The least enjoyable part of going overseas, is organising your currency. There are so many factors to consider when deciding how to do it, and you most likely are focused on the hotel you just booked, or the picturesque views you have ahead of you.
The Currency Shop estimates that you could save almost 10%* if you find the best option to suit your needs. We want to help you make the most out of the money you’re exchanging, and provide some insight into what you should consider when doing it.
This article will focus on exchanging currency for a shorter trip, where you’re only looking at exchanging between $500AUD and $1000AUD. If you’re looking at exchanging a different amount, check out one of the following articles:
- If you’re looking at an amount between $1000AUD and $2000AUD, click here.
- If you’re considering exchanging about $5000AUD, click here.
- And if you need a large amount between $8000AUD and $10000AUD, click here.
Where You Can Buy Travel Money
- Exchange rates and fees will vary at each bank or currency exchange outlet so it’s important to compare before you buy your travel money.
You can choose to explore different rates and fees with the following banks and money changers here:
Find the Best Way to Exchange Currency
If you’ve already googled “currency exchange” you know that there are a lot of places that provide this service. From banks to privately owned companies, there is a wide range of options. The Currency Shop has reasearched different providers, and while different places have their benefits there are some general rules we like to follow.
Banks for example are more likely to have a lower exchange rate, charge fees or commission and some don’t offer this service to anyone but their existing customers.
Smaller providers, with only one or two branches can have a better exchange rate but they may not always have stock of foreign currencies, or they may run out frequently. So you might need to give them time to order the currency in for you, or at least call before visiting them so you don’t waste a trip.
Larger companies such as Travel Money Oz or Travelex have a wide range or stores, different purchase options and allow you to order online which can be very beneficial.
By this we mean, where you are. When it comes to location, providers such as Travel Money Oz or Travelex, will generally have a better exchange rate in their CBD stores than their suburban stores. As a result, the CBD is a better location if you’re wanting to exchange your cash in store. Having said this, it’s worth taking into account where you live and work. If you’re not frequently in the CBD, the time and effort it takes to get into the city may not be worth the higher exchange rate you’ll find. Especially if it is a smaller amount.
Around the CBD and looking to exchange currency? Use these city guides to help you get the best exchange rates deals.
For an amount like this online is a really great option. It allows you to lock in an exchange rate and pick up your currency at a location close to home or work. You also need to decide whether you’re better off buying your currency in cash form, or purchasing a travel card. There are benefits to both options, and they both have their pitfalls. Considering you are not exchanging a large amount of money it may be better to keep it as cash and travel with your debit card in case you need any extra funds while you’re away.
For a detailed explanation of the difference between taking cash and a currency card, read our comparison article.
When you’re actually making your purchase of foreign currency there, again, are factors to consider.
If you’re buying in store, there generally won’t be a fee for paying in cash or using a debit card but there can be for using your credit card. The fee generally ranges anywhere from 0.5-2%. It’s also important to keep in mind that if you do want to use credit, your bank could charge you a cash advance. If you do want to use your credit card, make sure you check your providers policies around this.
When you’re purchasing online there will be a fee for any card payment whether its credit or debit and similar to purchasing in store, its usually between 1-2%. The good news is there is almost always Bpay option, and this avoids fees all together. Make sure you set up your Bpay account before you make your order and you’re good to go!
This is important too because depending where you’re traveling, it may not even be in your best interest to change your money before you leave. There are a couple of reasons for this. Some exotic currencies are hard to get a hold of in Australia. Some providers may be able to order it in, so in that case you just need to be organised and do so with plenty of time before you leave.
In addition to this, some tourist destinations saturated with Australian tourists often have a better conversion rate in the country itself. Examples of this include Indonesia and Thailand. By the end of 2016 over 1.3 million Australians had travelled to Bali and more than half a million to Thailand. Exchanging locally in these destinations can sometimes return a better rate for you.
The Currency Shop endeavours to help you make a more informed decision about how best to handle buying foreign currency in your situation.
General advice: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own personal situation and requirements before making any financial decisions.
*This rate is based on converting AUD to USD and took into account the difference between the best and worst exchange rates from providers across Australian CBDs, from Australian Banks and online offers.
Compare Travel Money Exchange Rates
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Dealing with currency stress? We help you compare commission fees and exchange rates of banks and money transfer specialists to help you find the best option.
If you want to learn about currency exchange in Australia, this guide will show you how to get the best exchange rates for your next overseas holiday.
You can find out more about travel cards in this article and how to choose the best one based on your situation.