Money Transactions in South Africa

Apr 28th, 2008, 12:40 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 103
Money Transactions in South Africa

We have a granddauther going on a high school graduating class trip to South Africa.We are having difficulty finding info concerning what is the best way to purchase items in that country. Whatever she has we want it to be secure to a degree.

She does not have a bank account of her own so a ATM won't work. Traveler's checks are an option but I never use them since they are so inconvenient especially in remote areas. The other thing the local bank suggested is to give her gift debit cards.

We don't want her to run into stressful situations on this trip, therefore if anyone who has experienced travel in South Africa & has suggestions concerning the subject matter, please respond. Thank you.
roy2moira is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 01:00 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 253
What about a credit card? You could get one with her name on it that is attached to your account. That is the best thing to use for purchases.
aowens is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 03:19 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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She could just open a bank account. It doesn't take long, and she'll need one eventually.

If you do get her a credit card linked to your own account, make sure to have the limit pretty low for safety sake.

If she's in major cities, like Cape Town and Johannesburg, then she shouldn't have any troubles with traveler's checks.

Is this a chaperoned trip? Could you not leave money with the chaperone who would be responsible for doling it out at regular intervals?

Quite honestly, I'd go for a number of different solutions - that way, if something goes wrong with any one of them, she'll have a backup.

When I traveled on group trips as a kid, my parents usually gave me traveler's checks for emergencies, a bit of cash, and left money with the chaperone.
lifelist is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 04:38 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 103
Thanks for the response aowens & lifelist. I am indeed reluctant to have anyone have access to my bank account.

She will be going on a safari plus she will be going to Cape Town & Johannesburg. The small group will be chaperoned.

Lifest I like your suggestions. The group is having their last meeting before departure this Thursday so some of your suggestions will be mentioned. This subject has not yet been discussed, why I don't know but it will be on Thursday. Thanks again.
roy2moira is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 04:52 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 504
Gift cards that are used like a credit card would work. They come in many denominations and can be either Visa or AMEX cards. Check -- you may be able to reload them from afar if you needed to for her. I would contact AMEX.
mpkp is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 05:41 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7,391
I would take a Visa or MC gift card. Don't think I've seen too many AmEx logos at shops or restaurants. (But do check with AmEx to be sure)
matnikstym is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 05:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 123
She could also have a joint account opened with you or her parent, with a debit Visa or Mastercard (or just regular ATM) attached to the account. That way, you or her parent could monitor her spending and add funds as needed, and she'd have the convenience of the card.

It's very easy to do -- we do this with our nanny for household expenses and it works out very well.

One tip for overseas travel: Select a pin number with only four digits! Many foreign banks do not recognize longer pin numbers.
isabel25 is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 12:39 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 686
A clarification again about S.A. PINs. (This mis-understanding comes up often.) Whether 4 or 5 digits, the ATM compares what you enter with what's on your card. So it's not a case of 4 or 5 being the only correct option. In fact my S.A. credit cards (that I also use at ATMs) happen to have 5-digit PINs.
ArthurSA is offline  
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