How to send money to South Africa from Australia

By   |   Verified by Debbie Duncan   |   Updated 6th November 2022

Transfer Money from Australia to South Africa [AUD to ZAR]
  • Sending cash to South Africa from Australia via bank transfer can be expensive, but thankfully this isn’t the only way to move funds.
  • From a legal standpoint, you can send as little or as much money as you want to South Africa from Australia.
  • All money received into a South African bank account is taxed if considered income. However, money gifts of up to R1 million a year are tax-exempt.

Australia enjoys close ties to South Africa and hosts a large South African ex-pat community. As a result, you can use multiple options to send money to South Africa from Australia instead of an expensive bank transfer.

Read on to find the best ways to transfer funds to South Africa from Australia [AUD to ZAR].

Best ways to send money to South Africa

Need to transfer money to South Africa from Australia?

Best ways to send money to South Africa

Wise

On website

Highlights

  • Wise Borderless multi-currency receiving accounts. This gives you access to a digital currency wallet that you can hold and transact in over 50 currencies.
  • Borderless Debit Card. The FX optimised debit card is attached to your Wise Borderless account that can be used to withdraw or pay for purchases in foreign currency within or outside Australia.
  • Android and Apple Apps. Indulge convenience by transacting thru the Wise App anytime and anywhere!
  • Fund options. Loads of options to fund your Wise account including transfer from Debit and credit cards, or thru a local bank transfer. Quick and easy!

Pros

  • Low and competitive fees.
  • Easy to understand fee structure.
  • Easy to use website and mobile apps.
  • High transfer limit.

Cons

  • Limited currencies and destination countries compared with some competitors.
  • Can only send funds to the recipient's bank account.
Send

On website

Send

Highlights

  • Make and receive fee-free, real-time payments in 37 different currencies.
  • Feel like a VIP with your own dedicated account manager.
  • Moving house? Get the best rates on your property sale or purchase and you could save thousands compared to using a bank. 

Pros

  • No transfer transaction fee and no account-keeping fees.
  • Competitive foreign exchange margin compared to banks.
  • Wide range of currencies and destination countries.
  • Suitable for businesses as well as individuals.

Cons

  • Bank account is the only delivery method.
  • Minimum transfer amount of $250.
  • Limited funding methods.
torfx

On website

Highlights

  • Provide clients with excellent foreign exchange rates.
  • Manage your international currency payments for free, with no hidden fees.
  • A personal Account Manager is on hand to ensure a fast, seamless transfer.

Pros

  • No transfer fee.
  • Competitive exchange rates.
  • Wide range of currencies and destination countries.
  • Phone and email support are available.

Cons

  • Minimum transfer amount is $200.
  • Only accepts bank transfers.
  • Transactions under $2,000 can be expensive.
Western Union

Western Union

Highlights

  • Send money the way that’s convenient for you: online, via the app, or in person at an agent location.
  • Send money in minutes for fast cash pickup and easily track your money along the way.
  • Western Union handle an average of 25 transfers per second and move money from Australia to over 200 countries and territories.

Pros

  • Reputable company with plenty of physical branches around the world.
  • Lots of options for payment method and pick-up method.
  • Regulated by ASIC and FinCEN.
  • 24/7 customer service.

Cons

  • High fees compared to other money transfer services.

Compare money transfer services before you send money to South Africa.

Common reasons people transfer money overseas to South Africa

With about 200,000 South African-born people living in Australia and a large Australian ex-pat community in South Africa, economic relations between the two countries are tight.

Common reasons people transfer money overseas to South Africa can be divided into personal and business.

Personal purposes include:

  • Sending money back home to family
  • Buying property in South Africa
  • Immigrating to South Africa
  • Paying for education overseas
  • Getting married overseas

Business purposes include:

  • Investing in real estate
  • Running an e-commerce business
  • Paying suppliers or contractors
  • Paying overseas employees or freelancers
  • Making charitable donations

Why you shouldn’t send money overseas through a bank

When making an international money transfer, the first thing to mind is to fire up your bank’s website or log into your bank’s app to see what they offer. However, banks are typically the most expensive option.

Australian banks charge flat fees of up to $35 per transaction. But, costs aside, banks also apply margins to the interbank currency exchange rate to make a profit.

Instead of a bank, you can transfer funds through one of the specialist money transfer companies which have popped up in the last 10-20 years, which tend to be cheaper and faster. Most money transfer companies that allow you to send funds to South Africa [AD to ZAR] offer fee-free transfers and have smaller foreign exchange margins than banks.

Money transfer companies are more likely to cater to niche requirements, are fully licensed and trustworthy, and are easier to use than a bank – generally through a mobile or online app.

Is it safe to use a money transfer company?

Sending money to South Africa from Australia via a money transfer company is safe. All financial entities operating in Australia must be authorised, licensed, and regulated.

Any of the money transfer services listed on Finty are regulated.

Best AUD to ZAR exchange rates

You must understand how international money transfers work to send money overseas without spending huge amounts.

There are two essential factors to consider: the international transfer fee and the bank’s margin.

The transfer fee is either a flat fee for each transfer you make or a percentage of the converted amount. Some money transfer services, such as Wise, charge both a flat fee and a share, but these services generally have excellent FX conversion rates.

The margin is the amount of money a trader applies to the mid-market or interbank currency exchange rate. This margin determines how much a particular currency will cost you, and you could pay more or less for the same transfer amount depending on the transfer service you choose.

Choose a service with low fees and no margin to get the best rate. Wise and Revolut are money transfer services that convert currency according to the mid-market rate, which is the fairest rate you’ll get.

Some platforms also allow you to lock in the foreign exchange rate for a specific time to guarantee an inevitable return—beneficial if you send a considerable amount to South Africa.

What are the fees?

International money transfers through a bank can cost up to $35 per transfer. The recipient’s bank may also charge fees on international transfers if the amount is sent in AUD rather than ZAR.

Money transfer services allow you to avoid these fees by sending funds in local currency directly into the recipient’s bank account.

Most money transfer services operate from multiple countries worldwide and generally use local bank accounts to transfer funds. So, the transfer will be treated as a domestic rather than an international payment.

Minimum and maximum transfer amounts

From a legal standpoint, you can send as little or as much money as you want to South Africa from Australia. Large remittances are likely to trigger government controls, but there is nothing to worry about if the funds come from legal sources.

Your bank or money transfer service could limit the amounts. Banks have lower limits, generally around $5,000 or less.

With money transfer services, you can send as little as $1. Most companies have no upper limit.

Alternative ways to send money to South Africa

Sending AUD cash to the recipient’s bank account isn’t the only way to get money to South Africa from Australia. E-wallets and cryptocurrencies open a world of possibilities. For example, if you hold Bitcoin or another crypto coin, you can “send” it to someone in South Africa, and the recipient can exchange these funds for ZAR currency on their end. The main disadvantage is crypto’s high volatility, and your supplier or real estate vendor will probably not accept it—but you can always ask.

Business vs personal considerations

Businesses and individuals generally have to pay tax on money received in their bank accounts if the funds are considered income.

Monetary gifts (when the donor expects no goods or services in return) of up to R1 million per year are exempt from tax. Moreover, foreign investments from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) of up to R10 million per year also have tax clearance.

What details do I need to send money overseas to South Africa?

No matter how you transfer funds overseas, you can’t do it anonymously unless you transfer cryptocurrencies.

Money transfer services and banks will ask for at least one form of identification. You may also be required to prove the source of the money (salaries, personal assets, inheritances).

In addition to your details, you also need to provide the recipient’s details:

  • Beneficiary name
  • Beneficiary account number
  • BSB/Routing number or SWIFT code
  • Bank name

FAQs

How can I fund my money transfer?

The most common way to fund a transfer is through a bank transfer or card payment. Alternative methods include BPAY, POli, and Osko.

How quickly can my money transfer be sent to South Africa?

International bank transfers take between three to five business days to arrive. However, money transfer companies are much faster, with transfer speeds ranging from a few seconds to two to three business days.

What are the money collection options?

Typically, the recipient receives the money in their bank account. Cash pick-ups, mobile top-ups, and in-app transfers are other popular methods.

Do some providers offer cash pick-up locations or cash delivery?

Some money transfer services offer pick-up locations and cash delivery services. The main advantage is that the recipient can receive the funds faster and skip any hidden bank fees.

Are there any tax considerations?

All money received into a South African bank account is taxed if considered income. So money gifts of up to R1 million a year are tax-exempt. Still, you’ll have to pay tax on the money you earn, for instance, from renting your overseas property, overseas pensions or salaries, capital gains, and dividends.