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Currency and Banks


The South African rand (R) is divided into 100 cents. Notes include R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200 denominations and carry images of 'Big Five' wildlife. Coins are issued in R1, R2, R5 and in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent denominations.

Click on for today's exchange rate and to easily convert your currency to rands.

Banks and exchanging money
  • South African banking hours:
    • 08h30/09h00 - 15h30/16h00 Mon-Fri
    • 08h00/09h00 - 11h00/11h30/12h00 Sat
    • Some of the local banks are also open for a few hours on Sunday mornings
  • Bureaux de change at some city banks stay open until 7pm.
  • You may also change money at American Express and Rennies Travel outlets.
  • When changing money it is highly advisable to stick to the legal methods.
Credit and debit cards
  • Visa and MasterCard are accepted at most places in SA. Before travelling ask your bank the required overseas PIN and best account options to use. Credit cards are essential for car hire and petrol cannot be purchased with credit cards.
ATMs
  • Automatic teller machines are open 24 hours a day and most international are accepted. Cards are the easiest way to access your funds in South Africa unless you are venturing into bush or country areas where you'll need cash.
  • As with any other country best to be cautious when drawing money from deserted ATMs after hours and be wary of people observing you while you enter your PIN. Do not accept assistance at an ATM, rather seek a bank employee to help you.
Travellers cheques
  • Thomas Cook, American Express and Visa cheques are the most commonly accepted traveller's cheques and may be cashed at any bank. Pounds sterling and US dollar cheques are accepted with a fee of 1 to 2 percent. Have a selection of denominations and keep a copy of serial numbers in a separate place.
  • Rennies Travel is the agent for Thomas Cook and there are some American Express branches in most cities.
  • Nedbank is the agent for American Express and you may go to First National Bank for Visa.
Important numbers
  • VISA International 0800 990 475 National free-call, 24-hrs
  • MasterCard 0800 990 418 National free-call, 24-hrs
  • American Express 0800 110 929 24-hrs
  • Diners Club: 011 358 8400 8am TRO 4.45pm, Monday to Friday
  • Rennies Foreign Exchange Bureaux (Thomas Cook) 0800 998 175 National free-call, 24-hrs
  • ABSA/Barclays Bank/Maestro 0800 111 155 National free-call, 24-hrs
  • First National Bank 0800 110 132 National free-call, 24-hrs
  • Nedbank 0800 110 929 National free-call, 24-hrs
  • Standard Bank/MasterCard: 0800 020 600 National free-call, 24-hrs
Tax
  • South Africa' s Value Added Tax (VAT) is 14%. Overseas visitors taking purchases out of South Africa may reclaim the VAT paid on these items, providing the value of goods is more than R250.
  • When reclaiming VAT for your purchases, items and their invoices must be available for inspection at the airport. Request a tax invoice from the retailer and ensure that the invoice reflects your name and the shop's VAT number.
  • Before departing South Africa and checking in at the airport, contact a customs official who will assess your purchases and invoices. Make allowance for this as it can be a lengthy procedure. Once the official has approved and stamped the paperwork, you will receive a refund from the VAT Reclaim Office.
  • There are VAT Reclaim Offices at Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban International Airports.
  • VAT Refund Administrator (011) 394-1117.
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