How to send money to South Africa

When you need to get money to a loved one in South Africa, the last thing you want to have to deal with is a complicated and expensive process. Sending money from the United States to Johannesburg or Cape Town doesn’t have to be expensive. If you compare the transfer fees and exchange rates of the many options available, you can get the most South African rands for your dollar.
World First Foreign Exchange

World First International Money Transfers

Most Convenient money transfers with excellent customer service. Send to 140+ currencies in 45 countries.

Special $0 fee offer for finder.com readers:
Because World First is a trusted partner of finder.com, you can send your money transfer overseas for free.

  • Enjoy competitive exchange rates.
  • Get even better exchange rates with forward contracts and limit orders.
  • Receive weekly updates on market exchange rates.

    Compare international money transfer services to South Africa

    I want to send

    to

    Enter your details to speak to a foreign exchange expert

    By submitting this form, you agree to finder.com privacy policy
    Ofx Logo

    Save money on your personal or business international money transfer today. Fill in the form and you’ll be contacted by a foreign exchange expert to have an obligation-free discussion about your options.

    With over 17 years of foreign exchange expertise and over $100 billion transferred, OFX can help with all your currency exchange needs, including:

    • Buying property abroad
    • Emigrating
    • Regular overseas payments
    • Risk management
    • Forecasting
    Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Services Amount Received Description CTA Details
    USD 1,000 1 day USD 0.00 13.936 Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account ZAR 69,682 Exclusive offer: $0 transfer fee
    No-limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies.
    Go to site Show details
    USD 1 3 - 5 days USD 35.00 13.985 Online ZAR
    69,437
    Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks. Go to site Show details
    1 day - - Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account Exclusive exchange rate discounts
    No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies.
    Go to site Show details
    USD 100 3 - 5 days USD 5.00 13.922 Online, Phone ZAR 69,542 Transfer money into 20 currencies and schedule regular payments. $5 fee waived for transfers over $5,000. Go to site Show details
    USD 1 Within an hour - - Online, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer Use promo code FREE to send your first transfer at no fee to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Back to top

    How do international money transfers work?

    An international money transfer allows you to send money to a recipient overseas. Generally, a transfer involves you providing funds to a bank or an independent transfer provider, which then sends the money to your recipient in another country — in this case, South Africa. This can be done in person, over the phone, through a mobile app or online. You can use cash, a credit or debit card, or transfer funds from your bank account, which will then either be deposited into your recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet, or made available as cash for them to pick up at a location in their country.

    Banks versus money transfer providers

    The first place many people go when they need to send an international money transfer is to their bank. While banks can certainly send money overseas for you, their fees are often higher compared to companies that specialize in international money transfers. These money transfer companies focus on international transactions and can offer much better exchange rates than most major banks.

    Case Study: Hansie sends money to South Africa

    While Hansie lives and works in the U.S. he wants to send $1,000 home to his parents in South Africa as a gift for their wedding anniversary. He has an account with a large American bank and approaches them about sending his transfer, but when they offer him a poor exchange rate and a high fee, he decides to look elsewhere. He compares the services of two money transfer companies to find the best deal.

    Money transfer company 1Money transfer company 2
    Exchange rate$1 USD = $13.03 ZAR$1 USD = $12.62 ZAR
    Transfer fee$3.99$16
    Transfer methodBank account depositCash pickup
    Processing time1-3 business days10 minutes
    Amount received (in ZAR)$13,030 ZAR$12,620 ZAR

    As you can see, Hansie can get a much better deal by using the first money transfer company, saving $12 in fees and sending more than $410 ZAR extra to his parents. However, if he needs to send an urgent transfer he might use the second provider.

    Steps to send money to South Africa

    1. Choose a transfer provider that sends money to South Africa.
    2. Provide your contact information, email address and phone number.
    3. Supply your recipient’s contact information.
    4. Choose the amount of your transfer and complete the transaction. Save any reference or receipt number to track the progress of your transfer.

    How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to South Africa

    • Exchange rates. The better the exchange rate, the more of your money will make it to your recipient in the form of South African rands. Compare rates between companies but remember that some companies that offer higher exchange rates will also charge higher fees.
    • Fees. Fees apply to many international money transfers, so examine the fee structure of each provider. You can also keep an eye out for providers that waive their fees when you transfer more than a certain minimum amount.
    • Transfer methods. How can you make your transfer request: online, in person, on a mobile app and/or over the phone?
    • Transfer options. While some companies simply offer one-time transfers, others offer features such as forward contracts, which allow you to take advantage of favorable market conditions.
    • Turnaround time. The processing time can be important when you need to send funds urgently, and transfer times can range from minutes to several business days.
    • Minimum amount. Some providers impose a minimum transfer limit, which can often be restrictive if you don’t want to send a large amount of cash.
    • Pickup methods. From bank account deposit to collection from an agent location and even home delivery of the cash, there are several options available from money transfer providers.
    • Customer service. If something goes wrong with a transaction will phone, email and/or live chat support be available?
    Back to top

    Foreign exchange rates explained

    The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it will yield more money when exchanging it in a country with a weak currency. For example, in October 2017, the US dollar was worth approximately 14 South African rands. Like most countries, South Africa has a flexible exchange rate, which means it can change from moment to moment based on interest rates, economic stability and other factors.
    Currency exchange rate for South Africa

    Options for sending money to South Africa from America

    • Bank transfers. Many U.S. banks allow you to send an international wire transfer to a South African bank account.
    • Online money transfer providers. Companies like WorldRemit offer fast transfers and competitive exchange rates.
    • Money transfer companies with cash pickup options. Western Union, MoneyGram and other providers offer this option.
    • PayPal. Digital payments giant PayPal allows you to send money online from the U.S. to South Africa.
    • Checks. International guaranteed checks can also be sent between the U.S. and South Africa.
    Back to top

    Emergency cash transfers in South Africa

    If you need to send an urgent money transfer to South Africa, keep in mind that you will usually have to settle for higher fees and lower exchange rates to get your money there as quickly as possible. Even if you’re in a hurry, make sure to check the fees and the exchange rate that will apply to your transaction to ensure that you know exactly how much your transaction will cost.

    Find a money transfer location near you

    Back to top

    Tips for picking up cash in South Africa

    Some areas of South Africa, such as Johannesburg, have high crime rates. You should exercise caution when you pick up cash in certain areas.

    • Remain aware of your personal security at all times.
    • Keep cash in a safe place.
    • Avoid any high crime areas.
    • Deposit the cash into a bank account as soon as possible.
    Back to top

    Cash pickup locations in South Africa

    Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

    Ask an Expert

    You are about to post a question on finder.com:

    • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
    • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
    • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
    • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

    Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, read the PDS or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy.

    US International Money Transfers Offers

    Learn about our information service
    HiFX International Money Transfers

    Transfer money into 20 currencies and schedule regular payments. $5 fee waived for transfers over $5,000.

    WorldRemit International Money Transfers

    Use promo code FREE to send your first transfer at no fee to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up.

    World First Foreign Exchange

    Exclusive offer: $0 transfer fee
    No-limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies.

    TransferWise International Money Transfers

    Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks.