With less than a week to go, I thought I would share some thoughts on Forex (foreign exchange) and how I plan to pay over in the States.


Traveling is turning out to be rather pricey.


Over the last two months the current exchange rate has gone up and down between $1 – R11.70 to $1 – R12.50. However getting the right type of foreign exchange (cash, traveler cheque, debit card, etc) is the big choice. So, I have chosen to go with a Money Card, since no one uses travelers cheques anymore. I could use my Capitec Mastercard anywhere around the world, but then I am subject to the exchange rate at that particular day, not a nice thought when at any time the exchange rate may jump to $1 –  R15. There are three main choices as far as Prepaid Debit Cards with Foreign Exchange are concerned.

All of them offer similar benefits, such as free point of sale transactions, valid for a few years, and free online statements. Most of them charge $2-$5 for an ATM withdrawl.

Traveling is turning out to be rather pricey.

Standard Bank’s Travel Walletdownload (1) offers no monthly or inactive fee, and no charge for your first card. However if your card is lost or stolenthey will charge you $125 to replace it!

Mastercard/VISA Cash Passport (from FNB or ABSA) was a good option. Initial card fee of R100 and additional card fee of R50. When I looked at it, card replacement was R300 if its lost or stolen download(according to FNB’s current special though its free.) And a $3.50 inactive/monthly fee. Cash withdrawal at a point of sale $8.50 and $6 ATM fees.



American Express GlobalTravel Card (available from Nedbank – only if you are already a Nedbank client. Or from a Bidvest or American Express office) is based in the states and for my purposesis useful. If I was going to Europe, even the American Express guys say use CashPassport rather. It has a $2 ATM withdrawal fee and a $2 inactive fee. The big draw point for me to get this was that there is no charge for emergency funds if myTravelMoney-AmexGlobalTravelCardSM card is lost or stolen, and even better they give me a free back up card as well as if both my regular card and backup card are lost/stolen they will courier a free replacement to me.


Maybe this is not quite what would suit you (my fellow South African Travellers) but for me I decided to go with the American Express on this particular trip. I’ll still have my Capitec Mastercard with me in case of emergency, but I hope I wont need to use it.
A couple of things I discovered, not all the bank branches do forex, phone ahead to make sure. And once you have decided you are going to travel, get your forex ASAP because of the exchange rate jumping.


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