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Locking in the good exchange rates

Melbourne, Australia
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79 posts
142 reviews
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Locking in the good exchange rates

Hi guys,

Has anyone had a good experience with a travel card that allows you to store money in a different currency as you save for a holiday.

With the exchange rate so good for the Aussie dollar to the yen, I am keen to transfer some cash in preparation for my visit. Most of my accommodation is booked but can't be paid until arrive.

I would hate for the rate to drop 10-20% as quickly as it has risen and miss the great savings.

USA
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1,051 posts
30 reviews
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1. Re: Locking in the good exchange rates

Be sure to check all the costs are associated with any card. And do they actually give you the great exchange rate?

I know people here in the USA who bought things like, for example, the XXX (I'm not mentioning a particular vendor as they are all the same) Visa Travelmoney Card--when they ask the seller's rep if they offer the "current rate," the rep of course says "yes." But it's not the "current rate' that they could get at an ATM, it's the "current rate" that seller offers, much worse than the ATM rate (about 6% worse).

Also, do they have other card usage charges--initial purchase fees, activation fees, withdrawal fees, inactivity fees (so your get charged if you use your card or if you don't use your card), account maintenance fees, reloading fees? Does the card eventually expire so you lose whatever is left on it if you lose track of time. Do they have minium withdrawals--if a card has a $20 withdrawal minimum and you have $19.99 left on your card, you've lost that money unless you pay to recharge the card with more money. They have to make money somehow.

Cards vary widely in what they charge and the exchange rates they give you, so be absolutely certain that you read ALL the fine print. The bottom is that you have to balance known costs of using a particular card (which would certainly be at least 10% for the cards we Americans can get ranging up to as high as 20%, plus whatever they decide to set their exchange rate at, which won't be to the consumer's advantage) against the possibility that the your currency might fall against the yen.

Of course, maybe your card issuers in Australia aren't as rapacious as those here in the USA.

London, United...
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3,956 posts
25 reviews
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2. Re: Locking in the good exchange rates

Just buy some Yen now if you think the rate is likely to drop.

Melbourne, Australia
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718 posts
47 reviews
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3. Re: Locking in the good exchange rates

I just bought some yen for this very reason. I didn't bother with one of the travel cards - Japan is a very safe country for carrying cash and I don't especially like all the fees and commissions and percentages that seem to be attached to the cards.

New Zealand
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4,747 posts
290 reviews
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4. Re: Locking in the good exchange rates

I haven't used it yet, but I've got a OneSmart card which is a combined airpoints and travel card issued by Air New Zealand. Work colleagues have used it and recommended it, and it got the best rating in a report on travel cards in Consumer magazine.

Getting some cash would probably be useful too, but I just don't feel comfortable sitting on hundreds of dollars of cash (in any currency) in my own home.

Melbourne, Australia
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79 posts
142 reviews
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5. Re: Locking in the good exchange rates

Thanks for the feedback,

I actually stopping in Vietnam for a week on the way and don't want to carry too much ash but will take a few hundred for sure.

Work knows what will happen with the currency and maybe it will be around the same level but its certainly unnaturally high at present and looking too good to miss.

I will have a look around and if I find something I'm happy with and it's good I'll share it.. A friend suggested some type of travelex product but who knows if you can get it out at ATMs innJapn, they seem a little fickle with international cards.

Melbourne, Australia
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718 posts
47 reviews
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6. Re: Locking in the good exchange rates

A recent review of travel cards - it might be helpful, or maybe not! :)

ausbt.com.au/review-best-travel-money-cards-…

Amsterdam, The...
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148 posts
71 reviews
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7. Re: Locking in the good exchange rates

They expect the yen to fall further. Japanese government said they are OK with a rate of 100 per US$.

I had booked a hotel for april on hotels.com back in november. I recently cancelled and rebooked it with code: HEJAN10 to save an extra 10% as well as the new exchange rate. You pay upfront, so you lock in the rate.

Maybe you can cancel on the site you booked and do the same?

Melbourne, Australia
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79 posts
142 reviews
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8. Re: Locking in the good exchange rates

Great write up, lots to think about,

It might be easier to just pay the fees;)

San Francisco...
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9. Re: Locking in the good exchange rates

Ask around...a friend of a friend might be travelling to Japan and willing to get some extra yen at an ATM in Japan for you.

10. Re: Locking in the good exchange rates

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