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Foreign currency (HKD) exchange, not in a capital city

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Kangol

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Hi all,
So I'm going to HKG next week and need to get some HKD cash. Before I leave if possible. Will be going SYD-HKG and won't get to SYD until late the night before I depart. I'm in a regional city with access to all the major banks but won't be able to go to the SYD CBD at any reasonable hour.

What is the best option to buy HKD?
I have a 28 degrees card, Bankwest QFF debit MC but it seems that even if in credit, I will be charged a cash advance fee.
Is the next best option to find a place here which gives me the best rate and just buy it from a bank, the old fashioned way?
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DeKa

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No, but it means you'll be able to apply for a Citibank Plus bank account very quickly as no ID check will be required.

It's "just" a bank account, but one with no fees (FX or otherwise).
 

RooFlyer

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Take AUD cash to the airport and exchange it there on the morning of departure? (Maybe I'm missing a complication with that?)

The Citi Plus debit card not only has no fees (including for many non Citi ATMs overseas) but gives exchange rates very close to spot. When I went to Europe, I used it just like an ATM card in Australia - charged in the local currency, A$ debited from my card very close to spot.

Give Citi a call today to see if you can get one express somehow.
 

NM

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Do you really need the cash before you depart Australia? There are plenty of ATMs and currency exchange booths at HKG airport. I always make the ATM the first stop after exiting the arrivals formalities at HKG. Depending on which end of the terminal you exit through customs, turn left/right (towards the middle of the terminal) and you will find various ATMs along the wall under the mezzanine level near the "meeting point" pillars.
 

Kangol

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Take AUD cash to the airport and exchange it there on the morning of departure? (Maybe I'm missing a complication with that?)

The Citi Plus debit card not only has no fees (including for many non Citi ATMs overseas) but gives exchange rates very close to spot. When I went to Europe, I used it just like an ATM card in Australia - charged in the local currency, A$ debited from my card very close to spot.

Give Citi a call today to see if you can get one express somehow.

Whoops, I should have been more explicit in that I'm looking to get the best rate and not be stung by the usual Travelex and other retail fees and whatnot.

Good to know about the Citi Plus, I just rang and they said I will need to do a separate application with ID check, due to it being separate to the credit card, but from all calculations even if they express post it (they did mention that it could be done), I don't think I would get it in time.

FYI for those wondering, the exchange rate is the Visa one, which is pretty good!
Exchange Rate Calculator | Visa USA

Thanks for the suggestion though.

Do you really need the cash before you depart Australia? There are plenty of ATMs and currency exchange booths at HKG airport. I always make the ATM the first stop after exiting the arrivals formalities at HKG. Depending on which end of the terminal you exit through customs, turn left/right (towards the middle of the terminal) and you will find various ATMs along the wall under the mezzanine level near the "meeting point" pillars.

Not really, I've never been to HKG before though. If for some reason it was easier to get foreign cash before I leave that would be great. Plus I don't have a fee free, no cash advance fee, etc type of debit card. Just wanted to not get stung by planning "properly".. should have given myself some more time though!
 

moa999

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Whatever you do.
Don't exchange in Australia.
Don't exchange at Travelex at Aussie airports - crap rates and large fees

Either use the cards you have, or if willing to take A$ and change it over there.
Plenty of money changers around at much better rates than in Australia.

Will probably get the best rates in Chungkong Mansions in TST - go inside for better rates, but keep your wits about you.
Count your money in front of them before giving it to them, and same in return - they will try and use every trick in the book.


And put all purchase on the 28D/ Bankwest card
 

NM

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Not really, I've never been to HKG before though. If for some reason it was easier to get foreign cash before I leave that would be great. Plus I don't have a fee free, no cash advance fee, etc type of debit card. Just wanted to not get stung by planning "properly".. should have given myself some more time though!
Even with a regular fee-imposing ATM card (either credit card with cash advance, or debit card withdrawing from savings account) the fees and exchange rate at an ATM will likely be more in your favour than most over-the-counter currency exchange options.

I keep a Citibank Plus account (no annual fee) just for this purpose. Costs me nothing to maintain it. But you need a few weeks notice to open a new account. But even if I didn't have that account/card, I would still use an ATM on arrival into HKG from one of my other cards even with any associated fees. For me, I find using an ATM on arrival to be most convenient option. But I understand that some people like to have the cash in the pocket before leaving, as it gives a sense of comfort knowing its already with you.
 
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equus

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Whatever you do.
Don't exchange in Australia.
Don't exchange at Travelex at Aussie airports - crap rates and large fees

Either use the cards you have, or if willing to take A$ and change it over there.
Plenty of money changers around at much better rates than in Australia.

Will probably get the best rates in Chungkong Mansions in TST - go inside for better rates, but keep your wits about you.
Count your money in front of them before giving it to them, and same in return - they will try and use every trick in the book.


And put all purchase on the 28D/ Bankwest card

Mostly agree - especially Chungking mansions for changing cash. I tend to find that a great way to change miscellaneous currency left over. I think I had 4 different currency left overs to deal with last week.

Travelex rates at the airport in Australia are horrible, I agree, but if you feel you must absolutely have cash in your hand before leaving, look at buying Travelex online, pay by BPay, and nominate pick up from the airport booth. The rate is nowhere near as bad as the over the counter rate (but you are still much better off using an ATM in HKG or changing cash. Doesn't help for arrival cash, but I think that without a Citiplus, or equivalent no fee card, the Chungking cash exchange is probably the best rate - but not for the faint hearted.
 

Hvr

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If you really must use Travelex then do it through the Qantas site and nominate the airport as the pick up point. Make sure you're very specific as to which out let and only pick up from that one. You'll get a much better rate than going direct to Travelex and maybe even some QFF points if the transaction is large enough.

https://www.qantaspoints.com/earn-points/cards-banking/travelex
 

dajop

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Another one in the change when you are there camp. Money changers are very common in HKG and unlike in AU do not charge exorbitant fees or wildly variant exchange rates. If it gives you more confidence for arrival exchange a small amount ($50-100) at the airport before departure and the rest in HKG.
 

Cynicor

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Get it there. Even using your 28 degrees card will only cost you 3% and you know it works and gives a decent rate. If you want to hold on to a bit of cash then change cash there; the spread will liekly be 3% or less, much better than the Aussie 5% minimum rip-off.
 

Kangol

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Thanks everyone, my Citibank Plus has been approved and will arrive in the next day or so. I'll use it to get some cash at the ATM at HKG because it appears that will give me the best deal (no transaction fee and good exchange rate).

Some other slightly unrelated questions:
-I plan on buying an Octopus card when I arrive, will they impose an Amex/other cc surcharge?
-We will be staying at the Sheraton HK Hotel and Towers, Nathan Rd. Closest stations are Tsim Sha Tsui or East TST. Looking at the MTR website/app, it says I can get to TST by changing at Tsing Yi and then Lai King. However, I can see there is a free Airport Express Shuttle bus from Kowloon station. What is the shuttle like? Travelling time is double if I go direct to TST (44min vs 22min for Kowloon) but then I have to take into account the bus traffic and whatnot. Which would be the better option?
 

JohnK

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Take AUD cash to the airport and exchange it there on the morning of departure? (Maybe I'm missing a complication with that?)
Travelex! Still don't understand how they are allowed to operate.

FWIW 28 degrees appear to give a rate that is competitive with the best exchanges in Thailand. Only problem is the 150baht withdrawal and 3% cash advance fee.
 
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