How to save up for when it is safe to travel again

*This content is brought to you by Nedbank

Save for your next trip by saving in foreign currency when the markets are in your favour.

Do you have wanderlust? Join the club. While we wait for borders to reopen for international travel, Nedbank can get you focused onwards and upwards – physically and mentally. It’s about making your money work for you by saving the right way for your international travel goal.

But this is no ordinary savings account. It’s a smart way to bank the benefits that come with putting away money in a foreign currency, when the exchange rate is in your favour.

Nedbank has a product that offer clients the potential to save in eight international currencies, namely the US dollar (USD), British pound sterling (GBP), euro (EUR), Australian dollars (AUD), Canadian dollars (CAD), Hong Kong dollars (HKD), Japanese yen (JPY) and Israeli shekels (ILS). Just before your trip you can transfer funds from your Foreign Currency account into your Nedbank Travel Card.

Load your Travel Card (TC)

So where do you start? First you must open a Nedbank transactional account from which you can transfer money into your Foreign Currency Account (FCA). Next apply for your Foreign Currency Accounts on If you are a South African resident over the age of 18, all you need to open the FCA is the equivalent of R1,500 in any of the abovementioned international currencies. Deposits can be made into your FCA by converting rands from your Nedbank transactional account into the desired currency.

Then you can apply for a Nedbank Travel Card (TC) so you can transfer money into it when you are ready to travel again.

Keep an eye on the markets

Be aware of market fluctuations so that you can buy your desired currency whenever the exchange rate favours the rand. In November 2020, for example, the rand strengthened against the dollar to reach its lowest point for the year. That day – when USD1 got you R15 – was the day to invest!

Keep the currency in your FCA, ready to be transferred to your TC when you’re on the move again.

You qualify for the TC if you are a South African resident travelling overseas for leisure or business. Once you apply for and receive the card, simply download the Nedbank Money app from your app store and get set to jet off as soon as legislation allows. Your card will be registered automatically.

Having the Nedbank Money app enables you to manage your card on the go, as you will always know what your currency pocket balances are. You can also buy, sell and manage your currency for the Travel Card using the Nedbank Money app and online banking.

When you reach your international destination, the card will automatically use the currency of the country you are in, if you have that currency loaded on your card. Otherwise you can prioritise which currency pockets should be used. We recommend you prioritise the USD pocket when you are travelling in a country where the local currency is not available on the Travel card.

When spending abroad, always choose to transact in the local currency wherever possible to avoid added costs, whether that’s swiping or drawing cash.

You can swipe your card at point-of-sale devices for free and withdraw cash from Mastercard ATMs in the country you are visiting at a small fee. You’ll also get a free backup card to take with you in case something happens to your primary card while you’re sightseeing. It’s a good idea to keep them separate though.

You can freeze your misplaced card and unfreeze it when recovered using the Money app or online banking.

On returning from your trip, don’t forget to use the Nedbank Money app to cash out the remaining balance into your transactional account. If you prefer to keep the money in a foreign currency, you can also request the bank to transfer the funds into your foreign currency account. You want to make sure that you’re saving as much as possible for your next adventure.

How to apply

Visit > Forex > Investments > Foreign Currency Account and complete the form.

Need to know

The South African Reserve Bank allows South Africans over the age of 18 to invest in foreign currency as follows:

  • R1 million a year in terms of a single discretionary allowance – you will not need a Tax Compliance Status Pin Letter (formerly known as a tax clearance certificate);
  • Up to an additional R10 million a year in terms of a foreign investment – you will need a Tax Compliance Status Pin Letter.

You can purchase currency from 60 days prior to travel. You must return any unused currency within 30 days of your arrival back in South Africa.

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