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The best way to exchange currency

By Bidvest Bank
14-06-2011
There was a time when travellers’ cheques were a common means of spending money in foreign countries as they offered greater security than cash. However, poor currency exchange rates, agency fees and administrative hassles have made travellers’ cheques less popular than in the past.

Nowadays, travellers rely predominantly on credit cards and ATM withdrawals to spend money in foreign countries. Credit cards provide a high level of security in the event of theft or loss, and money is exchanged at inter-bank – or prime lending – exchange rates. However, many restaurants, stores and hotels will not accept foreign credit cards, or certain bank fees may apply to the card holders’ purchases.

One of the most important steps to take prior to travelling is to know which transfer option suits you best. Bidvest Bank has a comprehensive range of travel forex products that encapsulates travellers’ spending needs. Locate a Bidvest Bank branch in your area to discuss how to safely and profitably exchange currency overseas.

Exchange currency: the pros and cons of foreign money transfer

Currently, methods of foreign currency exchange include cash, credit cards, debit cards and travellers’ cheques. These transfer types are designed to allow travellers to exchange currency favourably without amassing bank fees or hassling over transfer fees during their travels. The following products are offered by Bidvest Bank:

  • Bank note exchange: It’s always a good idea to exchange some money prior to departure as long-distance flights tend to arrive early in the morning or late at night when banks are closed. Having a small amount of Euros, Pounds or US Dollars or other currency in your pocket allows for easy transport, the purchase of snacks and communication in an emergency. Transfer Rands into foreign bank notes ranging from 60 currencies and request exotic notes simply by contacting your local Bidvest Bank consultant.
  • World currency cards: Place your travel funds in pre-paid bank cards and enjoy access to your funds in the local currency of your travel destination via ATMs. Because the card is pre-loaded with funds, it ensures that you don’t overspend, and you don’t have to carry cash in foreign places. The exchange rate is fixed at the time the currency is loaded on to the card, so you avoid fluctuations in the forex market.
  • Cash passport cards: These are ATM debit cards that can be used at ATMs, stores, restaurants and hotels around world – in fact, they can be used anywhere that displays the Visa sign – and are easily re-chargeable at any time. The cash passport cards have the new-age convenience of plastic, with 24-hour emergency assistance for stolen or lost cards.
  • American Express Travellers’ Cheques: If you enjoy the security and affordability of travellers’ cheques, American Express Travellers’ Cheques are accepted without fees at many locations around the world in all major currencies. For security reasons, it’s important to keep serial numbers for travellers’ cheques in a separate place while travelling.

Exchange currency with Bidvest Bank

Foreign currency exchange can be purchased up to 60 days prior to your departure from South Africa. In order to exchange currency with Bidvest Bank, you will need a valid passport, proof of your travel arrangements, a green bar-coded identity document or temporary residence permit and your proof of residential address.

Whether you’re travelling for leisure or business reasons, Bidvest Bank strives to cater for your currency requirements. Locate a Bidvest Bank branch in your city, or read about our forex products and services to find one that suits your currency exchange needs.