Sending money to South Africa can be slow and expensive. 

Most people will choose the familiarity and convenience of bank transfers, but usually, there are cheaper and faster ways.

Whether you’re sending money to family or a business, I’ll explain the best way to send money to South Africa based on price, speed, and the reasons for your transfer.


Best Way to Send Money to South Africa: My Verdict

For most people, online money transfer services like Wise and Remitly are the best way to send money to South Africa.

These services often offer lower fees and competitive exchange rates than traditional banks, saving you money and ensuring you get more rand for your pound.

They also offer faster transfer times, with funds reaching the recipient within 1 to 3 business days on average. In contrast, bank transfers take approximately 3 to 5 business days.


Some providers limit how much you can send to South Africa in a specific time frame, but services like TorFX, Currencies Direct and OFX are designed to accommodate large transfers.

You can initiate transfers conveniently from your computer or mobile device, making it easy to send money to South Africa anytime, anywhere.

Alternatively, transfers through your UK bank may be better if you prefer in-person transactions. 

Although slower than online money transfer services, bank transfers allow secure, direct transfers from your UK bank account to the recipient’s in South Africa, minimising intermediary involvement.

However, with significantly higher fees and less favourable exchange rates, they’re less cost-effective.

What’s the Cheapest Way to Send Money to South Africa?

CompanyTransfer Fee (£100)Exchange Rate (£100)Transfer Fee (£2,000)Exchange Rate (£2,000)Learn More
TorFX£023.7273£023.7241Visit TorFX
Currencies Direct£023.6992£023.6935Visit Currencies Direct
OFX£022.6133£023.3185Visit OFX
XE£1.9923.3152£023.3152Visit XE
Revolut£223.75140£1523.75282Visit Revolut
Remitly£2.99 or free for new customer23.23 or 23.80 for new users£2.99, or free for customer23.59 or 23.80 for new usersVisit Remitly
Wise£5.17 by card or £4.75 by bank transfer or SWIFT23.8313£25.15 by card or £16.86 by bank transfer or SWIFT23.8187Visit Wise

At the time of writing, TorFX is the cheapest way to send money to South Africa, offering fee-free transfers regardless of the amount. 

While Currencies Direct and OFX don’t charge a transfer fee to send money to South Africa, TorFX’s exchange rate is more favourable, getting you more South African rand for your pound. 

However, it’s important to calculate the total cost of sending money to South Africa and not base your decision solely on transfer fees. 

Sometimes, providers that charge a transfer fee offer a higher exchange rate, so you’d get more ZAR than if you used a free transfer provider. 

Wise and Revolut offer better exchange rates than TorFX, but both providers charge a scaled transfer fee. Even for large transfers, TorFX would be more affordable.

You can also find promotions with higher exchange rates and discounted transfer fees.

At the time of writing, Remilty offered new customers an enhanced exchange rate of 23.8 and free transfer fees for the first £1000 you send to South Africa. The standard rate will apply to the remaining balance. Depending on how much you want to send to South Africa, this deal would be more cost-effective than TorFX.


What’s the Fastest Way to Send Money to South Africa?

CompanyTransfer SpeedLearn More
RemitlyWithin minutes by card or 2 hours by bank transferVisit Remitly
XEWithin 24 hoursVisit XE
RevolutWithin 24 hoursVisit Revolut
Currencies Direct1 to 3 working daysVisit Currencies Direct
TorFXWithin 2 working daysVisit TorFX
Wise2 to 3 working daysVisit Wise
OFX1 to 5 working daysVisit OFX

Remitly is the fastest way to send money to South Africa, offering near-instantaneous delivery within minutes if transferred by card or within 2 hours for bank transfers. This rapid turnaround makes Remitly an excellent option for urgent financial needs or emergencies. 


XE and Revolut are also quick options, promising transfers within 24 hours, ideal for time-sensitive situations.

For slightly less urgent transfers, TorFX provides reliable options, typically delivering funds within 24 to 48 hours. While not as immediate as Remitly or Revolut, it’s suitable for general transfers where speed remains important but not essential. 

Regardless of which online money transfer service you use to send money to South Africa, you should expect your money to be received within five working days.

Can I Send Money to South Africa Online?

There are several ways you can send money to South Africa online.

  1. Online Money Transfer Services: Providers like Wise and OFX offer convenient and fast transfers with lower fees than other methods. Although exchange rates are competitive, some services may limit the transfer amount. 
  2. Bank Transfers: This method is secure and familiar but is less cost-effective and slower than online money transfer services, making it less suitable for urgent transfers. 
  3. Digital Wallets: Platforms like PayPal and Skrill let you send money near-instantly to other users. Although easy to use and convenient, the exchange rate is usually less favourable, and transfer fees are higher than those of different methods.
  4. Prepaid Cards: You can load funds onto a prepaid card online, which the recipient can use to make purchases or withdrawals in South Africa. It is suitable for those without a bank account but has limited acceptance compared to debit and credit cards. 
  5. Cash Pickup Services: Using providers like Western Union and MoneyGram, you can transfer money online for the recipient to pick up in person from a designated location in South Africa. This method is fast but is less convenient than other methods. 
  6. Cryptocurrency: If you’re tech-savvy and familiar with cryptocurrency, you can send currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to your recipient’s cryptocurrency wallet. Although fast, values are highly volatile and are not widely accepted for everyday transactions.

Sending Large Amounts of Money to South Africa

CompanyTransfer LimitLean More
Currencies DirectNo limitVisit Currencies Direct
OFXNo limitVisit OFX
TorFXNo limitVisit TorFX
WiseUp to £5,000,000 per transfer, depending on the payment methodVisit Wise
XE£350,000 per transactionVisit XE
RemitlyTiered limits for specific periods that vary between accounts. 24-hour limit ranges between £5,000 and £25,000. 30 Day limit ranges between £15,000 and £25,000. 180-day limit ranges between £50,000 and £150,000.Visit Remitly
RevolutVaries on account and currency. The limit will be shown in the app before transferring.Visit Revolut

Specialist online money transfer services like Currencies Direct, OFX, and TorFX are the best way to send large amounts of money to South Africa. 

These services don’t have a maximum limit on the amount you send, have no transfer fees, and offer competitive exchange rates.

Whilst they’re completely online-based, they offer excellent customer service. Users who want to end a large amount of money to South Africa will get a dedicated account manager to walk them through the entire transfer process and help with any queries. 

Alternatively, you can transfer money directly from your UK bank account to popular banks in South Africa like Absa and FNB. 


Although secure and reliable, bank transfers usually take longer than online money transfer services, making them unsuitable for time-sensitive transactions.

Banks also often offer less favourable exchange rates and higher fees for international transfers, meaning your recipient will receive fewer South African Rand. 

Be prepared to provide any required documentation for large transfers, such as proof of identity, source of funds, or proof of address, to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations.

You should also consider any tax implications associated with large transfers in the sending and receiving countries. Consult with tax advisors or financial professionals to understand tax obligations or reporting requirements.

Can I Set Up Regular Payments to South Africa?

You can set up regular payments to South Africa through various methods.

Online money transfer services like Wise and OFX allow you to easily schedule recurring payments to South Africa. Rates may fluctuate between payments, affecting the final amount received, but some providers offer features like rate alerts and forward contrasts to minimise this impact. 


Alternatively,  you can instruct your UK bank to set up a standing order to send regular payments to South Africa. Although convenient and automatic, you’ll have limited flexibility to adjust payment amounts or frequencies once set up. 

Digital wallets like PayPal and Skrill allow you to set up recurring payments to the recipient’s digital wallet. Easy to manage through mobile apps, this method is fast but usually has a relatively low maximum transfer limit.

Sending Money to Businesses in South Africa

You can send money to Businesses in South Africa through online money transfer services like Remitly and Wise. These services offer competitive exchange rates and fast transfer times, often within 1 to 3 business days. However, some providers may have transfer limits for larger transactions.

Another popular method is a bank transfer from your UK account to the business’s South African account. This method is secure and reliable but slow, which may be an issue if your payment is time-sensitive. 

Whilst digital wallets like PayPal are widely accepted by e-commerce businesses, this method is best suited for smaller payments due to its high fees and low transfer limit.

Depending on your chosen transfer method and the amount transferred, you may be required to provide further documentation like a contract, invoice, and the 10-digit Tax Identification Number for the recipient business.

How to Send Money to South Africa

There are several ways you can fund your transfer to South Africa.

  • Bank Transfer: A direct and secure method, but transfer times are slow, and there are usually high fees and a less favourable exchange rate.
  • Credit Card: Transfers funded by credit card if you don’t have sufficient funds in your bank account and may offer rewards or cashback benefits. However, it has higher fees than other payment methods and may not be accepted by all transfer providers.
  • Debit Card: Transfers are fast but have lower fees than those funded by credit cards. Most providers have a daily transaction limit, which may make it unsuitable for sending large amounts of money.
  • Cash: Suitable for those without a traditional bank account, cash payments are processed quickly but have limited availability and may not be convenient for large transfers.
  • Cheque: This traditional method offers a paper trail for record-keeping but has slower processing times as the cheque needs to be deposited and cleared before being transferred.

What Details Do I Need to Send Money to South Africa?

To send money to South Africa, you’ll need specific details about the recipient and the transfer. Here are the essential information you’ll need:

  1. Recipient’s Contact Information: Include the recipient’s legal or registered business name, address, e-mail address and phone number. 
  2. Recipient’s Bank Details: If you’re transferring money to a South African bank account, you’ll need the recipient’s account number, branch number, 8-11 characters SWIFT/BIC code, and the bank name and address.
  3. Alternative Payment Details: If you’re transferring money to a digital wallet or payment platform, you may need the e-mail address of the mobile number associated with the recipient’s account.
  4. Purpose of Transfer: Some countries require you to specify the purpose of the transfer, such as personal, business, or investment. 
  5. Further documents: Depending on the service provider and transfer amount, you may need to provide government-issued ID, such as a passport or driver’s license, or documents like proof of address or source of funds. 

By having these details ready, you can ensure a smooth and accurate money transfer to South Africa. Double-check the information before proceeding to avoid any delays or errors in the transaction.

How Much Does it Cost to Transfer Money to South Africa?

You may be charged several fees when you send money to South Africa.

Transfer Fees

This is the fee charged by the service provider for processing the transfer. 

It can vary depending on the provider and the amount of money being sent, with some providers charging a flat fee, a percentage of the amount transferred or a combination of both. 

Whilst online money transfer service fees can range from £0 to £10 per transaction, banks typically charge more, from £10 to £30 per transfer. 

Exchange Rate Margin

When transferring money to South Africa from a different currency like GBP, the service provider may apply an exchange rate slightly higher than the mid-market rate. 

This difference is known as the exchange rate margin, representing the provider’s profit on the currency conversion.

The higher the exchange rate margin, the fewer South African rand you will receive for your pound.

Generally, banks have a slightly higher margin of 1% to 3% above the mid-market rate, whilst online money transfer services have a rate of around 0.5% to 2% above the mid-market rate.

Recipient Fees

In some cases, the recipient bank in South Africa may also charge fees for receiving the funds. 

These fees can vary depending on the bank and the type of account the recipient holds.

For bank transfers, the recipient bank in South Africa may charge around £5 to £15 per transaction.

In contrast, recipient fees are usually minimal or non-existent if you use an online money transfer service.

Additional Charges

Depending on the transfer method and service provider, there may be additional charges for features like expedited transfers, currency hedging options, or customer support services.

Standard transfers using online money transfer services are faster than bank transfers. However, if your recipient needs funds urgently, you can choose an express transfer for around £5 to £20 per transaction.

Some banks also offer expedited transfers, but these are usually more expensive, ranging from £20 to £50, depending on the size and urgency of your transfer.

How Long Does it Take to Send Money to South Africa?

Online money transfers are faster than bank transfers to send money to South Africa. 

Services like Remitly and Wise use fast processing systems and have established networks to facilitate international transfers more quickly.  Taking around 1 to 3 business days, they may also offer expedited or express delivery options for an additional fee, allowing for even faster transfer times.

In contrast, when you initiate a bank transfer, the funds must be processed by both the sender and receiving banks. This process can take 3 to 5 business days as the banks verify the transaction and ensure the funds are transferred securely. 

If you need a fast transfer, consider paying using a credit or debit card instead of a bank transfer.

Transfers initiated on weekends or public holidays may experience delays, as banks and financial institutions may have reduced operating hours or limited processing capabilities during these times.

My Methodology

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the safest way to send money to South Africa?

What is the best app to send money from the UK to South Africa?

How do I send money to a friend in South Africa?

Can I use PayPal to send money to South Africa?

How can I send money instantly to South Africa?

Can I send money to South Africa if I don’t have a bank account?

Yes, you can still send money to South Africa even if you don’t have a bank account. Some options include online money transfer services like Western Union or MoneyGram, which allow cash pickups at designated locations in South Africa.

Alternatively, you can use mobile payment apps like WorldRemit or PayPal to send funds to recipients who have bank accounts or mobile wallets in South Africa.