Travel money guide: Australia | finder.com
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Travel money guide: Australia

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Consider a credit card without foreign transaction fees to save money abroad.

In Australia, you can pay for almost anything with plastic, including taxis, souvenirs or incidentals. Using a credit card without foreign transaction fees that also earns rewards on purchases is a great way to save money abroad.

Though cards are widely accepted, it’s always a good idea to have some cash in your pocket, too.

Compare travel cards for Australia

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual Fee
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
2x points on travel and dining. 1x points on all other purchases
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit. 1x points on all other purchases
$450
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months
5x points on flights booked directly or flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel. 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & fees
35,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on airfare booked directly with airlines; 4x points at US restaurants; 4x points at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year in purchases (then 1x points)
$250
35,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months Rates & fees

Compare up to 4 providers

Travel card, debit card or credit card?

You shouldn’t have any problem using a Visa, Mastercard or American Express card in Australia. Just watch out for transaction fees when using a card.

Debit cards are typically the preferred option for making ATM cash withdrawals. If you don’t want to link your bank account to your card, however, consider a prepaid travel card but watch out for its additional fees.

Pros and Cons of travel money options in Scotland

Travel money optionProsCons
Debit cards
  • No cash advance fee
  • No cash advance APR
  • No overdraft
  • Weak or no rewards
  • No access to a credit line
  • Potential foreign transaction fees up to 3%.
  • Potential ATM withdrawal fees
Prepaid travel money cards
  • Can load Australian dollar
  • No cash advance APR
  • No links to your bank account
  • Many fees
  • May take time to load
  • No rewards
Credit cards
  • Credit line access
  • Rewards
  • May come with travel insurance and coverage
  • May come with concierge service
  • Cash advance fees on ATMs
  • Cash advance APR on ATMs
Traveler’s checks
  • Security
  • Not accepted everywhere
  • Fees for purchasing and cashing checks
Cash
  • Payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • No need for ATMs
  • High risk of theft

How credit cards, debit cards and travel cards work in Australia

Using a credit card

Since credit cards are a common payment method in Australia, consider a travel credit card. You could earn rewards on your purchases and you get travel insurance, luggage insurance or car rental insurance. With some cards, you could even get a concierge service, which can be of great assistance when traveling abroad.

Another option could be an airline cobranded card. This type of card helps you save money on flights, checked bags, lounge access and more. Some cards also come with complimentary travel insurance and similar perks.

Using a credit card in Australia

Using a debit card

A debit card comes in handy for cash withdrawals. You won’t pay any cash advance fees or a cash advance APR.

Best travel debit cards

Using a prepaid travel card

When it comes to staying protected against theft, using a prepaid travel card is your best option as it’s not linked to your bank account. However, travel cards can be expensive to use as they also come with fees.

To avoid foreign transaction fees, try loading your prepaid travel cards with Australian dollars.
Prepaid travel cards explained

Using traveler’s checks

Traveler’s checks aren’t widely accepted in Australia. This could make purchasing and cashing your checks a nuisance. Considering checks come with foreign transaction fees and with purchasing fees, they could become an expensive nuisance. In Australia, the other payment options could be better alternatives.
Traveler’s checks quide

Paying with cash

In general, most establishments in Australia accept cards. However, carrying some cash is a good idea in case you stumble across a place that doesn’t.

You can either exchange US dollars at a bank or make an ATM cash withdrawal. If you go for the latter, consider using a debit card and preferably one without foreign transaction fees or ATM fees.

What’s the Australian currency and where can I get the best exchange rate?

Australia uses the Australian dollar with a symbol $ and a currency code AUD.

You could exchange US dollars upon arrival, but the conversion rates at the airport usually aren’t favorable. An ATM cash withdrawal could give you a better rate.

Using money transfers to safely travel with cash

With WorldRemit you can send money to Australia before you depart. Once you arrive, you can pick it up from a local WorldRemit agent.

To make the transfer, you need to submit an Australian phone number and an address. If you don’t have one, WorldRemit recommends submitting the phone and the address of the place you’ll be staying at. This is in case the local agent needs to contact you. But you can still pick up the money only with your passport.

What’s the current USD to AUD exchange rate?

Compare money transfer services for Australia

I want to send

to

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 0 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 1.432 AUD 7,160 Offering no maximum and no minimum limit transfers with $0 fees. Go to site Show details
USD 1 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 1.444 AUD
7,218
Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks. Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour USD 0.00 1.424 AUD 7,120 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details
USD 1,000 1 day USD 0.00 1.429 AUD 7,146 No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 1.438 AUD 7,189 Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.
Go to site Show details
USD 5,000 1 day USD 0.00 1.419 AUD 7,095 Venstar will support you through the entire process of your international transactions, from start to finish. Go to site Show details
USD 50 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 1.419 AUD 7,095 Simple, zero-margin exchange rates, plus earn loyalty points on sign up, referral and every transaction. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

The exchange rates in the table are not locked in. Confirm your final rate on the provider’s site before completing any transaction.

Verdict

Plastic is widely accepted throughout Australia. For best value, consider using a travel or an airline cobranded credit card for purchases, and a debit card for ATM cash withdrawals. But make sure your cards have no foreign transaction fees.

If you would like to know more about which payment method would work best overseas, check out our travel money guide page.

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