Best Ways to Transfer Money from South Africa to Australia
Banks and money transfer services will offer different foreign exchange rates and transfer fees depending on your amount. To find the best or cheapest option to transfer money to Australia from South Africa, you really need to compare the total cost of the transfer based on your amount.
How to use a money transfer service instead of a bank
While each money transfer service is different, you will always need to follow these steps to transfer your money safely and quickly:
- Set up an online account. This usually takes 5-10 minutes and make sure you have valid I.D.
- Enter bank account details of the person or company you're sending the money to in Australia
- Pay for your transfer using a debit/credit card or bank payment. The cheapest option is usually when you pay with a bank transfer from your own bank account. Cards need to have the same name as your account.
Check out our section on what information you need to transfer money to Australia for more detailed information.
And if you haven't already, you can compare your money transfer options. We understand this isn't easy. Every bank and money transfer company offer different exchange rates and transfer fees.
What information do you need to transfer money to Australia?
- Your personal information: Your full name, address, date of birth and valid I.D.
For security reasons money transfer service's need your photo id scanned or photographed using your phone. It also needs to be high quality. Also note, you can't give your work/office address or PO box address.
- Australian bank account details: The full name on the account, banks name and branch address. You will also need a 6-digit BSB number and a 5-9 digit bank account number.
- The BSB number (bank/state/branch code) is in this format: AAB-CCC
- The first 2 digits (AA) is the bank code, the third digit (B) is the state in Australia the branch is located and the final 3 digits (CCC) represents the address of the branch.
You can usually get these details by logging into your online banking, on the bank's website with a branch locator or checking the bank statement. If you're unsure, call the branch before your transfer to confirm details.
- Alternatively, you might be asked for the banks Swift code or BIC code.
- How you wish to pay: Your bank details, account numbers and address or debit/credit card details to pay for your transfer.
Your bank or money transfer company may request more information about your international money transfer to meet anti-laundering regulations or internal security policies.
Here is a summary of details required for Australia's major banks:
|Bank Name||SWIFT / BIC Code||Branch Address Locator|
|Commonwealth Bank of Australia||CTBAAU2S||CBA Branch|
|Westpac Bank||WPACAU2S||Westpac Branch|
|ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited||ANZBNZ22||ANZ Branch|
|National Australia Bank||NATAAU3303M||NAB Branch|
Are there any limits to send money online from South Africa to Australia?
There is no limit on how much foreign currency you can transfer to Australia or receive in Australia if you live here. However, some online international money transfer services have minimum or maximum transfer limits.
For example, TransferWise has no minimum transfer limit and has maximum limits depending on which currency you're using and how you pay for your transfer. Meanwhile, OFX and XE has no maximum transfer amounts, but they have minimum transfer amounts.
How much money can I bring to Australia?
Surprisingly, you can bring an unlimited amount of money with you to Australia. However, you must declare your Australian dollars or foreign currency cash if you're carrying over A$10,000.
You won’t be charged any fees for carrying or declaring physical currency. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) only collects the data to help prevent money laundering or terrorism. Here are some important details:
- If you're receiving over AUD $10,000, it's mandatory for you to fill in a declaration form for AUSTRAC
- If you're receiving money through a bank or money transfer company you don't have to declare it directly to AUSTRAC
How long does it take to transfer money from South Africa to Australia?
It should take no longer than 2 days using a money transfer service to receive Aussie dollars in the Australian bank account you're sending money to or receiving money in. On many popular routes you might even get same day or instant money transfers.
Major currencies including USD, EUR, JPY, GBP, CAD, CHF, CNY, HKD, NZD and SEK, will also have faster transfers than less common currencies.
Bank transfers will be longer, up to 5 days, because they use wire or telegraphic transfers through the SWIFT network that are often slow. This means that banks from overseas transfer the money through a network of 'correspondent banks' (i.e. the 'middleman') before landing into the local Australian bank account.
Fastest way to send money to Australia
Sometimes, you just need it done now. The problem is, it's hard to work out which company will send money from South Africa to Australia. The best service to use is:
- Good exchange rates and lock-in rate for larger amounts
- Easy online set-up
- 24/7 phone support
- Mobile phone app
How much will it cost to make my transfer from South Africa?
It depends on which money transfer company you choose, but there are 3 fees you'll usually be charged to send money back to Australia:
- Exchange rates - The better the ZAR/AUD exchange rate, the more Australian dollars (AUD) you get in your Australian bank account. Money transfer services that offer competitive exchange rates (closer to the rate you find on Google) will usually charge you a transfer fee.
- Transfer fees - These can be quite high for especially for larger transfers. Fortunately, some online transfer companies like XE offer fee-free transfers for sending large amounts from South Africa. Companies that offer fee-free transfers usually charge a slightly worse margin on their exchange rate, but are still better than bank fees.
- Receiving fees - You or the person you're sending money too will often get charged an Australian bank receiving fee (also known as an "intermediary fee") around A$10-15 for each receiving transfer in Australia.
In summary, total costs are lower with money transfer companies than banks.
Keeping your money safe online
One of the main questions people ask us is “will my money be safe online?" The answer is yes.
We've made sure that all the money transfer services and banks you compare are safe. Each company is :
- Is regulated in Australia - by AUSTRAC.
- Holds an appropriate Australian Financial Services License (AFS) - with ASIC in Australia.
- Have strict privacy and verification policies - this is to ensure they fully identify all of their customers.
- They invest in identity protection, fraud prevention and encryption to create a secure connection with your internet browser when you register and login into their online services.
How to open a bank account online in Australia from South Africa
If you're moving to Australia or even just thinking about it, banking is important. Luckily, you have a few options if you want to open an online account in Australia.
- Australian banks try to make it simple to open a bank account online in Australia
- Some companies like HSBC or WorldFirst offer foreign currency accounts. However, these can be specially for businesses and online sellers receiving international payments
- The TransferWise Borderless Account is a multi currency account that allows you to open up a local bank account in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the UK, and the USA
A really important part of opening a bank account online in Australia is knowing how to do it. The requirements, eligibility and information you will need all depends on the bank or money transfer service, but here are some general things to keep in mind:
- If you're opening the account before you arrive in Australia, you can usually do so within 3 to 12 months before you arrive
- Most banks and money transfer services require you to be at least 18 years of age. Westpac and CBA let younger customers apply
- You may need to know your exact arrival and departure date
To open the account, the best place to start is the website of the bank or money transfer company you've chosen. From there you will be able to fill in the details they need. If you're more comfortable doing it over the phone, most banks will also have contact numbers. Just make sure you're calling within Australian business hours.
Receiving money in Australia with an online money transfer service
You may be using an online money transfer specialist like TransferWise or WorldFirst to send money from South Africa or bring back money to Australia.
Just like banks, every money transfer provider is different. There are a variety of ways to receive money internationally and money transfer companies have a mixture of payment systems and payment types.
Check out the following popular companies for detailed step-by-step guides on how to receive money in Australia from overseas:
How can I receive money in Australia from South Africa with my bank?
While we have covered the benefits of using an online money transfer company, many people have bank accounts with NAB, CBA, Westpac and ANZ.
These banks have a variety of ways for you to receive money, including a mixture of payment systems and receiving fees. That's why we've put together these detailed step-by-step guides on how to receive money in Australia with the following banks:
How do I pay for my money transfer to Australia?
Depending on your provider, there are several different ways to pay. Many providers accept:
- direct bank transfers
- real-time online payment methods
- debit card payments
- credit card payments
Money transfer services may charge a small additional fee, depending on how you decide to pay (usually for debit or credit card payments).
Keep in mind that choosing the best way to send money to Australia will largely depend on your payment method.
Do I have to pay tax on my money transfer?
These four factors will help you decide whether you will need to pay tax or not:
- Source of your funds (inheritance, gift, proceeds from the sales of a home)
- Tax laws of the country you're sending money from and Australia to avoid double taxation
- Amount of money you transfer to Australia
- Your residency status
According to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) if you're moving to Australia for the first time, any savings you transfer will not be taxed. Once you're an Australian resident, money you transfer back to Australia can be taxed.
Learn more about taxes you may pay when receiving money in Australia
Can I send cash to Australia?
Yes. If you want to send cash directly to a person or account, rather than pay money into their bank account or mobile phone, you have two options — Western Union or MoneyGram. Both are expensive, but on the plus-side, usually the cash is available instantly.
You can arrange someone to physically collect cash in Australia at a store, agent or third-party outlet. The person in Australia will need a payment reference number and personal identification like your birth certificate, driver's licence or passport.
In Australia, Western Union has the largest network for receiving cash via Australia Post. However, it is also expensive. MoneyGram is our least favourite. MoneyGram charge a variable transfer fee so your fee changes every time you send cash and is only available in 7-eleven stores.
What is a SWIFT code?
A SWIFT code is a series of 8 or 11 characters that identifies banks worldwide. The code is made up of letters and numbers as follows: 4 digits bank code; 2 digits country code; 2 digits location code. It's also known as a Bank Identifier Code (BIC). Major banks overseas usually require a SWIFT code to send money to Australia.
Other terms used by banks overseas include:
- IBAN (International Bank Account Number) - mainly European countries
- CHIPS UID (Clearing House Inter-Bank Payment System Universal IDentifier) – US and Canada only
- NCC (National Clearing Code)
- BSC (Bank Sort Code)
- IFSC (Indian Financial System Code)
Find out the code for your bank with a useful bank code finder.
How does The Currency Shop make money?
The Currency Shop does not charge you. Instead, we receive a referral fee from the banks and money transfer companies that we are partnered with. This does not affect the price you pay.
Is it safe to use The Currency Shop to compare?
Yes. The Currency Shop holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (ASIC) (462269) and is a member of the Financial Ombudsman Service. We closely vet our providers and only partner with the largest, safest and most trusted money transfer companies in the world. That just makes sense.
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