Having decided to open an office in London, I am travelling overseas more than ever before. And hence my latest hobby-horse has become the charges built into foreign-currency exchange transactions by the banking industry. For most people who do not have an offshore bank account, travelling overseas and paying for everything with an SA credit card is convenient. From hotels to restaurants, we spend without giving it much thought beyond doing the basic maths of multiplying the prices by about 14 when in the US and 18 when in the UK. Some people are more rigorous. They check the exchange rate by Googling it and use their mobile calculator to work out the price using the live exchange rate displayed. But that is where it stops. We complain about the price of that cup of coffee, but only once we are already drinking it. Some South Africans, mostly those who still believe they will need to flee the country with a suitcase, and hence religiously hoard money offshore using their foreign-exc...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now