Send Money to South Africa Cheaply

Information verified correct on December 5th, 2016

Find a fast and affordable way to send money to South Africa South Africa-2by comparing the services of money transfer providers.

According to the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, there are almost 80,000 people born in South Africa who now call the USA home. As well, more than 400,000 North American tourists visit South Africa every year, most of them drawn by the country’s natural beauty and world-famous wildlife.

If you need to send money from the United States to South Africa, you have several options to choose from.

Compare International Money Transfers

Rates last updated December 5th, 2016
Description Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received
WorldRemit International Money Transfers
WorldRemit International Money Transfers
An online money transfer service with cash pickup, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available. USD 1 Within an hour Online, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer Go to site More
USForex International Money Transfers
USForex International Money Transfers
Take advantage of competitive exchange rates and cheap transfer fees. USD 150 1 day Online, Phone, Agent, Bank Account to Bank Account, International Money Order Go to site More

Have we missed anything in the comparison table? Tell us

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Banks versus money transfer services

When most of us need to send an international remittance, the first option we think of is to call our banks. As you already have an account set up, sending money overseas through your bank can seem like an easy and convenient option.

However, banks don’t offer a great deal from a financial point of view, as they tend to offer poor exchange rates and charge high fees when they send your money overseas.

This is why you should consider the services of specialist money transfer companies. These providers offer better exchange rates than the banks and usually charge lower fees, with some companies even waiving their fees if you transfer more than a minimum amount.

Case Study: Hansie sends money to South Africa

While Hansie lives and works in the USA, 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 specialist money transfer companies to find the best deal.

Money transfer company 1Money transfer company 2
Exchange rate1 USD = 13.03 ZAR1 USD = 12.62
Transfer fee$3.99$16
Transfer methodBank account depositCash pickup
Processing time1-3 business days10 minutes
Amount received (in ZAR)13,030 ZAR12,620 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.

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 Rand. 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 lodge your transfer request: online, in person, on a mobile app and/or over the phone?
  • Transfer options. While some companies simply offer one-off transfers, others offer features such as limit orders and forward contracts allow you to take advantage of favourable 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?
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How to send money to South Africa from America

  • Bank transfers. Many US 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 US to South Africa.
  • Checks. International guaranteed checks can also be sent between the USA and South Africa.
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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.

Cash pickup locations in South Africa / Western Union / MoneyGram branches in South Africa

Western Union and MoneyGram operate the two largest transfer networks in the world, allowing you to send funds that can be picked up from agent locations across South Africa. Just make sure you provide your recipient with a transaction receipt or tracking number and that they take along photo ID when they go to collect the funds.

Here are a few popular cash pickup locations across South Africa.

Western Union


ABSA Southgate

Southgate Mall

Cnr Columbine And Rifle Range

Johannesburg, Gauteng


Open 8:30am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 1pm Saturday

Clearwater Mall

Shop 138a Cnr Hendrik Potgieter And Christiaan De Wet

Johannesburg, Gauteng


Open 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 12pm Saturday

Cape Town

Gardens Shopping Centre

Lower Level

Mill Street

Cape Town, Western Cape


Travelex Bayside

Shop E27, Bayside Shopping Cen

Blouberg Road

Cape Town


Open 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 3pm Saturday and Sunday



Standard Bank

88 Smal St,

Johannesburg, 2001


Open 9am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 11am Saturday

Standard Bank

88 Commissioner St

Johannesburg, 2001


Open 8am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 11am Saturday

Cape Town

Bidvest Bank

Shop 14 Adelphi Centre Main ST Sea Point

Cape Town, 8001


Open 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, Saturday 8am to 2pm

First National Bank

82 Adderley St

Cape Town, 8000


Open 9am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 12pm Saturday

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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. These include:

  • 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
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How to send money to South Africa

With so many transfer options to choose from, the process for sending a transfer varies depending on the money transfer provider. Having said that, you’ll usually need to setup an account before you can transfer your funds. You can usually do this by providing:

  • Your name and address
  • Your email address and phone number
  • Proof of ID
  • Your bank account details

Once you’ve placed a transfer request, you will most likely be given a reference or receipt number. You and your recipient can use this to track the progress of your transfer.

There are plenty of options to choose from when you need to send funds to South Africa, so compare the benefits of a range of providers before placing a transfer. This will ensure that you find value for money and choose a provider you trust.

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