20 May 2013
South African bank Absa has launched a multi-currency travel prepaid cash card through MasterCard, which is available in four currencies and is a first for the country and the continent.
The bank will also be launching an Islamic Banking multi-currency passport soon, which is a first Sharia’h compliant and unique solution for clients travelling overseas.
“Although there are other prepaid travel cards in South Africa, they can only carry one currency at a time,” Absa’s head of retail banking, Arrie Rautenbach, said in a statement last week.
“The multi-currency cash passport card has the ability to allow customers to carry foreign exchange loaded with multiple currencies on one card.
“When the card is used in the destination country, the system intelligently chooses the correct currency depending on the country the cardholder is in, as long as the currency is available – for example, if in the US the system will automatically debit the US dollar purse on the card,” he said.
It is currently available in US and Australian dollars, British pounds and euros.
“If an ATM withdrawal or point of sale transaction is made in a currency which is different to any of the available currencies on the card, or exceeds the relevant available currency balance on the card, the amount will be funded by converting the transaction amount onto the next available currency balance on the card,” he said.
It also offers security features and emergency assistance if the card is lost, stolen or damaged. “It is chip and PIN enabled and it is not linked to your bank account, which means it is secure and convenient,” Rautenbach said.
Customers whose cards are lost or stolen can phone a toll-free number and arrangements will be made to provide emergency cash up to the available balance on the card or courier a replacement card to the cardholder within 24 or 48 hours.
“The multi-currency cash passport is convenient for frequent travellers and those who cross multiple borders on the same trip,” said global prepaid travel card management company Access Prepaid Worldwide’s managing director of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Alan King.
Access Prepaid Worldwide is part of Mastercard.
“Together with Absa, not only are we first to market in South Africa with this innovative product, but it’s a first for Africa,” he said.