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9 Currency Exchange Tips That Save You Time and Money

When you travel overseas, the foreign currency rate can make a big difference to the cost of your trip. Confusing exchange rates and hidden fees can make it difficult to know if you are getting the best deal. After spending time finding the best prices for your flights and hotel rooms, follow these easy tips to save time and money on foreign currency exchange.

1. Avoid Paying Commission

Banks and foreign exchange companies make money by selling foreign dollars at a higher exchange rate than their cost. On top of this profit margin, many foreign exchange providers charge a fee or commission. This is like being double charged and means you’re left with less foreign cash in your pocket. When you exchange money, ask if they charge additional fees or a commission. If they charge unnecessary fees, look for another company to complete your exchange.

At Crown Currency Exchange, we NEVER charge fees or commission. You get the best rate!

2. Save Money by Using Cash

Using foreign cash is always the cheapest option when you’re travelling overseas. When you lock in our unbeatable rates, you’ll get a deal that is far better than the rate your bank offers on your card. There’s no credit card fees, transaction fees, ATM fees or any other hidden fees. Cash is also cheaper than using foreign cash cards as they usually have less favorable exchange rates and unexpected fees, including card closure, negative balance and reload fees.

Our research into credit cards and cash passports, which involved reading PDS documents to find out what fees are charged, found some hidden surprises.

To show you how much money you can save by using foreign cash, we got quotes to convert $1000 AUD to USD using a variety of foreign currency providers. Here’s what you get for your money:

Foreign Currency Conversion MethodTotal Cost in AUDExchange RateFeesATM Cash withdrawal FeeFunds in USD (Rounded)
Cash – Crown Currency Exchange1000.000.7769NoneNone776.70
Cash – Travelex1000.000.7581NoneNone758.10
Cash – Travel Money Oz1000.000.7539NoneNone753.90
Cash – ANZ1000 (only at foreign exchange centre location)0.75781% of sale amount (minimum $8.00 per currency)None750.22
Cash Aus Post1000.000.7502NoneNone750.2
Cash – NAB1000.000.7576$10 fee for in-branch ordersNone750.02
Cash – Westpac1000.000.7506$4 order feeNone747.6
Cash – Commonwealth Bank1000.000.75161% of sale amount (minimum $8.00 per currency)None744.20
Cash Passport Travel Card – Australia Post1000 (no cash)0.7668$10 fee to close account
$10 to cash out remaining balance.
$5 reload fee
$20 Negative balance fee
*Please note that some ATM operators may charge an additional withdrawal fee at their own accord.
Credit Card (MasterCard) – Commbank, Westpac, Anz, NAB etc.$1000 (no cash, fees applies for cash withdrawal)0.7818 (Mastercard exchange rate)3% transaction feesAUD 2.50 or 2.00% of the transaction amount per withdrawal758.43
Travel Money Card – Commbank1000 (no cash, fees applies for cash withdrawal)0.7516$15 initialUSD 2.50 per transaction740.33
Load & Go Travel Card – Australia Post1000 (no cash, fees applies for cash withdrawal)0.75873% + AUD $.99 in 30 days + $10 card closure feeAUD 2 per withdrawal or balance enquiry727.6
Travel Money Card – ANZ1000 (no cash, fees applies for cash withdrawal)0.75783% transaction fees ($11 initial fee + 1.1% reload fee waived for existing ANZ customers)USD 2.50 per transaction726.73 – 735.1

As shown, Crown Currency offers the best rates. The table above shows you that you can save a minimum of $USD8, which is enough to buy a good breakfast or a nice coffee and souvenir from a local market. Get the best rates, take control of your spending and get no surprises from hidden fees.

3. Buy More and Save More

When you buy foreign currency, you should be able to get a better rate by buying in bulk. Plan your holiday, mapping out the different currencies you’ll need and make an estimate of total amount needed. By taking more currency with you than what you think you’ll need, you will get a better exchange rate and save multiple transaction fees. Carefully consider how much cash you feel comfortable travelling with and read our travelling safely with cash tips.

4. Be Organised

Buying foreign currency is usually one of the last things you think of when you are preparing for your holiday. When you finally get around to exchanging money, you may be in a hurry and unable to find the best deal. Get organised early and you will save delays and won’t have to pay exorbitant fees.

When you purchase foreign currency, bring ID and ensure you have checked your EFTPOS limit. Will the limit cover your currency and transaction costs? Purchasing currency by credit or debit card, may incur unnecessary fees. Some currency exchange stores also charge for BPAY services. At Crown Currency you can pay with EFTPOS with no additional charges. You can also do a bank transfer to our account without added transaction fees. If paying by BPAY, you will need to factor in the time it takes for your bank to transfer money to the currency exchange company.

Finally, if you are buying less common currency, make sure to call your currency exchange provider to confirm availability. Even banks carry a limited range of foreign currency types, in small amounts, and people are often surprised when they don’t even have a large sum of USD on hand. At Crown Currency Exchange, we keep over 80 foreign currencies in stock so we can usually provide you with what you need without the need for a special order.

5. Don’t Exchange Cash at the Airport

Unless you are visiting Crown Currency Exchange at a small airport such as Mackay Airport, ‘gate rates’ are always higher than other providers. This is due to the high costs of operating in a large airport, including high rents and extended operating hours. This makes it necessary for these companies to pass extra charges on to you. As an airport is your last opportunity to exchange cash, it also means that these companies can charge what they want.

Our stores are at strategic locations on the way to major airports. Give us a call in advance and we can have the currency ready for pick-up on the way to the airport.

6. USD isn’t Always the Best Option

Travellers are often advised to take US dollars to countries that don’t use a major currency. The idea is that the US dollar is accepted everywhere or you’ll be able to exchange it later. This simply isn’t true. The last thing you want, when you arrive at your destination, is to have a wallet full of cash that you can’t use or that you will need to exchange (usually at a high cost).

The better option is to find out exactly which currency you’ll need and buy it before you leave. You’ll save time and money because you won’t have to make multiple currency conversions. If you’re not sure what you need, simply ask us.

At Crown Currency Exchange, we sell popular and less common currencies, all with a best rates guarantee. We ensure that you always get the best price and service!

7. Ask for a Senior Discount

If you are over 60 years of age, make the most of the perks available by asking for a senior discount. Foreign exchange providers often offer a better rate for seniors. If they don’t, head to Crown Currency Exchange as we offer a senior discount.


8. Cash is King

Not only is cash the best option when making overseas purchases, it’s also the most convenient. It’s accepted everywhere and doesn’t rely on technology. You’ll also have the certainty that comes from knowing that you’ve locked in a fixed exchange rate. This helps you plan how much you can spend each day in your holiday period. As you can see from the above table, there are many possible unexpected fees from your card transactions such as negative balance fees, converting leftover cash fees and balance enquiry fees. If you have gone on a trip for pleasure, you want to focus on having a good time and not have to worry about tracking your expenses to prevent extra card fees.

As you don’t need to use a card or PIN number, using cash doesn’t expose you to identity theft. If something bad happens, your loss is capped to the amount of cash you were carrying, instead of your card limit. Some travel insurance companies have allowances for cash reimbursements in an event of theft.

9. Head to Crown Currency for the Best Rates

At Crown Currency, you’ll always find the best rate on foreign exchange with no fees or commissions. If you happen to find a rate that’s lower than ours, simply give us a copy of your quote (including fees and commission) and we’ll beat it.

To save time and money on your currency exchange, request your free quote or visit one of our locations.

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Posted in Featured, Travel Money Tips
currency exchange tips
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