SA credit and debit cards compared - for overseas purchases and withdrawals

zaidmo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2009
Messages
408
Hi

I've been trying to find the cheapest way to spend overseas. I did a comparison of all the major cards in SA here: http://travpacker.com/much-charged-...yments-south-african-debitcredit-card-abroad/

When it comes to travel wallets I find that purchasing forex notes are cheaper. Those wallets have quite a few secondary fees.

What do you guys do when travelling abroad?

P.S. I am still awaiting an update from Capitec on the currency conversion fee. Seems too low.


Regards
 

SYNERGY

Executive Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2007
Messages
5,815
Some Dollars. Some local currency. I've also used Rands in the Middle East to pay for purchases. I show the merchant the current rate.

Credit card for big purchases.
 

supersunbird

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 1, 2005
Messages
53,435
Hi

I've been trying to find the cheapest way to spend overseas. I did a comparison of all the major cards in SA here: http://travpacker.com/much-charged-...yments-south-african-debitcredit-card-abroad/

When it comes to travel wallets I find that purchasing forex notes are cheaper. Those wallets have quite a few secondary fees.

What do you guys do when travelling abroad?

P.S. I am still awaiting an update from Capitec on the currency conversion fee. Seems too low.


Regards

There is a post in a thread here somewhere that explains why the Capitec fee is so low, it's true that it's so low.

Also, why no Capitec in international debit/cheque card areas? Anyway, it should be the same at the Capitec CC.

Conclusion:
So cheapest way to draw cash overseas is Virgin Money CC (up to a point, and then the Capitec CC takes over)?

Cheapest way to swipe overseas is Capitec CC or debit card?
 
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zaidmo

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Joined
Jun 16, 2009
Messages
408
There is a post in a thread here somewhere that explains why the Capitec fee is so low, it's true that it's so low.

Also, why no Capitec in international debit/cheque card areas? Anyway, it should be the same at the Capitec CC.

Conclusion:
So cheapest way to draw cash overseas is Virgin Money CC (up to a point, and then the Capitec CC takes over)?

Cheapest way to swipe overseas is Capitec CC or debit card?

You are right. The capitec fees I posted for the Global One account are debit/cheque card related. I'll move it to that section.

For Credit Card the only fees they list are:

Credit card rates and fees
Initiation fee: R100
Monthly fee: R50
Interest rate: 15% - 21% (based on your credit profile)

No idea what the atm withdrawal, pos purchase or currency conversion fee is.

I'll ask them to clarify this also
 

zaidmo

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Joined
Jun 16, 2009
Messages
408
This is the feedback I received from Capitec:

capitec feedback.PNG
"Hi, you are only charged the withdrawal fee the external bank will automatically convert the foreign currency rates for the specific day."

So there is a conversion fee that is charged by the foreign bank.
I'm guessing that this foreign bank charge is generally on top of the transactions levied by all SA banks.
So you're only hit once with Capitec, not twice like with other banks
 

nemo415

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May 22, 2011
Messages
422
Some Dollars. Some local currency. I've also used Rands in the Middle East to pay for purchases. I show the merchant the current rate.

Credit card for big purchases.

Agreed...

I used local currency and/or dollars for the small items.

If credit card is accepted, I would use it. I used an FNB Gold credit card in India, I think there was a 2.75% commission, but it was safe and convenient. Also, on the statement, it showed the local currency amount in the description. Very useful.
 

reactor_sa

Executive Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2009
Messages
7,847
This is the feedback I received from Capitec:

View attachment 411920
"Hi, you are only charged the withdrawal fee the external bank will automatically convert the foreign currency rates for the specific day."

So there is a conversion fee that is charged by the foreign bank.
I'm guessing that this foreign bank charge is generally on top of the transactions levied by all SA banks.
So you're only hit once with Capitec, not twice like with other banks
Well I found it cheapest to swipe a CC in the foreign currency than to withdraw cash at a foreign ATM.

In May when I was overseas I compared all the local banks, Standard Bank was cheapest with Nedbank very close. ABSA and FNB were more expensive.
 

supersunbird

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 1, 2005
Messages
53,435
Well I found it cheapest to swipe a CC in the foreign currency than to withdraw cash at a foreign ATM.

In May when I was overseas I compared all the local banks, Standard Bank was cheapest with Nedbank very close. ABSA and FNB were more expensive.

And Capitec?
 

C4Cat

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Nov 9, 2015
Messages
10,301
I used both Capitec and Virgin Money about 6 months ago. For both, swiping is free, but VM charges a conversion fee (2.5% or something like that) while capitec doesn't. For withdrawals both have a set amount, rather than a percentage, I think capitec had the higher fee but again, no conversion fee, so might be cheaper anyway. If you can find a shop that does cash-back, capitec is much much cheaper. Sorry I can't remember all the actual numbers but it's easy enough to look up.
 

airborne

Honorary Master
Joined
Jul 13, 2007
Messages
10,727
I used both Capitec and Virgin Money about 6 months ago. For both, swiping is free, but VM charges a conversion fee (2.5% or something like that) while capitec doesn't. For withdrawals both have a set amount, rather than a percentage, I think capitec had the higher fee but again, no conversion fee, so might be cheaper anyway. If you can find a shop that does cash-back, capitec is much much cheaper. Sorry I can't remember all the actual numbers but it's easy enough to look up.
Which stores overseas will do a cash back for a foreign bank card, is that common?
 

C4Cat

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ISP cash cow

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Feb 10, 2011
Messages
5,952
I use my Virgin CC overseas for ATM withdrawals and purchases.

I usually unlock my Nedbank Debit card for use as well but mostly for an "in case" situation.
 

encrypted

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
758
For larger volumes of money capitec bank wins by a mile. Here's why if compared to FNB.

Say you want $800. This is about R11000.

With FNB this is 3 transactions since your maximum withdraw is R5000 per transaction.
So the fees are R60 + R60 + R60 + 2.75% of the transaction.
On capitec in internet banking you can set the limit for the day to R20 000.
So 1 transaction at R50 + 0% commission.

On top of both of these fees is the international ATM fee. Let's call it $2.75 per transaction, so your saving $5.50 there as well. (This fee varies from $1-$5.00 depending where in the world and what atm)

The 2.75% (It's 3.75%) applies on card swipes, so if you've ever done 2 duplicate priced transactions 1 on FNB and 1 on Capitec you immediately realise how much better capitec is at this stuff. FNB's price guide will tell you 2.75% but the credit card division has confirmed to me an extra visa fee of 1% on top of the 2.75%. They conveniently don't print foreign amounts on CC statements so I had to email and ask. You have probably never noticed the extra 1% and assumed they gave you a *** currency rate. This is true for foreign internet purchases you make from home. So if you spend more than R200 online for WOW, Porn, Digitalocean, etc a second capitec card is actually cheaper than using FNB (but then the ebucks debate will come up).

There's one other advantage. When you are overseas and you buy something on the internet you are going to need to do a securecode or verified by visa code sometimes. Even with roaming this can be hit or miss to receive an SMS. With capitec your securecode is a password, no SMS required. I configured this by SMS in Thailand once, so I didn't get shafted by not setting it before I left.

If I forget to put cash on my capitec card I log in to FNB and do an immediate transfer (you pay like R45 for the service) and it's still cheaper to withdraw using capitec then.

The capitec monthly fee is R5 or so vs R399 I pay for Private banking with FNB.

The only issue I have had in any country so far is the capitec debit card is not a credit card, so Car Rentals are an issue. I definitely plan to pick up a Capitec CC next time I am in the country then basically I save a minimum of 2.75% (actually 3.75%) of every cent I spend.

If your in USA for an extended period open a bank of america account (takes an hour, just bring your passport). Everything from the vending machines, petrol pumps, train ticket machines do not like foreign cards too much. Then you withdraw on capitec and shove it in BofA (I did this when the currency looked good) there's no fees at BofA atms and you literally just put the big pile of notes into the machine, it counts them and is available immediately. Getting money in/out of an American bank is also SUPER easy with paypal. 0% fees for putting into paypal or from paypal to the bank (The USA banks, not FNB). BofA cars also work in certain countries with no ATM fees (only the currency conversion fee), ABSA in SA, Scotia bank in Canada, etc..

Capitec has one catch though. You have to use a key fob (make sure you get one at the bank) to get into internet banking overseas. Don't loose it!

Capitec staff told me when I opened the account that it will work internationally no problem, they told my wife that it would stop working after a few months. (SAME BRANCH AT THE SAME TIME). This had me nervous for a while, but it's been 20 months and I've used it in 13 countries with no issues.

FNB has frozen my account once or twice because I didn't answer the fraud call at 2am, takes a phone call and you are good to go again when that happens. Good reason to always have 2 accounts.

Even in Bali capitec is going to be cheaper than Virgin (the withdrawal limit there is 1.5-2.5million rupee - R1500-R2500). If your drawing a very small amount R700 or less you start saving on Virgin.
 
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