Banks and traditional providers often have extra costs, which they pass to you by marking up the exchange rate. Our smart tech means we’re more efficient – which means you get a great rate. Like many dollar-denominated currencies, the rand is divided into 100 cents.

In 2017, credit rating agency Moody’s rated the country of South Africa barely above junk status. In other words, the South African currency is a fairly safe investment option. The rand is relatively undervalued compared to other emerging market currencies. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) is the central bank of South Africa and is responsible for the country’s monetary policy.

Recent years have seen the Rand’s value influenced by concerns about South Africa’s political and economic stability. Its banknotes have portraits of historical figures on the obverse with views of South African landscapes or landmarks on the reverse. The Bank of England printed early banknotes on behalf of the South African Reserve Bank. When traveling to South Africa, it is a good idea to have some ZAR on hand for incidentals. However, major purchases can be made using credit cards or travelers’ cheques, which can be exchanged for ZAR at banks or Bureau de Change outlets.

Adam received his master’s in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The rand strengthened and local bond yields dropped after South Africa said it will tap its gold and foreign-exchange reserves to reduce the scale of its public debt sales.

One of the most notable policy changes was the decision to allow the currency to float freely on global currency markets. This helped to promote stability and encourage foreign investment. The bank implements monetary policy by setting interest rates and buying or selling foreign currency. The currency regularly weakens against major currencies due to South Africa’s political and economic uncertainty. In addition, the ZAR is affected by global factors such as the US dollar and Euro. There are a number of different banknotes and coins in circulation.

  1. The obverses of all denominations were printed in English, while two other official languages were printed on the reverse, thus making use of all 11 official languages of South Africa.
  2. Banks and traditional providers often have extra costs, which they pass to you by marking up the exchange rate.
  3. Another factor that could positively impact the currency is South Africa’s relatively low level of government debt.

The U.S. dollar is a global reserve currency, which means foreign central banks hold it in their reserves in addition to their own currency. USD is used in about 40% of global trade and nearly 80% of all global cross-border transactions, according to financial services firmSchwab. The rand saw a fairly auspicious beginning, trading at an exchange rate of 1.40 US dollars to 1 rand for its first ten years in existence.

Once you know that information, multiply the amount you have in ZAR by the current exchange rate. The resulting number will show you the amount of USD that you have to spend on your trip. Keep in mind that exchanging currency often comes with added fees that a conversion calculator won’t be able to predict. For instance, credit card companies and ATM networks usually charge a 1% conversion fee on all foreign transactions.

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The rand comes from the word “Witwatersrand,” which means “white waters ridge.” Johannesburg, the location of a majority of South Africa’s gold deposits, is located on this ridge. This website is using a security service to protect itself from online attacks. There are several actions that could trigger this block including submitting a certain word or phrase, a SQL command or malformed data. Create a chart for any currency pair in the world to see their currency history. These currency charts use live mid-market rates, are easy to use, and are very reliable. Increasing political uncertainty as South Africa moved to dismantle its apartheid system and transition to what would become black majority rule led to a further decline in the rand’s relative value.

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Conversion Table

The South African Reserve Bank mints and issues coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, and in denominations of 1, 2, and 5 rands. Banknotes are printed and issued in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 rands. The all-time low exchange rate for the rand relative to the US dollar was reached in 2016 when it hit an exchange rate of just below 18 ZAR/1 USD.

These percentages show how much the exchange rate has fluctuated over the last 30 and 90-day periods. These are the lowest points the exchange rate has been at in the last 30 and 90-day periods. These are the highest points the exchange rate has been at in the last 30 and 90-day periods. The South African rand was first produced in 1961, when South Africa became a republic. It replaced the South African pound, which used to be the legal currency of the Union of South Africa since it was established as a British Dominion in 1910.

However, over the ensuing decades, the rand exchange rate has depreciated or weakened, meaning it costs more rand to convert to one U.S. dollar. For example, it had cost approximately R2.55 to convert to one USD in 1990, and by 1999, the exchange rate was R6.14 to the USD. Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance.

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During British occupation, in 1826, the Cape Colony was put on a sterling basis, though other currencies, including Spanish Dollars, US Dollars, French Francs, and Indian Rupees continued to circulate. In 1921, the Reserve Bank of South Africa was established as the central bank. In 1961, the South African Rand replaced the Pound under a decimalized system.

USD – US Dollar

As the currency is currently pegged to a trade-weighted basket of currencies. The SARB has stated that its policy ensures that the rand is “broadly aligned” with a basket of currencies, but they do not target a specific level for the rand. The 1978 series began with denominations of 2, 5, 10 and 20 rand, with a 50 rand introduced in 1984. This series had only one language variant for each denomination of note.

This would help support the currency’s value and see it appreciate against other currencies. Looking ahead, the currency is likely to continue to see volatile swings as it feels the effects of global economic and political developments. The currency has recovered but remains highly vulnerable to global economic and political uncertainties.

The bank’s primary objective is to maintain price stability in the economy. The currency strengthened to a record high against the US dollar in early 2020 as investors sought out emerging markets amid concerns about the global economy. Modeled on the Bank of England (BoE), the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) stands as the monetary authority for South Africa and issues its currency. Taking on major responsibilities similar to those of other central banks, the SARB is also known as a creditor in certain situations, a clearing bank, and a major custodian of gold. The South African rand (ZAR) is the national currency of the country of South Africa, with the symbol ZAR being the currency abbreviation for the rand in foreign exchange (forex) markets. If you’re planning a trip to the United States in the near future, you may want to exchange some of your money into the United States dollar, the country’s official currency.

By the early 1980s, high inflation and mounting political pressure combined with sanctions placed against the country due to international opposition to the apartheid system had started to erode its value. The currency broke above parity with the dollar for the first time in March 1982, and continued to trade between R1 and R1.30 to xtrade broker the dollar until June 1984, when depreciation of the currency gained momentum. By February 1985, it was trading at over R2 per dollar, and in July that year, all foreign exchange trading was suspended for three days to try to stop the depreciation. When the rand was introduced in 1961, its value was linked to the price of gold.