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3 creative ways to use your international debit card Image- 14 Formats
Managing your money 27 September 2023

3 creative ways to use your international debit card

When considering the merits of an international bank account, decisions are often based on the unique features and lifestyle benefits that are packaged with your offshore account. What is often overlooked, however, is the convenience and flexibility you gain from being able to wield a globally-accepted debit card.

In fact, your Visa debit card is the key to many of the features and benefits included in your Standard Bank International account.

“Clients are increasingly realising the benefits of international debit cards not only for spending while travelling but for investment purposes, to make international transfers or online purchases,” says Erik Olwagen, Head of SA Distribution for International Personal Banking at Standard Bank.

“There are a host of advantages when paying for goods or services in the same currency as they’re priced. And the easiest way to do that is to pay with your debit card, or to quickly draw cash at a local ATM. If you were to try do this with a card not set up for international payments and you’d be paying a lot more per transaction because of currency conversions and other costs.”

Shelter from currency volatility

One of the most tangible benefits of using an international debit card is greater certainty over the price you’re paying. Buying abroad with a non-international card, where allowed, will attract additional transaction and currency conversion fees.

That price can also differ from day to day if the exchange rate of your home currency swings wildly compared to major currencies.

You overcome this completely when you transfer money into your international account because the value of those funds are now fixed in your new currency. This means that the currency equivalent of £1,000 remains £1,000 irrespective of any currency fluctuations after you’ve transferred your funds.

You then never have to face a currency conversion crisis when travelling abroad on business or pleasure. For one, your budget won’t be blown if exchange rates suddenly turn against you, and you can transact with greater confidence because you know precisely the price you’re paying.

If you do suffer a fair degree of volatility in your home currency, you can use times when it strengthens to transfer funds into your international account. By taking money offshore at a lower exchange rate you’re effectively locking in the price you’ll pay immediately or sometime in the future.

Withdraw hard currency abroad

You can gain the same certainty by drawing cash. With a network of 1.4 million ATMs in more than 200 countries you’ll never be short of the convenience of drawing cash.

The ease of accessibility offered by an international debit card beats having to cash travellers cheques or finding a forex outlet to convert your money into the local currency. No longer relying on these services also means you’re no longer paying high transaction fees every time you need to pay.

Pay for international subscriptions

A creative way to get even more value from your international bank account and debit card is to use this to pay for popular subscription services.

Whether buying a subscription to your favourite news publication, streaming provider or software service, you have greater certainty over how much you’re paying if you don’t have to factor in fluctuating exchange rates.

You could also avoid currency conversion fees that might be levied on certain transactions or platforms.

You too can enjoy this convenience and flexibility when you open a Standard Bank international bank account. You can apply online or contact us Monday to Friday 07:00 - 17:00 UK time, excluding UK bank holidays, on +44 (0)1624 643 643 or 0860 033 269 (when calling from South Africa).