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


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


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


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


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


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.


Latest Exchange Rate News

2021 Australian Dollar forecasts upgraded as the AUD soars to new highs

Two of Australia’s big banks have upgraded their forecast as the AUD/USD exchange rate hit a fresh 2 and a half year high above 76 cents. The National Australia Bank now expects the Australian dollar to move up to between 80 and 85 cents in the back half of next year. Westpac also increase their prediction for the AUD with a forecast of 82 cents by the end of 2021.   Why the Australian dollar is rising There are a dozens of reasons why the Aussie dollar has been getting stronger. These include: Rising commodity prices like iron ore The […]

The Australian Dollar motors to a 21 month high over the weekend

The Australian dollar moved higher over Friday and Saturday, pushing to a 21-month high against the US dollar. Once again, the move higher was driven largely by a weaker US dollar. So how does it work? Well, if the US dollar weakens and the Australian dollar remains the same, then the AUD/USD exchange rate goes higher. The opposite is true too. If the US dollar gets stronger and the Australian dollar doesn’t change, then the AUD/USD rate will fall. In this case, the US dollar has been falling for 4 straight months. This is a big change from earlier in 2020 […]

Australian Dollar forecasts

Why the Australian Dollar is getting stronger when the economy is on it’s knees

The AUD/USD exchange rate has risen 30% in 4 months. That is remarkable. 2020 has been a rocky ride for most currencies and markets and the Australian dollar is no different. Here are a few reasons why the Australian dollar has gotten so strong, so quickly. Overdone Part of the reason the Australian dollar bounced back so hard is that in March, it may have fallen too far. That is, during the first stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, markets sold off the AUD too hard, believing things were worse that they ended up being. On the other side of this, […]

AUD USD Rises Above 72 cents for the first time in 17 months

For the first time since February 2019, the Australian dollar has risen above 72 cents. It caps off a remarkable period for the Aussie dollar which hit 0.5740 in late March. The massive rally higher has been driven by: An increase in commodity prices A weaker US dollar Increased risk sentiment The forecast for the AUD/USD remains uncertain heading into the back half of 2020. While many agree that the US dollar could weaken further, commodity prices are less likely to continue higher. There is also the possibility of increased volatility which historically, has had a negative impact on the […]

The Aussie dollar rockets to a 15-month high above 71 cents

Yesterday, the Australian dollar pushed higher to hit a 15-month high. A softer US dollar helped propel the AUD/USD rate to 0.7181 before easing back about 0.5% this morning. The Aussie dollar managed to strengthen despite a rise in coronavirus cases both locally and in the US. The extension of the JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs by the federal government set a positive tone for the local currency which also move higher agains many other major currencies. While a higher AUD benefits Australians heading overseas, most locals can’t take advantage of it with international travel bans likely to remain in place […]

Australian Dollar forecasts

The Australian Dollar hits 70 cents for just the third time in 2020

After weeks of flirting just short around 69 cents, the AUD/USD exchange has risen back above 70 cents for only the third time in of 2020. The Australian dollar traded between 0.6850 and 0.6950 for much of June and the first half of July before breaking higher. A mixture of higher commodity prices, particularly iron ore and a weaker US dollar was enough to finally crack through 70 cents. Against the other major currencies, the Aussie dollar has barely moved. In the last month, it has been largely unchanged against the British Pound, Euro, Japanese Yen and New Zealand Dollar.