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Bidvest Bank first in China and India

By Bidvest Bank
26-09-2011
Bidvest Bank today released the amazing news that it is the first bank in the world to launch a pre-paid travel currency card in Chinese Yuan and Indian Rupee.
“ It was a long, tough road with regulatory red tape.  This is a major milestone for Bidvest Bank and entrenches the bank both in South Africa and internationally in the high growth pre-paid travel currency card market,” says Alan Salomon, Managing Director of Bidvest Bank.

These 2 new travel cards follow closely on the recent release of the Israeli Shekel and Dubai Dirham cards.  The new world currency cards offer material cost savings for travellers to China, India, Israel and Dubai, as in the past travellers needed to carry to these destinations US dollar cash, US dollar Travellers cheques or their credit cards. Now Bidvest Bank offers a card that does it all in the currency of the Far East and Middle East countries being visited.

“Management has tested the cards extensively with the assistance of VISA.  The new cards performed extraordinarily well” says Neil Capazorio, Head of Bidvest Bank’s Card Division. 

South African travellers are believed to be the first worldwide to be offered card-based options in Chinese Yuan, Indian Rupee, Israeli Shekel and UAE Dirham (Dubai). Business and leisure travel to these 4 destinations is growing rapidly and have accordingly been targeted for some time by Bidvest Bank.

 Neil Capazorio notes: “We hold a leadership position in the currency card market in South Africa and already offer the South African traveller the widest range of pre-paid foreign currency cards.”

“The Chinese Yuan and Indian Rupee cards create further momentum in an area of strategic growth and reflect rising demand from the growing number of business and leisure travellers to China and India.

“We launched the Israeli Shekel and Dirham cards recently to strong uptake by travellers to Israel and Dubai and anticipate similarly strong demand for the Chinese Yuan and Indian Rupee cards.”

Capazorio attributes the growing popularity of world currency cards to security, ease of use and transparent conversion rate certainty as the card is loaded with destination currency upfront. This means the user is not affected by any rand weakness while overseas.  This is particularly evident during the past 6 weeks which has seen rand depreciation in excess of 20%.

The timing is coincidently excellent.  In the United Kingdom, Consumer Focus has made a “super-complaint” to the office of Fair Trading, claiming that complex charges and misleading information means consumers are paying too much to exchange currency.  Bidvest Bank’s World Currency cards addresses and provides customers with a transparent, cost effective solution to this problem. 

He adds: “These cards also offer several competitive advantages. Usage is highly cost effective as the consumer transacts at a fixed exchange rate without a point-of-sale transaction fee.”

“In the past, travellers to China, India, Israel and Dubai converted South African Rands into US Dollars, which in turn on arrival at their foreign destination, converted their dollars into either Chinese Yuan, Indian Rupee, Israeli Shekel or Dirham.  Accordingly there were 2 expensive currency conversions, instead of one transparent conversion in South Africa at source using the World Currency Card into the currency of your chosen destination.  Costs of converting dollars into other currencies at airports, bureau-de-change or hotels is particularly expensive,” says Capazorio.

“Furthermore, coverage is rapidly becoming universal. Card users can withdraw cash at over one million international ATMs.

“This is why many seasoned travellers now prefer world currency cards to cash, credit cards and travellers cheques.”

Bidvest Bank world currency cards can be obtained at any of the Bidvest bank’s 100 branches nationwide.

In addition to Indian rupees, Chinese Yuan, Israeli Shekels and Dirham, Bidvest Bank currency cards are also available in US dollars, British pounds, Euro, Australian dollars and Mauritian rupees.

”In the final analysis, looking at the world map, Bidvest Bank’s World Currency Cards cover all the largest travel destination countries.  China has constantly received our close attention to foreign exchange.  Importers can now make payments to Chinese suppliers in Chinese Yuan and therefore do not have to go through US dollars.  This leads to savings and many Chinese suppliers offer their customers discounts if pricing and foreign payments are in Yuan and not in dollars” says Salomon.