With a favourable exchange rate for many international currencies, you'll find South Africa a very inexpensive destination. And an easy one – our financial institutions are world-class, with no shortage of banks, bureaux de change and automatic tellers.

Rands and cents

South Africa's unit of currency is the rand, which is divided into 100 cents. Coins come in denominations of 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5, and notes in denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200.

How far will my money go?

A long, long way. With a favourable exchange rate for the major international currencies, you'll find South Africa a very inexpensive destination.

• For the latest exchange rates, see the "market indicators" box on the right.

Banking made easy

You'll also find South Africa an easy destination. From the moment you step off the plane you'll start seeing banks, bureaux de change and automatic tellers all over.

The banks are generally open from 9am to 3.30pm Mondays through Fridays, and 8.30am to 11am on Saturdays, but those at the airports adjust their hours to accommodate international flights.

The major banks have branches as well as automated teller machines (ATMs) in most large towns – and all over the cities. International banks (see the "foreign exchange services" links below) have branches in the major cities. Thomas Cook (represented by Rennies Travel) and American Express foreign exchange offices are also available in the major cities.

Credit cards and cash

All major credit cards can be used in South Africa, with American Express and Diners Club enjoying less universal acceptance than MasterCard and Visa. In some small towns, you may find you'll need to use cash. When it comes to paying for fuel, you may also have to pay cash.

Our filling stations can now take credit card payments – regulations allowing them to do so came into effect in July 2009. However, many filling stations (or garages, as we call them) may take a while to adjust, or may choose not to. Look out for the "cash only" notices.

Many locals have special fuel credit cards, known as garage or petrol cards, for use only at filling stations. These will still be accepted.

Road tolls, on the major routes between cities, can be paid using MasterCard or Visa.


Credit cards and related services

• American Express South Africa
• Diners Club South Africa
• MasterCard South Africa
• Visa South Africa

South Africa's 'big four' banks

• Absa Bank
• First National Bank
• Nedbank
• Standard Bank

Foreign exchange services

These and other financial services are offered by SA's "big four" banks as well as the credit card firms listed above. Other foreign exchange dealers in South Africa include the following:

• ABN AMRO South Africa
• Bank of Baroda (SA branch)
• Bank of China (SA branch)
• Bank of Taiwan (SA branch)
• Barclays Bank South Africa
• Bidvest Bank/Rennies Foreign Exchange
• Calyon Corporate Bank (SA branch)
• China Construction Bank Johannesburg
• Citibank South Africa
• Commerzbank (SA branch)
• Deutsche Bank (SA branch)
• HBZ Bank South Africa
• HSBC South Africa
• Investec South Africa
• JPMorgan Chase (SA branch)
• Master Currency
• Meeg Bank
• Mercantile Bank
• SociétéGénérale (SA branch)
• South African Bank of Athens
• Standard Chartered Bank South Africa
• State Bank of India, South Africa • Tower Foreign Exchange

Read more: http://www.southafrica.info/travel/