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The average Australian traveller returns with $184 in foreign currency

Posted: 27 April 2018 3:28 pm
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66% of Australians return from an overseas trip with unused foreign currency.

Most Australians are returning from their overseas holidays with leftover foreign currency according to new research by finder.com.au.

The research reveals that 66% of Aussies return from an international trip with unused foreign currency, with a further one in four (24%) returning with funds left on their prepaid travel cards. Based on Australian Bureau of Statistics figures which show a total of 10.6 million Australians returned from short stays overseas in 2017, that means that over 6 million Australian tourists return from overseas with unused cash.

The average Aussie returns with $184 of leftover foreign currency (an average of $205 for males or $164 for females). However, this research shows that those with travel money cards tend to return with more funds. The average travel money card holder returned with $267 unspent on their card.

If you leave money on a travel card and don’t use it for months or years, you may be charged inactivity fees. Most travel cards also have an expiry date, and any remaining cash on the card may be forfeited once it has expired.

To avoid this, you have a few options. You can transfer the foreign cash to Australian dollars and use the card to make purchases in-store and online in Australia. You can also withdraw the cash from your card at an Australian ATM.

Alternatively, you can leave the cash in your foreign currency wallet and use the travel card to shop online with overseas merchants. Not only will you spend your leftover cash, but you’ll also avoid foreign transaction fees.

You can also request to "cash out and close" your travel card, which sometimes comes with a fee. However, at least you can access your cash and avoid ongoing inactivity fees with this option.

If you’ve returned with cash, you can sell it to a currency exchange service to return it for Australian dollars, save it for a future trip or swap it with a friend who is travelling to the same country.

Whatever you do, if you're one of the 66% who returns home with unused cash, don't let it go to waste!

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