process

  1. Account Information Required: PIR, IRD Number, ID, and Address. 
  2. Make a Decision: Which provider are you switching KiwiSaver to?
  3. Application: Online form to register with your new provider.
  4. Sit Back, Relax: Usually takes between 10 to 35 days to change KiwiSaver.

Changing KiwiSaver is a simple process that can be done by contacting your newly chosen provider. Transferring KiwiSaver requires you to fill out a form to switch KiwiSaver and your new provider will take care of the rest. You can apply directly with the new provider or we can do it on your behalf if you've chosen us as your advisor. The new provider will then organise the transfer of funds as you change KiwiSaver schemes. 

So let’s say you’ve gone through our KiwiSaver HealthCheck. Our team at National Capital have analysed your situation and recommended a KiwiSaver provider for you. And you’re happy to take our advice on board by changing KiwiSaver schemes.

But you’re wondering how much hassle this process to switch KiwiSaver might take. Additionally, you’re concerned changing KiwiSaver providers will be a lengthy process, and will take hours to do.

In that case, I’ve got some great news for you. The thing you should know about switching KiwiSaver schemes is that...

It’s a really simple process

One may think that to change KiwiSaver schemes, you must fill out tons of pages of paperwork. 

In that case, I’ve got some great news for you! This isn’t the case when changing KiwiSaver companies.

Instead, the process of transferring KiwiSaver accounts is quite simple. When I decided to change KiwiSaver provider last year, it took me only about 20 minutes to do so.

Most KiwiSaver providers allow you to complete this process online. All you have to do is fill out a form with your name, your IRD number, and a few other things, and you’ll be good to go! The process to change KiwiSaver will only take a few minutes for you to action.

Your new KiwiSaver provider will then do a lot of, if not all, the rest. And you can relax, knowing your money will be transferred to your new scheme.

Transferring Kiwisaver process might not be as awkward as you may think

There are some misconceptions regarding what you need to do to switch KiwiSaver schemes to another. For example, you don’t need to call your current provider and tell them why you’re switching KiwiSaver while a salesperson tries to convince you to stay.

I understand how that feels because I originally used to think this. To my relief, when I decided to change KiwiSaver providers, I never received any awkward phone calls or messages from my old provider asking me to stay with them.

There is one “awkward” thing to keep in mind. A few providers charge “transfer fees”. This means you pay your old provider a fee to leave their scheme, for things such as administration costs. 

Although most do not charge transfer fees, you should check with your provider to see if they charge them. Other than that, there is no other obvious reason to talk to your old provider before transferring KiwiSaver balances.

How to change KiwiSaver provider in four simple steps

Switch KiwiSaver - Process

Keep your PIR, IRD Number, ID, and address handy when switching KiwiSaver firms

These are all important things to have on hand because it is likely you will need them for your change KiwiSaver application form. The reason you give your new provider these details is so they have the information they need to verify who you are and complete the transferring KiwiSaver process.

Below is a description of what you need to know about these four things:

PIR (Prescribed Investor Rate): Your prescribed investor rate is the amount at which your investment returns will be taxed. You should put in some effort to make sure you are getting taxed at the correct rate. If you pay too little in tax for example, the IRD may contact you to give you a tax bill.

To help you find your PIR, National Capital has developed a PIR calculator you can use.

Dig Deeper: KiwiSaver Tax - Everything you need to know

IRD Number: Your IRD number is an eight or nine-digit number that helps to keep track of the amount of tax you’ve paid, and how much you need to pay. Your IRD number is unique to you and you keep it for life and a must-have when changing KiwiSaver companies.

If you do not know your IRD number, you can check the following places for it:

If you still cannot find it, you should call Inland Revenue. Click here for more information about their contact details. You can't switch KiwiSaver without providing your IRD number in your application.

Also, make sure you have your ID as well as address on you just in case you need it.

Decide which fund(s) you’d like to join

Sometime during the process of transferring KiwiSaver, you'll need to decide which fund(s) you want to be invested in.

This is an important part of the switching KiwiSaver process because being in the wrong fund can cost you a lot of money over your lifetime. Many New Zealanders are making the mistake of being in the wrong fund, costing them lots of money. Therefore, it’s important you take some time to decide where to invest your money. 

If this is a step you’re struggling with, we recommend you complete our KiwiSaver HealthCheck. It can provide important tips that help prior to switching KiwiSaver. After filling out an easy-to-fill form, you can get information about what type of fund is best for you, as well as which provider is best suited for you.

This advice is given over the phone, which means you get the opportunity to clarify any questions you may have about our advice. And the advisory service to switch KiwiSaver is free.

Fill out a form (usually online) to switch KiwiSaver companies.

Most forms are online, simple and easy to fill out, provided you have prepared in advance. 

To find what you need to fill out, go to the website of your new KiwiSaver scheme for more information. These forms can be usually filled out on your computer.

Take your time to complete the application form, following the instructions of the new KiwiSaver provider, and make sure everything is correct to ensure there are no delays in the transferring KiwiSaver process.

Your new provider may ask for a few other things once you’ve submitted your application form. For example, when switching KiwiSaver last year, my new provider asked for proof of address. Be prepared for this to occur.

Sit back, relax, and wait for the process to be completed 

After submitting a request to change KiwiSaver companies, it usually takes up to 35 days for the switch to be fully completed. However, it doesn’t usually take this long at all.

When I decided to switch KiwiSaver schemes last year, it took me just two weeks to have my funds transferred. 

Sometimes your KiwiSaver funds won’t come into your account all at once. However, rest assured that your money will be transferred in full and thus completing the transferring KiwiSaver process. You can normally check progress through your KiwiSaver Login.

Why would you consider switching KiwiSaver?

Why Switch KiwiSaver

The most common reason for changing KiwiSaver services is often performance related. National Capital tracks the latest market insights to establish a list of the best performing KiwiSaver funds. Some people will change KiwiSaver firms depending on the best performer in the fund they’re interested in. We recommend speaking with us and getting free advice to check if your goals and circumstances align with the decision. 

Although we don’t typically recommend switching KiwiSaver based on fees, it can often be a deciding factor. There has been a downward trend in fees these last few years, however, there are still clear differences. We have discussed the topic and tracked the cheapest KiwiSaver providers for you.  

Others may take an active decision to change KiwiSaver from a default provider. Oftentimes, a default option means that you haven’t really taken an active approach toward investing in your future. Thus people may decide to switch Kiwisaver once they are ready.

Some may change KiwiSaver to one that aligns with their personal financial goals. One particular scheme may offer the best returns in a fund that aligns with your short-term goals. Alternatively, another can be the best fit for your long-term goals.   

Most providers are placing an increased focus on ethical investing and avoiding assets in arms trading and human rights violations. Ethics and beliefs are other defining factors for people transferring KiwiSaver between companies. For example, the Christian KiwiSaver Scheme is designed for NZ’s Christian community and aims to invest according to their beliefs. 

You need better service and communication. Non-bank funds continue to outrank bank funds on consumer satisfaction with Simplicity, Milford and Generate taking the top spots. Milford in particular stands out with an 82% score on access to account information and 80% on investment updates. Thus you may change KiwiSaver as you’ll feel more comfortable being kept in the loop effectively about your investment.

The good thing is that you can switch KiwiSaver firms as many times as you’d like and at any time. Some scheme providers may charge a fee to switch KiwiSaver. Naturally, it’s important you make an informed decision with your goals in mind.

Changing KiwiSaver - FAQs

We are Financial Advisers specialising in KiwiSaver & Investment research
Does it cost to change KiwiSaver?

It does not cost a thing to change between funds provided by the same provider. However, changing KiwiSaver companies may include a transfer fee depending on who your existing provider is. More specifically, Aon charges $35 and Booster charges $30 to change KiwiSaver to another provider. While others may not charge a fee for transferring KiwiSaver, they may have other structures in place like a yearly administration fee.

You should always check the new provider’s fees and services to ensure that there are no surprises after switching KiwiSaver. If you can’t find them, look through their disclosure statements on their website or contact them directly.

We must also discuss a cost that is rarely considered by a hands-off investor. Generally, it is not a good idea to switch KiwiSaver fund during a period of unforeseen and major instability. That is because you are turning those losses into reality and giving them no chance to recover. Take the Covid-19 pandemic for example, where some people saw 20% losses in a single day. Those who were changing KiwiSaver were actually realising those drastic losses. On the other hand, those who didn’t change KiwiSaver but held steady saw their investment recover and grow at rapid rates a few months later. 

What we’ve just mentioned is a bad reason for switching KiwiSaver. A good reason will include consideration of your circumstances, goals, and your provider’s performance. Speaking to a financial advisor before changing KiwiSaver is a good way to make a confident decision. In any case, National Capital is here to help you and answer any questions regardless of whether you’re transferring KiwiSaver to another provider or deciding to stick to your existing one. 

How many people switch KiwiSaver Schemes & Funds?

As per the Financial Markets Authority 2021 Annual Report, the number of times people were transferring KiwiSaver schemes equaled 157,679. That is a significant amount of changing KiwiSaver actions taken within a year. But why do people change KiwiSaver schemes? Well, some providers perform better than others overall or in particular funds. National Capital helps you analyse whether you need to switch KiwiSaver for better results or if you’re better off not changing KiwiSaver schemes. 

KiwiSaver members now have more choices, too. Four new schemes added in 2021 took the total number to 37. The new providers are Aurora, InvestNow, KiwiWrap, and Select. These new choices add to the reasons why people would consider switching KiwiSaver schemes. 

As of December 2021, there has been a reduction in default fund fees. When comparing your options, reduced fees may well impact your decision to change KiwiSaver schemes or stay.

Many members also get automatically registered in a default scheme. Around one in nine remain in a default scheme. This means the majority change KiwiSaver schemes or make an active choice to stay. In fact, the number of members who did not make an active choice dropped 6.6% annually, totaling 356,021. National Capital strives to improve the financial literacy of everyday Kiwis and we’re happy to see them making active choices. 

Switching KiwiSaver funds of different risk types within the same provider was even higher than transferring KiwiSaver schemes. The number of actions taken to switch KiwiSaver funds was 377,895 in 2021. In total, almost $6.7 billion made the switch between funds. The government announced in March 2021 that the setting for default members would switch KiwiSaver from conservative to balanced funds.

Before changing KiwiSaver, ask yourself: Have you chosen the correct provider?

This is a serious question because choosing the wrong KiwiSaver provider can cost you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

There are over 30 different KiwiSaver schemes out there. So with that in mind, it’s important you make an informed decision based on research regarding which provider is best for you.

This is where National Capital’s KiwiSaver HealthCheck can help. Our HealthCheck can help you figure out which KiwiSaver scheme and KiwiSaver fund is best for you. 

This advice is based upon hours of research from our KiwiSaver research team, who investigates into each KiwiSaver fund to find the good ones.

The first step to getting this advice is to fill out our KiwiSaver HealthCheck. Don’t worry - it’s a simple, and easy-to-fill-out form. The reason we ask you to do this is because we want to understand more about you and give you personalised advice.

After this, the next thing to do is to schedule an appointment with one of our advisors. By doing this, you can receive personalised advice over the phone from our team. Our team is trained to give advice for your specific needs, so you will be taken care of.

Then, you turn up to the call at the time you have scheduled. By doing this, you can find out what the best course of action for your KiwiSaver account is. You may or may not need to proceed with changing KiwiSaver.

Lastly, you will be asked whether you’d like to implement our recommendations. If for example, you’d like to begin transferring KiwiSaver providers, we can take care of that for you. And if you choose to not do so, that’s perfectly fine! You are not obligated to do so.

Want to hear the best part of this all? This service is all for free.

So what are you waiting for? Fill out our KiwiSaver HealthCheck and get yourself some free financial advice. Your future self will thank you for it.

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Before you switch KiwiSaver providers, ask yourself: are you with the right KiwiSaver fund provider? Make sure by taking our free KiwiSaver HealthCheck!

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