The unit of currency in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR). One hundred cents make one rand. Usually, prices in South Africa are quoted in “R”.
South African money is issued in a combination of coins and notes. There are R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10 notes, and there are R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c coins. You may still see 2c and 1c coins but they are no longer minted and they are practically worthless, except as collector’s items. You are advised to refuse them if a cashier tries to give them to you as part of your change.
Money in South Africa is minted and printed by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), which is why the signature of the Reserve Bank governor appears on all bank notes. The SARB also has other functions, such as maintaining government monetary policy, which is usually done by adjusting the repo (repurchase) rate, which is the rate at which the SARB lends money to the commercial banks. The repo rate is very important, because it is used to calculate the prime lending rate used by the commercial banks in their dealings with the public.
Generally speaking, South Africa has a world-class financial services sector, incorporating leading technology, security, and legislation. The commercial banking sector in the country is dominated by five large banks, and they all offer largely the same services and products, at largely the same fees. Then there are also large investment institutions, home loan (mortgage) companies, and smaller investment companies. Banking in South Africa can be done in person, or using your cellphone (mobile) or the internet.
The sector is regulated by the Financial Services Board (FSB), and so anyone offering financial services or products must be able, by law, to provide you with proof of their registration with the Board.
Money Transfers to and from South Africa - here's how:
- Foreign exchange regulations in South Africa 03-01-2011
- Essential money transfer advice for all transactions 02-01-2011
- Exchange control relaxed in South Africa 28-10-2010