Money Exchange

Jul 16th, 2009, 04:31 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 23
Money Exchange

Can somebody tell me which is the best & cheapest way to change Australian money into South African Rand as we are going there in a few weeks.? Is it too expensive at the Airport in Joberg! Do we go to a bank there or do we change it in Australia before we go. We will need cash for petrol etc. I hope somebody can help me.
Regards Vicki
vicki1 is offline  
Jul 16th, 2009, 05:18 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,162
I would not bring a large amount of cash with me. Rather, I'd use ATMs to withdraw cash. You'll tend to get a better exchange rate and pay fewer fees (although you will probably pay some fees). There have been some issues with ATM safety in South Africa, so you should be aware of those, but I still find that this is the best way to get cash when traveling abroad. (Definitely bring some cash with you just in case, but for the bulk of your money, rely on ATMs, which can be found everywhere except in the bush.)
doug_stallings is offline  
Jul 16th, 2009, 05:33 AM
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I agree with Doug. I take out a reasonable am't of Rands from the ATM then mostly rely on credit cards to pay for most bills. Many of the safari properties will allow credit card use as well to pay tips to the driver/guide/general help, so large am'ts of cash are not necessary.
sdb2 is offline  
Jul 16th, 2009, 06:56 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Ditto to the above.
AUD only for emergency. Otherwise, ATMs (watch your surroundings and precautions as you would at home) and credit cards.
sandi is offline  
Jul 17th, 2009, 04:00 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 39
But remember at lots of petrol stations you still can't use cards, however they pretty much all have ATMs. Also, use a debit (rather than credit) card to withdraw cash because the fees are lower and you don't pay interest (you do on most credit cards for cash withdrawals even if you pay your bill in full).
satpacker is offline  
Jul 17th, 2009, 04:56 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,162
It goes without saying that you should never ever (except in the most dire emergency) take money out of an ATM with a credit card, which involves taking a cash advance with a ridiculously high interest rate that begins the very moment the money comes out of the machine, as well as ridiculous currency-exchange fees.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jul 17th, 2009, 10:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 420
Vicki1, we changed our Aussie dollars before we left, took only few Aus$'s for emergencies. We used credit card where ever possible. We had trouble changing Aus $'s but cant remember exactly where. We took US$'s.
sallysaab is offline  
Jul 19th, 2009, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,215
Here come a completely different opinion:
We always take cash (€) and change at OR Tambo bank before we leave the airport.

For 2 people we change approx. 50€/day when we stay at camps where there won't be (mostly) side expenses.
We change more when we drive.
We pay as much as possible by credit card but exchange for small purchases and tips.

A 2 weeks trip makes roughly 1000€ cash into ZAR.

We don't like the idea of ATM's because we feel vulnerable withdrawing money in South Africa and don't like the idea of running out of cash due to lack of ATM's.

Happy landings!

spassvogel is offline  
Jul 20th, 2009, 12:02 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 686
I don't have more recent stats, but in June there were fifteen thousand ATMs in South Africa, half of which were in Gauteng. So locating one is usually not a mission. But yes, for finance charge reasons debit cards are better than credit cards, unless of course the latter is linked to an account that is in credit.

The Government has recently announced that petrol (gas) stations may accept "standard" debit and credit cards. (They have been "banned" since the oil sanction era in the 70's, only special locally-issued debit cards have been allowed. And cash of course, and many stations have ATMs.) In fact the report I read even used the word "compelled", which may or may not be accurate. The stations will take a while to get geared up for that, I don't know how long that will take.
ArthurSA is offline  
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