Michele Teboul, Senior Content Writer   06 April 2020

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So you need to send money to South Africa? You have family in Cape Town who need help paying a bill.  You need to send money to your own South African bank account. Or you need to pay for services from a business.

Whatever your reason for sending money to South Africa – you’ll want a money transfer service that’s fast, secure, easy to use and great value for money. WorldRemit can offer you just that. But let’s take a look at some of the other options open to you.

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Money in South Africa 

The rand is the currency of legal tender in South Africa. It’s divided into 100 cents. It was introduced in South Africa in 1961 (replacing the South African pound) when the country became a Republic. Until 1982, the South African currency had a value higher than the dollar, but it started to decline because of international pressure and sanctions imposed due to the South African policy of apartheid.  Since then the rand has suffered several fluctuations in the exchange rate.

Today, the rand is weak against Western currencies, making travelling to South Africa less expensive than in Europe and North America. The best foreign currencies to take in cash are US dollars, euros or British pounds. Many of Africa's tourist attractions will only accept US dollars for their entry fees and tips.

The current South African rand coins and banknotes 

Currently, there are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and 1, 2, and 5 rands in circulation. Plus, there are banknotes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 1,000 ZAR.

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International bank transfer using your bank

If you want to send money to South Africa, the first convenient place you may think of is your bank. Banks can send money overseas for you, but be aware that their fees are often a great deal higher and their exchange rates are not as competitive as companies specialising in international money transfers. So it’s worth looking at the specialist alternatives.

High street agents

When it comes to using specialist money transfer companies, the vast majority of people still use high street money agents like Western Union.

Here’s how offline money transfers work:

  • You travel to an agent on the high street, in a newsagent or at the Post Office.
  • You don’t usually need to open an account. Simply hand over the funds you want to send and pay any fees.
  • After paying you’ll get a reference number, which you’ll give to your recipient. With this you can then pick up the money you sent to the overseas branch or agency.

It’s worth noting that Western Union also has an online service to South Africa.

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The disadvantages of going offline

  • Inconvenience – you have to physically go to the shop to send money and are bound by their opening times.
  • Expense – these services may be fast, but they can often charge high fees and don’t offer the best exchange rate.

Sending money online

The world has moved online and so have money transfers! There are now many international online money transfer services offering you fast, secure and convenient ways to send money to those you love thousands of miles away.

Here are some of the best companies sending money to South Africa.

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1. WorldRemit

With WorldRemit you can send money online to 150+ countries from 50 worldwide. Specifically to South Africa you can send money for cash pickup, bank transfer, mobile money and airtime top-up.

Here’s how it works

Using the website or app:

  • Create an online account and login
  • Tap in how much you want to send, how you want to send the money (cash pickup, bank deposit, Mobile Money or airtime top up) and where.
  • Enter your recipient’s details.
  • Pay

How long does it take to send money with WorldRemit?

This depends on the service you’ve chosen. Bank transfers usually arrive in 0-2 business days. Money sent for cash pickup can be ready instantly at a Mukuru branch – your recipient will need a valid photo ID and the transaction reference number.

Is WorldRemit secure?

Yes. Industry-leading technology protects your money and ensures it arrives safely every time. WorldRemit is licensed by government regulators around the world, so you can be sure we meet the highest possible standards.

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 Read more: Is WorldRemit secure?

Key benefits

  • We are super-convenient. It's so easy to send money back home with us, wherever and whenever you want.
  • We offer great value for money. Based on the official World Bank data, we're on average 25% cheaper than Western Union, Moneygram and Ria.*
  • You can really trust 5.7 million customers worldwide already do

Sign up and send money with WorldRemit

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2. TransferWise 

TransferWise is a well-respected and trusted money transfer company. But at present, TransferWise can only deliver ZAR to bank accounts based in South Africa. TransferWise cannot send money from South Africa. The service is easy to use and it’s simple to set up an account, or make a transfer using their app.

Here’s how it works

  • Create an online account, login and set up your first transfer
  • Tap in how much you want to send and where. Enter your recipient’s details
  • Make a payment to TransferWise, using your preferred method - bank deposit (ACH), bank wire transfer, debit card or credit card.

How long does it take?

Recipients will get the money in South African dollars (ZAR) directly into their bank account from TransferWise's local bank account within 1-2 business days

Is TransferWise safe?

Yes. They follow a strict set of rules set by regulatory agencies in every single country they operate in, from the FCA in the UK to FinCen in the US.  

Key benefits

  • Quick online set-up
  • Easy to get a quote
  • Transparent fees
  • Simple Cell Phone App

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3. CurrencyFair

CurrencyFair is fairly unique. Instead of exchanging your currency with a bank or a money transfer company, you actually exchange with other CurrencyFair customers. 

This means that you can choose which exchange rate you’d like, and as long as another CurrencyFair user is looking to exchange in the other direction and accepts your exchange rate, then that’s the rate you’ll both get.

Here’s how it works

  • Open an account by visiting CurrencyFair's website and open a free account
  • Enter your recipient’s details
  • Enter how much money you want to send and how you want to pay for your transfer
  • Pay for your transfer
  • CurrencyFair will then convert your money in the recipient's currency and send it to them through the selected pay-out option.

Is CurrencyFair safe?

CurrencyFair is regulated and authorized by the Central Bank of Ireland under the European Communities (Payment Services) Regulations 2009. 

Key benefits

  • Good exchange rates
  • Transfer money in 20 currencies to over 150 countries
  • Low, flat fees
  • Excellent reviews on Trustpilot 

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4. Xoom

Xoom is a PayPal service – so if you have an account with PayPal you can start sending money to South Africa right now with your PayPal payment options. The service also offers minimal fees and competitive exchange rates.

You can send bank deposits to all major banks in South Africa including First National Bank and ABSA.

Make bank deposits to all major banks, including First National Bank and ABSA. 

Here’s how it works

  • You can log in with your PayPal credentials or easily create a Xoom account, starting with your name and email address 
  • Simply enter how much money to send, who it’s going to, and where they’ll receive it in South Africa
  • Pay with PayPal, bank account, credit card, or debit card

How long does it take? 

Most transfers are completed within a few minutes, but it may take up to four business days.

Pros

  • Customer support. Phone and email support is available 24/7
  • Competitive and affordable
  • Safe and secure
  • Money-back guarantee. You’ll be refunded in full if the money you send doesn’t reach your recipient

Is Xoom safe?

Yes. Xoom’s encryption and fraud monitoring help protect your transaction 24/7.  

Sign up and send money with WorldRemit

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* *WR is on average 25% cheaper against Ria, Western Union and Moneygram (when sending $200). Comparison based on the average cost to send using data sourced from the World Bank for Q4 2019. The World Bank, Remittance Prices Worldwide. Source