Send money to South Africa

South Africa is a common destination for international money transfers. In fact, US$890 million in remittances was received by the country in 2019, according to the World Bank.

While South Africa is over 10,000kms away from Australia, the good news is you can still send South African Rand (ZAR) over in the matter of a day or a few days through a foreign exchange (FX) specialist. There are many reasons why people might need to send money to South Africa, including for business purposes, to purchase an investment property, to give cash gifts to relatives or friends, or for a family emergency.

Remember this guide is informing people about transferring money to South Africa and not for those wishing to travel there. If you’re planning a holiday to South Africa, head to the travel money section of our site.

What are my options when sending money to South Africa? 

There are several options when it comes to making a money transfer to South Africa. The two main players in this now competitive market are banks and foreign exchange specialists. Let’s take a look at their pros and cons.

Banks

Pros: 

  • Convenience of using your existing bank account to send money to South Africa
  • Access to branch services if you prefer making transfers in-person 

Cons: 

  • Tends to have more expensive exchange rates and fees than FX specialists 
  • Online transfers may be capped at a relatively low account; for larger transfers, you may have to go into a branch 

FX specialists 

Pros: 

  • Typically better exchange rates than the big banks - in fact all of our 2020 Mozo Experts Choice Award winners for best value international money transfer were online FX specialists
  • Transfer fees usually minimal, with some FX specialists waiving fees altogether if you transfer above a certain amount 
  • Access to IMT tools to help you safeguard your transfer from any unfavourable exchange rates  

Cons: 

  • High minimum transfer limits of up to $10k may apply, which may not suit smaller transactions 
  • No branches available, so you’ll have to rely on remote support when making your transfer.

The ‘big five’ things to look for when comparing providers

South Africa is one of many countries in Africa that’s home to the Big Five game animals … but given we’re talking about international money transfers, let’s look at the big five features to consider when transferring money to South Africa.

  • Exchange rates: The higher the AUD/ZAR exchange rate the more South African rand and you’ll receive for your Aussie dollar. Don’t go with the first exchange rate you come across. Instead, take the time over at the Mozo international money transfer comparison hub to calculate how much you’ll get from the different rates being offered by several providers. A few cents difference in the exchange rate could save you potentially hundreds or even thousands of dollars! 
  • Limits: Some providers have a minimum or maximum amount you can send in one go, or sometimes over a week or a month. You might have to shop around to find one that caters for your transaction size. 
  • Transfer speed: This refers to the time it takes for your money to arrive in the recipient’s bank account, from the moment you confirm your transfer. Generally speaking, this should take around 1-5 business days, although for the exact timing, it’s best to check with your provider. 
  • Fees: There are several fees associated with transferring money to South Africa but if you do your research, a few foreign exchange specialists waive some charges if you meet a certain criteria. IMT fees to be wary of include: a transfer fee, a sending and receiving fee, a cancellation fee and an amending fee.
  • Transfer options: Sending money to South Africa really couldn’t be easier - you’ll have the option to transfer online, by phone or in a branch, and some providers even have an app you can use.

How to transfer money to South Africa

As we’ve mentioned, transferring funds overseas is a fairly easy and hassle free process that can be done from the comfort of your own home. Regardless of which bank or foreign exchange specialist you have decided to use, you can generally expect the following few steps: 

  • Register and set up an account with a foreign exchange provider (or if you’re transferring with your current bank, this step should instead involve logging into your internet banking or banking app)
  • Decide how much you want to transfer and to which country you want the money sent
  • Confirm and make sure you are happy with the costs and exchange rate of the transfer
  • Provide details of the recipient including their name and bank details
  • Book the deal!

Checklist when setting up an international money transfer

You now know how to transfer money so let’s look at what information you need to make it happen:

  • Personal details: Name, address, date of birth, country of birth, phone number
  • Sender's account details: Bank details of the account from which money for the transfer will be withdrawn and sent 
  • Recipient’s personal details: Their name, address and bank account number
  • Recipient's bank details: Full name and address of their bank including the SWIFT/BIC code.

Where to compare exchange rates 

If you’re ready to send money to South Africa, then it’s time to start searching for the best money transfer deal for you. Look no further than Mozo’s international money transfers comparison hub, which displays the day’s exchange rates from a whole range of IMT specialists and banks. Besides rates, you can also compare other features, such as fees, limits and transfer speeds. 

Alternatively, stay on the current page and scroll down to make use of our handy tool which lets you customise the amount of Aussie Dollars you want to send, so you can see estimates of how much South African Rand you’ll receive from each provider.

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Other International Money Transfer FAQs 

What is a spot deal?

A spot deal is an arrangement where you lock in the current exchange rate immediately with a legal binding of converting one currency for the other within 24 hours of booking the deal. In most cases, the default money transfer would be a spot deal, but with many FX specialists, you can also access other arrangements, such as a forward contract (that lets you secure a current rate for a future transfer) or a limit order (that lets you set a target rate and the transfer will only occur once that rate is hit). 

What does a SWIFT/BIC code stand for?

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) or a Bank Identifier Code (BIC). This is an 8 or 11 digit code that identifies banks around the world.

I only want to make a one off transfer, what are my options?

This will depend on how much you want to transfer. If it’s just a small amount AUD$200 or less, then PayPal is a fast and secure option. For a one off larger transfer though, it’s definitely worthwhile considering a foreign exchange specialist. The potentially better exchange rate you’ll receive from an IMT specialist could save you thousands on a large one off transfer.

Can I track my money transfer to South Africa? 

You sure can! Just check in with the provider and they will give you an update. Some IMT providers may also have a function on their app that allows you to track your transfer in real time, so you’ll know where your money is at all times. 

How often is the information on exchange rates updated on your website?

The information on international money transfer rates is updated hourly on Mozo, but because of the fluctuating nature of foreign exchange, you may find a small difference to the 'live' price you will get from the IMT provider at the exact time of your overseas money transfer. 

Can I change or cancel an international money transfer?

It will depend on how far along the transfer is. You’ll have to check with your provider, but remember that if you do cancel or change the transfer you may incur a fee.