With our extensive local and international network, Absa is your ideal partner. Whether you are travelling for business or leisure, moving abroad or relocating to South Africa, or sending or receiving money internationally - we will make your financial journey hassle free.

Take a look at what we offer

Quick, easy and  safe ways to send and receive money

Different ways to send and receive money

We offer you fast, convenient and safe ways to send money to or from South Africa with:

Western Union®
Electronic transfers (SWIFT)
Bank Draft

Fast and secure options

Whenever you need to send or receive money from overseas for business or personal reasons, we offer a selection of fast, reliable and secure options to make payments or receive funds.

Our solutions

Need to send or receive money? Depending on your specific needs and day-to-day cross-border payment and receipt requirements, you can choose either our person-to-person or bank-to-bank payment solutions.

  • Person-to-person

    Western Union

    Western Union, a person-to-person transfer service, is a fast, reliable and convenient way to send or receive money around the world. Through our digital channels (Absa Online and cellphone banking) you’ll have access to over 500 000 Western Union agents in 200 countries and territories.

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  • Bank-to-bank

    Electronic transfers (SWIFT)

    A SWIFT (bank-to-bank) transfer is a secure and reliable means of transferring funds to or from South Africa. Conduct a secure transfer of funds from your bank account to an account abroad. Absa uses the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) system. As the name suggests, this system is exclusively used by member banks.

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  • Bank drafts

    Bank drafts

    A bank draft is normally sent directly to the beneficiary overseas, and is therefore a more personal way of making a payment, since drafts can be accompanied by a letter, invoice or personal note.

    Drafts are useful for sending monetary gifts overseas and for the payment of foreign subscriptions. They can also be used for payments for your upcoming trip overseas.

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Whether you are coming to visit or staying for work, we have the right solution

Banking for non-residents

As a non-resident, visiting or
living in South Africa, we
can assist you with a full
range of services and
facilities – from international
money transfers to setting up
accounts and investments.

Easy to apply

Find out how you can apply for a
bank account in South Africa or
switch your accounts to Absa.

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What you need to know when you are in SA

As a non-resident either
visiting or living in South Africa
we have some tips for you
to keep your money safe.

Foreign exchange regulations

Find out more about how
foreign exchange regulations apply to
you when you are in SA.

Our solutions

We over valuable banking solutions
to assist you when travelling to South Africa
for holiday or working purposes.

  • Non-resident banking in South Africa

    What you need to know:

    We understand that, as a non-resident either visiting or living in South Africa, it can be difficult to navigate unfamiliar processes in a foreign country. We are dedicated to helping you in any way we can - from international money transfers to setting up transactional accounts and investments.

  • Benefits of non-resident banking

    Why open an account in SA?
    • A secure place for your money and banking that can serve your needs wherever you are in the world
    • A full range of services and facilities that you would expect from a major international bank
    • Peace of mind that your account is in a well-run, stable banking environment
    • Diversification of your banking portfolio
  • What do you need to apply

    You will need the following:
    • A fully completed “Letter of Authority in respect of Bank  containing the details of your existing bankers whom we may contact to verify your identity
    • Certified copy of your passport
    • A utility bill showing your name and current residential address
    • All relevant application forms

    Once you have filled out all the documentation and submitted it to us, we will review your application and, if successful, open your account.

  • What you need to know when in South Africa

    Tips for travelling safely in South Africa:
    • There are limits on the amount of currency you can bring into South Africa. For cash in South African rand (ZAR), the limit is R25,000. You should declare any amount higher than this on entry to South Africa.
    • Don’t change or withdraw large sums of money in busy public areas including foreign exchange facilities or ATMs.
    • Be aware of ATM theft - never be distracted by a stranger asking for assistance at an ATM.
    • Don’t give personal or financial account information details to anyone.
    • Protect any documents containing details of credit cards or bank accounts.
    • Always carry your identity documentation or a copy of your passport.
    • Keep photocopies of your credit and debit cards in a safe place.
    • Avoid wearing flashy, expensive watches and jewelry and carrying large amounts of cash in public areas.
    • Always travel with a cellphone. The emergency number to call for the police is 10111.
  • How foreign exchange regulations will apply to you in SA

    What you need to know

    As a non-resident visiting South Africa, your account will have certain restrictions.  All deposits made into your account, from local sources, will only be made available once you have provided supporting documentation validating the source of funds and exchange control requirements.

Peace of mind when travelling from South Africa

Here are our solutions to help you get started

Travelling from South Africa for holiday or business? Emigrating? At Absa we offer you a variety of solutions to help make your journey enjoyable and hassle free.

  • Prepaid travel card

    Multi-Currency Cash Passport

    An Absa Multi-Currency Cash Passport is a card preloaded with foreign currency and is a safe, easy and convenient way to take your spending money overseas. It can be preloaded with up to four currencies on a single card.

    Available currencies:

    United States dollars - US dollars (USD)

    Great British pounds - GB pounds (GBP)

    Euros - euros (EUR)

    Australian dollars - AU dollars (AUD)

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  • Foreign bank notes

    Get foreign currency

    We can supply you with most of the world’s major currencies and we can order currency for you, should we not have the currency at our counters.

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  • Foreign ATMs

    Withdraw cash internationally

    Absa was the first South African bank that joined the Global ATM Alliance and it allows our customers to use their debit cards to withdraw cash from any of our alliance partners’ ATMs at a reduced rate across the world.

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  • Travel insurance

    Get covered

    With cover for almost everything, from a cancelled flight or lost suitcase to unexpected illness, Absa Travel Insurance lets you relax and enjoy your journey.

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  • Travel tips

    Safety tips:
    • When planning your holiday, ensure that your passport is valid for 6 months after your return date.
    • If you require a visa, make sure you apply in good time as the process at certain embassies can take a very long time.
    • Remember to make copies of your passport, all flight/travel documents, bank cards and the purchase agreement for traveller's cheques in case of loss, theft or emergencies.
    • Give your itinerary and contact numbers to family - just in case.
    • Check the weather forecast for your destination before departure as temperatures and weather conditions may differ.
    • When buying travel tickets with your Absa Credit Card, you automatically qualify for free basic Travel Insurance, but you can get a free quote to upgrade your insurance online or alternatively call us on 0860 151 151.
    • When packing, remember that there are airline restrictions on hand luggage and the size of toiletries allowed on board.
  • Forex information

    Exchange rates

    When looking at exchange rates, keep the following in mind:

    • Exchange rates change many times per day.
    • Due to fluctuations, rates quoted on radio and television will probably not be the rates that you will receive.
    • There is a difference between a ‘buy’ and a ‘sell’ rate; different products are also sold at different rates.
    • All financial institutions offer different rates - speak to us for a competitive rate.
    • You could buy or sell your currency on different days so you get the benefit of different exchange rates.
  • Emigrating?

    How we can assist you

    South African residents who are taking up permanent residence outside the Common Monetary Area (South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland) are regarded as emigrants. Absa can assist by ensuring the correct completion of all formalities with the complicated emigration regulations.

    Exchange control regulations:

    For exchange control purposes your South African bank account becomes subject to regulatory restrictions.

    Your emigration should be formalised through one of our foreign exchange branches as follows:

    • Complete a Form M.P.336(b) - Emigration: Application for foreign capital allowance. The form is available from the South African Reserve Bank website www.resbank.co.za
    • Obtain an Emigration Tax Clearance Certificate (IT21 (a)) from the South African Revenue Service (SARS). Submit the Form M.P.336(b) and the Tax Clearance Certificate, if applicable, to one of our dedicated foreign exchange branches.
    • You will also have to submit any other documentation as required on the Form M.P.336(b), which includes a copy of the permanent residence permit, if you have been granted permanent residence abroad.


Our travel checklist

Travelling overseas and need to know a bit more about forex before you go?
  • The South African Reserve Bank sets an annual amount that adults, children and business representatives may take overseas. As the rules and limits change from time to time, please ask us about the latest allowances.
  • In terms of current South African exchange control regulations, you may not be given your foreign exchange more than 60 days before you leave.
  • You will only be given your travel allowance if you have a valid passenger ticket, e-ticket or electronic flight voucher in your name.
  • We can also provide you with foreign exchange for overland travel.
  • By law you must cash in your foreign exchange on returning to South Africa.
How does forex work?

As an authorised dealer in foreign exchange, Absa complies with the South African exchange control regulations.

As a South African resident over the age of 18, you are permitted a single discretionary allowance (for the purpose of travel allowance, monetary gifts, donations to missionaries, study allowances and maintenance payments) of R1 000 000 per calendar year.

As a South African resident under the age of 18, your discretionary allowance is limited to R200 000 per calendar year.

  • In addition to the discretionary allowance, you may take R25 000 in cash out of the country for use upon your return to South Africa.
  • These limits differ for businesses and must be applied for once a year.
  • When buying foreign exchange, you are required to present your valid passport, and return ticket, as well as proof of residence if you are not an Absa account holder.
  • You may not be given your foreign exchange more than 60 days before you leave.
  • You are not allowed to purchase foreign currency when travelling to countries in the Common Monetary Area, i.e., Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia.

Prosper with a foreign currency investment account managed by Absa

Our solution to diversify your investment portfolio

With Absa you can open a Foreign Currency Investment Account in various currencies to protect you against currency fluctuations.

Why a foreign currency investment account?


  • It acts as a hedge against adverse fluctuations in foreign currency.
  • It is a savvy way to diversify your investment portfolio.
  • The investment account is managed by Absa on your behalf.
  • Absa manages the account on your behalf.
What do I need to apply?

You will need the following:

  • Your official South African identity document.
  • Your tax number
What do I need to know?

Please keep the following in mind:

  • Foreign currency investment accounts are governed by South African exchange control rules and Regulations.
  • As the exchange rates fluctuate on a daily basis, the rand equivalent of the foreign currency amount deposited in the account can’t be guaranteed.

Need more help?

Let one of our consultants assist you.

Call us on:

0860 151 151

Email us at:

Contact us to find your nearest foreign exchange branch.