Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013

PENNY WISE

Refresh your Memory

Every now and then new rules and regulations come up from the Central Bank and it is important to be abreast of them. I am still surprised when friends ask me about the RFCD account and are amazed to know the advantages of having one and also the fact that they are entitled to have one.
RFCD or Resident Foreign Currency Account is available to all Bangladeshi nationals, you just have to pay a visit to your Bank and ask your Bank Manager to help you open one. Obviously, you will need to fill up forms and supply the required documents. For most of us Bangladeshis who are not entitled to have a foreign currency account this is just the answer — the RFCD Account!
As per Central Bank guideline every time you traveloutside Bangladesh you can bring in USD5000 without any declaration and more than that with declaration. This amount can go towards funding your RFCD, the more trips you make the more money you can deposit. This account can only be in your name and joint accounts are not allowed.
The fund can be transferred freely to any overseas account after completing the necessary formalities in the transfer instruction form.  Please note you cannot receive any incoming transfer into this account. I find this account extremely useful especially when you have children living overseas — you can transfer funds to them whenever you want to (obviously you need to have sufficient funds in your account).
The Central Bank has also revised the travel allowance. Previously when visiting SAARC countries you were allowed a yearly entitlement of USD1500 only, now the amount has been increased to USD2000. The amount for the non-SAARC countries remains at USD5000 per calendar year.  Make sure you are aware that your bank is permitted to give you USD2000 in cash and the balance can also be given in other convertible cash currencies such as Euro, GB pounds etc. out of your prescribed amount of USD5000 for the non-SAARC countries.
Of course, you can take the balance in Traveller’s Cheques, but then it is so much easier to use cash than TC, since you will be required to produce your ID and also in some countries, when encashing TCs you need to go to a Bank as opposed to a Money Changer. However, I have to add that the advantage of TCs is that in the event you lose them, your Bank will always reimburse them if you have the purchase document (make sure you keep it in a separate and safe place).
Another thing to remember is that the second signature on the TC should only be made at the time of encashment in front of the Money Changer or Bank official never make the mistake of signing it from before.
Also ensure you advise your bank immediately if you happen to lose them or your wallet gets stolen. Losing cash currencies have unfortunately no recourse.
One more word of advice  when you go shopping or anywhere during your travel carry your money in a cross shoulder ‘conductor bag’ or a belt pouch. My sister has been a victim of several thefts just because of the kind of handbag she uses – she has finally realised and is now happily and safely using the right kind of bag…