When it comes to Australia trip planning, one thought also goes to exchanging money in Australia. While credit cards are the most common and convenient way of payment, you may also consider other Australian options. In my opinion, a good combination of daily cash and credit and or debit cards is always the best solution.
Below, I give you some tips on exchanging money in Australia based on my personal experience, which can help you make up your mind about the money exchange arrangements for planning a trip to Australia.
The benefit of a pre-paid card
This is the best tip I can give you! Later on, I found out about it when I saw the long list of commissions my bank had charged for my purchases. You can upload your pre-payed card whenever you wish with the amount of money you want. You can apply for this card with your bank.
Usually, all banks offer them next to standard credit cards. This card’s great benefit is that bank commissions are much lower, usually 1% or even less. If you consider that banks typically charge 2% or more for your purchases abroad with a credit card, some banks also add transactions fee for foreign currency on top of the commissions. With a pre-payed card, you can save money on commissions.
How to manage day-to-day funds
Here there are two good options for your daily cash. Either you withdraw money from ATMs, but in this case, you must first check out with your bank what commissions apply and what transaction fees they charge. Usually, they tend to be very high. If your bank has international ATMs or has partner banks in Australia, you should not pay more than 1%-2%.
Exchanging money in Australia
Exchanging money before leaving for Australia was quite common, 15-20 years ago. Nowadays I would avoid exchanging money in Australian Dollars in your country. All banks apply hefty commissions, even though they say they are commission-free. I suggest withdrawing cash at the airport when you arrive at the airport in Australia.
Credit Cards and Debit Cards
This is what I use more frequently when I travel abroad. Cash is unquestionably vital for your daily basis purchases. However, credit cards are the most convenient payment tool for all your bookings and reservations. In Australia, you have to pay attention because some hotels, hostels, car rentals, restaurants tend to charge your card in your currency instead of charging in Australia.
In this case, the exchange rate is worse than the average and mostly includes hidden fees. Be careful with this because I did experience quite often on my last trip in 2008. If they offer you to charge your card in your currency, decline it.
Do insist on having it loaded in the local currency, i.e. in AUS and not in EUR or USD or whatever your money is. Be careful because, in some places, they did it straight away without asking me. So pay attention to these tricky transactions.
Check with Banks and Credit Card Companies
Check before leaving for Australia. Find out which fees and commissions apply when using your card and withdrawing money from ATMs in Australia. It´s a savvy investigation to avoid nasty surprises when you return home and suddenly receive a long list of commissions and fees on your purchases and bookings you did not expect.
I hope you find these tips for exchanging money useful for planning your trip to Australia.
If you have any experience that you can share with other fellow travellers, do it here and add your comment below.
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