Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Banking options for South Africans

Posted by Cloudcatcher on 18/1/2013 at 04:23

Hi. I'm going to be backpacking in SEA for about 6 months, and I'm trying to work out what my best banking options are. All of the South African banks that I've spoken to have been a bit clueless about that part of the world, and I know from living in Korea that South African bank cards (despite promises to the contrary) are not well recieved in Asia. Any suggestions from South Africans? Thanks!

#1 Cloudcatcher has been a member since 18/1/2013. Posts: 3

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Posted by Muggles01 on 18/1/2013 at 07:03

Hi Cloudcatcher
I've travelled in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos & Bali (although only short holidays each time) and didn't have any problems with my bank cards being accepted at ATMs. The only strange thing I did experience was in Cambodia and Laos - if I tried to draw money before about midday, the transaction was declined. A friend of mine experienced the same thing and we put it down to the banks in SA still being asleep (it would have been night time back home)! If I went back later the same day, I could draw no problem.

Just take note of whether or not the ATMs are saswitch machines (accept mastro/cirrus/visa/mastercard) as not all of them are. And also be aware of any daily limit you might have on your card back home - that generally will still apply overseas. Oh and it doesn't hurt to phone your bank and let them know you'll be travelling and give them your dates.

#2 Muggles01 has been a member since 15/7/2011. Posts: 18

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Posted by Cloudcatcher on 24/1/2013 at 09:23

Hi Muggles01

Thanks for the advice. That's good to know.

For longer stays would you (or anyone else) recommend:

1) Having an SA bank card, or something like American Express (in terms of both bank charges and convenience)
2) Are SA bank cards (credit or debit) ok for making hostel bookings while there?
3) Are any of the banks here preferable to one another?


#3 Cloudcatcher has been a member since 18/1/2013. Posts: 3

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