What’s better when it comes to forex - cash or card?


Buying foreign exchange ahead of a trip can get very complicated, so we’ve tried to detail why each form of forex is useful, but also how to determine what is best for your individual needs ahead of that overseas holiday or business trip…


Using cash when travelling
While we live in a world fueled by technology, there are still some items that you are inevitably going to need cash for when you travel. Whether it’s buying a coffee in the airport when you land or buying a subway ticket, you’ll need a small amount of cash to get you started on arrival.

When it comes to carrying cash, we always recommend working out a small amount of cash to get you started (depending on basic travel costs), and then drawing money thereafter as and when you need it.

What’s better when it comes to forex - cash or card?

Remember, when you travel, cashiers will often refuse to accept large denominations on bills, so it really is best to ask for small bills when you order your forex. Also remember that forex needs to be ordered a few days in advance, but less than 60 days prior to travel, and you’ll need a valid passport and plane ticket to collect your cash.

Remember, with Bidvest Bank, you can calculate and order your forex online.

Using credit cards when travelling
The temptation to just use your credit card when travelling is understandable. It’s a card you already have access to and all you need to do is let your bank know you’ll be using it outside South African borders. But, have you considered how this can affect currency conversion fees and what you’ll be paying on exchange?

Your credit card may be easier, but when you use your card overseas, you’re paying the rate of exchange at that exact moment.

With exchange rate fluctuation and the rising cost of forex, consider using a Bidvest Bank Mastercard® World Currency Card™ while travelling in order to decrease the risk of paying more on currency exchange than necessary. If you buy your forex ahead of your trip, you won’t be susceptible to the changing exchange rate and suddenly paying more for less!

One thing to look out for when using the Bidvest Bank Mastercard® World Currency Card™ overseas is to reject or decline the option to ‘convert to your home currency’, as this adds an additional layer of fees through a double conversion of exchange.


Remember, Bidvest Bank offers a multi-currency Mastercard® World Currency Card™, which is one of the safest and most cost effective ways of accessing different currency purses while you travel abroad – no matter where you go. There are 17 currencies available on the multi-currency Bidvest Bank Mastercard® World Currency Card™ and a host of travel-friendly benefits.

So while the answer isn’t simple, cash or card, it is best to use a combination of cash and the Bidvest Bank Mastercard® World Currency Card™ when you travel…

Normal exchange control rules apply