Currency Conversion: USD to AUD and NZD

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Boynton Beach, FL
282 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Is Travelex a reliable internet company? How much do they charge to convert U.S. dollars to AUD and NZD? Which cards offer the lowest fees (i.e. Visa, Master Card)? Are there convenient Travelex locations at the airports (both Sydney and Melbourne)?

Many thanks.

Larry and Ethel
The interior of BC about 4 hrs north of Vancouver . In the dry part of the Province
10,704 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Originally posted by bigdawgs
Is Travelex a reliable internet company? How much do they charge to convert U.S. dollars to AUD and NZD? Which cards offer the lowest fees (i.e. Visa, Master Card)? Are there convenient Travelex locations at the airports (both Sydney and Melbourne)?

Many thanks.

Larry and Ethel
I would get AUD & NZD at home from your local bank. For all other purchases I would use a Master Card , Visa or Amex. These three probably will give you the best exchange rate. I'm assuming your traveling to Aust and/or NZ.
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Arlington, Virginia
2,358 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
The best way to get local currency whether it is AUD or NZD is by using ATMs. They are everywhere in both countries, including the airports. That's why I don't bother going to the expense of buying AUD or NZD before I go there. I just wait and use my ATM as soon as I get to the airport.

The cost of using your ATM and your credit card depends on who issues your card. Credit Unions generally charge lower fees than banks, but it depends. My credit union charges 1% for ATM and credit card usage. You should call your bank/credit union for this information and you also need to advise them of your travel dates and destinations so they don't flag your account(s) for possible fraudulent use when they see overseas charges.
Melbn, 'Straya
1,985 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
I vote using local ATMs too. We have the technology and they offer a competitive rate. Use cash for small purchases and credit card for larger ones. Visa or MasterCard is best: Amex isn't widely accepted down under and please don't bother with travellers cheques which can be very difficult to cash, even in banks.
Sydney, Australia
13,329 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Travelex is a reliable company, being a mainstream currency converter like Thomas Cook. They also hold the concession for the airports and cover them well.
618 Posts
Joined May 2010
Just use ATMs lots everywhere and you will find them easily...Travalex places may not be that easy to find except in airports.
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Whidbey Island, WA
691 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Hi, Larry and Ethel~~ After reading several CC threads on this subject we have come to the conclusion that the best is using a debit card for cash in AUS and NZ and using a creidt card for purchases. What you need to watch for are ATMs that have reciprocal agreements with your US bank. We bank with Bank of America and can access cash at Westpac bank branches or ATMs in both AUS and NZ without paying the usual charges for getting cash outside of your own banks ATMs. AUS/NZ travelers receive the same benefit if they are Westpac customers and use BAC in the US. I've done a search on Westpac ATMs and there are a couple in the Sydney airport and also a few close to our hotel...we only pay the conversion rate, no additional fee. I've also checked and found Westpac ATMs in our NZ ports. Check with your bank and see if they have a reciprocal agreement with a financial insititution in AUS/NZ...this could save you some money. See you on the Solstice!!!
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We Travel Not to Escape Life, But for Life Not to Escape Us
Boynton Beach, FL
282 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Hi, Judy:

Thanks. We also have our accounts with B of A. Our first stop in Australia will be Melbourne, so I guess we should look for the Westpac ATMS at the airport before hopping into a taxi to our hotel. I will try to find out where they are located at the airport. I am wondering whether it would be best to purchase some AUD in advance.

Look forward to meeting you on board -- we now have 82 passengers signed up for the 'Meet and Mingle.'

Larry & Ethel
84,590 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Larry and Ethel,

I would use an ATM card to obtain cash in Australia and New Zealand.

Travelex is very reliable but you will do better with the ATM.

For those items you charge try to bring a credit card that doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee. For example, a Capital One Credit Card does not tack on this fee.

Whidbey Island, WA
691 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Hi, Larry and Ethel~~ LOL, we have to stop meeting like this!!

Below is a cut/paste from the BAC website regarding their ATM Alliance. I also did a cut/paste from the Westpac website after a search for Melbourne Airport looks like a couple are within the airport. The link is also below for Westpac can also do a search for Westpac NZ. I did check already to make sure there is a branch or ATM in Queenstown for Bob and me and there is!

The exchange rate for buying AUS $ here is substantially more than the actual posted exchange rate. The banks say there is no service charge, but they deduct at least 5% from the posted exchange rates. We've decided to just wait and get cash in AUS upon our arrival at the airport.
We're in Sydney pre and Melbourne post cruise.

Woohoo, the US vs AUS $ seems to be on a gradual rise once again. It's like being in now or wait and take the gab]mble of a better exchange.

The taxis can actually process charge cards, but they add on a fee for doing this, so you would end up paying their fee, your charge card international fee and exchange rate begins to add up.

See you onboard...enjoy your days in Melbourne!

What is the Global ATM Alliance?
Bank of America is a member of the Global ATM Alliance. The Global ATM Alliance is a group of financial institutions that have created the world's first international ATM Alliance.
Use your debit card or ATM card within the Global ATM Alliance in the countries shown with no ATM operator fees or Non-Bank of America International ATM Fee. International Transaction Fees of 1% for converting your currency may apply. Some members may have locations in countries other than the country listed in the coverage area. Only ATMs in the country listed are considered part of the Alliance.
Bank NameCoverage AreaBank of AmericaNorth AmericaBarclaysUnited KingdomBNP ParibasFranceBNL D'ItaliaItalyDeutsche BankGermanyScotiabankCanada and the Caribbean. Caribbean countries include: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Netherlands Antilles (St Maarten), St Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, US Virgin IslandsWestpac BankAustralia and New ZealandIn addition, Bank of America has arranged for you to use your debit or ATM cards in China at China Construction Bank ATMs (China Construction Bank ATMs in Hong Kong are not included) and in Mexico at Banco Santander with no ATM Operator Fees or Non-Bank of America International ATM fee. International Transaction Fee of 1% for converting your currency may apply.

What should I do if I plan to travel internationally and use my ATM or Debit Card?
To prevent an interruption in ATM or Debit Card access you must call the telephone number on the back of your card to have an agent place a travel flag on your account. Your ATM Card or Debit Card must have a primary checking account linked to it in order to have no interruption in service while traveling internationally.

Once the travel flag has been placed, if you encounter any issues, please contact us toll free at 1.877.833.5617 or internationally by calling collect 1.602.597.2395.

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We Travel Not to Escape Life, But for Life Not to Escape Us
Boynton Beach, FL
282 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Thanks, Judy -- and thanks to all of you for clarifying the situation for us. We are contacting B. of A. to arrange for use of our ATM card in Australia and New Zealand.

Larry & Ethel