Fiji boasts crystal clear waters, white sand beaches and more than 300 islands to explore both underwater and on land. Like any destination, taking the right travel money options with you can help you enjoy the experience more and worry less. Use our guide to find out which combination of travel money products works best, how to access your cash and which travel cards cost less in Fiji.
Make sure you stock up on cash, especially if you're heading to the smaller islands or more remote areas, so that you can buy roadside coconuts, eat outside of your resort and live on "island time".
Compare your travel money options for Fiji
When in Fiji, you'll likely want to sink into your beach chair, drink in hand, and not stress about how to pay for it all. Luckily, you have a few options to choose from including paying with credit cards, accessing funds with a debit card or prepaid travel card and having some cash on hand for smaller purchases.
Fiji can be a cheap destination for travellers looking for a holiday on a shoestring budget. At the same time, a holiday to Fiji can be as expensive as you make it. You can see some examples prices below for different price bands.
Some of the daily costs for a Fiji holiday
Hostel dorm starting at $10 AUD per night
2 star hotel $50 - $150 AUD per night
5 star hotel$250 - $2,000 AUD per night
Pizza/Tapas at a midrange restaurantFrom $8 AUD
Indian restaurant$20 AUD a head
5 star restaurantFrom $30 AUD per dish
Visit the Suva flea marketFree (plus shopping expenses)
30 minute massage at Suva day spa$30 AUD
4 night guided trek to the peaks of Fiji inc. food and transportation$850 AUD
*Prices are indicative and subject to change
Exchange rate history
The Australian dollar has been steadily losing value against the Fijian dollar since 2011. It's hard to predict the movements of a currency pair, prepaid travel cards and traveller's cheques allow you to lock in an exchange rate.
Average annual exchange Australian Dollar (AUD) to Fiji Dollar (FJD)
*Exchange rates are accurate as of 3 September 2017
Which travel card, debit card or credit card?
There are no travel cards which let you hold and spend Fijian dollars. Compare no currency conversion fee prepaid travel cards if you want to take this type of travel money to Fiji. Consider travel friendly debit cards and credit cards to finance your trip. These products are offered by selected financial institutions in conjunction with Visa and Mastercard; which both have wide acceptance on the Fijian Islands.
Travel money options for Fiji at a glance
Travel money option
Debit cards for travel
Most places have ATM's
Debit cards are far cheaper to use to get cash from an ATM than credit cards.
$0 account keeping fees when you deposit at least $2,000 into your account each month
Unlimited free withdrawals on selected banks
Charge a currency conversion fee as well as international and local ATM withdrawal fees
You need to pay cash, especially for smaller transactions
Prepaid travel money cards
A safe way to carry money – protected by pin and signature and can easily be cancelled
No Australian travel cards currently support Fijian dollars
Some credit cards need a pin to access which gives you extra security
Higher rewards points earn rate for purchases made outside Australia
Overseas ATM fees and currency conversion fees
Cash advances accrue interest from the moment of withdrawal
You will be able to cash traveller's cheques at banks and hotels in Fiji
Traveller's cheques are quickly becoming obsolete
Difficulty finding places to cash traveller's cheques in the remote areas
Best option for smaller islands
More difficult to manage expenses
Higher risk of theft
This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.
How travel cards, debit cards and credit cards work in Fiji
Debit cards let you spend your own money and are far cheaper to use to get cash from an ATM than credit cards. Watch out for the currency conversion fee as well as international and local ATM withdrawal fees, though. Fijian merchants are equipped with EFTPOS terminals, but there will be times when you need to pay cash, especially for smaller transactions. Have a look at the Citibank Plus Transaction Account if you want to save on international transaction fees when you're in Fiji. The Citibank Plus Visa Debit Card can be used to make purchases and withdrawals and you won't pay the fee for currency conversion, the international ATM fee and Citibank don't charge an account keeping fee either.
Tip: If you have a card which is part of the Westpac Group, you can avoid the fee for international ATM withdrawals by using Westpac ATMs in Fiji thanks to the Global ATM Alliance.
Bankwest Platinum credit cards and the Latitude 28° Global Platinum Mastercard do not charge a currency conversion fee when you make purchases or ATM withdrawals in Fiji. Using another account will cost you an additional 3% of the transaction value. However, if you load your own money on the card, using your credit card for a cash advance is not advised. Cash advances don't get interest free days, which usually apply to credit card purchases, and cash advance fees can eat your available credit limit quickly. Other features to think about which will be of benefit on a trip to Fiji include complimentary international travel insurance included with mid to high-end cards when you charge the cost of your return travel ticket to your account. Also look out for rewards cards that have an increased rewards points earn rate for purchases made outside Australia.
Tip: If you use your credit card with a positive balance (spending your own money not the banks), you are waiving the card scheme anti-fraud guarantees.
Travel prepaid cards
The perk of a prepaid travel card is usually the advantage of carrying multiple foreign currencies and avoiding currency conversion fees on the one card. Unfortunately, as no Australian travel cards currently support Fijian dollars, they don't hold as much appeal. So unless you have a travel card that doesn't charge a foreign currency conversion fee on unsupported currencies, you could rack up some unnecessary costs.
However, prepaid cards usually come with a supplementary card for emergencies and can be used for ATM withdrawals. So if you can get a card without a currency conversion fee, it could come in use.
Traveller's cheques are quickly becoming obsolete. Other forms of travel money provide the advantages of traveller's cheques without the drawbacks. Unlike other places in the world, you will be able to cash traveller's cheques at banks and hotels in Fiji, but you will have difficulty finding places to cash traveller's cheques in the remote areas.
You will be able to use your cards at many businesses in Fijian cities, if you're heading to the smaller islands or to remote areas, ensure you have enough cash to last you till for the duration of your trip.
Australian dollars can be easily exchanged to Fijian dollars in Fiji. There are exchange offices at Fiji's international airports, transport terminals and hotels can exchange dollars as well. Avoid changing money at your hotel if you want to get the best deal. The best rates are available outside of airports, look for exchange offices in tourist areas.
Using ATMs in Fiji
ATMs are common in Fijian cities, but you'll need to plan ahead and make sure you have enough cash if you're heading to rural areas. Australian banks such as Westpac and ANZ have a presence in Fiji, so these cardholders can access ATMs cheaply on their island holiday. The standard ATM withdrawal fee is about $5 Fijian dollars per withdrawal, expect to pay double this fee if you're using a card with charges for international ATM withdrawal or you're using an ATM which is not part of your bank's ATM network.
Camila's 5-Day Blue Lagoon Wanderer Cruise in Fiji
Camila started her trip in Suva before heading across the island to Port Denarau. She joined a cruise which lasted for 4 nights. The cruise took her to see the sights of the Sacred Islands, Yasawa Islands and Blue Lagoon region before returning her to Port Denarau. She was in Fiji for a week and a half.
Camila took the Citibank Plus Visa Card because she could use the card to make purchases on the cruise without paying extra for currency conversion, she also used the card to make an ATM withdrawal so she had some cash as spending money for gratuities when she was on the cruise.
She paid for her return ticket to Fiji using her St.George Vertigo Platinum to take advantage of the complimentary international travel insurance and to use for big ticket purchases because it offers extended warranty insurance and purchase cover insurance.
Where could you use your cards?
She says she could use her cards on the cruise to pay for drinks and meals (which weren't included in the package). She says she could use her Citibank card in Suva in more places than not. Camila says she had to pay cash when she took taxis and when she picked up souvenirs at Suva's flea markets.
What can you tell us about ATM withdrawals?
Camila says she made a withdrawal at an ANZ ATM using her Citibank card in Suva when she arrived at the airport, she was charged a couple of dollars when she made this withdrawal.
What's your travel money recommendation?
She says take the Citibank Plus if you're heading overseas, it's low on fees, offers the worldwide acceptance of Visa and she says it's free to own. She applied for this account specifically for her trip. She says when she got back home she didn't use the card at all and will keep it for her next trip, which was fine because it costs her nothing to keep.
Do you have any travel money tips for Fiji?
She says ATMs in some places in Fiji are unreliable, so make sure you have enough cash if you're heading outside the major cities. Camila also says to check whether your hotel charges a credit card surcharge. She says she was charged a surcharge of 5%, which she could've avoided by using a debit card instead. Finally she says always pay in the local currency when you're in Fiji. Dynamic currency conversion is a credit card feature which allows spending in Australian dollars overseas, but it will cost you more.
Buying currency in Australia
As a general rule, you'll get a better rate if you wait to purchase foreign currency when you arrive at your destination, this includes changing Australian dollars from a bank or a foreign exchange office or by making an ATM withdrawal. ATM withdrawals use the card scheme rate (Visa/Mastercard etc), which is a touch above the market rate. Foreign exchange offices and banks don't include the margin applied by Australian institutions. If you do want to buy foreign cash in Australia, consider these financial institutions.
Tip: Travelex and Australia Post have outlets at Australian international airports, so you can pick up foreign cash while you wait for your flight.
Why you'll need a combination of travel money options for Fiji
A mixture of credit and debit cards will give you most enjoyment of your holiday. Don't bother taking cash to exchange, and don't change cash in Australia either. You can make ATM withdrawals easily enough at Fiji's international airports — a card which lets you withdraw and spend over the counter for cheap is the way to go.
Your trip to Fiji should be a relaxing one, so make sure you have organised your travel beforehand to ensure your island getaway runs as smoothly as possible.
If you have questions about taking and using travel money in Fiji, get in touch with us using the form at the bottom of the page. We can help with questions about comparing products, but we can't give personal advice.
Jacob Joseph was a writer and video journalist for Finder.
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