Planning your next overseas trip? No matter whether you are preparing for overseas travel for holiday or business, packing your money is a checklist essential. Buying travel money online is one way to reduce stress and potentially save time – but are there any disadvantages you need to be aware of?
Read these tips to see how buying currency online versus in person differs:
How to Buy Currency Online and Collect In Person:
To buy currency online, there are 2 steps:
- Ordering – This is pretty simple. It’s just entering the amount of currency you need, where you are going to pick it up from and when you’d like to pick it up. You’ll also need to choose between paying via bpay or card.
- Your Details – Standard stuff. You’ll need to provide your contact and payment details. You may be asked some security questions to identify you when you pick up your currency.
Just to make sure you haven’t entered anything wrong, you’ll be asked to confirm everything before the transaction is finalised.
Online Money Exchangers
At travelex.com.au, the message is clear: ‘buy online to get our best rates’ and pay no commission. They currently have a promotion that gives you a better exchange rate, the more currency you buy.
Money can then be picked up in-store at one of their many locations, or can even be collected at the airport before you fly.
UPDATE: Travelex just partnered with Australia Post. This means you can pick up your currency from your local post office instead of trying to find a store nearby.
Travel Money Oz
Travel Money Oz promotes its online orders as fee and commission-free – with the added bonus of no additional delivery charges. Exchange rates shown are the up-to-date online sell rates, and it’s important to note that rates offered in-store rates can differ. The minimum order amount is AUD $500, with the maximum set at AUD $10,000 (foreign currency equivalent) per currency exchange order.
There are 2 clear advantages to using Travel Money Oz. Their exchange rates and their locations. Firstly, their exchange rates, particularly for US dollars, are usually miles ahead of the banks. Secondly, they have more currency exchange outlets than anyone else in Australia. This makes it easier to pick up the currency once you’ve ordered it online.
Buying Currency Online using a Credit Card
You are able to use most Australian credit cards when you purchase currency online using either Travelex or Travel Money Oz. You can also use a Visa debit card, Mastercard debit card or BPAY
Buying Currency In person:
Banks aren’t usually the most competitive when it comes to exchange rates and associated currency conversion fees, but by shopping around at various banks, as well as other providers, you can make real savings.
Buying money at the airport may seem convenient for those last-minute travellers but should be avoided, if possible. The reason? It’s all about margins. With fees and exchange rates charges taking up to 8% of your money, buying $1000 in foreign notes could set you back an extra $80.
Which is better
At the moment, there is no clear winner. It really depends on your situation. So with that in mind:
The best times to buy currency online (instead of in person) are:
- If you have safety concerns around avoiding having wads of cash. Buying online gives you the security of cashless transactions.
- If you need to buy a less common currency. Why? Currency Exchange stores generally only stock the most common currencies so if you arrive looking for a less common currency like Swiss Francs or Canadian Dollars, they may not have it. By going in store, you risk the possibility of the currency you need not being available – something that would require an extra trip back to the currency provider’s outlet.
- If you are time-poor and just want to head into the store to pick it up. Please note that it may not be available for pick up straight after you have ordered online. Allow at least a week.
The best times to buy currency in person are:
- If you have a large amount or want to negotiate
- If you are travelling in less than a week
- If you have a discount voucher
Whatever way you decide to choose, make sure you arm yourself with real cash, as well as plastic. Depending on your destination, not all places may be equipped for electronic banking, so having enough cash for basic expenses, including meals, taxi fares and accommodation charges, is a sensible safeguard to start your trip.