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How to send money to Saudi Arabia

If you’re willing to shop around, you can find a secure and affordable way to send money to Saudi Arabia.

Business or personal reasons may be pushing you to send money to Saudi Arabia. Because it’s an important country for oil export, there are numerous ways to exchange your South African rand for Saudi riyals. Take the time to carefully compare your options and consider every aspect of the transfer: fees, exchange rates and processing times all vary. This may save you money in the long run so you can send more without paying more.

Compare money transfer services to Saudi Arabia

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 1 Same day ZAR 0.00 0.253 SAR
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world. Show details
USD 1 Within an hour ZAR 210.00 0.244 SAR
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide. Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

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

Banks versus money transfer companies

Going to the bank for a money transfer can be convenient. Many banks will likely trade in the Saudi riyal, so you should have options if you want to exchange South African rand for this exotic currency. However, banks are known to charge high fees and offer less favorable exchange rates, meaning you may not get the best deal out there.

Money transfer companies offer a convenient and cost-effective transfer alternative. With minimal transaction fees and exchange rates that are generally higher than those offered by the banks, money transfer companies provide a useful service that can save you time and money.

Cliff Sends Money to Saudi Arabia

Cliff wants to send a money transfer to his brother Dean in Saudi Arabia. After some poor investment decisions, Dean is a little short on cash and needs some money to help him pay his next month’s rent. Since his bank has high transfer fees, Cliff decides to compare two money transfer companies to see which one offers him the most cost-effective deal if he sends R10 000.

Money transfer company 1Money transfer company 2
Exchange rateR1 ZAR = SR0.1839 SARR1 ZAR = SR0.1501 SAR
Transfer feeR100R100
Transfer methodOnline bank account transferOnline bank account transfer
Processing time1 to 3 days1 to 3 days
Amount received (in SAR)SR1,820.61 SARSR1,485.99 SAR

As you can see from the table below, using the first transfer company means Cliff can send an extra 334.62 riyal to Dean.

How do I compare transfer companies when sending money to Saudi Arabia?

  • Exchange rates. Compare the company’s exchange rates with those offered by a range of other transfer providers. Better exchange rates mean that your beneficiary gets more money, but look out for companies that also charge high fees with their high rates.
  • Transaction fees. You will usually be charged a transaction fee every time you send a transfer, but some companies waive this fee on large transfers.
  • Transfer methods. How will you be able to make your transfers: online, in a branch, over the phone and/or by using a smartphone app?
  • Flexible options. Look for flexible transfer options that can help you save time and money, such as forward contracts (which allow you to lock in an ideal exchange rate now and transfer the money later), limit orders (which allow you to take advantage of changing market conditions by executing the money transfer when a certain exchange rate is met) and the ability to set up a recurring payment schedule.
  • Transfer time. Compare transaction processing times from start to finish between money transfer providers.
  • Minimum transfer amounts. If the company imposes a minimum or maximum transfer limit on each transaction, make sure either of those limits won’t disrupt your transfers.
  • Pickup options. How will your beneficiary access the funds you send: from his or her bank account or by visiting a transfer provider branch?

Foreign exchange rates explained

In most cases, exchange rate is a fluctuating number that banks and money transfer companies use to determine the worth of one country’s currency when converted to the currency of another country. This means it won’t fluctuate or change. You may not get this exact rate — most companies usually offer less to retain some profit — but you don’t have to worry about your money suddenly not getting as much riyal.

What are my options to send money to Saudi Arabia?

  • Specialist money transfer providers. Check out our list of trusted online transfer companies to see which ones allow you to send money to Saudi Arabia.
  • Cash pickup transfer companies. Western Union and MoneyGram are two companies with extensive global transfer networks.
  • Bank transfers. Compare your bank’s exchange rates and fees with those offered by other transfer providers.
  • International checks. Ask your bank how much it will cost to get an international guaranteed check to mail overseas.

What are the steps to send money to Saudi Arabia?

Although every provider is different, these are the basic steps you need to follow when sending money to Saudi Arabia.

  1. Review your money transfer options and then click Go to site.
  2. Register with the provider and start a transaction.
  3. Enter your recipient’s information and how much you intend to send to Saudi Arabia.
  4. Pay for your transfer and save your tracking number.

Your tracking number can be used to keep tabs on the progress of your transfer or to contact customer support if you run into any problems along the way.

Emergency cash transfers in Saudi Arabia

If you need to make an emergency transfer to Saudi Arabia, you do have options. Companies like WorldRemit and MoneyGram offer money transfers in as little as one day, and you may be able to find a transfer that can be done even more quickly. But it will cost you. Your exchange rate might be subpar or you may have to pay higher fees. Consider the importance of a transfer that only takes a few minutes versus one that takes a day. If your recipient needs cash now, it’s possible, but they might not get as much while you spend more.

Tips for picking up cash in Saudi Arabia

  • Find a transfer agent in a safe location.
  • Ask a friend to accompany you.
  • Keep your cash hidden while in public.
  • Deposit your funds into a bank account as soon as possible.

Bottom line

The Saudi riyal is one of the few currencies that doesn’t fluctuate from day to day. And when you find a money transfer company with lower fees, you may be able to get a good deal on your transfer. Just be sure you understand everything that goes into making a money transfer before you decide on a company.

Cash pickup locations in Saudi Arabia

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