During the past 10 to 15 years, the proliferation of digital and mobile technology has transformed the corporate travel landscape.
For travellers conducting business in foreign environments, what are the most secure and least costly methods of payment? Here is a selection of payment methods that are a result of, or in spite of, technological developments.
Believe it or not, in this digitally-driven age the most convenient way to carry money to foreign lands is still in cash. Cash is accepted pretty much everywhere. In fact, some regions only accept cash, especially certain African or Asian countries. The most popular currency is by far the U.S. Dollar, followed by the Euro, Japanese Yen and British Pound. Keep in mind that if you’re changing South African Rands at money exchanges overseas or at airports you’ll probably not get the best exchange rate. Regarding cash withdrawals from international ATMs, before departing, find out your bank’s fees. Also check which banks they are affiliated to. No matter where your travels take you, it’s prudent to have a certain amount of cash available for emergencies. Always keep your cash secure; travel insurance, more often than not, has a low limit of what it will cover after theft.
- TRAVELLERS CHEQUES
Are travellers cheques still relevant in this time of global ATMs? To a certain extent, yes. Fact is, you’ll probably not use travellers cheques unless you’re travelling to a particularly dangerous destination. They do not expire or lose value. Therefore they can be used during your next trip. However, currencies do fluctuate over time, which means your cheques’ value could significantly decline or increase should you save them. As opposed to credit cards, where a signature is simple to forge, travellers cheques have a major advantage as they require an ID to cash them in. Credit cards on the other hand do not require any identification.
- CREDIT CARDS
The most obvious question to ask; is my credit card accepted at my destination? For example, American Express is often not accepted, while the apparently universal MasterCard and Visa logos do not always guarantee acceptance. Also remember to inform your credit card company when and where you are travelling; thus alleviating the risk of fraudulent spending should your card be stolen or lost; and the thief attempts to use it at a time or place other than stipulated. Before departure, make sure you know the fees associated with using your card internationally.
You can link your PayPal account directly to your bank account as well as to your debit or credit card. The data is encrypted, giving you additional protection against fraud and identity theft. PayPal is a convenient and secure way to transfer funds internationally if you’re, for example, paying a supplier directly for accommodation, transport, etc. The cost of using PayPal internationally is 4.4% of the transaction plus a fixed fee based on the currency received. The section on APPS refers to a lot of our online competition.
As a business traveller, your quest is to secure the most affordable flight, accommodation and transport, plus enough secure spending money. There are a number of apps that can help. Certain apps search for the best and cheapest options via their travel partners. They show you the cheapest dates to fly, and you’ll receive alerts when prices change.
Although there are a growing number of apps to assist travellers, it’s unlikely they will completely replace more traditional forms of travelling with money. A combination of methods is probably the way to go, with security and convenience being the greatest motivators.