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How to track and keep your money transfer safe

Learn how to track Money Gram, Western Union, Ria and other money transfers in South Africa.

Some money transfers can take more than five days to reach your recipient, and that’s a long time to be stressing about your money. Many money transfer tracker companies and banks in South Africa offer end-to-end tracking so you can monitor the progress of your payments. However, each company has a different procedure for tracking transfers. To help you understand the differences, here’s a look at how the major transfer companies track your money transfer.

How can I track my money transfer?

With most companies, you can track your transfer using the confirmation number on your receipt. You should be able to view the steps of your progress, from sending to receiving, either online or by contacting them over the telephone. A few transfer services also offer the option of text or email notification at each stage of your transaction.

In general, to track a money transfer:

  1. Complete your transfer. After sending a transfer, you can start tracking it.
  2. Check your receipt. Look for a reference, confirmation, order, transaction or similarly-named number.
  3. Contact the sending company. Call, go online or visit a physical location of the company you sent your transfer through and provide your tracking number.
  4. Sign up for notifications. When possible, opt in for notifications on each step of your transfer.

Sample tracking page for Western Union.

Sample tracking page for online provider.

Track a Western Union transfer

Tracking a Western Union transfer requires an MTCN, which is Western Union’s tracking number. If you don’t know the MTCN, you still have options, but you’ll need to know:

  • Sender’s phone number OR both the sender and receiver names
  • Receiver’s country
  • Send amount OR receive amount
  • Date of transfer

Learn more about how Western Union tracking works in South Africa or contact Western Union directly for further help.

Track a MoneyGram transfer

MoneyGram tracking is fairly straightforward. It requires your last name and the authorization or reference number.

  • Authorization number – This number is found in your confirmation email.
  • Reference number – This number is found in your email only after the money is ready for cash pickup.

Learn more about how MoneyGram tracking works or contact MoneyGram directly for further help.

Depending on the service you choose to transfer your money overseas — whether a bank or independent money transfer specialist — your transaction should come with a confirmation number or a record of your transaction.

Money tracking numbers come in many different names:

  • Authorization number
  • Reference number
  • MTCN (Money Transfer Control Number)
  • Order number
  • PIN
  • RTRN (Remittance Transaction Reference Number)
  • Confirmation number
  • …and more

What to do if I don’t have a tracking number?

Transfers come in all shapes and sizes, and depending on what type of provider you use to send your money, you may or may not have a tracking number. Don’t worry — chances are you can still track your transfer even if you don’t have a tracking number. Here’s how:

Track bank wire transfers

Sending money internationally through your bank typically won’t generate a tracking number, as wire transfers are a bit different from money transfer services.

  • You’ll typically use a SWIFT code to track this transfer.
  • Call your bank’s customer service or contact your bank online.

Track using a tracking number

Check your receipt for a highlighted number that may be called a:

  • reference number
  • tracking number
  • confirmation number

Input this website on the transfer company’s website, give it to a customer service representative on the phone or provide it at an agent location to track your transfer.

Track without a tracking number

Some services in South Africa typically those that operate entirely online, require you to track through your order history instead of through a tracking number. To do so:

  1. Log in to your account
  2. Navigate to your order history
  3. Look for order details, including specific details on arrival time and any occurring delays.

How can I keep my international money transfer safe?

Sending money abroad can be risky if you don’t take the right precautions. Keep your international money transfers safe by only transferring money through licensed money transfer services. Ensure you have the correct details on hand before sending a transfer — and never send transfers to people you do not trust. This way, you’re less likely to fall prey to international money transfer scams. Lastly, always remember to keep your transfer reference number on hand so that you can track the progress of your transfers. If you notice anything suspicious, contact your provider immediately.

Compare and choose the best money transfer service

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 60 1 day ZAR 0.00 0.063 USD
625
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 0.063 USD
625
CurrenciesDirect makes transferring money abroad simple with bank-beating exchange rates. Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour ZAR 500.00 0.062 USD
593
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.
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EUR 8 3 - 5 days EUR 3.00 0.062 USD
623
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
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USD 2,000 1 day ZAR 0.00 0.063 USD
625
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.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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

What happens if I entered the incorrect information for my transaction?

If you enter incorrect information for your money transfer, you typically have two options to consider: change the recipient’s information or cancel the money transfer.

Can I change my recipient’s information if I entered it incorrectly?

Unfortunately, you’ll find that changing your recipient’s name or address is trickier after you’ve initiated a transfer. But if you haven’t entered your recipient’s details correctly, they may not be able to receive their funds at all. If you’ve found an error with your recipient’s information, call, visit or live chat with your provider immediately.

Keep any confirmation number or receipt handy to help in pulling up your transfer. Your provider should be able to correct or modify your recipient’s details for you, even if it means adding a few more days to your delivery window as the system updates. If you’ve discovered the error outside business hours, try logging in to your account — you may be able to make the changes yourself if your transfer isn’t yet complete.

Can I cancel a money transfer?

Nearly all banks and money transfer providers offer some way of canceling your transaction after you’ve set it in motion — especially if your money hasn’t yet been delivered. Simply call or visit — in person or online — the provider you used to send your transfer.

If you’re able to cancel your money transfer, you should see a refund for the total you paid for it. In the rare case, a provider may deduct a cancellation fee from your refund — which might be another factor to weigh when choosing the company you ultimately go with.

If your transfer is not yet picked up or deposited into your recipient’s account, you may be able to log in to your account to cancel the transfer yourself. Otherwise, call, visit or live chat with your provider to discuss its refund process and how much you can expect to get back.

Frequently asked questions

What is an MTCN?

Every brand wants points for originality — and money transfer providers are no exception. An MTCN is what Western Union calls its transfer confirmation number. It stands for Money Transfer Control Number, a unique reference number assigned to your specific transfer.If you’ve ordered a cash pickup, your recipient will need to submit the MTCN before Western Union will release your funds.

Similarly, an RTRN is a specific code used for Remit2India transactions. It stands for Remittance Transaction Reference Number, and you’ll only receive it when sending money through Remit2India.

Can I track a money transfer using a SWIFT code?

Yes. If your transfer isn’t delivered within the window you were promised, you can request a trace on your transaction using the bank’s SWIFT code. A SWIFT code is an ID that banks use when sending wire transfers. With this number, your bank can determine whether the deposit is on hold or in progress.

How can “on hold” be an option? One drawback of SWIFT transfers is that banks can hold on to your money until they’re able to get an exchange rate that better favors their bottom line. If your money needs to reach your recipient by a specific deadline, be sure to specify that exact date or time to avoid any bank delay.

Sometimes you’ll need to know your IBAN — International Bank Account Number — for international money transfer tracking. This number identifies your bank account, your bank and your country to make international transfers faster. Transfers to and from the European Union often use an IBAN, so be prepared to use it when transferring money to and from the EU.

What happens if I lose my tracking number?

If you lose your money transfer tracking number, you should contact your provider immediately. In most cases, they will be able to provide you with a new tracking number if they verify that you are indeed the sender.
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