Australia Money

Currency

Australia uses the Australian dollar (AUD) and the currency is symbolised locally as "$". The coin denominations are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2. The note denominations are $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. If the total of a transaction is not a multiple of 5 cents the amount will be rounded to the nearest five cents if you are paying in cash.

Money changers in Australia operate in a free market, and charge a range of flat commissions, percentage fees, undisclosed fees built into the exchange rate, and a combination of all three. Generally the best bet is to avoid airports and tourist centres when changing money, and use banks in major centres. Dedicated currency exchange outlets are widely available in major cities, and banks can also exchange most non-restricted currencies. Australian banks usually offer an exchange rate around 2. 5% from the current exchange midpoint.

ATMs are available in almost every Australian town. The fees can vary between institutions and between locations, but are usually around $2.

Credit cards are widely accepted in Australia. Almost all large vendors such as supermarkets accept cards, as do many, but not all, small stores. There is also no need to arrive in Australia with cash if you have a Cirrus, Maestro, MasterCard or Visa card: international airport terminals will have multiple teller machines that can dispense Australian currency with just the fees imposed by your bank plus the ATM fee. JCB is only accepted at very limited tourist destinations. Discover is never accepted.

Tipping

Generally, tipping is never compulsory and is usually not expected in Australia. When Australians do tip, it will often be in the form of leaving the change from a cash payment (usually as a convenience so the change does not hang around loose on someone's person - not as a gratuity), rather than a fixed percentage. Tipping is also not expected in taxis, and drivers will typically return your change to the last 5 cents.

Tax Refund

Goods and Services Tax or GST is always included in the price of any item you purchase rather than being added at the time of payment. If you buy items over $300 at one place within 60 days of departing the country, you can obtain a refund of the GST upon leaving Australia.

Pack the items in hand luggage, and present the item(s) and the receipt at the TRS, after immigration and security when leaving Australia. The refund payment can be made by either cheque, credit to an Australian bank account, or payment to a credit card. You also cannot get a refund if you are too close to your flight departure time. Check for current regulations about buffer time for flights if you want a GST refund.