60 Million British people go overseas for business or pleasure every year*. Buying your travel money can often seem to consist simply of ensuring you get the best exchange rate. However, it is just as important to familiarise yourself with any rules relating to taking money into or taking money out of a country.
This applies to many countries and currencies. We have used the South African Rand as an example because it was a significant issue just a couple of years ago. There are many countries that try and stop money leaving. Some of the restrictions are lax and rarely enforced but others are quite strict. Now on every currency page we have an easy to read summary of key facts and information on this sort of limit and other important rules.
Because the vast majority of UK travellers are visiting the euro zone or the USA, they will not come across any restrictions on travel money. However, as a recent poll concerning South Africa showed, this is not always the case.
Some or All of your Travel Money could be confiscated
This could have affected thousands of people who visited South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, but research showed that 26% (more than 1 in 4) people did not know that the South Africa sets a limit of 5,000 South African Rand, equivalent to around £403 in cash coming in or out of the country. This means that many UK football fans faced having any excess cash confiscated when they went through South African customs.
At the time some 36%(just over a third) of respondents to the poll said that they were planning to take more than £450 worth of South African Rand with them, with the average sum being around £665 worth. One in five said that they would be taking over £1,000 worth of Rand and 6% (about 1 in 20) were planning to take more than £2,000 worth, far more travel money than they were likely to need, even if allowed to bring it into South Africa at all.
How to avoid the limits
There are ways to avoid such limits, such as pre-paid currency cards, that act just like a debit card and can be ‘charged up’ with up to £7,000. These cards can be currency specific so you put Pounds on the card and it shows as Euros or US Dollars or the cards are multi currency and you can use the card to pay in a whole range of currencies. Because no physical money ever has to change hands the card providers can offer some really competitive rates.
If there are any specific questions you have about taking money into or out of a country then please ask and we will try and answer your questions.