How do I receive money from overseas in South Africa?

Estimated read time 7 min read

Receiving money from overseas in South Africa can be confusing due to the hidden costs, perplexing banking protocols, and SARB requirements that comes along the way.

In this guide, we explain step-by-step how to receive money from overseas in South Africa, which costs go along with the process, and how to avoid them. Finally, we look at online money transfer platforms to see when and how they could be useful.

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Monito’s Recommendation
If you’re receiving payments from abroad in USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD, NZD, SGD, HUF or TRY, we recommend opening a free Wise Multi-Currency Account to receive bank accounts in all of these currencies (you’ll just need to share these details with the sender). You’ll then be able to use your online multi-currency account to swap the money into rands at excellent exchange rates and deposit it into your primary South African bank account.

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What You’ll Find in This Guide
How do I receive money from overseas in South Africa?
Receiving money through the bank
Receiving money through a third-party platform
Frequently asked questions about receiving money in South Africa
How To Receive Money From Overseas in South Africa
To receive an international SWIFT transfer in South Africa, you’ll first need to provide your sender overseas with your bank details. Although the nuts and bolts can differ slightly from bank to bank, you’ll always need to provide the following details to your sender in order for them to be able to instruct a payment into a South African bank account:

Your full name;
Your bank account number;
Your bank’s SWIFT/BIC code.
In addition to these, your sender also may also sometimes require additional information. This would most commonly be your branch code (as with a normal domestic EFT) although it could also include information such as your residential address, account type, branch or bank address, or the reason for the transfer.

In the end, the information your sender will need will depend on how fastidious their bank is: we therefore recommend providing them with the above three required details plus the optional branch code, just to be on the safe side.

Depending on their bank, your sender may also need to choose between ‘SHA,’ ‘BEN,’ and ‘OUR’ to make their payment. These are known as payment instructions, and they determine who (between the sender and the receiver — i.e. you) will pay the fees incurred by third-party banks and the beneficiary bank (i.e. your bank — more on these costs later). Here’s how it works:

SHA: Transfer costs are shared between the sender and beneficiary.
BEN: Transfer costs are borne by the beneficiary only.
OUR: Transfer costs are borne by the sender only.
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Avoid ‘BEN’ Payments
International wire transfers open the door to correspondent bank fees, which can be as high as R1,500 per transfer. When receiving an international payment, we recommend avoiding ‘BEN’ payments wherever possible. These instructions can open the door to third-party banks levying further fees from you long after the transfer has been sent.

Payment instructions are generally something you’re free to negotiate with your sender. However, keep in mind that if you have a contract with them, you might find this information there.

Finally, when your money’s on its way from overseas, your bank will contact you to complete a SARB Reporting Mandate Form. This is an obligatory step for all South African recipients of foreign exchange, requiring you to fill out a few personal details and declarations via an online form before the transaction is settled into your account.

How To Receive Money From Overseas Without a Bank Account
If you’d like to receive money from overseas in South Africa without a bank account, then you’ll need to select a pay-out method for your transfer that isn’t a bank deposit.

Two options widely used in South Africa are the following:

1 — Cash Pickup
One of the fastest, simplest, and cheapest ways to receive money from overseas without a bank account is by having your sender transfer your money to a cash pickup location to be collected in rand banknotes.

Although traditional remittance services such as MoneyGram and Western Union get the job done well, in our experience, these companies are often (but not always) more expensive than newer fintech companies specialising in cash pickup, including WorldRemit, Remitly, and Xoom.

We recommend sharing our real-time comparison engine with your sender to find the best deal to suit your needs when receiving a cash pickup. Before they transfer, they can compare money transfer services and select the ‘Transfer to a cash pickup location’ tab.

2 — Mobile Money
Rather than using a bank account, many South Africans handle some or all of their financial services using a mobile wallet.

In South Africa, the most popular mobile money wallet is MTN Mobile Money, which allows instant money transfers via the smartphone. These balances can then be used to pay bills, top-up airtime, make purchases using a QR code, and withdraw cash at MTN agent locations. Mobile money is an excellent way to receive money from abroad because of its low fees and quick transfer times, although fewer vendors accept mobile wallet payments than cash.

Using Your Bank To Receive Money From Overseas
Most major South African banks are licensed by the SARB to offer wire transfers to their customers. This means that both sending and receiving international payments is convenient and accessible, but also costly. The only notable exceptions are Capitec and Tymebank, which operate under restricted licenses and don’t offer forex services of their own.

Here are the costs and unique points of receiving international payments with each bank (bear in mind that you’ll only pay the full fees if your sender chooses ‘BEN’ as the payment instruction):

When receiving money from overseas in South Africa with FNB, you’ll be charged a commission and a flat fee on all inward international payments. If the payment is sent from abroad in rands (as opposed to a foreign currency), fees will be higher still. Inward transfers can be settled in your online banking, via the FNB call centre, or at a branch.


Cost: 0.55% (min. R195, max. R450) + R185

More info: See our guide to FNB international payments.

Receiving money from overseas in South Africa with Absa is slightly cheaper than with the other SA banks, although it’ll still charge a rather hefty commission. Inward transfers can be settled in your online banking or at an Absa branch, but not via the call centre.


Cost: 0.55% (min. R180, max. R800)

More info: See our guide to Absa international payments.

Standard Bank
When using Standard bank for receiving money from overseas in South Africa, you’ll be charged a fixed fee and commission. Inward transfers can be settled using your online banking or via the Standard Bank call centre, but not at a bank branch.


Cost: 0.43% (min. R153, max. R555) + R122

More info: See our guide to Standard Bank international payments.

Nedbank customers can receive payments from overseas. Inward transfers at Nedbank are accessible via online banking and at a bank branch.


Cost: 0.63% (min. R150, max. R747) + R102

More info: See our guide to Nedbank international payments.

Receiving money from overseas in South Africa with Capitec is a bit trickier than with other SA banks. This is because Capitec isn’t a fully licensed bank and currently doesn’t have the SARB licensing to deal with forex. As a result, inward payments are routed through Nedbank.


Cost: R50 (up to R1,000 received); R150 (over R1,000 received)

More info: See our guide to Capitec international payments.

Credit – Taken from – Receiving Money From Overseas in South Africa Explained (

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