Best places to exchange currency in Newcastle

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Headed to Australia? Looking for an exciting holiday, but time away from the hustle and bustle of the country’s biggest cities? Why not give Newcastle a try? With plentiful beaches, outdoor recreating and even whale watching, Newcastle might just be the perfect spot for your next getaway.

But before hitting the beach, you’ll need some Australian dollars. And if your plan is to head to Australia with some of your local currency in hand to exchange once you arrive, you’ll want to read this guide first.

Things to know before exchanging currency

Before exchanging currency in any country, you should do a little research to make sure you know how to get the best deals.

Know the actual exchange rate

Before arriving in Australia (as well as regularly throughout your trip), you should check the mid-market rate between your home currency and Australian dollars. The mid-market rate is the one you see on Google or XE.com — the actual exchange rate. But even though it’s the “real” exchange rate, it’s not the rate you’ll get at money exchange counters. Those tend to mark up their rates, so in addition to their fees or commissions, they make money on those markups too. You can compare the rate you’re being offered to the mid-market rate using an online currency converter. That way you’ll know whether you’re getting a good deal before you commit.

Remember that exchange rates always change

Exchange rates are constantly fluctuating, sometimes even hourly. They depend on a number of factors, including interest rates, economic decisions, confidence in an economy and economic growth. You can check the mid-market rate frequently during your trip, or you can sign up for a rate tracker that will alert you to changes in the mid-market rate between your home currency and AUD.

See if your home bank has partnerships in Newcastle

Before you head out on holiday, give your home bank a call to see if it has any partner banks in Newcastle. If so, you might be able to exchange currency there and get a better rate, as a customer of a partner. At the very least, they may have an ATM where you can make cash withdrawals without paying bank fees.

Always choose to be charged in the local currency

It may seem helpful when the ATM or card terminal gives you the option of viewing your transaction in your home currency. Don’t do it! This is something called: dynamic currency conversion, and it basically gives the bank that owns the ATM or terminal permission to use an exchange rate of its choosing. This rate is often marked up so the bank can make a profit off your transaction. Choose the local currency, and you’ll get a better rate. You’ll have to do more math, but you’ll save money.

Avoid airport and hotel currency exchanges

Places with the most tourists, like hotels and airports, are likely to have the poorest exchange rates, so avoid them. They get away with higher rates because they’re such convenient places to change out cash that people use them anyway, but you’ll save if you can hold out until you’re in the city center.

Spend your money before you leave

If you end up with leftover cash that you have to change back into your home currency, you’re getting hit with marked up exchange rates twice, which will cost you even more. Make a budget for your holiday and try to stick to it, and make sure you spend all your cash before it’s time to head home.

Where to exchange money in Newcastle

Keep in mind that currency exchange is never free — even if a counter claims to have no fees or commission, it does have a marked up exchange rate. That said, here are some places to try for currency exchange in Newcastle.

NameAddressPhoneExchange Rate
Cash Stop274 Maitland Road Mayfield, NSW(02) 4967 6128Cash Stop advertises “competitive rates,” but doesn’t list them online¹. You’ll have to contact the branch nearest you for details.
Travel Money Oz18 Westfield Kotara Cnr Park Ave and Northcott Drive Kotara NSW1300 3957 45According to Travel Money Oz², rates differ from the mid-market rate because “Unless you’re buying and selling millions of dollars at a time, you’ll be purchasing your currency at retail rates, which are what we display in store and on our website.”
TravelexKiosk 103 Grnd Floor Cnr Park Ave & Northcott Drive Kotara(02) 4957 5078Travelex doesn’t use the mid-market rate, and notes in their Online Foreign Currency PDS ³, “We make our profit from the margin between the rate we obtain from our own providers on the wholesale foreign exchange market and the rate we quote you. The margin varies from currency to currency and from time to time and factors in any revenue share with our partners. It is not a separate amount that you have to pay as it is built in to the exchange rates we quote.”

The bottom line

Exchanging cash abroad will always cost you money. Withdrawing from a local ATM will give you better exchange rates, but you may still get hit with ATM fees or foreign transaction fees. Your best deal is if you or someone you know has anAustralian bank account. Then, you can transfer money there ahead of time with Wise, which moves money with no exchange rate markups or hidden fees.

Wise also offers borderless multi-currency accounts, which can send, receive and manage money in dozens of global currencies, including Australian dollars, at the same time. You can also get a linked Wise debit Mastercard, which you can use your AUD balance to pay directly for goods and services, and beat ATM fees entirely.

Prepare for your holiday by knowing how best to access and manage your money while abroad. Good luck, and safe travels to Australia!

Sources:

¹https://www.cashstop.com.au/additional-services/foreign-currency/, May 3, 2018

²https://www.travelmoneyoz.com/frequently-asked-questions/foreign-currency-explained, May 3, 2018

³https://www.travelex.com.au/media/1308/travelex-online-foreign-currency-pds.pdf, May 4, 2018.


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