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buying rands with dollars

Buenos Aires...
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buying rands with dollars

I'm arriving on Sunday at 4 p.m. with two other women and can´t buy rands in Argentina or use ATM ; we have already booked lodgings, domestic flights, stay at Kruger national Park, car but we'll need local money for petrol, snacks or food aty small groceries, etc. and we know in small places every where they don`t accept credit cards .

I want to know which are the administrative costs if I want to buy rands with american dollars at Tambo airport. S.O.S!!!

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It seems 1 u$s = 10 ZAR is non existent

I could only find American Express Foreign Exchange offers 8.76 per 1u$s today

Is it because the discount is already included ?

All other outlets ( Bidvest, Master Currency-Travelers Worldwide Money Foreign Exchange) issue they pay 11.06 for notes.

American Express charges 20% for the transaction? And the others?

Cape Town
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10,097 posts
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1. Re: buying rands with dollars

I am a little confused by your post. No, VERY confused!

You say you can't use an ATM in Argentina but what relevance is this? You need to have an ATM card which you can use in South Africa. The cheapest is usually to have a Debit Card where you can take money directly from your local bank account. Visa or Mastercard will do the foreign exchange for around 0.6 percent against the interbank spot rate - published internationally about once a minute. You specify the amount locally in Rand from the ATM and Visa or Mastercard change this to Pesos and charge your bank immediately. Your bank would then normally add a fee which internationally can range from zero to 5 percent - I am not familiar with the fees added by Argentinian Banks. The South African Bank where you use the ATM will not charge you anything for the withdrawal. However are you saying that your Bank doesn't provide you with a Debit card that can be used overseas?

You then however say that you have a Credit Card that you can use overseas. If this is branded Visa or Mastercard it can equally be used to withdraw cash from a South African ATM. The only difference to a Debit Card is that your Bank/Credit Card company is, in effect, making you a cash loan for the period until you pay off the bill. Most Banks/CC Cos will charge you interest on this loan period in addition to the standard forex fees. Again this interest fee varies with your local bank. However if you use the CC mostly to pay bills directly - accepted by hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and shops, gas stations, car hire companys - all over South Africa then you should need not too much cash. So get that cash using your CC at an ATM.

You can, of course, change US dollars at any Bank (banks will nearly always give the best rate) but then you will already have paid commision in Argentina to buy the dollars and now you will be charged a second commision fee and you have to queue up and fill in a form - of course only during bank hours. However the 20 percent you talk about is crazy!! Most banks will charge around 5 percent, some less, some a bit more. Bidvest are often the best. Look for "commision free deals". These are off course not by any means "free". The commission is however visible as the difference between the published selling and buying rates - usually displayed electronically.

No use in quoting rates here. As I say they change by the minute and given the unstable world political situation right now, they can change 2 or 3 percent in a day or two. However spot Internbank Rate 30secs ago was R10.89 to $1. This means at a bank you should get around R10.20 - but tomorrow .....?

Hope this helps? But maybe I haven't understood your post at all!

Edited: 04 March 2014, 05:11
Buenos Aires...
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2. Re: buying rands with dollars

Thanks very much for your answer. I have dollars ( we could buy them till recently) and I don´t-t have a bank account . I invested in dollars and received dollars. But.. if you want to travel now you must ask theTax agency and they allow you llittle money or nothing.. Being a pensioner and having decided i won´t pay a single peso for a bank account so I don´t have a debit card.

And I have kept my American Express because , having paid for almost 30 years I get it for free now. I dont have a Visa or Master any more.

In Argentina the ZAR expenses appear as dollars -official rate- and, to the official rate $8 per dollar the Tax Agency charges 35% more ! Yes, 35%

.I change dollars in the black market anfd get 11 to 11,50 $ per dollar ( 3 weeks ago I got 12 $ per dollar) . When I pay the card accounts there´s always a difference between the official market ( even with that 35% more - that used to be 20% less than a year ago) and the black market that benefits me.

Johannesburg, South...
Destination Expert
for Johannesburg
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4,858 posts
27 reviews
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3. Re: buying rands with dollars

Notwithstanding what has been said before;

Please be aware that there are many shops o/ restaurants, etc; which will not readily accept American Express cards.

By far the most popular are Visa and Mastercard.

The reason for this is that American Express charge the vendor a much higher percentage of the transaction amount, for the service, compared to the other cards.

When I was in another business, I too, did not accept American Express, ( or Diners Club, for that matter), for the same reasons.

Buenos Aires...
12 posts
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4. Re: buying rands with dollars

Thank you. I know twhat you mean because it happened to me in Spain two years ago.

Gautrain and City Tours in JNB and CPT don´t accept AE. Luckily I could buy the international and domestic flights, the Kruger excursion and the hostels and guest houses we`ll be staying at with my card.That' why i`m taking dollars and want to change ir by rands. Now I learnt that the most reliable Bank for the issue is Bidvest Bank.

South Africa
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1,436 posts
92 reviews
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5. Re: buying rands with dollars

Or american express,. But hou have to prove that the dollars are yours, ks have a banksaldo or something that you bought those dollar legal. Otherwhise you cannot change the money into Rands.

Some friends of mine tryed to change Euro.s into Rands and they didnot had the bankslip that they drew money form their own account. So they could not change the money!

Painfull experiecence !

Cape Town
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10,097 posts
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6. Re: buying rands with dollars

The point about Bidvest is that they are a smaller bank and hence often give a slightly better rate. For the same reason look at Capitec. In many towns and smaller places you will only find one or more of the Big 4 Banks - ABSA, Nedbank, Standard Bank or FNB - all of these will be fine and no more than a percent or so more expensive than the smaller banks. This is because the Rand is a fully convertable currency. It is freely traded just like the US Dollar, the Pound, the Euro or the Yen. There is no "Official Rate" and hence no black market. The best rate you can get is the spot rate set by the International Markets that minute for transactions in the millions, or for smaller transactions, the Visa/Mastercard Spot rate which is about 0.6percent less. As I mentioned some UK and US banks will use that rate alone for ATM transactions in SA - others add their own relatively small fee. If I use my South African Debit Card for overseas purchases in dollars or pounds I also get very close to the Spot Rate.

Unfortunately I do remember the time that South Africa also had strict foreign exchange controls and residents could only take a very limited amount out of the country. Now, with credit and debit cards, there is no issue and all controls for locals will probably be abolished this year. I even remember the time 40 years or so ago, when I was living in the UK that they also had strict controls and you could take out, I think, only 25 pounds per person for a vacation and you had to have it entered in your passport! Sorry for the problems that you have with your current rules but, at least, you have a way round it which won't cost you too much!

Avila Beach...
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7. Re: buying rands with dollars

I don't recommend changing dollars to rand at JNB - I attempted to do so recently but aborted the transaction when I realized how little I would be receiving with the exorbitant transaction fee. By far best to use an ATM as mentioned above (but you will need to get outside the international gate/security area to find an ATM). With no ATM or Visa/Mastercard you don't have much to fall back on. I would follow the bank recommendations above.

Buenos Aires...
12 posts
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8. Re: buying rands with dollars

In Argentina till recent years you could buy dollars freely. And the three of us will change 1000 ameriacn dollars because i have prepaid what I mentioned. Thanks for the advice

Buenos Aires...
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9. Re: buying rands with dollars

I have already mentioned I have no bank account. I will be taking dollars and somebody from the Bidvest Bank

has answered my mail and given me the buying rates including the commisssion and they are fantastic.

Buenos Aires...
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10. Re: buying rands with dollars

i`m arriving on Sunday 9 at 4 p.m. and couldn`t get rands in Argentina because of the restrictions imposed a couple of years ago for buying foreign currency even for saving.

Thanks for the advice