Banking and Money

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South Africa’s unit of currency is the rand, known informally as the “randela” because new banknotes bear the image of former president Nelson Mandela. The currency code is ZAR and there are 100 cents in each rand. Banknotes are issued in denominations of R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10. Coins come in R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c units. Prices are usually rounded off to the nearest 5c.


South Africa has a modern and sophisticated banking system. Foreign currency can be exchanged at most retail banks and bureaux de change. Retail bank outlets can be found in all major shopping centres, and ATMs are available in malls, some supermarkets and at petrol stations. Major credit and debit cards (Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted) can be used at most retail and hospitality establishments and to withdraw cash at ATMs. The four major retail banks are Absa, First National Bank (FNB), Nedbank and Standard Bank.