1. Why use currency partners and not my bank?
Price. By passing on our discounted wholesale exchange rates direct from the Treasury with our multiple banking partners, we save you money on your transfers. Typically we save clients between 1% – 3% on the retail rates with from the banks, which translates into a saving of between R10,000 – R30,000 per R1million.
“Best Price” Guarantee. We will beat any live comparative exchange rate quote so you are always assured of the best price.
Independence. Currency Partners is a truly independent currency service provider. We have multiple banking partners to ensure you always get the best pricing and we are not affiliated to any other businesses by way of shareholding or association, so there is never a conflict of interest with our Affiliate Currency Partners or Clients.
Service. We offer a friendly and personal service right from registration with our Client Services team through to getting live quotes and booking your rates with your personal FX Dealer. We take the hassle out of the exchange control process and complete all the forms for you. We do not use call centers, which means you can always ask to speak to the same person and build a relationship with your personal FX Dealer for all your currency requirements.
See the other benefits of using our services below.
2. What are the other benefits of your service?
Transparency. We pride ourselves on being totally transparent with our fees. There are no “hidden” charges and zero commissions. Our exchange rates are all inclusive and the rate we quote is what you pay.
Consistency. Our margins and pricing is consistent so you have peace of mind that you are always getting the same terms and don’t need to reference the market.
Confidentiality. We respect that your client details and transactional data are strictly private and confidential and we keep it that way. We do not share your details with any third parties.
Speed. Our Client Services team operates a 1-hour service level turnaround time. This means that we will always respond to your requests and queries within the hour to answer your questions, send you completed currency forms, settlement account details, live quotes, Client Trade Confirmations etc. Onward payment of your foreign currency is completed either on T+1 or T+2 terms, so 1 to 2 business days after you secure your live exchange rate with our Dealing Desk.
3. Is My Money Safe?
We operate segregated individual personal settlement accounts for our clients to fund their purchase of currency. This means that the account is held in your own name and that your funds are ring-fenced for you and separate from our business or other client monies. We are also authorised by the FSB as a Financial Services Provider (No. 35134) with SARB approval (No. 1431).
4. What Does It Cost?
We quote off live exchange rates that constantly move with the market, so when we quote you a rate, we can hold this for a short period of time, but may need to re-quote you after that due to market volatility. That live exchange rate we quote is the price you pay.
5. How Do I Know I'm Getting The Best Price?
Speak to our Dealing Desk or your personal FX Dealer who can assist you with a live rate comparison. Due to market volatility, it is imperative that any price comparisons are done simultaneously and in real time to so as to compare like-with-like.
6. How Do We Make Money?
We make money on the difference in price between what we buy your foreign currency at direct from the Treasury with our banking partners and the discounted wholesale exchange rates that we offer and sell you the foreign currency at. At the same time, we save you money with the discount on the retail rates from the banks. We can do this by bulking up our volumes and acting a “wholesaler” of currency with preferential pricing terms which our clients do not have access to at the banks.
7. What Is A Settlement Account?
This is the bank account you transfer your money into to fund your purchase of currency. Our settlement accounts are segregated client accounts and depending on which currency you wish to sell, we will provide you with the relevant currency settlement account bank details at our banking partners for you to transfer the currency you wish to sell into.
8. Can I Give You Cash or Can You Give Me Cash?
Unfortunately we cannot deal in cash and operate a settlement only service that requires funds to be transferred from one bank account to another. This is for AML compliance reasons.
9. Are There Any Minimum Amounts?
No, but we have certain minimum requirements with our banking partners, so smaller transaction amounts may attract higher fees to cover bank charges.
10. Are There Any Country or Currency Restrictions?
Yes. Certain countries are regarded as high-risk money laundering destinations and on a country sanctions list that our banking partners are unable or unwilling to assist with. While we are able to assist with most currencies, our banking partners are unable to provide us with liquidity for certain exotic currency pairs. Please contact us for more information if you are unsure of whether we can assist you with a certain country or currency.
11. What Is Excon and What are SARB Applications?
Excon is an abbreviation of “Exchange Control” and certain forex transactions require approval from the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). Only SARB Authorised Dealers in Foreign Exchange are allowed to make applications to the Reserve Bank. We are able to call on the excon teams with our banking partners for assistance with any SARB approval applications on behalf of our clients.
12. What about Licensing and Regulations?
As an intermediary service provider, we are required to conduct all South African exchange control transactions through our banking partners who are recognized by the Reserve Bank as Authorised Dealers in Foreign Exchange.
Currency Partners is itself authorised by the FSB as a Financial Services Provider (No. 35134) with SARB approval (No.1431).
Furthermore, we are also required to comply with Anti Money Laundering (AML) Regulations and hold an Exemption 4 in respect of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) requirements.
13. When Can I Expect My Purchased Foreign Currency?
The Foreign Currency you have purchased is paid away on the “Value Date” which is usually 2 working days after the Trade Date (T+2) on which you secure your exchange rate. It may take another 1 to 2 working days for the funds to clear into your Beneficiary Bank account as it depends on how quickly the receiving beneficiary bank processes and allocates our onward payment.
14. What Is A Swift Confirmation?
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) is an electronic payment method used to switch money between banks and currencies. It is the most common form of transferring money across the world. A SWIFT confirmation is a message that confirms the details of your transaction. We will send you your SWIFT confirmation as soon as your onward payment of the foreign currency has been completed which is usually two days after you have secured your exchange rate (T+2).
15. What Is A BOP Form?
A Balance of Payments (BOP) form is used by Authorised Dealers (Banks) to record foreign exchange flows and transactions for the SARB under South African Exchange Control. We complete these forms for our clients as part of the value added end-to-end service we offer.
16. What Is The Ask Price?
This is the price at which the market is willing to sell a currency at and appears to the right of the forex quote. Importers look at the ask price to exchange ZAR to foreign currency. The cost of trading currency as an importer will be the quoted exchange rate minus the ask price.
17. What Is The Bid Price?
This is the price at which the market is willing to buy a currency at and appears to the left of the forex quote. Exporters look at the bid rate to exchange foreign currency to ZAR. The cost of trading currency as an exporter is the bid price minus the quoted exchange rate.
18. What Is The Bid Ask / Spread?
A bid/ask spread is the amount by which the ask price exceeds the bid price. It is the difference in price between the highest price that a buyer is willing to pay and the lowest price for which a seller is willing to sell. For example, if the bid price for USDZAR is 11.8669 and the ask price 11.8754, the bid/ask spread is 0.0085.
19. What Is The Inter-Bank Rate?
This is the exchange rate that banks quote one another and reflect spreads derived from direct access to interbank liquidity. Businesses and the public do not usually have access to these exchange rateprices.
20. What Does “FX” or Forex Stand For?
Both are an abbreviation of the term “Foreign Exchange”.
21. What is A Spot Rate?
A spot rate is the current exchange rate at which currency can be bought or sold now for immediate delivery.
22. What Is A Forward Rate or FEC?
A forward rate is the exchange rate quoted and traded today for delivery and payment at some future date, known as the maturity date. This is known as a Forward Exchange Contract or FEC. This is calculated with reference to the interest rate differential and is not a prediction of where the spot foreign exchange rate is likely to be on the future date.
23. What Is a PIP?
A pip is the smallest price change in the exchange rate of a currency pair. Currency pairs are usually priced to four decimal places and the smallest change is that of the last decimal point. For most pairs this is the equivalent of 1/100 of one percent, or one basis point.
24. What Is A Interest Rate Differential?
The difference between the interest rates of the two currencies involved in a forward contract
25. Who Qualifies for the SA Reserve Bank Allowances
SA RESIDENT REGISTERED TAXPAYERS. If you are a South African resident with a green bar coded ID book and have a SA Income Tax number, you can utilise your annual individual offshore allowances of up to R11 million (R10 million foreign capital allowance and R1 million single discretionary allowance) per calendar year (1 Jan to 31 Dec) to externalise Rands for investment or other purposes eg. Purchasing a property. For transactions under your annual R10 million Foreign Capital Allowance, you will need to apply for a Foreign Tax Clearance Certificate (FTCC) from the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
26. Do I Need a SARS Foreign Tax Clearance Certificate?
IT DEPENDS. SA residents wishing to externalise Rands under their annual discretionary allowance of up to R1 million per calendar year do not need to obtain foreign tax clearance from SARS. The discretionary allowance can be used for any legal purpose abroad and should include any travel spend from South Africa in foreign currency eg. Credit Card expenditure whilst travelling in a foreign country.
As of 1 April, SA Resident registered taxpayers can also utilise their annual foreign capital allowance of up to R10 million per calendar year (1 Jan to 31 Dec) subject to obtaining foreign tax clearance from SARS.
For applications up to R10 million, a Foreign Tax Clearance Certificate is required from SARS (typically issued within 1-3 working days). A foreign tax clearance certificate is valid for a period of 12 months from date of issue and once expired or fully utilised, you will need to apply for a new foreign tax clearance certificate.
Applications for amounts greater than R10 million require a “Letter of Compliance” from SARS and a special approval application to be made with the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) for permission to externalise the additional funds in excess of the Foreign Capital Allowance. This application is handled by he Compliance Risk Unit at SARS and typically takes a couple of weeks. You may be required to submit additional supporting documentation, requested by SARS, in support of the application There is no limit on the size of these applications for individuals, no penalty or exit levy payable and no restriction on the number of such applications a SA Resident can make to the SARB.
27. How Long Will It Take to Get a Foreign Tax Clearance Certificate from SARS
USUALLY 1-3 WORKING DAYS. A Foreign Tax Clearance Certificate (FTCC) application for amounts up to R10 million under the new Foreign Capital Allowances typically takes 1-3 days to be approved or declined from the date of submission at any SARS office.
Applications for a “Letter of Compliance” for amounts greater than R10 million under the Foreign Capital Allowance are subject to a special review process by a Client Analyst from the Compliance Risk Unit at SARS who may request additional supporting information and documentation for the application. This process typically takes a couple of weeks (4-10 weeks).
28. What Is The Maximum Amount I Can Transfer Offshore?
THERE IS NO MAXIMUM AMOUNT. Under your annual allowances, you can externalise up to R11 million (R10 million foreign capital allowance and R1 million single discretionary allowance) per calendar (1 Jan to 31 Dec) from South Africa, without special approval from the SARB. It is also possible to transfer amounts greater than this subject to a special approval application with the SARB. There is no limit to the value of these special approval applications.
29. Do I Have To Transfer The Full Amount At Once?
NO. You can draw down on your Foreign Tax Clearance Certificate as often as you like provided you still have a balance available to you on the certificate and it has not yet expired.
30. How Frequent Are The Allowances?
PER CALENDAR YEAR. The allowances are granted per calendar year on 1 January and expire on 31 December without any carry-forward on any un-used balances. Every SA Resident registered taxpayer will receive new annual allowances on 1 January for the new calendar year.
31. Can I Borrow Funds From Another South African Resident?
YES. You can borrow funds from another SA Resident provided this is not viewed as a scheme of arrangement to bypass exchange control restrictions. As such, the SARB does not permit an individual to transfer money to another SA Resident offshore. It is generally permissible to borrow funds from another family member (such as a parent or spouse) or even a family Trust. There is no donations/gift tax between spouses.