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Carrying money around S.A.

Singapore
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6 posts
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Carrying money around S.A.

Hi,

Will be in South Africa for 2 weeks in Jan '12.

Am wondering if there is any way to avoid carrying enough money for meals, gas, etc etc for the entire 2 weeks. Since that can be quite substantial, and I don't feel safe carrying a lot of money around.

Any advice/tips appreciated, thanks!!

Johannesburg
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1. Re: Carrying money around S.A.

I used my credit card / debit card for all those types of purchases. You can also draw money from your cards at ATMs so that you can withdraw smaller amounts

Singapore
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2. Re: Carrying money around S.A.

Thanks Brett!

I understand the bank gives us very unfavourable exchange rates for these 2 types of transactions. Any idea which is the lesser of the 2 evils? :)

Cape Town
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3. Re: Carrying money around S.A.

Are you sure about that?

Singapore has a sophisticated Banking and Financial system comparable with most of the world. Why are costs higher there?

Merchants in South Africa charge nothing for Credit Card use and South African Banks make no charges for Foreign ATM withdrawals.

Visa or Mastercharge worldwide have a standard fee of around 0.6% to actually do the Foreign Exchange between all major currencies.

All additional costs are down to your local bank. I just checked on the web and found the following article comparing Foreign Credit Card charges for Singapore Banks :

singwealth.com/portal/index.php/credit-cards…

This shows that charges are between 1.5 and 2.5 percent.

This means that for many Singapore Banks the total cost will be between 2 and 3 percent. This is similar to Cards from UK, USA or Europe although there are a few UK and US banks which give better deals.

Compare this to changing Singapre Dollars in and Bank or Foreigb Excahnge and the total cost will be around 4-6 percent. Changing in a hotel will cost even more.

Just bring your cards and as Brett says use them for everything.!

One tip keep the Debit(ATM) Card separate from the Credit Card. Then if you loose one the other can be still used for both purposes (withdrawing cash on a Credit Card usually costs you extra).

As Brett says Credfit Cards are accepted everywhere in SA by virtually all restaurants, hotels, supermarkets and stores. For Petrol, Garages sometimes will not accept them but they will habe an ATM for you to withdraw cash.

ATMs are everywhere, Banks, High Streets, Shopping Malls, Airports etc. Use the ones from the Main Banks. There are a few "private" ATMs in places like Liquor Stores and Casinos which actually make a charge.

Edited: 03 November 2011, 09:14
Singapore
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4. Re: Carrying money around S.A.

Wow thanks for the useful advice vdc appreciate it. Always nice to have the forum big guns like yourself providing input

I just thought that 2.5% can still be a significant amount (every penny counts) But I guess I agree perhaps that's the price to pay for convenience n the not having to worry about carrying too much cash around and esp since there are no alternatives

Cape Town
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10,097 posts
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5. Re: Carrying money around S.A.

Sorry this is not a price. Changing cash is going to cost you MORE. As I said usually 4-6 percent against spot interbank rate.

Would probably be similar cost if you buy Rand in Singapore before you come. However you are only allowed to bring R5,000 in SA Cash into the country - equivalent about S$780. You can bring unlimited foriegn cash but then, as I say, it will cost a lot to change it.

Cards are nearly always cheaper, much more convenient and safer!

Edited: 03 November 2011, 10:35
Cape Town
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6. Re: Carrying money around S.A.

VDC's useful comments need no addition but I would like to add that in general, don't be too scared carrying cash around in South Africa. You will be able to use a credit or debit card at many places (restaurants, accos, etc) but it is always good to have plenty of cash on you for smaller purchases. Carrying money is safe in most places you will travel. I don't suggest walking around with wads and wads of cash but also try to avoid having no cash on you. You should have no problem finding an ATM anywhere. Practically all ATMs will accept foreign cards with no problem, regardless of what bank you use.

Maybe these comments are redundant but best to keep it in mind.

Cheers,

Ronald

ZippingZebra

Iowa
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7. Re: Carrying money around S.A.

Something to also keep in mind that we have run into in the past is to notify your credit card company ahead of time of your travel, so they do not freeze your card for suspicious activity. A complication you just don't need on vacation....trust me!

nyc
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8. Re: Carrying money around S.A.

Not knowing your spending habits, but as Credit Cards are accepted most places and ATMs are readily available for local currency, you should be carrying around any more 'cash' than you would at home. Likewise, no need to withdraw from ATM daily, rather sufficient funds to get you thru 5-7/days.

And, as mentioned above... do ascertain what fees your home bank charges (if they do) for withdrawals from foreign ATMs, as those in SA won't assess a fee. And, the ATM provides you with the best exchange rate.

Do let your home bank/s know of your travel - where, dates leaving and returning (do give an extra day just in case of flight delays).

9. Re: Carrying money around S.A.

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