In this section below you can find information about the cheapest and most convenient way to transfer large amounts of currency all over the world. For smaller transfer amounts (under R6, 000) please see the Money Transfer section.


Foreign Exchange

What is Foreign Exchange?

Foreign exchange is the conversion of one type of currency to another. The value of any particular currency is determined by a variety of aspects including political, economic and social events. Currency trading is also known as the FX market and is the world's largest financial market. The market is handled globally and is accessed by banks, corporations, foreign exchange dealers, brokers, travel currency companies and individual investors.

There is no central marketplace for the exchange of currency, but instead the trading is conducted electronically via sophisticated online platforms. This allows traders to choose from a number of different dealers to make trades with and allows for comparison of prices. Trading always takes place between two currencies, known as a 'currency pair'. The currency market is open 24 hours a days, 5 days a week.

What is a Foreign Exchange Service?

A foreign exchange service is a specialist or brokerage that provides foreign currency services for both private and corporate clients. They can help you get access to foreign currency, set up one off transfers or even regular transactions outside of South Africa. Foreign exchange brokers specialise in working with foreign currency so they can offer you the best exchange rates available as well as their expertise and support in currency exchange.

With the foreign exchange services listed on Which Way To Pay South Africa, all accounts are opened securely and within full financial regulations.

Can I use my regular Bank instead?

Yes of course. Most banks offer currency exchange services. However, they might not be able to offer you such competitive exchange rates because they have much larger overheads than brokers. You could also find that when using the banks you have to deal with additional fees and charges which can be expensive. You might also have to deal with lengthy application and transfer processes.

What is the Interbank Rate?

The interbank rate is the rate of interest that is charged on short term loans between large banking corporations. They borrow and lend to one another on the interbank market and use it for the trading of foreign currencies. This rate is only used by the banks and regular customers will not be able to access this rate. This is the rate you see when you view live currency charts and can be used as a benchmark.

However, the rate that individual customers receive is never exactly the same as the interbank rate. Most banks will take a commission of this rate to pay for their large overheads compared with foreign exchange brokers who will take little if no commission, depending on the amount you are exchanging.

What are the benefits of a Foreign Exchange Service?

Foreign exchange services are more specialised in currency exchange unlike many banks. They can offer far better rates because they have smaller overheads and are the most efficient way of transferring money to another country. With a foreign exchange service you can get an account specially geared to your individual needs which you can discuss beforehand.

Setting up an account and making transfers is a straightforward process which is fast and secure. You will be assigned a personal broker to your account who you contact to make your transfer request. Once a rate has been agreed upon, depending on your broker, the currency and its destination, the transfer will arrive instantly within a few working days. Please note that you will usually be required to provide some documentation before you can make transfers.

In most cases using a foreign exchange specialist is free of charge. You might be charged if the transfer amount is under a certain level but this will vary depending on what broker you use so be sure to research this in advance.

Corporate Foreign Exchange

Foreign exchange brokerages offer separate accounts that are much more focused towards corporate clients. Whatever your corporate foreign exchange needs, or the size or type of your company the expertise of a foreign exchange broker can provide a tailor made account that suits the individual requirements of your business. This means that you can be sure that your accounts are being dealt with an expert who knows exactly what your business needs are.

Corporate clients might require larger volumes of currency trade or carry out direct currency trade for investment purposes. A foreign exchange specialist can add to value to your business by offering rates that are better than your bank saving you money. They can also operate outside of banking hours offering you a more convenient service.


Please note that Which Way To Pay South Africa is not authorised to give personal financial advice under the South Africa financial regulations.

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