Money Matters

Travelling to Zambia, carrying cash vs sending money to yourself – pros and cons

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How much cash are you allowed to travel with internationally? What else should you consider when travelling with cash? We weigh the pros and cons. #Mukuru #Zambia #Travel #Money

sending money to zambia
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Here’s an interesting question, do you know how much cash you are allowed to travel with internationally? Also, what are the risks associated with travelling with lump sums of cash, have you ever thought through all of them? What else is there to consider when carrying lump sums of cash during your travels, we weigh the pros and cons.

International limits

Although there’s technically no legal limit on how much money you can carry on a plane, if you’re travelling international, generally you must declare amounts of more than $10,000 on your customs form and be prepared for possible interviews with law enforcement to explain the amount of money you’re carrying.

South Africa (SARS explanation) What is the limit in South African bank notes I’m allowed to carry with me when leaving or entering the Republic?

  • A traveller is allowed to declare and carry a maximum of R25 000/unlimited foreign currency, whether leaving or entering. The South African bank notes are unlimited if the traveller is going to / coming from a country within the Common Monetary Area (CMA – South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini).
  • It might happen that a South African resident has a certain Rand amount more than R25 000 when leaving South Africa, which the traveller intends to use in paying import duties on their return. This is allowed where the traveller has made use of the Red Channel (in an airport, the route taken by passengers wishing to declare goods, such as large quantities of tobacco or alcohol) and can give a copy of prior approval by the Exchange Control Department of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

Zambia (IATA explanation of ZRA regulation) Currency import and export regulations:

  • Local currency (Zambia Kwacha-ZMW) and foreign currencies: amounts exceeding USD 5000 or equivalent must be declared.

Pros and Cons of Travelling with Cash

  • Pros of Carrying Cash
    • The most obvious benefit of cash is in-your-pocket convenience and immediacy.  Depending on the countries you plan to visit on your next trip, you may find that not every stop along the way has the capacity to accept payment using cards. And for those situations, the comfort of reaching into your pocket for a wad of local currency gives you great peace of mind.
    • Having cash also gives bargaining power to haggle a better price.
    • Another plus about using travel money for your next trip? You don’t have to waste precious time from your busy schedule to traipse around hunting down the nearest ATM.
    • Avoiding ATM fees every time you need to pay for something is yet another positive.
  • Cons of Carrying Cash
    • Carrying money on your holiday or business trip may save you money in unwanted ATM and credit card transaction fees but it does come with its own risks – leaving you more prone to targeted robbery by locals who may know you are carrying large sums of money.
    • It’s hard to make a claim for cash on your travel insurance. Without the clear proof of how much money you had with you, claiming what was stolen can make for a difficult conversation with your insurance provider. You may find that you are covered for replacement of cash on your insurance but the slow process you will need to go through can make settlement protracted and painful.
    • Carrying a lot of cash safely can be cumbersome and stressful. Plus, if you visit multiple countries and plan to exchange the currency at each new arrival, you may also find that low exchange rates available at local currency providers cost you lots each time you travel across a new border.

Mukuru’s Easy Money Transfer Solution

Mukuru offers a service that takes away all the headaches we just covered above.

Most Zambians abroad usually have a sim card registered in Zambia, simply send the amount of money you want to that number using your own details and visit a Mukuru (or partner) branch to withdraw your cash in Kwacha. Better yet, have money in your Mukuru Money Card and send yourself exactly the amount you need as you need it since you can place your orders using WhatsApp!

Now that’s what we call peace of mind.

What options are available with Mukuru to help you send money?

  1. WhatsApp – Yes, WhatsApp! Place your orders by simply sending ‘Hi’ to +27 86 001 8555 and follow the prompts (in SA and Zambia).
  2. Mukuru App – create orders using the app on your phone and pay with your Mukuru card or at your nearest pay-in partner (Mukuru branch, Pick n Pay, PEP, Shoprite, Spar, Checkers, Ackermans, Game, Makro and many more).
  3. Mukuru website/mobi site – place orders online 24/7 by visiting www.mukuru.com. Pay with your Mukuru card or at your nearest pay-in partner (see point 2 above).
  4. USSD – Place orders via USSD by dialling *130*567# (in SA) or *855# (in Zambia) from any mobile phone. Pay with your Mukuru card or at your nearest pay-in partner (see point 2 above).
  5. Call centre – call the call centre on +27 86 001 8555 and place your order over the phone.

Cash collections are instant. As soon as you pay for your order, your loved ones receive an SMS with the order details which they can use to collect the cash in Kwacha at any Mukuru branch, Zoona branch, InterAfrica Bureau de Change branch, The Bed Shop, PEP and Kazang Stores in Zambia.



For more information, you can send your queries to Mukuru by submitting this contact form


Downloaded the latest edition of the mag yet?

Download links (free) – You now have the option to download the Magazine in HD (bigger but super crystal clear kinda nice) or Low Res (smaller but still part of the cool crowd nice).

Low Res Version Link > ZASA Magazine – Issue 47 – December 2019 (LRes)

HD Version Link > ZASA Magazine – Issue 47 – December 2019 (HD)


Visit Mukuru.com to start your own affordable and more secure money transfer journey!

Sources: USA Today | SARS | IATA Travel Centre

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