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Relocating/Moving to Australia: Importing Currency

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Importing Currency

Australia has strict rules about moving money in and out of the country. How do you get your funds legally, efficiently and at the same time give you a good rate of currency exchange?

Currency

The Australian currency is the Australian Dollar (A$). This is available as notes (bills): $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, and as coins: 5 cents, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2.

Bringing cash into Australia

The Australian government has very strict rules about the movement of money to and from Australia. The maximum amount you are allowed to bring into or out of Australia is A$10,000 if it is in the form of:
  • Cash
  • Traveller’s Cheques
  • Cheque
  • Promissory note
  • Bill of exchange
  • Bearer bond
  • Money or postal order
  • Any other form of negotiable instrument
If you intend transferring more than $10,000 in or out of Australia you must declare so in a Cross Border Movement Report (CBMR).

Bringing Money in and Out of Australia

The fact that you can only bring up to A$10,000 into Australia does not mean you are forbidden from transferring a lot more than this in and out of the country via banks or other financial institutions. These organisations are authorised to transfer money between Australia and other countries.

There are many financial institutions who can help you transfer money. They will charge a small fee for the service and offer you the going rate of exchange. The big banks have purchasing power, which means they exchange large sums of money at the same time from many people requiring their services and can therefore get a better exchange rate to pass on to their customers.

Do not accept the going rate of exchange without first discussing a better rate with your bank.
Often they are quite willing to give customers a better rate but won’t do so unless you ask.

Transferring Money

The two simplest ways to transfer money to and from Australia are:
  • An internet transfer (internet banking)
  • Using a bank or other authorised financial institution
Internet banking is fast and efficient, but some people are still concerned about the safety of using this system. You can set up internet banking with any bank in Australia.

Using a currency transfer organisation is an alternative, if slower, process. The best way to use this system is to call your bank in your country of origin and arrange for money to be transferred to an affiliate of the transfer agency.

To do this, you will need to have created a telephone banking arrangement with your home bank. It would be best to do this before you leave your country of origin.

The transfer agency will then send the money to Australia and a receiver here will move the money to your designated account in Australia.

An organisation called Ozforex offers an excellent service.

Tips for bringing money to Australia

  • Before you leave your home country, organise telephone and internet banking with your bank.
  • Don’t bring in large amounts of cash. The Australian government suggests bringing with you no more than $2,000 in cash to get you through the first couple of weeks in Australia.
  • Use a credit card for most large expenses until you have brought money over from your country of origin.
Visit our Life in Australia section for more articles related to the subject Relocating to Australia.
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