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Review: Bidvest Bank international money transfers

Send simple and convenient telegraphic transfers, plus cash transfers via Western Union and MoneyGram.

  • Good for sending a bank transfer or a cash pickup transfer.
  • Not so great for fee transparency.

Bidvest Bank exchange rates and fees

Like all banks, Bidvest Bank will add a margin on top of the mid-market exchange rate when you send an international money transfer. You’ll need to check the rate you’re quoted against the mid-market rate to find out how big that margin is.

You can also expect to pay a fee on your transaction. However, the fee amount usually varies depending on the type of transfer and the amount you send. You can find more details on the fees that apply to cash pickup transfers with Bidvest Bank on our Western Union and MoneyGram review pages.

But if you’re sending a rand-to-rand cross-border payment, a flat fee applies to all transactions.

Available currencies

ABSA supports international money transfers in a wide range of currencies, including:

  • AUD Australian dollar
  • BWP Botswanan pula
  • CNY Chinese yuan
  • EUR Euro
  • GBP British pound
  • INR Indian rupee
  • NAD Namibian dollar
  • USD US dollar

It also offers transfers in a wide range of other currencies by providing access to cash transfers through Western Union and MoneyGram.

What types of transfers can you make with Bidvest Bank?

Bidvest Bank supports several types of international transfers:

  • Telegraphic transfers. Overseas telegraphic transfers are a safe and simple way to send funds internationally. You can apply to send a telegraphic transfer by filling out an enquiry form on the Bidvest Bank website.
  • Rand-to-rand cross-border payments. If you need to send money to someone in a country like Namibia, Lesotho, Malawi or Zimbabwe, this option lets you send rands and avoid currency exchange costs. A flat fee applies to all such transfers, and your recipient can withdraw the ZAR into their local currency whenever they want.
  • Western Union transfers. If you want to send a quick cash transfer to someone overseas, you can send a Western Union transfer from your nearest Bidvest Bank branch. Western Union has more than 500,000 locations in 200+ countries and territories, and the money you send can be collected in minutes.
  • MoneyGram transfers. You can also send cash pickup transfers via the MoneyGram network by visiting your nearest Bidvest Bank branch. You don’t need a bank account to send money and the funds you send can be available for your recipient to collect in as little as 10 minutes. MoneyGram also has more than 350,000 locations in 200+ countries and territories around the world.
  • Bank drafts. You also have the much slower transfer option of sending a foreign bank draft.

How long does a transfer with Bidvest Bank take?

The time it takes for your transfer to be completed will vary depending on your payment method selected and where you’re sending money.

However, telegraphic transfers take a minimum of three working days, while funds sent via Western Union or MoneyGram can be ready for your recipient to collect within minutes.

What payment methods does Bidvest Bank accept?

If you’re sending a telegraphic transfer, you can pay for the transaction using the funds in your Bidvest Bank account.

If you’d like to send funds via Western Union or MoneyGram, you can pay using cash.

Transfers typically takeClock icon for transfer speed

1 day

Is Bidvest Bank safe to use?

  • Security and regulation: Government regulated.
  • Established: 1998.
  • Size: Second-tier bank.
*According to Bidvest Bank on 21 February 2020.

Bidvest Bank is a licensed financial services provider and has been operating since 1998. A subsidiary of The Bidvest Group Limited, it is regulated by the South African Reserve Bank. In line with regulatory requirements under the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, you’ll need to prove your ID and residential address before you can sign up for an account.

How does Bidvest Bank make money?

Bidvest Bank makes money by charging transaction fees on all transfers.

You’ll also need to be aware of the exchange rate markup that applies. The rate markup means that you won’t get the mid-market exchange rate — the “real” rate you see listed on Google — on your transaction.

How to register an account

You can send Western Union and MoneyGram transfers without a bank account. However, if you want to send a telegraphic transfer or a rand-to-rand cross-border payment, you’ll need a Bidvest Bank account. You can open one by completing the following steps.

How do I make an international money transfer with Bidvest Bank?

To send an international telegraphic transfer with Bidvest Bank you’ll need to:

  1. Provide your recipient’s name, address and bank account details.
  2. Specify the amount you want to send.
  3. Provide a reason for your payment.
  4. Review the full details of your transfer before completing the transaction.

What is Bidvest Bank?

Established in 1998, Bidvest Bank is a subsidiary of The Bidvest Group Limited. Originally focused on foreign exchange, the bank now offers a range of personal and business banking products to customers throughout South Africa.

A second-tier bank, Bidvest Bank is headquartered in Johannesburg.

In a nutshell


  • Range of transfer options. Bidvest Bank allows you to transfer funds to your recipient’s overseas bank account or send a cash-pickup transfer via Western Union or MoneyGram.
  • Cross-border rand payments available. You can also transfer ZAR to a recipient in Tanzania, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Mauritius, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Your recipient will need to have an account with a participating bank.
  • Transfer funds around the world. You can use Bidvest Bank to send telegraphic transfers in 22 currencies and transfer funds to countries all around the world.


  • Fees. Large cash pickup transfers with Western Union and MoneyGram can be expensive, while it’s difficult to find any information about telegraphic transfer fees on the Bidvest Bank website.

How does Bidvest Bank compare to other services?

If you’d like to find out how Bidvest Bank’s fees and exchange rates compare to the competition, enter the details of your transaction in the table below.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 60 1 day ZAR 0.00 0.068 USD
Skrill offers easy transfers to many popular destinations, but keep an eye out for added fees. Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 2 days ZAR 0.00 0.067 USD
CurrenciesDirect makes transferring money abroad simple with bank-beating exchange rates. Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour ZAR 250.00 0.068 USD
Use promo code FREE to send your first transfer with no fee. T&Cs apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
EUR 8 3 - 5 days EUR 3.00 0.068 USD
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
USD 2,000 1 day ZAR 0.00 0.068 USD
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

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