South Africa Debit Card Advice and Tips

By: EW Content Team   Date: 5 February 2010

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One of the primary benefits of a South Africa debit card is safety/security.  While there are some amazing places in this part of the world, as well as warm-hearted people, there is also danger.  Unfortunately, some areas of South Africa have been given a bad name but in truth, some parts are beautiful and relatively safe but whether living there or visiting, carrying South Africa debit card is just common sense.

Although visitors can still bring cash in US dollars and the European Euro, any cash should be limited.  However, to experience South Africa, go out to dinner, sightsee, purchase local wares, rent transportation, and secure hotel accommodations, having a South Africa debit card would make everything much easier and again, safer.  Today, many credit card companies and banks connect to financial institutions in South Africa so as long as the debit card is backed by Visa or MasterCard, there should be no problem in using it.

For years, cash and traveler’s checks were the only real way to enjoy this part of the world but now thanks to the South Africa debit card, people have a more efficient means of buying.  Some people will use the debit card at an ATM as soon as they arrive, which is typically done inside or near the hotel, or at the airport.  The reason for this is that taking money out immediately upon arriving with the South Africa debit card typically saves on fees.

One of the biggest challenges when withdrawing money from an ATM using a South Africa debit card is learning the correct buttons to push and choices to make.  After all, most of the ATMs in South Africa are slightly different from those in North America so it usually takes a few minutes to figure out what is needed so the transaction can be completed.  The best ATMs to use are those that display a Maestro or Cirrus symbol.

Now, some people feel safer and more in control of their money by not taking money from an ATM with the South Africa debit card upon arrival.  While there are certainly a number of advantages by doing things this way, people also need to remember that they are in a different country, one that does not operate like westernized countries.  Therefore, an individual might find out that an ATM is out of money or the machine might eat the card.

People should always contact their credit card company, bank, or credit union prior to going to South Africa to let them know and to ask for recommendations on how to handle the South Africa debit card.  This is imperative in that people have visited this part of the world without notifying the issuing company only to find out that South Africa officials put a stop on any withdrawals being done using a debit or credit card from another country.  This decision is not to make life for the tourist difficult but to provide them with added security.

Without doubt, a South Africa debit card can be highly beneficial but because things are handled and processed different in this region of the world, special instruction and care needs to be taken.  With that, the overall experience should be good but any financial transaction in South Africa should be handled carefully.
 

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