Lock it in
Travel tends to bring out the meticulous organiser in us all. We hustle for the best hotel specials, cash-in on cheap flights, and click yes to that free buffet breakfast. Yet when it comes to swapping our money for international dollars, we wait until it’s a last-minute dash at the airport. And then pay a high price. Here’s how a little planning - and an HSBC Everyday Global Account – could make a big difference in making your dollars go the distance. (And just so you know, the tips in this article do not constitute professional financial advice.)
The Rates Rollercoaster
Exchange rates fluctuate by the second. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes not so much. That doesn’t mean it’s out of your control. Locking in a strong rate ahead of time is a smart way to go. But even if your awesome rate no longer looks so epic by the time you travel, try this. Exchange ahead of time over several transfers to reduce the risk of getting a (retrospectively) rubbish rate in a single exchange. Let’s say you want to splurge USD5,000 in NY. Lock in five lots of USD1,000 over five months, and you know you’ll have Five Large to drop, regardless of what the rates do. You may not always land stellar rates on every single transfer, but several smaller transfers can help balance out the bad with the good. It can also make it easier to balance your budget when you finally arrive. Spend USD2,500 of your USD5,000 kitty and you know you still have 50% of your cold hard cash in reserve.
The Half-Half Principle
If you’re uncertain about how much you’ll need, consider locking in half of your budget, rather than the full amount. This way you can take advantage of a great rate, with room to move if it improves.
Lost in Translation
If you exchange AUD for a foreign currency, don’t spend it all on your trip, and want to transfer it back when you return? That’ll cost you. In most cases, you’ll be slugged with foreign exchange margins, fees, and more. But an Everyday Global Account isn’t most cases. It isn’t a travel card. It’s an everyday account. Your balance or account doesn’t expire and you have the option to either hold the money in that currency until your next adventure, or convert it back into AUD. The only thing you’ll pay is the FX margin. (You can say ‘ciao’ to additional transaction fees.)
Standing at the counter, trying to calculate rates, taxes, fees. It’s enough to steal the joy out from even the most enthusiastic shopper. With your own money, already in the local currency, if the ticket says $50 USD, that’s probably what you’ll pay. No statement shock down to track. Tip. It’s worth asking if the ticket price includes local taxes and/or other surcharges.
New boots from a New York boutique. The bling of a Swiss watch on your wrist. Sometimes, holiday mode means splurging on a big-ticket item. Carrying a large sum of cash isn’t your safest option. By having local currency locked and loaded on your card, you can enjoy safer shopping, including the protection of Visa Zero Liability.[i]
[i] Visa Zero Liability subject to investigation of unauthorised transaction.
This article provides general advice only and doesn't take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Terms and Conditions before acquiring the product. A copy of the PDS and Terms and Conditions is available on hsbc.com.au, or by calling us on 1300 308 008.