Buying USD | Australian Frequent Flyer
Australian Frequent Flyer

Welcome to Australia's leading independent Frequent Flyer and Travel Resource since 1998!
Our site contains tons of information that will improve your travel experience.

Joining AFF is fast, simple & absolutely free - register now and take immediate advantage of these great BENEFITS.

Once registered, this box will disappear. And you will see fewer advertisements :)

Buying USD

Status
Not open for further replies.

sumo

Newbie
Joined
Sep 4, 2005
Messages
7
Hi Folks,
I was wondering if you could tell me where is the cheapest place to buy US currency. Most places I have looked at are about $0.02 below the going rate and they charge fees on top of that. Any Ideas or tips greatly appreciated. I would be buying usd$1000 at a time. I have an AMP amex card.
 

Maca44

AFF Supporter
Joined
Sep 2, 2005
Messages
1,258
I agree with Damien. Get a couple of hundred US dollars from the bank (and get $20 in $1 notes for tips) and then whenever you want cash get it from an ATM in USA. Saves all the problems of carrying large amounts of cash, and if for example you travel into Canada you simply get a small amount of CAN$ as needed.
 

Sheriff

Member
Joined
May 22, 2005
Messages
167
The cheapest place to buy USD is at a bank, preferably your bank. The banks generally have the most competitive exchange rates in the market. When I 've purchased USD in the past from the CBA I have found the rate to be $0.005 below international markets.

The main benefit of purchasing USD from your bank is that if you have a good relationship with your branch manager he/she has the authority to waive the transaction fee, thus saving you a significant amount of money in fees. I have a good relationship with my branch manager and every time I 've asked him to waive the fee he has obliged.
 

QF WP

Moderator
Joined
Jun 20, 2002
Messages
15,596
Flights
My Map
Thanks for these tips...with our upcoming trip to USA, Jamaica and Canada I was just starting to wonder what I would do.

Some excellent suggestions that I will take up. Already have the USD$ cash for our 2 days incidentals before we hit Jamaica. Will have to see what's best to take there.

But using the ATM's I would expect the funds to come from our CC (as a cash advance) and not accessed to our savings/cheque accounts. I suppose I could put the CC in credit (so long as we can still access).
 

NM

Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
15,786
Flights
My Map
Damien said:
The cheapest method I've found is to use an ATM in the US.
My experience also. And use a card/account that does not charge fees for using overseas ATM for cash withdrawal.

To buy Dead Presidents in Australia is always going to cost you a hefty commission, and you will need to call ahead if you want to be sure of availability for US$1000.

Amex Travellers Cheques may be worth considering, so long as you can get them commission-free.
 

Damien

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2005
Messages
300
NM said:
Damien said:
The cheapest method I've found is to use an ATM in the US.
My experience also. And use a card/account that does not charge fees for using overseas ATM for cash withdrawal.
The card NM is referring to is the Citibank ReadiCredit. It's well worth applying for just for this purpose. I only use mine for this, and the occasional cheque.
 

NM

Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
15,786
Flights
My Map
Damien said:
The card NM is referring to is the Citibank ReadiCredit. It's well worth applying for just for this purpose. I only use mine for this, and the occasional cheque.
Yes, that is the card I use for this purpose, but it is not the only card/account that does not charge a fee for using at overseas ATMs.
 

NM

Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
15,786
Flights
My Map
Lindsay Wilson said:
But using the ATM's I would expect the funds to come from our CC (as a cash advance) and not accessed to our savings/cheque accounts. I suppose I could put the CC in credit (so long as we can still access).
There are lots of ways to access cash from ATMs in foreign countries. Yes, most Credit Cards will permit a cash advance, but will charge you a fee as well as interest. I used to use a Mastercard for this and kept the card purely for cash withdrawals and always transferred the funds into the card before withdrawing. Then I found the CitiBank Readicredit card.

You can also access most Australian savings accounts if your account is linked to Cirrus or Maestro via ATMs that carry the respective logos. check with your bank about access via these networks and any fees that may apply.
 

Yada Yada

Established Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Messages
1,872
NM said:
You can also access most Australian savings accounts if your account is linked to Cirrus or Maestro via ATMs that carry the respective logos. check with your bank about access via these networks and any fees that may apply.
Yes, I used my Westpac ATM card in the USA without problem last trip. I found that some of the auto-teller machines located in hotels automatically deduct a fee (usually USD $2.00 but as high as USD $5.00 in Las Vegas). However there was a sign posted to this effect so it wasn't a surprise.
 

NM

Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
15,786
Flights
My Map
Yada Yada said:
Yes, I used my Westpac ATM card in the USA without problem last trip. I found that some of the auto-teller machines located in hotels automatically deduct a fee (usually USD $2.00 but as high as USD $5.00 in Las Vegas). However there was a sign posted to this effect so it wasn't a surprise.
Yes, that fee is charged by the owner/operator of the ATM and is in addition to any fees charged by your own financial institution. Very common in the USA. So a US$20 withdrawal shows as US$22 (plus local fees) on your statement.
 

varyingtravel

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2005
Messages
32
I've been using my ATM card for the last few years.. I stopped getting t/chq's. Too much hassle.. I've always had the note from the ATM saying there is a commission charge before the transaction is processed so I know what it is.. The exchange rate I got seemed quite good.. Even with this charge, the exchange rate I got from my credit union was better than using my Amex.
 

drron

AFF Supporter
Joined
Jul 4, 2002
Messages
18,569
The absolute cheapest way is to know an american who comes here regularly.Next best is to know your bank manager well.Ours is a small branch and only allowed to accept $US100 at a time.If I have let the manager know i needsome $US and someone comes into the bank wanting to cash a large amount of $us I get a ring-When it happens i split the difference between buying and selling rates and as spread is higher on buying side I come out in front.
Next best way is travellers cheques-I get them commission fre at my bank and the rate is the cash rate.I have never had a problem withUS$ t/c's in the USA.
 

NM

Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
15,786
Flights
My Map
I have a few other ways of obtaining US$ while in the USA.

I purchase a few bottles of Aussie Red for my USA boss and carry them over there. He pays me US$ cash for them. Great exchange rate and not commission or fees.

When eating at a restaurant and splitting the bill with a group, I pay with my CC and they give me cash for their share.
 

QF WP

Moderator
Joined
Jun 20, 2002
Messages
15,596
Flights
My Map
I use that second option regularly NM, but it's to get 1.5 points per $ :D

Now to ponder whether I change to USD, the HKD 1500 that's been sitting in my travell wallet for 15 months.
 

serfty

Moderator
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
40,127
Flights
My Map
Yada Yada said:
... Yes, I used my Westpac ATM card in the USA without problem last trip. I found that some of the auto-teller machines located in hotels automatically deduct a fee (usually USD $2.00 but as high as USD $5.00 in Las Vegas). However there was a sign posted to this effect so it wasn't a surprise.
When withdrawing cash from your Westpac savings or transaction accounts, you can save a fee of $5 by using the ATMs of participating "Global Alliance partners". In the USA that is the "Bank of America".
 

Yada Yada

Established Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Messages
1,872
serfty said:
When withdrawing cash from your Westpac savings or transaction accounts, you can save a fee of $5 by using the ATMs of participating "Global Alliance partners". In the USA that is the "Bank of America".
Ah... thanks serfty - I didn't know that. Good tip. :)
 

BlacKnox

Active Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Messages
732
Lindsay Wilson said:
Now to ponder whether I change to USD, the HKD 1500 that's been sitting in my travell wallet for 15 months.
Lindsay Wilson I just read in the Xmas thread that you may not be travelling for a while after this jaunt. If so, then why not change the HKD, of course in the US (to avert double exchange).
 

clifford

AFF Supporter
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
1,775
NM said:
Yada Yada said:
Yes, I used my Westpac ATM card in the USA without problem last trip. I found that some of the auto-teller machines located in hotels automatically deduct a fee (usually USD $2.00 but as high as USD $5.00 in Las Vegas). However there was a sign posted to this effect so it wasn't a surprise.
Yes, that fee is charged by the owner/operator of the ATM and is in addition to any fees charged by your own financial institution. Very common in the USA. So a US$20 withdrawal shows as US$22 (plus local fees) on your statement.
Vegas and Reno (to name but 2 gambling cities) have special rules. Every ATM in those cities will impose an extra USD 2.00 on cash advances. Elsewhere in the US, things are a bit more relaxed. I have an ANZ gold Visa, and never get charged any fee when I use Bank of America ATM's. It's a cheap way to get cash o/s.

Another good way to get USD (if you are a gold card holder at ANZ or CBA) is to get commission-free travelers checks. Contrary to other reports, they can be used almost as cash in many parts of the US (and you get change in cash too). For example, I can buy a USD 1.00 newspaper at LAX, and get USD 19.00 change in cash from the newsagents there.

Can't really get much cheaper than that (unless you are printing the stuff, or a bank employee).

:)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Community Statistics

Threads
80,851
Messages
1,860,466
Members
48,709
Latest member
Alan Homer
Top