International money transfers

Foreign exchange

As a South African expat living in the UK one of the things you may want or need to do is transfer money back to South Africa. There are many banks and companies that can help with this. Based on a recent poll from a South African Facebook group the most popular companies currently seem to be HSBC bank, Exchange4free, 1stContact, Paypal, Moneygram, HiFX and Western Union.

I’ve been using Exchange4free for as long as I’ve been in the UK and have found them to be a reliable and efficient service. To use this service you will need to create an account with them. You will also need to provide a copy of your passport and proof of address. The proof of address can be from a utility bill, credit card or bank statement no more than 3 months old. Once the registration process has been completed you will receive a username and password. This will allow you to make a “money transfer” by booking a rate online. The rate can vary with the amount you wish to transfer. Once your rate has been booked Exchange4free will then provide their UK bank account details to you to transfer your money to. Your money is then transferred from Exchange4free’s bank account to your chosen South African bank account. Depending on how long it takes for you to transfer your cash to Exchange4free, you can usually expect your money to be in the South African bank account within 7 days or less. There is no fee for this transfer but the money they make will be from the rate they offer you.

Exchange4free can also help with transferring money from South Africa to the UK. Unfortunately you will need to create another account with the South African branch. At the time of writing, SA citizens can send up to R11m out of SA annually using the foreign discretionary allowance. A little more paperwork was required to do this. Besides for the documents that need to be completed, the following is also required:

  • A certified copy of the SA Barcoded ID
  • A certified copy of the proof of residence, dated within the last 3 months (reflecting the physical address)
  • SA Income tax reference number. You can call SARS for this.

Now that my accounts have been set up with Exchange4free transferring money between countries is quick, easy and convenient. And the best part is that I don’t need to leave the house to go to the bank 😉

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