Currency exchange to and from South Africa

Changing currency markets, along with needless charges and feeble exchange rates from your bank, mean that you could lose large sums of money when making transfers to South Africa in order to finance the acquisition of a property in South Africa.

By using the services of a foreign exchange specialist, often referred to as an ‘FX provider’, you will almost certainly receive an enhanced exchange rate, without the need to pay a high level of fees and hidden charges. In fact, you could save a lot of money by choosing one instead of a high street bank.

For instance, if you are seeking to purchase a home in South Africa for one million South African Rand (ZAR) and transfer the funds with your bank, it would cost you £57,380 (that is at the average bank’s exchange rate of ZAR 17.427 = £1.00*, plus a £25 transfer fee).

But, the same transaction with a specialist foreign exchange company such as Currencies Direct would have cost you £55,850 (by eliminating transfer fees from the picture and using a better exchange rate of ZAR 17.86 = £1.00*).

(* Rates correct on 8 November 2014)

Top tips

  • A leading FX provider will offer an enhanced exchange rate compared to that offered by a high-street bank, will rarely charge transfers fees and can generally offer a wider selection of services that meet your specific needs.
  • Be aware that the expenses do not come to an end as soon as you’ve completed your move to South Africa. The vast majority of people will still need to transfer money between the UK and South Africa even after they have moved to the country.
  • Keep on top of what is happening in the market by signing up for market newsletters, rate alerts etc.

Currency matters when selling a home in South Africa

When selling a South African property you may decide to transfer a large sum of money back to the UK. The exchange rate is just as important when it comes to repatriating funds.

If today’s exchange rate looks attractive you may wish to consider taking out a ‘forward contract’, especially if you do not intend to transfer your money until a later date.  A small deposit will fix the exchange rate available today for up to 12 months.

Currencies Direct’s Alistair Cotton, money transfer expert, comments: “The currency markets are constantly fluctuating, so when moving a large sum of money, taking advantage of exchange rates when they are in your favour could literally save you thousands.”

Discover your options

All sorts of overseas money transfer offer a service tailored to assist you. Try to distinguish which products will work best for you and make your life as simple as possible – in addition to making your money go further.

Spot contracts

Purchase currency today, for instant requirements. Use for:

  • Paying bills overseas
  • Transferring money rapidly across your accounts
  • Sending money to a colleague, friend or relative

Forward contracts

Hold an exchange rate for up to 12 months, by paying a small deposit. Use for:

  • Acquiring or selling a home overseas
  • Big overseas acquisitions
  • Moving your life savings

Limit orders

Set an automated currency acquisition when your target exchange rate is reached. Use for:

  • The greatest benefit when exchange rates move in your favour
  • Transfers that aren’t time sensitive

Six main reasons for using an FX provider

The fact that foreign exchange markets are currently in a period of fluctuations, people thinking of transferring money to or from South Africa must develop a clear strategy on how to manage their own currencies. To help reduce the risk of currency fluctuations and make sure that you secure the best possible rate, it’s wise to turn to a currency specialist to help make sure that you achieve the greatest deal possible.

  • Better exchange rates. There are a wide range of exchange rates available, with many of the most attractive deals available through specialist FX providers, as opposed to banks, which typically offer a less attractive rate in comparison.
  • No concealed charges or fees. Foreign exchange specialists usually do not charge transfer fees each time you transfer money overseas, as opposed to banks which generally charge an average fee of £25 per transaction. Some also charge a receiving fee.
  • Personal service. A currency expert will be available to help you at all times regardless of whether it is a single payment or frequent transfers – they will guide all along the way.
  • Trade in your own time. The vast majority of FX providers offer their customers a 24/7 online money transfer service that allows you to trade from anywhere and at a time that best suits you.
  • Rapid transfers. Unlike a bank which can typically take a whole working week to transfer money abroad, a foreign exchange specialist can often complete a transfer within a day or two.
  • Protect your money. Whichever foreign exchange provider you opt to use, it is extremely important that they are sanctioned by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Observe the markets

FX specialists are dedicated to staying on top of the currency markets, but not everyone else has the time. If that applies to you, then there is a wide selection of tools that you may find helpful.

Rate watch

Creating a rate is an excellent way of informing your foreign exchange specialist what exchange rate you would like to achieve, and what you consider to be a satisfactory deal. They then assign a specialist FX expert to observe the markets for you, who will alert you when the rate becomes obtainable.

Due to a lack of time, and sometimes a lack of resources, banks do not possess the time to offer this sort of service. Crucially, and somewhat conveniently, when your desired rate arises, you are under no duty to make an actually transfer. It’s a great way to keep on top of what is happening in the currency market so you know when the best time is to start trading if you should choose to.

Email reports

Stay on top of what is occurring in the currency market, including the latest exchange rates, by signing up to online newsletters and email alerts, which are provided by most currency providers.

Social platform

Because most FX specialists actively embrace social media, it is possible to obtain a lot of crucial information across social media websites, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, among others.



Currencies Direct is the UK’s leading foreign exchange specialists and has helped more than 150,000 people with overseas money transfers. Visit for more information.

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