How do I transfer money to South Africa?

So you need to transfer money to South Africa. Here is some helpful information about the South African Rand (ZAR), about transferring and what to look out for to ensure you get a good deal!

About the South African Rand

The South African Rand is the currency used in South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. It is not the most widely traded currency but it is still easy available to tourists, property purchases and other conceivable uses.

Since it is not a very widely traded currency and due to time difference, it means that it will take two days for the currency to be delivered if you need to make a transfer in ZAR.

This lends to a general trading pattern with ZAR of ordering the currency the day before the required sending date in order for the currency to be sent early the next morning.

However, there are occasions when this can be overcome sometimes by some South African companies accepting GBP due to the strength of the pound.

In its history the ZAR was worth more than other major currencies such as the USD but a rapid devaluation actually led to a suspension of the currency in 1985 in an attempt to stop the devaluation.

This was at the 1 GBP = 3 ZAR level, however, following the lifting of this suspension in the following years we saw the ZAR rapidly devalue to less than 1/3 of this level.

In such a politically fragile country, huge political movements and unrest are often liable to cause huge volatility for the ZAR.

Furthermore, due to a large supply of Gold and other metal commodities from South Africa, a rise in price of such commodities often causes the ZAR to strengthen.

How to make a transfer to South Africa?

Like most international transfers you will require the following:

  • Your account details
  • Your beneficiary details
  • SWIFT/BIC code – this is to be specific to the South African bank that you wish to transfer to.

For example you may need to do a transfer to an account in ABSA for the branch in Cape Town (CORPORATE BANKING SERVICES – WESTERN CAPE/476)

The SWIFT code will be this: ABSAZAJJCCT

On most occasions you may be asked for what the purpose of your transfer is. These usually fall with the categories of personal or business reasons.

You can present these details to your transfer provider whereby they will send a SWIFT message to the beneficiary bank in South Africa proposing a transfer. After the message has been successfully received and accepted by the bank in South Africa then the transfer process can begin.

Where is the best place to make my South African Rand transfer?

Your bank can do the transfer to South Africa. But it is not highly recommended to do the transfer through your bank. This is due to two big factors:

Firstly, your bank will offer you an uncompetitive rate of exchange for the ZAR.

Secondly, you will have to pay a bank fee for every transfer you make to South Africa.

A better option is to use a foreign exchange broker like RationalFX to do your money transfer.

Unlike the banks you will get a better rate of exchange for the ZAR (see rates) as well as other currencies, and we will charge you little fee for doing your transfer to South Africa!

How long will it take?

Depending on when your funds reach us, from then it will take two days for the funds to reach South Africa, a big reason for this is because of time difference.

For the funds to be with the beneficiary bank on the same day means that the funds need to be processed and sent before 09:00 (British time) and this is obviously unlikely.

Example: If you want to sell Sterling and Buying Rand.

Upon receiving your Sterling on day 1 we will send the South African Rand on day 1 to arrive with the beneficiary bank on Day 2.

Generally you might have to wait 24 hours for the bank to credit the account although it should be there on day 2.

Start making your transfers to South Africa easily and cheaply register now!