We can supply you with foreign currency banknotes in most of the world’s major currencies. Given enough time, we can order them for you should they not be immediately available from our counters.
It is highly recommended that you always take some “destination currency” with you. This is very convenient at airports and for hotels, taxis and tipping. It will also help to avoid long queues at a Bureau de Change on arrival in a foreign country.
However, we do not recommend that you carry large sums of cash when travelling overseas. Firstly, you run the risk of loss or theft and, unlike traveller's cheques, you will have to replace the loss at your own expense. Secondly, a large amount of foreign currency banknotes are treated with suspicion abroad due to money laundering regulations. In a number of countries, financial institutions are restricted as to the amount of banknotes they may accept from unknown parties.
Safety tips for foreign currency:
- Carry small denominations of notes so as not to attract attention when paying
- Do not buy currency on the black market – it is illegal in most countries!
- Always be vigilant and keep an eye out for counterfeit notes
- Always check your change, unscrupulous traders know they can fleece tourists not familiar with their currency
- For further information when travelling overseas read our Security Centre
Foreign banknotes are sometimes the preferred payment instrument in certain venues and countries, like many African countries.
When dealing with “soft” currencies, such as those in some Eastern European and most African countries, remember that their banknotes will be worthless and near impossible to exchange outside that country. Instead spend it, or convert it to a major currency like the US Dollar before departure.
As an authorised dealer in foreign exchange, Absa complies with the following South African exchange control regulations:
- As a South African resident over the age of 18, you are permitted a discretionary allowance (for the purpose of travel allowance, monetary gifts, donations to missionaries, study allowances and maintenance payments) of R1 000 000 per calendar year
- As a South African resident under the age of 18, your discretionary allowance is limited to R200 000 per calendar year
- In addition to the discretionary allowance, you may take R10 000 in cash out of the country for use upon your return to South Africa
- These limits differ for businesses and must be applied for once a year
- When buying foreign exchange, you are required to present your valid passport, and return ticket, as well as proof of residence if you are not an Absa account holder
- You may not be given your foreign exchange more than 60 days before you leave.
- You are not allowed to purchase foreign currency when travelling to countries in the Common Monetary area, i.e., Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia.