Sending Money to a Travel Agent in Africa

Dec 14th, 2006, 07:44 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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Sending Money to a Travel Agent in Africa

We have just booked a family safari in South Africa for next summer and I was surprised at how much the wires for the deposit ended up costing. The bulk of the fee was the bad exchange rate my Bank gave us (around 2% over the actual posted rate) plus $30 for the wire and then, an intermediary Bank, unknown to us charged a similar fee that ntaurally will be for our account.
I would definitely have paid by credit card but the Agency in South Africa was charging 3.5% for credit cards. I was wondering if I could simply send over a US dollar check for the balance, presumably the USD/ZAR rate locally will be much better than what the big Banks charge retail customers in the US.
Any thoughts?
AKR1 is offline  
Dec 14th, 2006, 07:55 PM
  #2  
santharamhari
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Most SA lodges charge in ZAR, so you cant send USD amounts. That would be the main reason why ZAR conversion is mandatory.
 
Dec 15th, 2006, 05:09 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Even though we booked/communicated directly with Roy Safari's (Susan) in Arusha, we were able to send a personal check to their US agent (another Susan) who forwarded it to Arusha. No extra charges.
dssxxxx is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 06:20 AM
  #4  
sandi
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In East Africa, most of the outfitters have USD a/c, so you can wire the amount due and quoted in USD directly. Yes, there is the wiring charge (for Int'l anywhere from $30-$50, depending on your finacial institution) and the "phantom" correspondent bank fee (from $12-$30, depending), but the convenience is sure worth it.

If you have to convert USD or Euro or Pounds to local currency, i.e., for South Africa to ZAR, that's the way that particular outfitter has decided to do business.

 
Dec 15th, 2006, 06:22 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
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I am aware that many of the lodges that market themselves to the US have USD accounts. It would be prudent to ask them if they'd accept a dollar payment: Many will. You will find that you are able to purchase goods while at the lodge in dollars as well.

While going it alone is a tremendous experience, your predicament illustrates A benefit for using a US based agent. I have learned that many agents have accounts with their preferred lodges in Africa and have negotiated payment periods, so are able to aborb the wire cost across many accounts, costing you ultimately porportionately less.

Now that you have paid the deposit you will have to double the costs when you remit final payment.
mkhonzo is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 06:57 AM
  #6  
 
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Personally I would pay by credit card. A credit card carries an implied guarantee. Thus if there is any problem you can dispute the charge with the credit card company. 3.5% is worth it and you usually get a better exchange rate.
RBCal is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 09:09 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Do you have a Washington Mutual bank nearby? You can open a free checking account, which allows free outgoing wire transfers. They also allow free ATM cash withdrawals (foreign & domestic), which would be handy once you arrived in SA. The SA bank might charge you, but you won't get hit on both ends.
ShayTay is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 09:29 AM
  #8  
 
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No I have Wamu and was charged for foreign currency withdrawals when I was overseas.

ATM withdrawals are only free in the USA. They also now charge for wire transfers.
RBCal is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 10:39 AM
  #9  
 
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Actually we opened a new WAMU account in the last few months because it does give free wiring overseas and we have used it. It is a specific account but has not charges or the like for the account.
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jules39 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2006, 03:06 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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RBCal, check their website...free outgoing wires and free ATM withdrawals (foreign and domestic.) This is for personal checking accounts, not business accounts. Also, could your ATM charge have been from the foreign bank, not WaMu?
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