Multiple Currencies


#1

Hi,

I will be visiting South Africa in February for a month. If I was to have both ZAR and GBP on my account, will payments made in Africa come in the ZAR currency or will it come from my GBP currency?

Also, to make sure I understand, if I decide to not exchange GBP to ZAR, all payments will come out of my GBP currency at the current exchange rate?

e.g. Spending R100 in a restaurant will come out as approx £5.50 at the current exchange rate?

Thanks!


#2

ZAR transactions will withdraw money from your ZAR currency account until the balance is insufficient. After that, further ZAR/non-base currency transactions will be drawn from your base currency account (GBP in your case.), and converted at the spot interbank FX rate (subject to weekend rate and certain %ages for illiquid currencies.).


Here’s some more information on how :r:'s currency accounts system works.

Please see the attached post below. Click/tap the rightwards-facing triangle to expand content.


#3

It’s also worth adding that in case you want to spend GBP instead of ZAR, even if you have balance on the ZAR account, just deactivate it.
Activation de/activation happens in real time and the money on deactivated account is still safe.

May come in handy, potentially- let’s say that ZAR is rapidly devaluating during your trip, and for some reason you want to keep your already-exchanged ZAR for future.
Well all due respect to ZAR, this approach can probably be more useful for “major” currencies and/or in case you plan on going back multiple times to the place where you want to spend that very currency.

Bottom line- by deactivating certain accounts, you get pretty much full control over the account you’re spending from.

BTW great news- I’m also going to South Africa in February for a little more than 3 weeks.


#4

Conversely:

That’s a great idea. I’ve not really thought about this before.


#5

That is a great idea. I’m going over as my best friend is South African and now studies at uni there so will be visiting him. I think I might just save up my money and closer to the time I leave keep an eye on the exchange rate. Atm Revolut offers the best rate compared to the Post Office and some of the banks.

Any money left over I will just transfer back to my account after the trip, and if the exchange isn’t great then Ill take this tip and just wait for it to get better.

That’s amazing, how much money would you say is reasonable to take for just over 3 weeks? I’m there for 26 days and my friend tells me that £300-£400 is plenty as its fairly cheap over there (I don’t plan to take that much I plan to take between £600 and £700 to stay on the safe side).


#6

Make sure to deactivate location lock (Security settings for the physical :r: debit card.) and bring a spare card.


#7

Blockquote Make sure to deactivate location lock (Security settings for the physical :r: debit card.) and bring a spare card.

What does location lock do?


#8

It tracks the country of your device and your debit card (e.g. If you’re normally in France, but your :r: card was stolen and spirited away to say… Romania, it’d block any transactions in Romania, since your device is still in France.).

It’s a precautionary measure, but sometimes it goes too far/doesn’t work effectively (e.g. If you’re on a plane and just land and spend at a shop in the airport, it might decline your transaction.).

Most of the other toggle-able security measures (Disable magstripe, disable online transactions/e-commerce, …) are quite useful, but I normally just switch off location security.


#9

Well that’s a question only you can answer; it all depends on what you will do, where you will go and what your expectations are.

What I found out so far was that SA appears to be on the ‘cheaper’ side of the spectrum for ordinary everyday living stuff like food etc. but fancy tourist activities (like private game reserves safaris etc.) can be quite expensive, actually.
Gasoline is cheaper than in EU for sure, decent hotels / guesthouses, especially outside of big cities like Cape Town / Jo’burg are pretty nice too, and 50GBP a day for a double room should be more than enough for a really decent place.

Passes or tickets to national parks- it all depends, but overall, an unlimited pass is ridiculously expensive, comparing to the USA, for example.

What I’m really curious about is the bottom-line reality on:

  • Cards and its usage; it is said that cards are “commonly accepted”; we’ll find out :slight_smile:
  • The real deal with safety; stories you can hear are horrifying on one hand, but there’s really plenty of happy and satisfied tourists who say SA is heaven on earth.