Are you wondering how to open a bank account in South Africa from Australia?
Think it’s not possible? Think again.
If you need to open a bank account in South Africa while living in Australia, it can be done! Read on to find out how to open a bank account in South Africa from Australia now.
Can I open a bank account in South Africa if I live in Australia?
Provided you have the required details and ID documents, all it takes is one short form, a couple of emails, and you can get your bank account in South Africa open in no time.
What kind of bank account can I open in South Africa if I live overseas?
Now this depends on your circumstances, but for most people who have not completed tax emigration, you will likely still be entitled to open what is called a resident account.
Now this does not mean you have to live in South Africa – it means that you have not changed your tax status at SARS to non-resident.
This is usually only done if you complete tax emigration, or if you deliberately choose to update your status at SARS. Simply moving overseas does not automatically change your tax status at SARS.
Can someone help me open a bank account in South Africa from overseas?
Yes – me!
I work for Rand Rescue, and we have years of experience and thousands of happy clients who have been reunited with their rands.
We use Capitec Business Bank (previously Mercantile) in South Africa as our bank of choice due to their fee-free accounts and excellent exchange rates when compared to the major SA banks (which can be +40c to over +80c!).
The bank accounts we open are trading accounts – they are not your usual accounts which give online access and the ability to set up direct debits and make internal transfers. They are basic accounts (hence the low fees) handled by our intermediary when transfers out need to be instructed.
We cannot help you set up an account which allows regular debits and internet banking – these account types are only available if you are physically present in South Africa with a South African proof of address and tax number.
How much does it cost to open a bank account in South Africa from overseas?
At Rand Rescue we charge a small service fee to open your bank account.
This is because there is admin work involved in liaising with you, the intermediary and the bank to get your account set up and approved.
The fee varies depending on whether you need an emigrant account or a resident account, so get in touch with me today to find out what your fee might be. Fees for opening a resident trading account usually start from $250.
As the rates change on a minute by minute basis, to find out what the current exchange rates are through Rand Rescue, you can email me now.
What documents do I need to provide?
We have a short (2 page) application form that you complete with your details.
Supporting documents required include a recent proof of address (in Australia if you live here now or South Africa if you are about to move) and your green barcode South African ID book or ID card.
You also need your South African tax number. Can’t remember what it was? As long as you had a tax number in South Africa at some point (if you were employed then chances are you did!), we can help you trace your tax number for you. Your tax number does not need to be active to open a bank account in South Africa, but it does need to be noted on your application form.
If you were never registered as a tax payer in South Africa (for example, if you left when you were a minor, or never worked in South Africa), then you can be registered as a tax payer to get a tax number – we can help with that too!
How long does it take to open a bank account in South Africa from Australia?
Once we receive your application form and supporting documents, you’ll get an email from DocuSign to complete the final part of the process within a few hours.
Once that’s completed by you, the account is usually open and active within 24 hours – easy as pie.
I even had one recent client account opened in less than 24 hours – so the more efficient you are, the quicker it can be done!
What happens once the account is open?
That depends on what you need the account for.
If you have cash sitting in another account to transfer to Australia, you would do an online transfer from your existing account to the new Capitec account, just like a normal transfer from one SA bank account to another.
If you want to get one-off or regular payments into your new account (for example from an employer or living annuity payments or a SARS refund), you would provide your new account details to the person or company paying you, and they would then be able to update your banking details and start paying funds into your new Capitec account.
If it’s for an inheritance payment, you would then provide your Capitec bank details to the executor of the estate, and they would pay your funds into the account when ready.
Once your funds arrive in your account, Rand Rescue will notify you of the incoming funds, and quote the current rate at the time for your approval. If you’re happy with the rate quoted, you give the go ahead and we book your transfer of funds from rands to dollars and then transfer your funds to your nominated Australian bank account, which will usually arrive within 3-4 working days (often less).
Are there any fees to transfer funds from South Africa to Australia?
Capitec Business Bank currently charges R250 per international transfer out of the account.
So each time you book a transfer from SA to Australia, a fee of R250 will be deducted and the balance of your funds (or the amount you specify) will be transferred to dollars.
What happens if I already financially emigrated from South Africa years ago but now need a bank account?
Prior to the change from financial emigration to tax emigration, you would have needed to transfer any funds using the blocked account opened as part of your financial emigration. So for example if you financially emigrated through ABSA, you would need to send all future funds you may acquire in South Africa, through the blocked ABSA account. No one else would be able to assist you except ABSA.
However, now that tax emigration has replaced financial emigration, that has effectively wiped the slate clean, and you are now able to open an emigrant account with any bank as long as you have evidence of your financial emigration and the supporting documents as outlined above.
An example could be that you financially emigrated back in 2010 through Standard Bank. In 2022, you inherit some funds from a relative but can’t get access to the blocked account with Standard Bank. Instead of giving up, you have the new option of providing your financial emigration documents, changing your tax status at SARS (a new requirement for tax emigration) and opening a new emigrant bank account through Rand Rescue and Capitec Business Bank.
If you have lost your proof of financial emigration though, you’ll need to complete the tax emigration process from scratch.
Now that you know it can be done – quickly, easily and cost-effectively! – get in touch with me today to get started with opening your South African bank account.
It could be open within hours and you could have your funds within a matter of days – so what are you waiting for?
I can’t wait to help reunite you with your rands!