Currency in Australia and New Zealand

Jul 24th, 2014, 05:51 PM
  #41  
Hez
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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The point was that it is generally only third world economies that are happy to have US dollars. This has nothing to do with more people travelling internationally. It is mostly because the local currencies are not nearly as stable as the US dollar. I understand that you haven't traveled enough to realize that. I was just trying to help you out by informing you that people in first world economies, ie those that have stable currencies, generally don't take all that kindly to Americans believing that their currency is the only stable currency in the world. Regardless of what you intended it comes across as culturally insensitive.

And no, that's not at all what is happening when you use a debit card at an ATM. That's your US dollars being converted into the local paper currency so that when you spend it shops/cafes etc the people who take the currency can actually use it.

On the odd occasion when you can use US dollars in another first world country (usually at an airport or very touristy area) you are usually almost definitely getting royally screwed on the conversion rate.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 07:26 PM
  #42  
 
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Cathy, you don't need to worry about getting Australian dollars and NZ dollars. Just like the U.S., there are ATMs everywhere in both countries--they will not be hard to find. It is unfortunate that your bank charges so much for ATM withdrawals, but it just has to be factored in as a travel expense.

I, for one, are glad that the archaic days of travelers checks are over. It was a pain to buy them and a pain to use them. ATMs are SO much better.
longhorn55 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2014, 09:30 PM
  #43  
 
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Good heavens, yes, Longhorn! I can't remember the last time I used Travellers' Cheques, but it would have to be 20+ years.

They cost money & effort to buy & invariably lost money on the exchange, when you could find someone to do it. And then of course, you were either carrying wads of cash - which you might subsequently have to try to convert back to your own currency on exit or at home - or you were forever dashing around looking for a decent rate on $100.

In my personal & business life I write one cheque a month to a supplier who still lives in the quill & shade days - and receive none except for the odd lottery win. Everything else is & has been done electronically for a decade at least. Sooo much simpler, as you say.
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Jul 25th, 2014, 06:27 AM
  #44  
 
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For what it is worth I recently did an "around the world" trip (20+ countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia & New Zealand) plus a second month long trip through New Zealand taking very little cash with me.

Used an airport ATM card upon arrive in each country to get a small amount of local currency for taxis, tips & sundries and used a Capital One "no foreign transaction fee" credit card for just about everything else. Withdrew more cash as needed from "bank owned" ATMs -never had difficulty finding one that was affiliated with my home bank. The few locally assessed withdrawal fees which ranged from around $1US to $5US were a drop in the bucket compared to the overall cost of the trip and were well worth the convenience. I never carried more than the EQUIVALENT of $200US cash at any one time and almost always used about half of that amount to settle up my hotel bill upon departure so I wouldn't have unspent cash in a currency I no longer needed

Like Bokhara2 I do almost all (99%) my "banking" electronically - if I write a dozen checks a year that's a lot!

My point being, in this day and age one doesn't really need much "cash" to travel, or to even stay around home, for that matter.
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Jul 25th, 2014, 08:30 AM
  #45  
Hez
 
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Great idea to settle up the last hotel bill in cash RoamsAround!
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Jul 25th, 2014, 09:12 AM
  #46  
 
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In my personal & business life I write one cheque a month to a supplier who still lives in the quill & shade days - and receive none except for the odd lottery win.>>

here in the boondocks [aka the UK] some of us are still using cheques quite a lot [though not as much as previously I'll agree] including most of the people paying my fees [I'm a lawyer].

THe UK banks tried for several years to think of something to replace the cheque as it had been announced that it would be phased out, but last year they had to concede that the only thing that they'd been able to think of which would do everything a cheque does was.....a cheque.
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Jul 26th, 2014, 12:08 PM
  #47  
tt7
 
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"I had talked to a banker at my bank. He had advised me to use the ATM and my credit card. "

Very bad advice. If you use a credit card, you're taking a cash advance. Your bank will immediately start the interest clock running as there's no 'interest free grace period' for cash advances (otherwise we'd all be doing it).

Check to see if your bank has an arrangement with any of the Australian banks (for example, Bank of America and Westpac). Those arrangements provide for no ATM fees at either end. B of A does however charge a 3% conversion fee. That started appearing as a separate charge about 6 months ago though I suspect it was previously just bundled into the converted amount.

As for PINs, my Bank of America 6-digit pin debit card works fine in Westpac ATMs.

As has already been clarified, a pin is only required with an Australian-issued card. Signatures will still be accepted for foreign-issued cards. The terminal should detect the card as Australian or foreign and advise the merchant accordingly.
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Jul 26th, 2014, 07:10 PM
  #48  
 
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tt7, you are absolutely correct that using credit cards for cash advances is a bad idea, but I assume that Cathy intends to use credit cards to pay for hotels, excursions, sundries, etc. In that case, using a credit card is a very good idea. I expect Cathy intends to use her ATM/debit card for cash withdrawals from an ATM.
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Jul 27th, 2014, 01:51 AM
  #49  
 
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<>

Me too, what a PITA they were.
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Jul 28th, 2014, 05:42 PM
  #50  
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longhorn55: You have correctly replied and stated to tt7 my intentions. I have never used a credit card for a cash advance. And never will. My bank is not affiliated with any in Aust/NZ. I already checked. This is why they charge a $5.00 withdrawal fee every time you use an ATM machine. But that's ok. It part of the cost of the trip and doing business. This is why he suggested taking out about $300.00 the first time to keep from going to the ATM to avoid paying too many of the fees. I would incur more fees if I just kept taking 20 to 50.00 out each time.

AS for Traveler's checks, the last time I used them was in 1985 during a month long trip to China. I belonged to AAA. We used to get the checks for free. We just has to pay for the amount that we were getting. And I did not have any service fees to convert them back to cash. And did not have trouble with merchants accepting them.And I got them in small demoniations so that I would not have a lot of local currency left at the end of the trip. I use the local money as needed for some purchases so that their wasn't any local money left over. I just felt they were safer because if they were lost or stolen, you could get your money back. You can't do that if your ash is lost or stolen. If I have any of the local left, it was a small amount that saved as a souvenir. It wasn't worth converting back to American cash.
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Jul 28th, 2014, 05:53 PM
  #51  
 
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Ah well, a lot has changed in the last 29 years, Cathy. I'm sure you will find the ATMs very convenient in both countries.
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Jul 31st, 2014, 07:30 AM
  #52  
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Bokhara2: A lot has sure changed. Look what has happened after 911-all the stuff we have to do to go through the airports. And they keep adding new restrictions every year that its sometimes hard to keep up with the newest one.
And talking about travel checks-Last night I saw an ad for the Travelex stores and ordering cash online. I was playing with the converter again to see how much it would cost to get Aust and NZ dollars in different amounts vs doing it with the Cash passport. They have a store at my airport that could pick up the cash prior to my flight. It would be free vs having a service charge. It would cost me about 15.00 for 300.00 of Aust dollars. I forgot what it was for 100.00 of NZ dollars. I was trying to decide if it was worth it to have some local cash for beginning of trip. Happened to notice that they had a link for traveler's checks. Mention how safe to travel with, safer than carry cash, accepted everywhere. Didn't find how much they charge for them. Found it interesting since I have been told here and at the bank not to get. So they are promoting them at the local currency exchanges.
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Aug 1st, 2014, 09:20 PM
  #53  
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i have a question about Travelex Foreign Exchange Stores: Have any of you that have gotten local currency before a trip used them? As mentioned in my last post, I was playing around with different amounts to see how much it would cost to get some AUD dollars. The difference didn't seem to be very much. 100 Aud dollars is about 104.00 US,200.00 is 208, 300.00 was 312, 500.00 was 520.00. The NZ rate was better. 100.00 was about 94.00.
I did a phone call and a live online chat. I found out that you get a better rate if you order online and pick up at the store is free. You can return any unused funds to the store if you have your receipt. They will not charge you to reconvert the money to US dollars..There is a store at my airport. It is located in the same concourse as my flight. So I can pick up the money at the store. I was told not to purchase the money at the store because they will give you less in the conversion than you can online. You can order the money the day before to be ready for pickup the next day. You just have to do before the deadline for the order to be ready for you. I would probably do a few days to a week before. I just would feel better having some local cash on hand for the first few days to a week. I agree with Di that I will be tired to want to start looking for an ATM machine in an unfamiliar airport.I feel with no service fees and shipping charges, I am only paying slightly more than I would at an ATM machine. That is fine to have my peace of mind.I would only be paying a little more for the Aud dollars, not the NZ dollars.
What do you think?
CathyKramer is offline  
Aug 1st, 2014, 09:48 PM
  #54  
 
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I think you should just find an ATM upon arrival as previously suggested. Seriously. I don't understand your resistance to such an easy, logical, inexpensive solution.

Hey, you asked.

From the Cairns Airport website:

An ATM machine is located in the arrivals area of the international terminal and accepts most cards.

It'll take you all of 30 seconds upon arrival. Even I'm never that tired.
Melnq8 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2014, 12:09 AM
  #55  
 
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I'd go with my 'gut feeling' - that's what you'll be most comfortable with, after all this advice! Di
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 01:22 AM
  #56  
 
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We get foreign cash at Travelex at the airport fairly often. In Australia they have most foreign currencies without pre-ordering but it may be different in your country. If you have time now, just do it and it's one less thing to think about. Make sure you specify small notes - no bigger than $50 - $10 and $20 would be better.

Kay
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 03:47 AM
  #57  
 
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Cathy,

Not sure about the current exchange rate via international conversions on ATM transactions, but the $US is currently worth more than an $Aus, so the Travelex rate you have seems to be a rip-off unless it also includes a transaction fee.

I too like to have some local cash in my pocket when I arrive somewhere for taxis, etc, but please be assured, there are plenty of ATMs all over the place in Australia.
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 03:54 AM
  #58  
 
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the only experiences i have had with travelex have been when i had no choice and they have been a rip-off.
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 05:44 AM
  #59  
 
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Cathy -

As most responders have said the easiest way to get foreign currency is to use ATM's but for whatever reason you seem to have an aversion to getting cash in that manner It also seems you have an overwhelming desire to have foreign currency in your pocket before leaving the US in order to give you "peace of mind".

Travelex Currency Exchange will give you that "peace of mind" but it comes at a cost. If you are willing to pay that added price by all means exchange your currency at Travelex booth in the airport before you the US.

If, on the other hand, you want to do what most experienced travelers do, then simply get the cash you need at ATM's once you arrive in Australia and New Zealand.

Really, you've been given all the facts and no amount of questing will change those facts. You'll now have to decide for yourself what works best for your situation.

Enjoy your trip.
RoamsAround is online now  
Aug 3rd, 2014, 04:19 PM
  #60  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
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When you get to Auckland international airport you can get cash at either one of the copius atm's or from one of the travelex places inside the airport. While you are in the airport the shops will accept your foreign currency.
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