How to send money to South Africa from Australia

By   |   Verified by Debbie Duncan   |   Updated 8th August 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. 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 expat community. 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 Wise's website

Wise

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!
Send

On Send's 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. 
torfx

On torfx's 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.
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.

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 expat 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 ecommerce business
  • Paying suppliers or contractors
  • Paying overseas employees or freelancers
  • Making charitable donations

Why you shouldn’t send money overseas through a bank

The first thing that comes to mind when making an international money transfer 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. Fees 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

To send money overseas without spending huge amounts, you must understand how international money transfers work.

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

The transfer fee is either a flat fee charged 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 percentage, but these services generally have excellent FX conversion rates.

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

To get the best rate, choose a service with low fees and no margin. Wise and Revolut are two 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 certain amount of time to guarantee a certain return - especially useful is you're sending a large amount over to South Africa.

What are the fees?

International money transfers through a bank can cost you 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 around the world and generally use local bank accounts to transfer the 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 across to South Africa from Australia. E-wallets and cryptocurrencies open a world of possibilities. 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

In general, both businesses and individuals have to pay tax on money received into 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 decide to transfer funds overseas, you can’t do it anonymously unless you’re transferring 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 own 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 ways 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. 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. Money gifts of up to R1 million a year are tax-exempt, but 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.