Compare international money transfer exchange rates and fees

Sending money to South Africa from the United States can be confusing. We've found the cheapest and safest way to transfer money online. Using a bank can be familiar, but they are very costly. The 5 money transfer companies below make it easy, time efficient and cheap to get a better exchange rate for an international transfer.

Use our guide to find out who has transparent costs, cell phone apps and available delivery options to make your currency exchange from US dollars (USD) to South African rand (ZAR) easier.

Need to send money from South Africa to the US instead? Learn more here.


5 of the best money transfer companies to send money to South Africa from the USA

XE Money Transfers

As a trusted and seasoned name in foreign exchange, XE could be a good option for online users who aren't under time pressure. They don't charge fixed fees and don't have any minimum amounts so are good for any sized transaction.

How much does it cost to transfer funds to South Africa?

Transfer Fee: Free, but there can be hidden charges at the local bank.
Exchange Rate: The exchange rate you receive depends on the amount of your transfer.

How to transfer money with XE?

  • Set up account online or over the phone.
  • Tap in how much, where to and which currency.
  • Pay XE and they will transfer the funds to your recipients bank account.

How long does it take?

Allow 1-4 business days for international money transfers.

Is XE safe?

Yes they are. They are licensed as a Money Transmitter by the DFS in New York and registered with FINTRAC.

Best features:

  • No fees or minimum amounts for money transfers
  • Better exchange rates for larger amounts
  • Well known and trusted brand
  • Business and individual support, plus accessible customer service

Service details:

For help from XE and phone number: US- 1-877-932-6640


Credit cards and debit cards are accepted by Remitly and money can be sent within minutes with their Express option. Remitly have no minimum limit so it can be handy when sending small amounts to family or friends overseas.  What we like about Remitly is they are cheaper than Xoom/PayPal or Western Union for money transfers within minutes. Payments are also easy to make on the Remitly website or mobile app.

How much does it cost to transfer funds to South Africa?

Transfer Fee: From $4.99 for Express
Exchange Rate: The exchange rate you receive depends on the amount of your transfer and which country your money is being sent.

How to pay with my debit or credit card with Remitly?

  • Log into the Remitly website
  • When you're ready for payment, just type your name, card number, expiry date and card verification details
  • Bank transfers or SWIFT payments are also available to send money from the US

How long does it take?

Within minutes for international money transfers.

Is Remitly safe?

Yes they are. They are fully licensed and authorised. Click here to see our full review of Remitly.

Best features:

  • The person can receive their money transfer by bank deposit, cash pick up, mobile money or home delivery.
  • Money back guarantee - if your money doesn't arrive on time.
  • Same-day cancellation requests are possible.
  • Easy to sign up and quick to transfer money on mobiles or laptops.

Service details:

For help from Remitly and phone number: US- 1-888-736-4859

Best Overall Online Service


If you prefer to transfer money online, TransferWise is a well regarded trusted company. It's easy to use and simple to set up an account or make a transfer using their app.

How much does it cost to transfer money to South Africa from the USA?

Transfer Fee: 0.77% up to US$135,000 or 0.67% above US$135,000, plus a transaction fee of US$9.67.
Exchange Rate: TransferWise gives you the best possible rate (google rate). They do not use a margin.
Additional Fees: Bank debit (ACH) is the cheapest; then bank wire transfer; followed by debit card and credit card.

How to transfer money with TransferWise?

  • Create an online account, login and set up your first transfer.
  • Tap in how much and where to. Enter your recipients details.
  • Make local US payment to TransferWise, using your preferred method.

How long does it take?

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

Is TransferWise safe?

Yes they are. To find out more about TransferWise read our full review.

Best features:

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

Service details:

For TransferWise help online.

Xoom powered by PayPal

Xoom is convenient for international money transfers and free when you send money through a bank transfer over $US1,000.

How much does it cost to transfer money to South Africa from the USA?

Transfer Fee: Free for bank transfers over $US1,000. Under $1,000 bank transfer a flat fee of $4.99 For $1,000 debit or credit card costs over $30.
Exchange Rate: Approximately a 2% margin is added to the exchange rate when you convert your US dollars (USD) into South African dollars (ZAR).
Get a quote: Click here to find out the cost to transfer money to South Africa with Xoom.

How to transfer money with Xoom?

  • Sign up to an account and login.
  • Tap in how much and where to. Enter your recipients details. Enter how you would like to pay.
  • Recipient receives money in bank account or in cash available for pick up at agent location.

How long does it take?

It will take 2 business days.

Is Xoom (PayPal) safe?

Yes they are. They are powered by PayPal, which is one of the oldest online payment platforms trusted for secure online money transfers. Learn more about PayPal's safety measures.

Best features:

  • Safe, trustworthy, fully licensed and authorized company
  • Pay recipients bills or phone reloads via app
  • Partnered with local banks and can send bank deposits to ABSA, Nedbank, First National, Investec, Bidvest and Capitec

Service details:

Xoom help phone number: (877) 815-1531 (toll free) or +1 (415) 395-4225 from US


WorldRemit specializes in cash remittances and smaller transfers. They're perfect for personal money transfers from the US of up to US$10,000 to South Africa. Their rates are usually better than your local bank's and they offer more flexible delivery options than payment service companies like PayPal, Western Union or MoneyGram.

How much does it cost to transfer money to South Africa from the USA?

Transfer Fee: US$3.99 per transaction.
Exchange Rate: WorldRemit add a margin to the exchange rate. Click here to get an indicative exchange rate to send money from the USA to South Africa.
Maximum transfer amount: US$10,000

How to transfer money with WorldRemit?

  • Create an online account and login.
  • Tap in how much, how you want to transfer (cash pickup, bank deposit, Mobile Money or Airtime top-up) and where to. Enter your recipients details.
  • Make local US payment to WorldRemit using a bank account, debit card, credit card, SOFORT, INTERAC, POLI or iDEAL (web).

How long does it take?

Depends on your delivery choice. For a wire transfer they will get South African dollars (ZAR) in 0-2 business days. For cash delivery it can be ready instantly at a Mukuru branch if you have valid photo ID and the transaction reference number.

Is WorldRemit safe?

Yes they are. Learn more about how trustworthy WorldRemit are.

Best features:

  • Offers cash pick-up, bank deposits, Mobile Money and Airtime top-up
  • Easy online platform and cell phone app
  • Transparent costs with accurate calculator tool
  • 24/7 customer support

Service details:

WorldRemit FAQs

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What is a SARB Reporting Mandate?

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) require a Reporting Mandate form to be filled out online once per calendar year for the person receiving the money in South Africa. The form asks the recipient to list their full name, address, date of birth, cell phone, reason for transfer, passport number and email address.

What is the mid market rate?

The mid market rate is the rate issued online, the banks use it as their interbank rate. Money transfer companies can charge a fee or a margin on top of the mid market rate for their service. A bank will charge you a larger margin and an approximate fee of US$30 for an international money transfer.

When do I need a Swift code?

To make a deposit into a South African bank account, a swift code is required. The swift code helps identify each bank in South Africa and the code is unique to the bank. It is a combination of numbers and letters. These are the major banks: Absa: ABSAZAJJ, First National: FIRNZAJJ, Standard Bank: SBZAZAJJ and Nedbank: NEDSZAJj.

Do all money transfer companies have a cell phone app?

Yes. When you have an account with any of the online money transfer services highlighted above, you can make transfers through their website, or via their iOS Apple and Android apps. Read our review to find out which cell apps are easier to use.

Are there any minimum or maximum money transfer limits?

These vary depending on which online money transfer company you use.

For minimum transfer amounts, XE and TransferWise have no limits. OFX have a minimum of US$150 per single transaction.

For maximum transfer amounts, TransferWise has maximum limits of US$50,000 for personal accounts. For business accounts they have a maximum limit of US$250,000 in unlicensed states and up to US$1,000,000 in licensed states.

OFX and XE have no maximum transfer amounts. Meanwhile, Xoom has a limit of US$50,000 over 24 hours if you have the required documents.

How do I keep my money online safe when I send it to South Africa?

Safety is very important and all of the online companies above take their legal responsibilities very seriously. They take extreme measures to protect the sensitive data you provide them like your personal details and identification. However, it's still better to be safe than sorry. Here are some additional ways you can transfer funds safely:

  • Double check privacy policies and tracking process for your money transfer provider
  • Use a strong, long and unique password with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols when you set-up your account
  • Ensure your money transfer service provides two-factor authentication, including SMS or email-based security code

Can I use World First to send money to South Africa from the US?

As of 20th February 2019, World First closed its US operations and is unable to provide a money transfer service from the United States.

Where are other common countries or currencies can I send money to from the US?

The most common countries or currencies money is sent to from the US includes: Mexico (MXN), Canada (CAD), Germany (EUR), France (EUR), China (CNY), India (INR), Philippines (PHP), Vietnam (VND), New Zealand (NZD) and Australia (AUD).

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General advice: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own personal situation and requirements before making any financial decisions.

By Justin Rampono Updated July 31st, 2020