Tips on How to Handle Foreign Currency During Holidays


South Africa provides perfect opportunities for many to travel, relax and unwind as individuals, friends or families. For those traveling out of the country, the factor of foreign currency can never be ignored. Getting the best forex deal means that you spend less on commission and charges and more on holiday treats. Below are some tips on how to go about this.

Buying Cash-Ordering currency online, which can be picked up at the airport, is cheaper than exchanging it at an airport bureau de change. When buying currency, you must remember that commission free doesn’t necessarily equate to the best deal, as fees are likely to have been loaded into the rate.You should also be wary of flat fees and minimum charges.The latter make it more expensive to change small amounts of money, while the former can offer good value if you are changing larger sums of money. Handling fees must also be carefully examined. If you do end up buying currency over the counter, check if your debit card provider will charge an exchange fee. If so, you might want to withdraw cash and use that to pay for your travel money.

Travelers Cheques – Travelers Cheques are arguably the safest way of carrying your money abroad, because as long as you make a note of the cheque numbers, you will get a full refund if they are lost or stolen.You can pre-order cheques in the same way you can cash, but travelers cheques do not always come in denominations that exactly match how much you wish to spend.

Pre-paid cards – These are easy to use because you simply load them with funds before you go on holiday, then use the card to withdraw cash from ATMs or to make purchases. All the foreign exchange specialists now offer them, along with travel agents and banks. Even supermarkets offer pre-pay cards, although they tend to be cards stamped with the supermarkets logo. If you lose your pre-paid card you can cancel it or report it stolen, making it a reasonably safe way to carry money.You can buy specialist euro or dollar currency cards,which will be cheaper than using a debit card. It is also important to bear in mind that some pre-paid cards will only allow you to top up face to face, while others give you the chance to top up on the phone or on the internet.

Debit Cards – Many debit card providers add a fee for each purchase you make while on holiday as well as fees for each time you withdraw money from an ATM.The exchange rate you will get from your own bank on overseas purchases is also generally worse than if you shopped around for currency. Debit cards also carry a transaction fee over and above the foreign exchange charge.

Credit Cards – It is generally best to avoid using a credit card to withdraw cash abroad. Many providers will levy an exchange rate fee of up to 3%. Some cards offer 0% on purchases for up to 12 months.You need to make sure you double check that you are not hit with a loading fee and make sure there are no restrictions on overseas purchases.


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