Australia’s amazing Gold Coast is a hotspot for tourists from all around the world - for good reason, given its spectacular coastal scenery. But if you’re a visitor to the Gold Coast, you’ll want to make sure you’re able to get hold of your money without too much stress - managing money in a foreign country is always tricky. The same applies if you’re already there, but looking to make a currency exchange before heading abroad. Read on to find out the best ways to change your cash while you’re there.
First of all, though, let’s check through the basics.
- Make sure you know the real exchange rate. Before you exchange anything, look up the current mid-market exchange rate, also known as the interbank rate - you can find it on Google, XE or Wise. That’s what your money is really worth in a foreign currency, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Banks and exchange services tend to offer lower exchange rates to their customers, so there’s a good chance you won’t find the mid-market rate itself on the high street. But make sure you know what it is, so you know what you’re really being offered.
- Remember: exchange rates always change. Bankers are busy people, it’s true. One way you can tell is that global exchange rates are in a constant state of flux, going up and down from minute to minute. Of course, they’re very hard to predict, so you might not be able to time your currency exchange to perfection. But be prepared to see different rates from one moment to the next, and don’t expect to know exactly what they’re going to be.
- Ask your home bank about ATM partnerships. If you’re considering using ATMs abroad then it’s worth checking out whether your home bank has any partnerships. Partnerships such as the Global ATM Alliance - whose Australian partner is Westpac - mean that it can be free, or at least cheaper, to use certain ATMs in a foreign country, if you have the right bank account back home. So in some cases you might be able to save a few dollars on ATM withdrawals.
- Avoid exchanging money at airports and hotels. As noted above, exchange rates are highly changeable. As well as varying depending on the time and provider, they can also vary based on where you actually are. And at places like airports and hotels - full of visitors in dire need of cash - you’re liable to find the very worst exchange rates of all. So steer clear of them, and take your currency custom elsewhere.
- Use up all your money before you leave. Of course, it costs money to convert back to your home currency again, too - so if it’s possible, try not to end up with any excess cash at the end of your trip.
Here are some of your options on the Gold Coast. Be aware that you’ll still be charged fees, whether they’re open about it or whether they’re hidden in a bad exchange rate. So always take care and do some research before you commit.
|Company||Contact information||Exchange rate|
|Travelex||Pacific Fair Shopping Centre Hooker Boulevard QLD 4218 Phone: (07) 5561 0946||In their terms and conditions, Travelex gives some information about the exchange rate they offer: “The exchange rates quoted on the Website are subject to change. We will use the exchange rate at the time we receive your order. The exchange rate applicable to your transaction is the rate set out in your confirmation email.”|
|Crown currency exchange||Pacific Fair Shopping Centre Hooker Blvd Broadbeach QLD 4218 Phone: 07 5570 4933||The company doesn’t give information on their website about the rate they’ll use. You can request a quote for the currency exchange via their website.|
|Travel money Oz||Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Corner Hooker & Sunshine Blvd Broadbeach Phone: 1300 565 493||When exchanging your money, the company uses a buy and sell rate. They say: “The sell rate is the rate at which we sell foreign currencies.” and “The buy rate is the rate at which we buy back a foreign currency and give you Aussie dollars.”In other words, they won’t use the actual mid-market rate to convert your money, as this is the rate that lies in between the buy and sell rate.|
Not a fan of changing your money at a shop? An ATM might be both easier and better value. And using an ATM also means you don’t have to carry cash with you when you’re travelling - you can just get it out when you’re there.
Most cards work abroad, if you’re on one of the major networks like Visa or MasterCard. You should check with your bank, though, just in case. And also find out what it’ll cost you. As noted above, there might be certain banks where it’ll cost less, so do check about that.
You should also keep in mind that when you take money out of the ATM, it’ll still need to be converted. The machine should give you the option if you want to be charged in your home currency, or in the local currency. This will decide on who does the conversion, the machine (aka the foreign bank), or your home bank. You can read a bit more about this in our article about Dynamic Currency Conversion, or DCC. But the short and quick answer is, always let the ATM charge you in the local currency.
If you use any of the above methods, the sad truth is that you’ll probably get ripped off on currency exchange - on the Gold Coast just like anywhere else. An ATM is probably the cheapest option, but, still usually being run by a bank, it’s not exactly ideal.
But if you have a bank account in your destination country - or if you know someone who does - then there is a way to transfer money abroad using the real mid-market exchange rate. That means no more costly markups on your money - just the same good-value interbank rate the banks use between themselves but don’t offer to customers. Check out Wise to see what your money’s really worth in foreign currency.
You can use Wise to send money to an Australian bank account from abroad - or vice versa, if you’re heading out of the Gold Coast - with only a simple, upfront fee. There’s no extra cost hidden in the exchange rate, so it’s a much more transparent way of doing it. And you can even set up a borderless account, if you want to hold money in foreign currencies for a while. There’s no monthly fee, and you even get virtual bank details in Australian and US dollars, pounds sterling and euros. You can get a linked Wise debit card so you can use your AUD balance to pay in stores directly, and beat ATM fees entirely. See if you can get a better deal with Wise, today.
However you choose to get hold of your foreign currency on the Gold Coast, make sure you get a good deal. Don’t let the conversion cost you any more than it has to. But most importantly, good luck - and happy travelling.
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
If you plan on going to Australia with some of your home currency to exchange, read on to learn what you need to know about exchanging currency in Shellharbour.
If you’re planning a trip to Chadstone, or if you’re considering Chadstone as a possible new home, read this to learn where in Chadstone to convert your money.
If you’re a tourist headed to Cairns for a break, or considering a permanent relocation there, you can learn about exchanging your money to AUD here.
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