Transferring money from South Africa to EUR

Hi all,

I have a South African account in ZAR and a German account in EUR. I need to send money on a regular basis back to Germany. What is the best and cheapest way for me?

Sending money from South Africa to an international account will involve some fees.

Has anyone experience using Revolut for this? Or is TransferWise better suited?

Thanks for the help!

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The Best solution is to open a Revolut account then activate your ZAR account in it.

After that you just have to do a ZAR SWIFT transfer ( you’ll have fees from your or the intermediary bank )

Then in Revolut you’ll be able to exchange your ZAR in EUR :slight_smile:

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Hi Mirron,

thanks for the quick reply. What does activate your ZAR account in it mean?
As far as I understand I have to open the Revolut account in Germany, correct? Or can I link two different accounts to it?

For transferring I have to transfer the ZAR amount to the European Revolut ZAR account via Swift. Then I can change to EUR, correct?

Well, that sounds relative cost intensive as I will still have to pay the high bank fees for international money transfers. Or am I wrong?

Thanks. S

Is Revolut available in South Africa (to open a new account from SA and get a Revolut card)?

No. It’s only for residents of the EU and Switzerland (I think, might be the EEA, not EU, but either way nobody outside of Europe)

Hi @stevento and @mirron ,

I’m researching the same… only difference is that I have a French bank account that I need to credit with EURO’s. I’m reviewing all sorts of options.

I talked through several options with Revolut Support and the following was concluded:

1a) Transferring SA Rand to the Revolut account (Lloyds) with a SWIFT “BEN” transfer, would induce all costs of the transfer to be borne by Lloyds. Revolut is a customer of Lloyds, but cannot disclose what these costs are because they “don’t know” what the intermediary banks charge. This is currently not an option.

1b) Lloyds UK opens a bank account at FNB SA and FNB SA opens a bank account at Lloyds UK and we enjoy fee-less transfer (see: by SWIFT.

I would be surprised if these two massive banks don’t already have these bank accounts at one anothers banks and just play “as if they don’t” and charge us anyway… There is unforunately no transparancy as to where (which intermediary banks) the costs are coming from, so they can just say whatever. Last but not least, as much as Revolut may want to reduce this, Revolut have little to no choice but to accept whatever they can negotiate Lloyds to agree on.

  1. Topping up with a non -EEU credit card, would involve “a small fee” (see: The Revolut support employee was not able to disclose what this fee is… but they did state that they would potentially charge more than the SWIFT charges… Which are also unknown.

3a) One interesting option may be to use Crypto… Tethered currencies could be a sollution (usdT). We have the instant transfers as we are used to with Crypto and the relatively stable tethered currency ( ). Downside is that we need to buy it from Rand and exchange it back to EURO’s… Not many companies actually offer this… and even if they do, they charge a surplus.

3b) Using Ripple of Bitcoin (or any other crypto currency) is a little too volatile for my liking… even more so than the Rand ;o) and we still have the issue that the companies offering the Fiat to Cyrpto and vice versa exchanges charge a surplus.

  1. Transferwise, nothing new to say here. This is obviously a very interesting option.

  2. Currencies Direct SA which charge 1% on top of the interbank rate, which is also an interesting option.

I would really appreciate it if Revolut would add ZAR (South African Rand) to their support… as it’s one of the most liquid emerging market currencies the world has at the moment! Tourism is booming there… and there are lots, and lots, and lots of European expats that are in the same situation as us.

I hope Revolut takes advantage of this situation in South African and brings the power back to the people and their funds, forcing the banks in South African to also innovate!

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In exactly the same boat. And have reviewed all the same options. It really sucks that it seems we have no easy and cheap way to do these transfers.

For now I’m just doing straight SWIFT from FNB to my French bank account. Seem to lose about 30 cents (just under 2%) on the exchange quoted and then have the R115 SWIFT fee and R160 FNB commission fee on top of that.

I went the crypto route when I first moved here. Tried my best to do all the conversions as quick as possible and just get it across before any fluctuations. Unfortunately literally 5mins after I made my first exchange (bought ETH on Luno to send to Kraken in europe) it lost over 10% of its value in one of its biggest instant drops I’ve seen. So that sucked. All in all, after trying it a couple times more, I lost way more on the crypto than I have on SWIFT.

On the crypto side, there’s no easy way for us to just jump into “tethered” cryptos. It always requires an exchange to ETH and BTC as far as I can see. And Luno has really high fees. South Africans just seem to get clobbered on these things.

This whole situation is kak.

Would jump onto Revolut in a second if they had a cheaper solution.

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This will always be an issue with South African transfers. Ideal solution would be for Revolut to open in South Africa or to partner with a bank that has a forex license. This will in my opinion never happen.

South Africa has pretty tight foreign currency exchange policy. Getting a full bank license with a forex license would not make economical sense. The only option, if you want to avoid high bank charges and get a better exchange rate is to make use of local forex brokers. (I used Peregrine in the past). In most of the cases this only makes sense, if your are transferring bigger amounts and it’s all “old” school. You need to register, with all the cr*p like ID, proof of residence etc. , send money from your South African bank account to the brokers account, they will probably call or email you to negotiate the rate and 3 days later the money will arrive in your EU bank account.

Strangely, transferring money from EU to South African Bank account is a mater of only hours sometimes.

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I’ve seen this a lot. I can send money to my friends in Mauritius and it at one point arrived in less than an hour. But when they send money to me it can take over a full week. Crazy.