Where to Find the Best Exchange Rates

In Australia, trying to find the best exchange rate isn't that easy. Each currency exchange service, bank, card or money transfer company quote different rates. Most of the time it's nothing like the rate everyone can see online, in the paper or on the news.

What is the best exchange rate?

The best exchange rate for you is the rate that gives you the most money when you are converting your currency. It has many names including the 'wholesale rate', the 'interbank rate' or the ' live mid-market rate'.

The good news is that it can easily be found in lots of places. For example, if you wanted to buy some US dollars to travel overseas you can find the best AUD to USD exchange rate on Google by searching "AUD to USD". Alternatively you can find it on XE or Yahoo. In fact, most currency converters use the same exchange rate.

Which services offer it?

Foreign Exchange Cash

S Money gives you the REAL exchange rate (above) that you can see on Google or XE.  It's the best online exchange rate without any hidden fees, mark ups or loaded rates.

International Money Transfers

Wise (formally TransferWise) use the best exchange rate for international money transfers to and from Australia. They offer a foreign currency account and travel money card which uses the same rate.

Travel Money Cards

Revolut are one of a handful of travel money cards that offer the best exchange rate. They have a great app and the card can be used almost anywhere on the planet.

Foreign exchange rates in Australia

Here are different ways to find the best rate depending on what city you live in or what product you looking for.

foreign exchange currency banknotes

Currency Exchange

The best foreign exchange rates are found online. This is because they don’t have to pay extra costs for a physical store. S Money is online only, so they don’t have any bricks and mortar stores. If you order online, you can pick up your currency locally or have it delivered to your home.

S Money are the only money exchange that offer the same exchange rate seen on Google or XE but they do charge a service fee. To make sure you are getting the best deal, compare exchange rates, fees and services using this table.

Offline alternatives

Ordering money online isn't for everyone even if you can find a better deal. Offline alternatives like Travelex, Travel Money Oz or Crown Currency don't have the best exchange rates, however they don't charge a service fee.

Currency Exchange Sydney

Sydney

Surprisingly, even though there are more money changers in Sydney than any other city, the exchange rates aren't as competitive as Melbourne or Adelaide.

In the CBD

There is a lot of choice in the city, particularly on George Street and Pitt Street. ANZ and Commonwealth Bank have foreign exchange outlets as well as more well know brands like Travelex or Travel Money Oz. The best place to buy foreign currency in Sydney though is through one of the less well known money changers like Crown Currency or WeXchange.

In the suburbs

There are plenty of stores in the suburbs but the rates aren't as competitive as the city.

For a full run down on the different places to buy foreign currency, check out our full currency exchange guide to Sydney.

Currency exchange Melbourne

Melbourne

Most of the best currency exchangers are near Flinders Street station on Elizabeth Street. The small money changers on Swanston street aren't as competitive.

Outside of the CBD, most of the money changers are based in shopping malls or strips. The rates aren't nearly as good as the CBD.

For a full run down on the different places to buy foreign currency, check out our full currency exchange guide to Melbourne.

Currency Exchange Brisbane

Brisbane

Unlike Sydney or Melbourne, currency exchangers are scattered throughout the CBD and can be hard to find. Travelex is inside a HSBC branch on Queen Street.

Outside of the CBD, Brisbane has lots of options. Crown Currency and Travel Money Oz both have lots of locations in major shopping malls.

For a full run down on the different places to buy foreign currency, check out our full currency exchange guide to Brisbane.

Currency Exchange Adelaide

Adelaide

King William Street is where you need to go if you are heading into the city. Within 200 metres, you'll find the ANZ Foreign Exchange Centre, the Commonwealth Bank foreign exchange branch, Crown Currency stores, Travelex on the corner of Rundle Mall, Travel Money Oz and WorldEx.

While the city has many options and some of the best exchange rates in Australia, there are much fewer options in the suburbs.

For a full run down on the different places to buy foreign currency, check out our full currency exchange guide to Adelaide.

currency exchange Perth

Perth

All around the Perth CBD there are few reasonable options. There are 2 money exchangers in London Court, a couple in the Murray Street Mall and a Travelex on St Georges Terrace.

Outside the city, Exchange Now in Morley is the pick of the bunch although you'll have more options in Freo.

For a full run down on the different places to buy foreign currency, check out our full currency exchange guide to Perth.

sending money overseas

International Money Transfers

Just like money exchange, the rates you are offered when transferring money overseas are different depending on which service you use. Most money transfer services don't offer the same rate that you see on Google or XE. While many won't charge a service fee, the difference between the rate you see online and the rate you are offered is their exchange rate margin, or profit.

There are some companies that do offer the best exchange rate to send money overseas. These include

All of these companies give you the best exchange rate to send money abroad and charge a small transparent fee.

wallet with cards

Travel Cards

If you are heading overseas, one of the biggest hidden costs of a holiday can be getting a bad exchange rate when spending money on your cards. Traditionally, Australian banks have slugged customers when using their everyday card overseas. Luckily, things have changed. There are now a range of debit and cards that offer the best exchange rate.

These debit and cards offer the best exchange rate when travelling overseas:

All of these companies give you the best exchange rate to send money abroad and charge a small transparent fee.

FAQs

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