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Old 08-12-2009, 10:33 AM
 
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What's the best way to get the most out of your money in terms of exchanging usd to aus dollars? Do most banks charge a fee for processing traveler checks? Most credit cards charge 2-3% foreign transaction fee. ATM cards I've heard have even more fees. What do you do with money matters when traveling abroad?

As you can tell, i have little experience with international travel and am not sure how exactly to convert / carry my money.
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:27 AM
 
Location: the D
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I try to avoid fees by carrying a reasonable amount of cash.
Not all places charge for travellers checks.
Talk to your bank and ask if they can charge you a one time fee before you travel internationally, and let you make ATM withdrawals without charging anything extra every time.
I have been surprised a few times to know that Western Union / Thomas Cook / even some banks didnt try to fleece me while converting.

Also, never convert your cash at the airport, especially at arrival, they give you the least amount of money.
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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If you are using your American debit card overseas, try to find bank machines that specify that they will not charge you for using them. Try withdraw larger sums rather than small sums from each ATM so your own bank will charge you less fees.
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Old 08-12-2009, 07:25 PM
 
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I would only change a small amount at the airport (50 AUD); enough for a cab ride or for emergency. Once you arrive in Oz just take money from an ATM machine. If your US bank has branches in the Oz those should be the best places for you to withdraw money; otherwise you will have to pay a fee. I had an HSBC account in the US and it was no fee to use my bank card at the one branch they had in Adelaide.
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Old 08-13-2009, 12:55 AM
 
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I've always used my atm debit card in Australia and NZ to withdraw cash. Have never paid fees and always got the best exchange rate.
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Old 08-20-2009, 07:09 AM
 
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If you are with Bank of America... go to a St george, Westpac, Bank of South Australia ATM they have an alliance and you won't be charged a thing!

Citi bank... go to a branch or use those ATMs in a 7 Eleven store they're from Citi Bank

Australia isn't thaat different from the US.
Currency exchange can be done at the airport i recommend upwards of AUD$60 to get to any hotel in a city.
Arrange for traveler's cheques at your bank before you leave!
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Old 08-20-2009, 05:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by levendis View Post
If you are with Bank of America... go to a St george, Westpac, Bank of South Australia ATM they have an alliance and you won't be charged a thing!

Citi bank... go to a branch or use those ATMs in a 7 Eleven store they're from Citi Bank

Australia isn't thaat different from the US.
Currency exchange can be done at the airport i recommend upwards of AUD$60 to get to any hotel in a city.
Arrange for traveler's cheques at your bank before you leave!
Bank of America works exclusively with Westpac:
http://locators.bankofamerica.com/lo...catorAction.do

dunno why they do not mention St George, BankSA.. perhaps that alliance is over?

Basically go to your bank web site and see if they have reciprocal banks in Oz. it may not be worth your while to open a new US account. Just withrdaw larger amounts from ATM's.. this is what I did.
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Old 08-20-2009, 07:11 PM
 
9,817 posts, read 19,026,437 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minibrings View Post
Bank of America works exclusively with Westpac:
http://locators.bankofamerica.com/lo...catorAction.do

dunno why they do not mention St George, BankSA.. perhaps that alliance is over?

Basically go to your bank web site and see if they have reciprocal banks in Oz. it may not be worth your while to open a new US account. Just withrdaw larger amounts from ATM's.. this is what I did.
Dunno I've never been hit with atm fees at any of the banks I've used down under, nor has my bank ever hit me with fees.

Usually I'd draw $500 in the local currency out at a time.

Mastercard and Visa now are hitting you up for foreign currency fees however. Since that went down I just use the credit card for lodging or other large purchases over $100, especially those I want a transaction record for. Purchases of food, fuel, shopping, entrance fees, etc, i'd just pay cash for.
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:27 PM
 
9,326 posts, read 18,988,255 times
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fortunately for me I had an HSBC Premier account in the US. When I moved to Oz they opened up an account for me in Adelaide and set me up for international transfers. So I could transfer money back/forth. Can't remember the charge for the conversion but it wasn't horrible. It was wicked convenient.
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
Dunno I've never been hit with atm fees at any of the banks I've used down under, nor has my bank ever hit me with fees.

Usually I'd draw $500 in the local currency out at a time.

Mastercard and Visa now are hitting you up for foreign currency fees however. Since that went down I just use the credit card for lodging or other large purchases over $100, especially those I want a transaction record for. Purchases of food, fuel, shopping, entrance fees, etc, i'd just pay cash for.
How long ago did you come... We started being charged fees like 1 year ago...

Also Westpac, St George and Bank of South Australia are merged...ONE UNIT so when you deal with either, you wont be charged a thing. visit the site that minibrings posted http://locators.bankofamerica.com/lo...catorAction.do (broken link)

click on International (left hand side)
Click in Australia (Bottom of the list)
Maximize the Window (on the right you will see first option Bank of SA and St George)
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