Sick rand fails to cure travel bug
THE falling rand did not deter South Africans from taking their money overseas - last year saw a 20% increase in the rand value of travellers cheque sales, despite a 30% depreciation against the dollar and a 40% drop against sterling.
While most South Africans head for the UK, the majority of travellers cheques are in US dollars.
Bruce Pennill of Thomas Cook says dollar and sterling sales are at new heights in SA, partly because of the aggressive marketing of travellers cheques by Standard Bank and First National Bank.
He says despite the popularity of "plastic money" and the widespread use of ATMs, "credit and debit cards are not eating into the travellers cheques sector of the market".
Pennill believes the greatest advantage of travellers cheques in times of currency volatility is that you can lock into a fixed rate of exchange at time of purchase, as opposed to credit card users who may be faced with a larger than expected bill on their return.
Pennill adds that travellers cheques help you to spend within your means.