Navigating International Payments: How to Choose the Best Foreign Exchange Provider in South Africa

If you’re looking to make an international payment from South Africa by exchanging rands (ZAR) into prominent foreign currencies like dollars (USD), or receive funds from abroad, how do you ensure that you’re receiving the best rate for your currency exchange?

The answer lies in identifying a foreign exchange provider that puts its clients first through the excellent service it offers. We’ll break down how service relates to getting the best forex rates further down below, but by extension to pricing, one aspect of personalised service entails a transparent approach to how fees are charged.

Are banks really the best choice for your international payment?

While traditional banks in South Africa do offer foreign exchange services, they might not be the best partner for your money transfer. It’s a fact that many of their clients wanting to send money overseas feel overcharged and underserved.

The proof of this is that when contacting your bank regarding currency exchange, you’ll reach a call centre and invariably be put on hold, being passed from one representative to another before reaching your designated bank employee – who then might be out on a tea or lunch break. For your international money transfer, it’s inevitable that you will also need to physically visit the bank, standing in a queue and then fill out swathes of paperwork. Some banks do offer forex services on their mobile apps, but this feature is often hidden many layers deep within the user interface and will still ultimately culminate in having to physically visit the branch. Is this really good service?

The reality is, nobody wants to be just a number in a system, nobody wants to stand in queues and waste valuable time in their day, and nobody deserves a general lack of support. The need for a client-centric approach in the foreign exchange sector has never been more evident.

Why the personal touch matters

This is why you want to find a provider who is more of a currency exchange partner. Be on the lookout for one is who fully dedicated to client satisfaction by pairing each client with a dedicated account manager, a specialist who intimately understands the nuances of exchange rates, as well as comprehending the ins and outs of every client’s specific use case and the industry they’re operating in – ideally just a phone call, email or WhatsApp away. They’re always available and passionate about ensuring your forex transaction is done as efficiently as possible..

Having your own account manager means that they’re not just there to process; they’re there to assist, educate, and ensure efficiency at every step for your currency conversion. They will be able to guide you through your entire forex journey, from hand-holding during the onboarding process and educating you along the way, even with certain regulatory aspects such as AITs (Approval of International Transfer) for those wishing to send amounts over R1 million overseas, or completing the Reserve Bank’s mandatory BOP (Balance of Payment) forms on your behalf. No standing in queues, no being put on hold or jumping through hoops. A personal touch ensures no more queues or impersonal call centre.

How pricing in foreign exchange relates to service

You’re probably wondering by now how pricing falls into the picture. Here’s the surprising revelation: it’s actually possible to find a premium, more personalised partner for your currency conversion and still get better rates than what the banks offer. This all boils down to transparent pricing – a key aspect to be aware of when getting quoted for your international money transfer. Transparency in this case relates to that foreign exchange provider being completely open about what costs are involved, which banks are typically not.

For example, when converting ZAR into USD, a bank wouldn’t be upfront about the exchange rate margin, or ‘spread’, which is a percentage cost applied to every ZAR converted to USD by means of providing an unfavourable exchange rate on the conversion. This is the biggest cost factor which a client incurs for foreign currency exchange. Instead, banks will rather be selectively open about processing and commission fees, usually insignificant nominal amounts, and not disclose their far heftier spread fees. They make large sums on each transaction using this tactic, often charging inconsistent and exorbitant amounts baked into their process and hidden from their client.

With this in mind, it’s actually possible to save significantly on each transaction, whilst receiving impeccable service. Bespoke foreign exchange service providers are the future, which is why finding a partner like Future Forex is critical for your business success. It’s essential to prioritise personalised service and along with that, transparent pricing.

Have you received bad service from a bank with your foreign currency exchange? Look no further than Future Forex. With over 59 000 successful money transfers and over R15 billion processed*, our aim is to ensure your international payment journey is as seamless as it is successful. We’re here to partner with you for your international payment.

Get in touch with us and a forex specialist from our team will be in touch with you shortly.

*Accurate at the time of writing

Articles > Navigating International Payments: How to Choose the Best Foreign Exchange Provider in South Africa
Return to Articles
Return to FAQ
Return to FAQ