Australian Dollar - Everything You Need to Know About Australia's Currency

Information on Australian Dollar denominations, exchange rates and currency transfers...

If you need to make currency transfers to or from Australia you’re going to need to get to grips with the Australian Dollar.

In our handy guide, provided by TorFX, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the ‘Aussie’, plus some extra facts just for fun.

 

Australian Dollar denominations

If you’ve never handled Australian Dollars before, here are the different denominations you’ll come across.

Coins – 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 Dollar, 2 Dollar

Notes – 5 Dollars, 10 Dollars, 20 Dollars, 50 Dollars, 100 Dollars

 

Fun(ish) fact... Australia’s polymer banknotes are notoriously brightly coloured, with notes in rainbow shades of purple, blue, red, yellow and green.

 

What a difference a rate makes

 

Whenever you transfer money abroad exchange rates will come into play.

If you’re familiar with exchange rates skip this section, but if you’re new to the wonderful world of currency here’s a quick explanation of what exchange rates are and why you should care about them. 

An exchange rate is the value of one currency relative to another. So if you had Pounds but wanted ‘Aussie’ Dollars, the GBP/AUD exchange rate would tell you how many Australian Dollars you’d get for each Pound.

Unfortunately exchange rates are always moving, which means the value of the Australian Dollar to the Pound varies over time.

Even a seemingly small discrepancy in the exchange rate can make a big difference if you’re buying Australian Dollars, and the difference becomes more pronounced when you’re transferring larger amounts.

For example...

Currency pair

Transfer amount

Exchange rate

Total

GBP/AUD

£250,000

1.85

$462,500

GBP/AUD

£250,000

1.82

$455,000

 

 

Difference

$7500

 

As you can see, securing the right exchange rate for your currency transfer is key!

 

Fun(ish) fact... Australia’s coins feature two egg-laying mammals – the platypus and the echidna.

 

Historic Australian Dollar movement

 

Exchange rates can move by as much as 5% in a matter of days during periods of heightened volatility (political shifts, economic crises etc.) but if we look back over 10 years you can see just how much rates can change.

 

GBP/AUD

Over the course of a decade the GBP/AUD exchange rate traded at lows of 1.44 and highs of 2.20.

That’s a whopping difference of 0.76 cents – or $76,000 on a £100,000 transfer!  


GBP/USD

The GBP/USD exchange rate, meanwhile, has traded at both 0.90 and 1.74 over the last decade – a movement of 84 cents.


Both of these examples show that the Australian Dollar is weaker now than it was ten years ago, meaning you’d get more AUD for your money now than you would have back then.


Fun(ish) fact...The Australian Dollar replaced the Australian Pound in 1963. 

 

What causes Australian Dollar movement?

 

So we’ve established that Australian Dollar exchange rates can move quite a bit. But what causes them to move?

Different things cause movement in different currency, but there are several drivers for AUD fluctuations.

Commodity prices

Australia exports iron, coal, gold and petroleum. Any shifts in the price of Australia’s key commodities can cause Australian Dollar movement.

Reserve Bank of Australia

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is Australia’s central bank. The RBA meets 11 times a year to discuss the Australian economy and delivers a policy statement following the gatherings. Generally if the central bank is positive about Australia’s outlook the Australian Dollar benefits. However, if RBA policymakers indicate that they are concerned about the Australian economy, or that they might have to cut interest rates, the Australian Dollar can fall.

Risk appetite

The Australian Dollar is known as a ‘higher risk’ currency. During periods of uncertainty investors tend to ditch higher risk currencies in favour of more secure ‘safe haven’ currencies like the US Dollar. So if the US Dollar strengthens the Australian Dollar typically weakens.

Domestic data releases

When the Australian economy is doing well the Australian Dollar benefits. When the Australian economy is struggling AUD becomes a less attractive investment. Subsequently the Australian Dollar can be moved by domestic data releases. The most impactful include GDP, inflation, unemployment, manufacturing reports and trade balance figures.

China is one of Australia’s largest trading partners so Chinese economic data also has an impact on the Australian Dollar.

 

Australian Dollar currency transfers

 

Our top tips

1.    Beware interbank exchange rates – rates quoted online are often the ‘interbank’ rate. This is the rate at which banks and financial institutions buy currency and is not available to private individuals or businesses.

2.    Look into your options and explore different providers – currency specialists may offer better rates and more support than your bank.

3.    Keep an eye on the currency market – move your money when the exchange rate is in your favour.

4.    Find out more about services like spot and forward contracts (see below for more information!)

5.    Plan your currency transfers in advance – give yourself time to secure the right rate and the right service.    

 

AUD currency transfer services

 

If you need to transfer money to Australia there are a number of services you can use to help you get more for your money.

 

Currency service

What do you need to know?

Spot contract

Use a spot contract when you need to move money ‘on the spot’. Transfers will be made at the current exchange rate and will take between 24-48 hours depending on the country and currencies involved.

Forward contract

Fix an exchange rate up to two years ahead of making a currency transfer.

While fixing the rate in this way would mean you’d miss out if the exchange rate strengthened, you’d be protected from any negative shifts.

Limit order

Target a stronger exchange rate. Set the rate you want to achieve and your transfer will be triggered automatically if the market hits that level.

Rate alert

Set your target rate and get notified by text or email if the market moves to that level.

Regular payments

Automate regular overseas transfers. Remove all the hassle and benefit from excellent exchange rates and no transfer fees.

Currency wallets

Some international payment specialists allow you to buy currency in advance and keep it in a currency wallet until you need it. This allows you to take advantage of favourable rates and can speed up future transfers.

 

Australian Dollar currency transfer FAQs

 

How long do currency transfers to Australia take?

The speed of your currency transfer will depend on the provider you use and the countries/currencies involved. A GBP/AUD transfer should typically take between 24-48 hours, although it can be quicker if you have funds on account.

Is transferring money to Australia safe?

As long as you use a reputable provider your transfer should be safe and secure. Look for a well-established currency provider who’s regulated by the right bodies and has good online customer reviews.

How much do currency transfers to Australia cost?

If you use a bank to move money to Australia you may be charged a transfer fee. This can be a flat rate or a percentage of the transfer amount.

Some specialist transfer providers don’t charge anything outside of the exchange rate they quote, and as they work on smaller margins than banks you’ll receive a more competitive rate.

What is a margin and how does it affect my exchange rate?

Banks and other large financial institutions buy currency at the interbank exchange rate and add on a ‘margin’ before selling it on to consumers. The larger the margin applied the less competitive the exchange rate, and the less you’ll receive.

How much can I transfer to Australia?

Again this depends on the provider you use, but many have no upper transfer limit when it comes to moving money to Australia.

 

This information has been provided by TorFX

If you need to move money to or from Australia our currency partner TorFX can help.

 

ü  TorFX have been offering their customers great exchange rates, no transfer fees and personal account management since 2004.

ü  They’ve won the Moneyfacts Consumer International Money Transfer of the Year award five times (2016 – 2020) and hold an ‘Excellent’ five-star rating on Trustpilot.

Get a quote now to find out how much you could save.

 

You can also create an account with them in two minutes online or over the phone. Once you’ve created an account you’ll be able to check live exchange rates 24/7 and make fast, hassle free currency transfers.