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Send Money To South Africa

If you need to send money back home to family, to make a foreign purchase, or for business purposes, there are a number of options available to you. This guide takes an in-depth look into how to send money to South Africa, including the best, cheapest, and fastest options available to you plus everything you may need to know about your international transfer.

Updated: 07/02/2022
Read time: 17 minutes
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How To Send Money To South Africa

Follow these steps to find out the best way to send money to South Africa:

Step 1: Compare providers to find the best service for you

The overall cost, speed, and efficiency of your international money transfer can vary significantly depending on which provider you use. Find the service best suited to your transfer needs by using our comparison engine, which provides an unbiased and real-time analysis of providers that support transfers between your chosen currency pair based on cost, speed, payment options, and more.

Step 2: Create your free account and register your details

An account with your chosen money transfer operator should be free to sign up to, and most are easy to set up via an online app within a matter of minutes and will allow you to track your transfer. Note, you might need to upload a photo of your ID (such as a passport or driving license) to verify your account so it’s a good idea to get your account set up and ready to go before you need to make a transfer urgently.

Step 3: Start your transfer

Once your account is set up, you can start sending money to South Africa, depending on your provider this could be through a mobile app or online. You’ll need to enter your recipient’s details (more information provided below), and your payment details, as well as the amount you are sending and where you are sending from. Your provider should provide a clear breakdown of the fees you should expect before initiating your transfer, as well as a prediction of how long the transfer will take.

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Ways To Send And Receive Money In South Africa

There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money, and it can be overwhelming trying to find the best way to send money to South Africa. We’ve outlined the most popular ways below:

Sending Money To South Africa
Receiving Money In South Africa

Ways to Send Money to South Africa

The following are some of the reliable and safe ways you can use to send money to South Africa from around the world:

Bank Wire Transfers

South Africa has over 22 registered banks comprising locally-controlled, foreign-controlled, mutual, and cooperative banks. The banking system boasts over 50 branches of foreign banks, which means moving money via wire transfer from other countries to South Africa is relatively safe and convenient.

Notwithstanding their extensive network, banks are still grappling with unattractive exchange rates, longer wait times, and intense screening operations. Time zone differences and operating hours can lengthen the time bank transfers take to reach target beneficiaries back home so this may not be the cheapest way to send money to South Africa.

Fortunately,  there are other options.

Online Money Transfers

There are now a number of major players in the international money transfer market catering to South Africa and more of the African continent as a whole. Companies like TransferWise, Xoom, MoneyGram, Western Union, Currencies Direct, First Rand, Mukuru, and WorldRemit have all positioned themselves to take advantage of the various transfer corridors. We’ve put together a list of top 10 money transfer companies to get you started with the fastest way to send money to South Africa.

These companies tend to provide more favourable exchange rates, lower fees, and faster transfer times than traditional banks, and have the major advantage of offering more payout options beyond a simple bank transfer.

The following are the main sending options:

Bank Transfer – If the person you are sending the money has a bank account or prefers to receive money using this option, bank transfers can be convenient. Apart from safety, bank transfers can handle large amounts with no pressure to withdraw it all at once.

You can transact with the money however you like without necessarily having it in cash.

Cash Pickup– Depending on how close the recipient is to an agent location of your chosen provider, you can send cash for pick up. The advantage of this method is that it is fast and very much convenient for small amounts. The recipient gets a voucher number with collection details.

Western Union has partnered with select ABSA branches while TranferWise leverages the Mukuru network for cash pickups. You can access MoneyGram services from FNB ATMs and cellphone banking.

Mobile Wallet– You can choose to send money directly to the recipient’s mobile wallet. This method is convenient both for the unbanked in rural South Africa and for recipients in urban areas as well. The money is literally in your hands the moment the transfer is complete. MoneyGram offers this service through Standard Bank, while WorldRemit offers airtime top-ups with MTN, Virgin, or Cell.

Money Orders

The South African Postal Service established under the Postal Services Act of 1998 is in charge of both domestic and international money orders. International acceptability and sending limits vary from country to country.

The beauty with money orders is that neither the sender nor the recipient needs an account. Also, money orders are paid for well in advance thus guaranteeing the recipient will get their money. Only senders from participating countries can transfer money using this method.

What’s Needed to Send Money to South Africa?

Whether you are sending to the Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Northern Cape, or Western Cape, your provider and the method of transfer will determine the details needed to send money. That said, the following is a list of what is typically required when sending.

  • Your current government-issued photo ID
  • If using a debit/credit card to fund your transfer, you’ll need to provide the respective card numbers
  • The full name of the recipient as it appears on their official documents
  • The address and phone number of the recipient
  • If using the bank transfer method, you’ll need the beneficiary’s name, account number, routing number or swift code, and bank name.

On a case by case basis, senders may be asked to give more details on the purpose of the funds.

Best Ways To Send Money To South Africa

With almost a quarter of the adult population in South Africa estimated to be unbanked and without access to financial services, the best way to send money to South Africa is ultimately the way that allows you to get your funds to your recipient easily, quickly, and for as low a cost as possible.

Money transfer operators are almost always going to offer the best solution. They alone can provide you with the choice of sending money to a bank account, in cash, or to a mobile wallet, so you can decide what suits you and your recipient best. Important details that will affect the overall quality of your international money transfer include:

  • Where you are sending from
  • The amount you are sending
  • How you mean to pay for your transfer
  • How you would like your transfer delivered

Cheapest Way to Send Money to South Africa

The cheapest way to send money to South Africa will almost always be with a money transfer operator. Not all money transfer companies will support transfer to South Africa from your sending country, so it’s important to compare providers based on the currencies you need to convert between.

The two main costs you need to be aware of are transfer fees and the exchange rate you are offered. A reputable transfer service should show you upfront the fees you should expect to be charged before you start your transfer, but it’s a good idea to compare your options to determine how good a deal you are getting and to decide on the cheapest way to send money to South Africa.

Fastest Way to Send Money to South Africa

The fastest way to send funds to South Africa is through the faster services offered by money transfer providers. Most of these services can get your money to your recipient within a couple of hours, or even within minutes in some cases.

If you’re looking for the fastest way to send money to South Africa, you should know that this will rarely be the cheapest option. You will often pay for the convenience of getting your transfer processed faster, so you may want to weigh up what is a higher priority for you. To find out more, check out our simple guide about the fastest ways to send money abroad.

Things to Consider When Sending Money to South Africa

Before sending money, you may want to consider a few wider circumstances:

  • Unbanked population – A fairly large percentage of South Africa’s adult population is still unbanked and without access to financial services, which can make it difficult to get your money back home to family when living abroad. Considering alternatives such as mobile money is vital for many families depending on global remittances. These a normally paired to send money online services, meaning the best of both options for the sender and receiver.
  • Weakening Commodity Prices – South Africa is a country heavily dependent on minerals. A weakening of the global commodity market prices can be disastrous for the economy. The currency will most certainly take a dip. 
  • Inflation – Currently, the economy is at 4.5% inflation. If it goes higher than this level, it will heat up and offload value. You’ll have to send your loved ones more money to enjoy the same basket of goods and services. For taxation purposes, the recipient must file the gifts or money received on the income tax return form. This step doesn’t give the taxman a foothold to tax you but ensures compliance.

Transferring money to your family, relatives, and friends in South Africa is faster, simpler and cost-effective now than ever before. However, you need to have the right information on the different ways of sending, what to provide when sending and receiving, cross-comparisons of the various benefits providers give, and the factors to consider back home.

Your Questions Answered

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Looking to Send Money Somewhere Else? 

Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to South Africa. If you’re looking to send money to another country, here is the list of the most popular destinations.

Jonathan Merry

Jonathan is the founder and editor of MoneyTransfers.com. Jonathan is highly experienced in the currency transfer market, having previously worked in the FX trading industry, alongside being an avid traveller. Using his knowledge he identified a need for transparency and further education to help people save money on their money transfers, leading to the creation of MoneyTransfers.com