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How To Buy Foreign Currency in Australia

By Will Ellis
Last Updated on February 26, 2024
Edited by Adam Turner
Fact checked and reviewed

Wherever you travel, whether it’s a business trip, studying abroad or just a well-earned holiday, you’re naturally going to need some spending money in the local currency.

With all the various exchange rates and general headaches involved with ordering travel money online, getting your hands on foreign currency is not always the easiest of processes – not to mention how long this kind of thing can take at times.

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To make the most of your dollars while travelling, it’s worth getting familiar with some of the most efficient ways you can buy foreign currency.

So, throughout this article, I’ll walk you through some of the best methods for quickly and easily buying foreign currency, wherever you are in the world.

Table of Contents:

Understand Foreign Exchange Rates 💰️

To kick things off, before you rush out to visit the first foreign exchange branch you can find, it’s absolutely crucial to have an understanding of how exchange rates work. This is the rate that determines how much foreign currency you’ll actually receive when you hand over your Australian dollars.

Fortunately, these rates aren’t exactly a mystery, since you can find real-time exchange rates through a range of different currency converter tools or even financial news websites. You don’t have to turn up to a foreign exchange branch and simply take whatever you’re told.

Having said that, keep in mind that these rates tend to change on a daily basis, so it’s worth keeping an eye on them every day so you’ can buy foreign currency when it’s the best deal.

Harness the Power of Currency Converter Tools ➡️

Currency converter tools should be a main part of your strategy when you’re converting currency, since they’ll help you determine how much foreign currency you’ll to need for your trip.

They’re pretty easy to use; all you need to do is type in how much Australian dollar (AUD) you’re planning on taking for the trip, or how much foreign currency you need, and it will instantly convert figures between the two currencies.

This can be a huge help whenever you need to budget, so you don’t ever find yourself short of travel money while you’re away.

Consider the Convenience of Buying Currency Online

Though we talked earlier about visiting a physical bank or currency exchange office in person, the reality is that buying currency online is the new wave and makes it way easier to buy foreign cash.

You’ve got a massive selection when it comes to websites or financial institutions which will sell you foreign currency. The way you can even get it delivered to your doorstep without having to physically collect it from the bank is a nice touch, too.

So, whether it’s a bank or a post office, buying currency this way ultimately eliminates the need to ever visit a physical currency exchange location, so this option is definitely the one I advise the most.

Comparison Shop for Exchange Rates 📊️

Another thing that’s so efficient about buying foreign cash online is how easily you can compare exchange rates from different providers, given that you can just switch between tabs rather than going out there and visiting each individual branch.

It’s a well-known fact that currency exchange rates can vary fairly significantly from one institution to another. So if you want to maximise the of value you’re getting from your AUD, it’s worth investing a bit of time into online research.

There are plenty of online comparison tools that can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you here.

Embrace the Convenience of Travel Money Cards 💳️

I’ve not talked about travel money cards yet (they’re also known as a cash passport), but these are some of the most versatile tools you can carry to manage your currencies when you travel. Let’s take a closer look at how exactly these cards work and how you can use them effectively:

Pre-loaded Funds

These kinds of cards allow you to pre-load funds in multiple foreign currencies, which is very useful if you’re visiting more than one country on your trip, since you won’t need to exchange money at each destination.

Exchange Rate Lock

Furthermore, travel money cards lock in the exchange rates at the time you load money onto the card. You can secure the most favourable rate when you first load the card up, so you won’t have to deal with the rate fluctuating throughout your trip.

Budget Control

Since you’re only ever able to spend the amount of money that you’ve loaded onto the card (though certain providers of these cards might allow you to top up at certain points), you’re able to budget a lot better for your trip, as it stops you from overspending.

Be Mindful of Fees

Pay close attention to what fees might are associated when loading money onto the card or spending money from the card, whether that’s online or in person. They might include service charges, delivery fees for online orders, or even just the ATM withdrawal fees when you’re using travel money cards on the road. It definitely pays to be aware of them so you can minimise any unexpected expenses.

Know Your Transaction Limits

The majority of currency exchange providers end to impose some kind of limit on the amount of foreign currency you can purchase in one single transaction.

So, if you require a fairly substantial sum of money, you’re probably better off either making multiple different transactions with the same branch, or just reaching out to them beforehand so you can arrange a slightly larger exchange than normal.

Don’t Forget About Selling Foreign Currency 🛒️

Lastly, if you do end up coming home from your journey with a decent amount of unspent foreign currency, don’t just let it gather dust, sell it straight back to the currency exchange provider. Keep in mind that you’ll probably get nowhere near the same rates that you bought it for, so hang on to it if you expect to travel to that country again in the near future.

If you are selling foreign currency in Australia, you can repeat the same process as before by comparing rates and fees across multiple different sites, ultimately ensuring that you’re getting the best deal when converting your leftover foreign cash back to Australian dollars.

FAQs 🔎️

Are There Any Tax Implications When You Exchange Currency in Australia?

Buying or selling foreign currency in Australia for personal use, such as travel, generally doesn’t have tax implications. Having said that, if you need the money for something like business or investment activity, it might be wise to consult with a tax professional first so you know if there are any potential tax liabilities or deductions.

Is It Safe to Order Foreign Money Online and Have It Delivered to My Home Address?

It’s generally very safe to order online so long as you’re using reputable and secure providers – just make sure the website has some encryption measures in place so all your financial information is safeguarded. Furthermore, you might also want to opt for tracked delivery services so you can monitor your order’s progress until it actually reaches you.

Are There Any Restrictions on the Types of Foreign Currencies I Can Buy in Australia?

Generally speaking, no, there aren’t any kind of restrictions regarding this, and furthermore, most currency exchange providers give you a huge list of different currencies that you can buy so that a range of different travel destinations can be catered to. Having said that, some of the less commonly traded currencies might require advance notice so they can source it for you.

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