I am trying to figure out what is the best way to transfer money from Canada to South Africa. By best way I mean the cheapest way and of course the safest way for me. I have found a few weeks ago after some search on internet, a company named exchange4free. I had wanted to do a comparison of companies offering the same services and found the following ones worldremit.com, sendmoney.org.uk, and money-transfers.co.za. There is also the following one but they don't allow sending amount that are under 1000 CAD: canadianforex. I find difficult to do the comparison as it is difficult to state about the hidden fees, which company to trust and which is the best one regarding the fact that I seek the cheapest way to do the tansfer. That is why I post this message here hoping that people who are advanced in finacial would help me. Thank you.
You can go to any Canada Post office and ask for their money-transfer services (they use a company called Money-gram). You can see more details here: http://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/personal/productsservices/shop/moneygrams.jsf
At least to send money to Brazil and other south-american countries, it's the cheapest service I've found, and it's very reliable.
The "hidden" fees in any transfer are usually:
- transaction cost
- difference between the exchange rate you're offered and the optimal rate
- fees on the sending side to get the money to the transfer service (e.g. your bank's fee for a wire transfer)
- fees on the receiving end to get the money from the service (e.g. your bank's fee for receiving wire transfers)
Foreign exchange transfer services are usually the cheapest option for sending money abroad when a conversion is involved. They tend to offer ways to get the money to or from them cheaply or for free and they typically offer low or no fees plus much better exchange rates than the alternatives.
My preferred foreign exchange service is XE Trade. It looks like they support CAD to ZAR transfers so you might check them out. In my experience, they have not set a minimum on the amount I send although it does impact the exchange rate they will offer. The rate is still better than other alternatives available to me though.
Note that for large enough transfers, the exchange rate difference will dominate all other costs. For example, if you transfer $10,000 and you pay $100 for the transfer plus $50 in wire fees ($150 in fees) but get a 2% better exchange rate than a "free" service, you would save $50 by choosing the non free service.