I was wondering if somebody could please shine some light on something that's been bugging me. I came to New Zealand the other day from Brisbane for a holiday. Before flying out I exchanged $740 Aus Dollar at Travelex at the Airport and received only $730 NZ Dollar. Can this be correct?? I realize that there are fees that Travelex charge but if we were to say there was no fee, then I would've received roughly $800 NZ Dollar....so they took $70 from that and that doesn't seem reasonable at all....but I haven't done a lot of currency exchange before so I'm not sure whether that is normal or if should be kicking up a stink about it. If any one can advise that would be much appreciated.
This is why you never exchange money at the airport. The rates and fees they charge there are outright thievery.
You could kick up a stink, but all that'll get you is bland corporate-speak answers. In the end, they publicly posted the exchange rates they were offering, and the fees they charged, and it was your responsibility to do due diligence that those were at all reasonable (which of course they aren't, as even the worst downtown bank branch will give you much, much better rates).
A mistake you make once, but having learned from, will never make again.
Have a look at your receipt - it should give details of your transaction - fees / commission / exchange rate etc.
Quite an eye-opener ..
As Sander has said, it is your job to do your due diligence.
I take it you have not travelled much and so I would not beat yourself up too much as you are no different than the majority of people who haven't done much travelling. Knowing how to handle your funds when travelling is like anything else, you have to learn about it.
Forgetting about how much it cost you to exchange your money for now, my question would be why you were carrying cash at all. The BEST way to exchange money when travelling is using credit and debit cards. You pay for things with the credit card and get pocket money from an ATM using a debit card. Probably exactly what you do at home, there is no difference.
What is important though (part of the learning) is to have the RIGHT cards to use when travelling. Some banks and cards will charge you 2-3% exchange as well as ATM useage fees. Other cards will charge you nothing at all. Not all cards are created equal.
Probably the best known card for Australian travellers to use is the 28 Degrees MasterCard but there are also some others. Do some research for which would be best for you. You can start here: http://www.creditcardfinder.com.au/foreign-currency-international-fees-for-credit-cards.html
And finally, do not let anyone tell you that a 'travel cash card' is the answer. These are pre-paid cards that you 'load' funds onto and then use like a debit card when travelling. They ALL cost you money to use unlike the best credit/debit cards such as the 28 Degrees card which costs you ZERO to use.
Here is a typical pre-paid card: http://www.cashpassport.com/1/Global/Australia/MC%20Multi-Curr%20Generic%20PDS%20Nov%202011%20-%20APA1110C%20(Low%20Res).pdf
Looks nice doesn't it. Now scroll down to page 14-15 where they finally get around to telling you all the fees they charge and what exchange rate they use.
For the exchange rate you find this statement: "At the then applicable retail foreign exchange rate determined by us. We will notify you of the rate that will apply at the time you allocate your funds from one Currency to another" In other words, they do not use a rate you can check like the Interbank Rate or the Visa Rate, they use their OWN rate which of course you know will have 2-3% added on for their profit.
Many people are fooled into using these pre-paid cards when they could have used a better product just as easily. Pre-paid cards do have their place. They are good for people with no or a bad credit rating who cannot get a normal credit card. Students for example. They are also good for people who if you give them a credit card, get themselves into debt due to their inability to control their own spending.
Travelex has exclusive agreements with some airports, so their exchange offices and ATMs are the only ones available. One solution: Use your credit card to pay for transportation to your hotel, then get local currency from a nearby bank ATM.
Watch the bank fees; they are rising.
My U.S. bank absorbs the 1 percent Visa foreign transaction fee; and it reimburses me for any ATM fees incurred. My credit cards do not charge any foreign transaction fees.