Stress Free Ways of Transferring Money to South Africa

Transferring Money to South AfricaIf you’re residing in Canada and transferring money to South Africa, you might be overwhelmed with all the different ways you could do so.  You might be sending money home to friends or family or you might be making business payments or even getting ready to purchase property. Whatever your reason, we want you to get the best value for money, so we’ve put together all the options we think are best in terms of convenience, ease and value.

For a quick comparison table of exchange rates and fees, click here.

What will this guide cover?

This guide will cover:

  • Personal transfer – sending money to family or friends in South Africa
  • Business transfer
  • Buying or selling a property in South Africa
  • Studying Overseas
  • General costs of sending money to South Africa
  • Your options to send money to South Africa
  • Information you’ll need for the transfer
  • General information

Personal transfer from Canada to South Africa

You can set up a personal transfer from Canada to South Africa through a number of methods:

Your bank:

Not many banks will support South African Rands (ZAR), but will always be able to transfer your money in US dollars. They will, however, charge you a high international transfer fee, as well as an uncompetitive exchange rate, but it is an option.

Money transfer companies:

These companies will offer you a better exchange rate and lower fees. Here are some providers that transfer money from Canada to South Africa:

All companies have similarities and offer competitive rates, but our recommendation is OFX for great exchange rates between CAD to ZAR.

Business transfer from Canada to South Africa

If your business is transferring money between Canada and South Africa, there are two critical things you must consider when finding the best option:

  1. The exchange rate margin: This is the difference between the wholesale exchange rate ( and the rate you will get.
  2. Business products they offer such as forward exchange contracts, foreign currency accounts and limit orders.

You can use any of the money transfer companies listed above. Our choice for business transfers to South Africa are HiFX– their exchange rates and zero fee structure will allow you to maximise your overseas receipts or payments. They also offer Foreign Currency Accounts; helpful if you would like to hold the funds a foreign currency and exchange them at a favourable time.

Buying or selling property in South Africa

If you are looking to buy a property in South Africa, or have sold your property in South Africa and needing to send the money back to Canada, we recommend that you look for a provider that has a strong presence in both countries. This will give you local support either side, as well as the flexibility you may need leading up to the settlement.

Our choice would be TorFX for property settlement transfers, as you (the customer) are assigned a local account manager that will be licensed in Canada and have a strong global support network to guide you when needed.


Studying overseas

As much as we would like them to, tuition fees aren’t getting any cheaper. Annual payments to universities or other education providers, along with all other expenses, can really add up, particularly abroad. As these payments can be large, you need to know the best method of payment before moving your funds.

  • For larger payments, you should be keeping a keen eye on the exchange rate you’re getting as this will largely affect the amount of money you will get in the foreign currency at the end.
  • For smaller payments, you should keep an eye on the transfer fees.

There are many methods of transferring funds abroad, but we would suggest either OFX or TorFX for great exchange rates and low or no fees.

Related link: VIDEO — How To Transfer Money Overseas With OFX.

General costs for sending money to South Africa

Time to put together the fees. Calculating the costs can be difficult, as nearly all fees, charges and exchange rates are dependent on how much are you sending, method of sending and method of receiving. The most common fees are as follows:

  1. A transfer fee
  2. Exchange rate margin: the different you will pay between the wholesale exchange rate on and the rate you will actually get
  3. Bank fees: The fees that you bank will charge for sending the money to the correct account overseas.
  4. Receiving bank fees: The fees the receiving bank will charge you for converting into the correct currency.

Your options for sending money to South Africa

There are various methods of sending money to South Africa:

Via your bank

Using your bank is an easy and quick way to transfer fees and can normally send the money successfully within 3-5 business days depending on your bank. Generally, banks will have uncompetitive exchange rates which make them unattractive if you’re sending large amounts of money abroad.

Check with your bank and research the fees and exchange rates based on the amount you plan to send over.

Click here to find out how long it takes to make an international money transfer.


Paypal is a convenient and highly popular way of transferring money abroad, and by far the quickest with transfers being completed within minutes (dependent on the type of transfer). It is great for smaller amounts (under $1000CAD) as although the exchange rate is equal to those of banks, the fees are slightly less. It’s particularly handy if you are paying from your own Paypal account directly into another Paypal account.

A money transfer company

There are an overwhelming amount of money transfer companies out there – some older but trustworthy, and others newly emerging in the technological, app-age. In general, these companies are your best option when transferring larger amounts of money (anything between $1000 – $1,000,000CAD). Different companies will have various minimum and maximums set, and the transfer itself will usually take around 1 business day longer than banks or Paypal.

You will need to create an account with the company before sending the money – you can do this online:

  • Register your details on the website – you will likely need I.D handy
  • Account needs to then be approved, and you’ll get your login details
  • Enter the bank details of where you are sending the money i.e. the ‘Beneficiary’ or ‘Recipient’
  • You will get a quote based on the fees and exchange rate for sending the money
  • If you are happy, confirm the details including the given rate.

Information you’ll need for the transfer

You’ll need the details of the bank account you are sending the money to i.e. the Beneficiary or Recipient details. These details will be:

  • Account name of your Recipient
  • Their address
  • Their SWIFT code

SWIFT codes

Swift codes for the biggest banks in South Africa:

Standard Bank of South Africa : SBZAZAJJATG


Barclays Africa Group : BARCGB91XXX


General Information

There are pros and cons to every method of payment you choose. Paypal and money transfer companies like Western Union (who offer cash pick-up) are your fastest options, with transfers being completed within minutes. Paypal will not offer a competitive exchange rate, like Western Union, but it is arguably a lot more convenient. Banks will take 1-2 business days and other money transfers companies will take roughly 2-3 business days.

Do check the details of your chosen method, as all will have their own restrictions, fees and charges. Banks and Paypal will not have a minimum amount, but most money transfer companies will so do check before you send.

Case Study

Alex moved to Canada with his parents when he was fifteen. Ten years later, he is a professional surfer and has started his own tuition school. After a successful two years, he decided to set up a second school in South Africa. His business partner and old friend took care of a lot of the set-up. As business began to improve, Alex needed to find a fast, easy and affordable way of sending money overseas. Although Alex knows everything about surfing and the waves, Alex didn’t know a lot about banking and getting the most out of his money!

Alex began transferring regular payments through his bank to his business partner’s account, however after a while, he found that he was in actual fact losing a lot of his money in transition due to his banks fees, as well as the receiving banks fees, and an unfavourable exchange rate. What Alex should have done was research before transferring, and find the best company with the lowest fees and favourable exchange rate for his circumstances. Better luck next time, Alex!

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