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How To Open A Bank Account In South Africa from Australia

Are you wondering how to open a bank account in South Africa from Australia?

If you need to open a bank account in South Africa while living in Australia, it can be done!

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.

Can someone help me open a bank account in South Africa from overseas?

Yes – Rand Rescue! We have over a decade of experience helping South Africans in Australia and thousands of happy clients around the world who have been reunited with their rands.

We use Mercantile Bank 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!).

How much does it cost to open a bank account in South Africa from overseas?

The best things in life are free – and so is opening a bank account through Rand Rescue!

We don’t charge any fees to open your bank account in South Africa. How good is that?

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 Reeva 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 South African ID book or 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 bank 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 Mercantile 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 Mercantile account.

If it’s for an inheritance payment, you would then provide your Mercantile 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?

Mercantile 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 a normal transactional account with any bank as long as you have your SA tax number and supporting ID 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 remember your blocked bank account details and can’t find your financial emigration documents. Instead of going back to Standard Bank and asking them to trace your financial emigration documents and blocked account (this can take months – sometimes years!), you can simply open a new bank account through Rand Rescue and Mercantile Bank.

Much easier and quicker!

Now that you know it can be done – quickly, easily and cost-effectively! – get in touch with Rand Rescue now and 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?

Read some of our happy client testimonials here if you still aren’t sure or email Reeva Cutting, our Australian Business Development Manager with any questions you might have.

We can’t wait to help reunite you with your Rands!

Reeva has been with Rand Rescue as the Business Development Manager for Australia since 2016. Her background includes working in mortgages and insurance in the UK, before moving into digital marketing after migrating to Australia in 2013. Based in Perth, Reeva also runs Proudly South African In Perth, a website that aims to help people move to, settle in, and explore Australia. As someone who has moved internationally three times, she knows how stressful the process can be. As part of the Rand Rescue team, she enjoys being able to help people transfer their Rands to Australia to help secure their financial future.