Making Marvellous Money Transfers to South Africa

Making Marvellous Money Transfers to South AfricaAre you living in Singapore and need to make money transfers to South Africa? This is the guide for you. There are many reasons you might need to do this, sending money home, business transactions, buying property or studying overseas. Whichever category you fall into, there is no doubt that you’ll want to find the best rate, low fees and a convenient way of making the transfer. We’ve compiled all this information for you, to remove the difficulty of sending money to South Africa.

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 Singapore to South Africa

There are a number of different ways if sending money to sending money to South Africa from Singapore. We’ve outlined the two main options below;

Your bank:

Banks are without a doubt convenient, being able to transfer money overseas from your existing account. However, they will generally not offer a competitive rate and can charge high international fees. Additionally, not many banks will support South African Rands (ZAR), but will be able to transfer your money in US dollars.

Money transfer companies:

We prefer these companies for your transfer needs. with more competitive rates and lower fees they’re a much more cost-effective option. Here are some providers that transfer money from Singapore to South Africa:

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

Business transfer from Singapore to South Africa

If your business is transferring money between Singapore 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 that you’d find on google or XE and the rate you actually get for the transfer.
  2. Additional business products they offer such as forward exchange contracts, foreign currency accounts and limit orders.

When it comes to business transfers you could use any of the money transfer companies listed above. We like HiFX for business transfers from Singapore because as well as competitive rates and low fees, they offer foreign currency accounts. This means you could use this to hold funds in a foreign currency until you’re ready to convert it at a more favourable time.

Buying or selling property in South Africa

It’s stressful buying or selling property, and that’s even more true if you’re doing it internationally. You might be buying property in South Africa, or selling it and transferring the money back to Singapore. Either way we’d recommend finding a transfer company that has global presence so that you have support on either end of the process.

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

Studying overseas

Tuition is expensive, especially if you’re needing to transfer it internationally studying overseas. There may also be additional costs you need to take into account that you wouldn’t if you were studying domestically. If you’re transferring money overseas for study needs these payments can be large, and you need to know the best method of payment before moving your funds.

  • For larger payments, the most important factor to keep in mind is the exchange rate.
  • For smaller payments, you should keep an eye on the transfer fees as these can really impact how much your transfer costs you proportionately.

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.

General costs for sending money to South Africa

It can be difficult to estimate the fees associated with international transfers, simply because so many factors affect the final cost. These include the rate, the provider you use, how much you are sending, the currency and the way the funds are being received.

  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 to send money to South Africa

There are a number of ways you can send money from Singapore to South Africa. We’ve detailed a few of them below;

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.


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 $1000SGD) 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 – $1,000,000SGD). 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

Each method offers different pros and cons. Paypal and Western Union are generally the fastest way to send money overseas, it can sometimes be done within minutes, and Western Union offers cash pick up. These companies are generally expensive though. Similarly, Banks are the most convenient way but don’t offer a competitive rate for the transfer. Money transfer companies are the most cost effective way to get your money overseas, they will generally take about a day longer than PayPal.

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 check before you send.

Case Study

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

Sean began transferring regular payments through his bank to his business partner’s account. After a while, he found that he was in actual fact losing a lot of his money in transition due to fees and an unfavourable exchange rate. What Sean should have done was research before transferring, and find the best company with the lowest fees and favourable exchange rate for his circumstances.

Sending money to New Zealand? Read our article here. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *