I read an article saying that Australians are getting ripped off by $2 billion a year on foreign exchange, mostly by the big banks. I am heading overseas at the end of the year, so what would you suggest I do to get the best deal?
You’re right, the big four bank accounts are generally rubbish: on average they charge $5 ATM fees and 3% currency conversion fees. If you buy foreign notes before you go, you’ll be charged around 2.5% commission (at a bank), and triple that at the airport (no, no, and ‒ are you crazy? ‒ no!).
I have previously recommended the Citibank Plus Transaction Account, but now I simply use my ING Orange Everyday account. Reason being, it doesn’t have currency conversion fees, and all international ATM fees are rebated (as long as in the prior month you make five transactions and deposit at least $1,000, i.e. your salary, into the account).