Essential Things to Remember When Making Money Transfers to South Africa

What will this guide cover?

Cape Town, South Africa at sunset There are a number of reasons you might be making a money transfer to South Africa from New Zealand.  For many South African people residing in New Zealand, sending money home can be a necessity.  Or for businesses, friends or students there may also be a need. Therefore getting the best value for money is important. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a simplified version of the best options in terms of convenience, ease and value.

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

This guide will cover reasons why you might be sending money to South Africa and the recommended methods. It will also cover;

  • Personal transfer if you’re 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 New Zealand to South Africa

You can set up a personal transfer from New Zealand to South Africa through a couple of methods:

  1. Use your bank: Not many banks will support South African Rands (ZAR), yet, they could always to transfer your money in US dollars. They will, however, charge you a high international transfer fee, as well as offering an uncompetitive exchange rate.
  2. Use money transfer companies: These companies will offer you a better exchange rate and lower fees. Here are some providers that transfer money from New Zealand to South Africa:

All companies have similarities and offer competitive rates. However, our recommendation is OFX for great exchange rates between NZD and ZAR.

Business transfer from New Zealand to South Africa

If your business is sending money to South Africa from New Zealand, there are two critical things you must consider:

  1. The exchange rate margin: This is the difference between the wholesale exchange rate (what you find on and the rate you actually 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 is HiFX. Their exchange rates and lack of fees will allow you to
maximise your overseas payments. They also offer Foreign Currency Accounts which are helpful if you would like to hold the funds in a foreign currency and exchange them at a later date.

Buying or selling property in South Africa

There is more to consider if you are looking to buy or sell property in South Africa and are needing to send the money to or from New Zealand. We recommend that you look for a provider that has a strong presence in both countries. This will give you local support on both ends, as well as the flexibility you may need leading up to the settlement.

Our choice would be TorFX for property settlement transfers, as you are assigned a local account manager that will be licensed in New Zealand and have a strong global support network.

Studying overseas

As much as we would like them to, tuition fees aren’t getting any cheaper. Annual payments to universities and all other expenses can really add up 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 keep an 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 no or very low fees.

General costs for sending money to South Africa

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

  1. A transfer fee
  2. Exchange rate margin: the different you will  between the wholesale exchange rate on and the rate you actually receive
  3. Bank fees: The fees that your 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 to send money to South Africa

There are various methods of sending money to South Africa:


Using your bank is an easy and quick way of sending money to South Africa and depending on the bank can normally send the money successfully within 3-5 business days. 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.


Paypal is a convenient and highly popular way of transferring money abroad. It’s  by far the quickest with transfers completed within minutes (depending on the type of transfer). It is great for smaller amounts under $1000NZD because while 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.

A money transfer company

There are an overwhelming amount of money transfer companies available to you. Some are older but trustworthy, and other newer companies are emerging in response to new technology. In general, these companies are your best option when transferring larger amounts of money. For example, anything between $1000 – $1,000,000NZD. Different companies will have various minimum and maximum amounts, and the transfer itself will usually take around 1 business day longer than if you used a bank or Paypal.

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

  • Register your details on the website, you will likely need I.D handy
  • Your account then needs to be approved, and you’ll receive your login details
  • Enter the bank details for 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 to finalise your transfer.

Information you’ll need for the transfer

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

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

SWIFT codes

The Swift codes for the biggest banks in South Africa:

General Information

There are pros and cons to every method of payment available to you. Paypal and money transfer companies like Western Union (who offer cash pick-up) are your fastest options, with transfers being completed within minutes. Neither PayPal nor Western Union will offer a competive exchange rate. Paypal is arguably more convenient out of the two of them though. Banks will take 1-2 business days for their transfers and money transfers companies will take roughly 2-3 business day. While they take the longest, money transfer companies are the most cost effective.

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 do so check before you send.

Click here to read our in-depth review of Paypal and click here to find out more about Western Union.

Case Study

Alex moved to New Zealand with her parents when she was fifteen. Ten years later, she is a professional surfer and has started her own school in New Zealand. After a successful two years, she decided to set up a second school in South Africa. Her business partner took care of a lot of the set-up with Alex making regular payments from New Zealand. As business began to improve, Alex needed to find a fast, easy and affordable way of sending money overseas to her partner.

Alex surfing on a beach in cape townAlex began making regular payments through her bank to her business partner’s account. After a while though, she found that she was in actual fact losing a lot of money in transition. This was due to her bank’s fees, as well as the receiving bank’s fees, and an unfavourable exchange rate. As a result, Alex should have researched before transferring. This way she would have been able to find the best company with the lowest fees and favourable exchange rate for her circumstances. Better luck next time, Alex!

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