If you’re travelling for an extended amount of time, or if you’re travelling for work you may need to take a large amount of currency with you. This may also be the last thing on your mind.
The Currency Shop has looked into the ways to get the best out of your Australian Dollars when you’re buying foreign currency. We estimate you could save about 10% by making an informed decision. When you’re exchanging a higher amount, this could mean the difference of hundreds.
This article assumes you’ll be travelling with $10000aud, or exchanging anywhere between $8000AUD and $10000AUD. If you’re looking at exchanging a different amount, some of our other articles may be a better resource for you.
- If you’re looking at exchanging a smaller amount between $500AUD and $1000AUD, click here.
- If you need any amount between $1000AUD and $2000AUD, click here.
- And if you’re considering exchanging about $5000AUD, 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
Banks 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. However, they sometimes deal in exotic currencies that you won’t find at other providers.
Smaller providers 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 of stores, different purchase options and allow you to order online.
By this we mean, where you are located. When it comes to location, providers will generally have a better exchange rate in their CBD stores than anywhere else. As a result, the CBD is a better location if you’re wanting to exchange your cash in store. Especially considering you’re exchanging a substantial amount of currency, utilising a provider in the CBD would definitely be worthwhile.
Around the CBD and looking to exchange currency? Use these city guides to help you get the best exchange rates deals.
For the amount you’re looking at, going into the CBD would be highly beneficial. However, Travelex and Travel Money Oz allow you to make purchases up to $10000AUD online, if you’d rather pick it up locally. Or you could just exchange your cash at a local money changer, just make sure you ask for a better rate than what they initially offer you.
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. For security reasons we would generally not recommend carrying so much cash around with you, so for this amount a currency card would be preferable.
For a detailed explanation of the difference between taking cash and a currency card, read our comparison article.
If you’re buying in store, there generally won’t be a fee for paying in cash or debit but there can be for paying with credit. 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, there is a chance your bank could charge you a cash advance. So 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 a 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. For example, 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.
Having said this, if you are looking at exchanging a substantial amount of money, it would be worthwhile exchanging at least some before you leave. It is possible that money changers overseas may not want to have $10000AUD on hand. Consider doing half before you leave and half when you get there.
The Currency Shop endeavours to help you make a more informed decision about how best to handle buying foreign currency. If you are exchanging more than $8000AUD we would highly recommend doing so in your CBD. Ask for better rate than what they initially offer and make sure you compare the rate your getting to the wholesale rate listed on XE.com.
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.
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