South African travellers cashing in on robust rand

The robust rand is turning South African travellers directly into clever forex consumers in advance of international trips and their upcoming holiday seasons in distant locations.

The trend continues to be noticed and applauded by Bidvest Financial institution, foreign currency experts, which claim to offer the country’s most extensive variety of foreign exchange.

Craig MacFarlane, head of retail operations, notes: “Smart travellers are making extensive use of products such as pre-paid travel cards and Travellers Cheques that enable them to fix their exchange rate. They are particularly careful to select well-resourced banking outlets with the facility to provide a competitive exchange rate that they can check there and then, right down to every decimal point.”

Bidvest Bank claims the pattern to smart forex purchasing by well-informed customers applies to all classes of holidaymakers – from those found on limited finances to individuals taking pleasure in extended trips and luxury cruises, both on vacation or on business venture.

The purchasing of considerable amounts of foreign bank notes has however prompted security measure concerns. “Those who take all their forex in cash should make sure they have a safe and secure place to keep it safe ahead of and during their travels. A loss of cash is irreplaceable whereas the safety features of a world currency card ensure that your spending money is protected,” says MacFarlane.

Bidvest Bank in addition has observed customer nervousness about ongoing rand strength and concerns about possible weakness in the future.

MacFarlane added: “Consumers are generally well informed. They know that these days you can buy currency up to 60 days before you travel and they are also aware that currency markets can be volatile. This is why many travellers who have booked their European skiing holidays or other overseas holiday options are buying their foreign exchange now, at a time of rand strength. Those taking out their ‘holiday allowance’ are particularly eager to lock in a favourable exchange rate.”

Resulting from passenger concerns concerning currency unpredictability, Bidvest is providing a new service which allows consumers who need R100 000 or more in foreign exchange to book their particular forex rate up to six months in advance. Customers are able to use the facility in order to lock in currently robust exchange rates as a way of managing the risk of a slide against world foreign currencies should existing rate tendencies go into reverse.

“Our volumes at the moment are influenced to a large extent by Christmas holiday travellers making use of the 60-day window, but after the holiday rush we expect greater uptake of the six-month forward cover option.”



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