This is how much South African banks charge you to transfer money overseas

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If you’ve ever sent money overseas, you know it can be an expensive business and can be time-consuming.

While it can be frustrating to wait more than two days for an international payment to complete or to pay transaction fees on small amounts, there are reasons these fees and wait times exist. – depending on the banks.

Sending money to another bank across borders isn’t as simple as domestic interbank transfers, as everything from currency conversion to criminal verification must be done to ensure the legitimacy of the transaction.

There’s also the simple logistics of time zone differences and opening hours to consider, which can add to the wait time.

Most South African banks use the SWIFT international transfer system to send and receive money to and from international banks, and this comes with its own set of limitations and fees.

To learn more about international wire transfers, MyBroadband spoke to several major South African banks.


Jean van Rooyen, head of retail pricing at Absa RBB, told MyBroadband that customers can make international payments through its NovoFX or Western Union app, allowing for faster and more convenient transfers.

“The global standard for international bank transfers is 2-5 days and most of our payments clear within two days,” van Rooyen said.

“The 2-5 day period for international transfers to bank accounts allows financial institutions and global and international time zones to efficiently manage payment flows, manage and mitigate risk, and allocate funds. “

Payments made at Absa branches can also be requested for same-day delivery, subject to exchange cut-off times.

Van Rooyen said the costs of international transfers depend on the amount sent.

“Customers using our digital platforms can expect to pay 0.55% of the payment amount with the maximum charge of R750 and minimum of R150. An additional electronic fee of R100 is levied on the transaction.

Factors influencing the price of transactions include exchange control and compliance regulations, foreign exchange transactions, and agreements with banks.

These also affect the processing time of the transaction.

“International wire transfers are processed during business hours. Public holidays in the destination country could cause processing delays,” added van Rooyen.

“Similarly, the destination country may be closed to business if it is in a different time zone, but the delay applies more to territories in the east than in the west.”


Standard Bank told MyBroadband that its international money transfers take at least two business days.

“International transfers take two business days as we are dependent on the receiving bank processing payments on time,” the bank said.

Standard Bank charges 0.50% of the transaction value with a minimum of R151 and maximum of R690.

Standard Bank also said bank arrangements and the need to transact foreign exchange add to that cost.

“The bank must maintain foreign currency accounts with agent banks to make foreign currency payments. There are also costs associated with using an international payment switch and trading foreign currencies.

“Standard Bank must also comply with local and international laws.”


FNB charges 0.55% for international payments, with a minimum of R160 and a maximum of R675.

Like overseas transfers through other local banks, these payments take at least two days to clear.

“A spot foreign exchange transaction is performed to exchange one currency for another where delivery of the money takes place two business days later,” said Anthony Grant, CEO of FNB Foreign Exchange.

“There are time zone differences of up to 12 hours and this period allows for the completion of document verification, fraud and exchange control processes,” he added.

Clients can also request same-day payment, for which FNB will do its best to process the transfer on the same business day.

The cost of payment is influenced by a number of factors, including regulatory hurdles and exchange fees.

“Foreign and correspondent banking fees, document verification, fraud and exchange controls all contribute to the cost of these transfers, with document verification processes impacting both cost and time” , Grant said.


Nedbank charges a 0.63% commission for sending money overseas, with a minimum charge of R170.48 and a maximum charge of R874.69.

The time required to complete these transactions and the cost of completing them are influenced by regulatory practices.

“For international bank accounts, various factors affect the processing time for an international transaction,” Nedbank said.

“Some of these factors may include: regulatory requirements, industry practices and risk-based internal processes.”


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