Hi guys Im going to the USA in Dec and I have no idea on where the best place to buy USD.

9 replies

Deb05

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 26 Sep 2015

Total posts 1

Hi guys

Im going to the USA in Dec and I have no idea on where the best place to buy USD. can anyone tell me how to go about this and the best rates.

wilsoni Banned

wilsoni Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Sep 2011

Total posts 302

Load up at least two travel cards with USD before you go. Make sure they're Visa or M/C branded. Make sure the transaction and load fees are fair before you choose which ones. Then use them to get ATM cash and to make card payments in the U.S.  Be aware 1. US ATM's usually have a high fee per withdrawal, so don't do small amounts at a time 2. Some U.S. merchants will not take a "foreign" card. Buy a Visa or M/C prepay card in the U.S. as well. And finally, take your home country bank-issued credit card to use as a last resort - you may have to use it for car rentals at some firms too, not all take debit cards. I've lived in the U.S. and this is what I'd do if I didn't have a U.S. credit card. Hope it helps.

colin5353

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 03 Jul 2011

Total posts 85

My first question would be How long are you in the USA for ?  followed by where ?

For shorter trips I use a prepaid Visa travel card for purchases (I do use the one from Velocity), and the Citibank Visa debit card for ATM withdrawls, I've found that Citibank ATM's dont charge a fee and there are in most places I went (including inside 7/11 stores, other bank ATM's do - and it can vary from $3-$10 USD even with the same bank, even at the same shopping centre! The $10 was a Chase ATM inside a Target store. The reason I ask where is Westpac have a "no atm fee" system when using their travel card or debit mastercard with Bank of America ATM's, there is no BoA in Hawaii.

I havent found a difference between using Visa or MC, other than I use the Visa one as I can pick the PIN.  Paywave is near non existant in the USA, and sometimes I have been asked to show my Driver Licence as its a "credit" transaction - just go with the flow.

For hotel registration I use a Aussie credit card for the "hold" that way its not coming out of the money on the travel card or debit card, sometimes the "hold" is more than the accommodation total.

As for cash - get used to keeping $1 & $5 notes seperate to all others, you will use them the most to tip :-)

Serg

QFF

Member since 12 Apr 2013

Total posts 872

General advice that works well around the globe - get Visa or Master card with minimum credit and put money into this card upfront. Then you can withdraw foreign currency with minimal penalties, though do it in bigger sums - some charge a lot per transaction. The best way to convert currency is make all purchases on credit cards, then bank only charge you small percentage of  "conversion fee" that is unavoidable anyway. If you after upfront money the best place that I know in Melbourne is small exchange boot on Elisabeth St almost opposite Commonwealth Bank building.

wilsoni Banned

wilsoni Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Sep 2011

Total posts 302

In my experience you can't load a credit card with more $ than the credit limit. So a low limit means a low load. Even then I've had things go wrong. I wouldn't do it. You always get a worse exchange rate on a CC than loading a debit card anyway. 

Serg

QFF

Member since 12 Apr 2013

Total posts 872

I personally put $2000 on my $500 Visa. But you may be right and different banks may have different policies. Plus with Internet banking you can top it up on the go from other account.

wilsoni Banned

wilsoni Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Sep 2011

Total posts 302

Good point about top-up from internet banking.  So many glitches these days it seems you need 5 different forms of payment to be sure of not getting left high and dry. And that's just in Sydney!

raymac

Malaysia Airlines - Enrich

Member since 21 Mar 2014

Total posts 11

Am I right in assuming you are looking at buying USD cash? I always get my overseas cash from UAE Exchange. They give a much better rate than the Banks and I've always found them to be very good. Looks like they have quite a few branches around Sydney - check out their website.

wilsoni Banned

wilsoni Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Sep 2011

Total posts 302

Cash would certainly be needed for tips and taxis in the U.S. On the other hand, it can sometimes be hard to buy petrol without a card - most "gas" stations are pay-at-pump.

riley

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 19 Mar 2014

Total posts 358

I'd have a look at something like Velocity's Global Wallet. It's free and has a lot of functions. You can load it with your cash in AUD and flip it to USD when advantageous. Although one would assume the AUD will remain in the low 70c mark for the foreseeable future.

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