Vanuatu Travel Money Guide

Learn how to navigate using cash, credit cards, debit cards and prepaid money cards when travelling to Vanuatu.

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More than 80 islands make up the country of Vanuatu, meaning that, depending on which of the small islands you are visiting, ATMs could be few and far between. This can make it difficult to withdraw vatu – Vanuatu's local currency.

Here's what you need to know to ensure you're never caught with empty pockets around the islands.

Compare travel money options for Vanuatu

Credit and debit cards are readily accepted in the main resort areas of Vanuatu, such as Port Vila and most of Luganville, but depending on your card, there may be charges associated with using them, and you'll want some cash in your pocket for smaller purchases.

Name Product Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Initial Load Fee Reload fee
Cash Passport Platinum Mastercard
USD $2.50, EUR €2.50, GBP £2.00, NZD $3.50, THB ฿80.00, CAD $3.50, HKD $18.00, JPY ¥260.00, SGD $3.50, AUD $3.50, AED 10.00
Up to 11 currencies on 1 card locked in exchange rates and no load fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Foreign currency conversion fee Interest-free period Purchase rate Annual fee
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
Up to 55 days on purchases
14.99% p.a.
Get 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 34 months (with a 2% BT fee), ​an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% foreign transaction fees.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
Up to 55 days on purchases
0% p.a. for 15 months, reverts to 9.9% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($69 p.a. thereafter)
Get 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, a $0 first-year annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
CommBank Ultimate Awards Credit Card with Qantas Points
Up to 55 days on purchases
20.24% p.a.
Receive 70,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply and spend $5,000 in the first 90 days from card approval. Plus, 0% foreign fees.
NAB StraightUp Card
0% p.a.
Save with 0% interest charges and 0% foreign transaction fees. Plus, $0 monthly fees when you don't use the card or carry a balance.

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Name Product Card access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Internatonal ATM Fee Foreign transaction fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
Special offer: $100 cash bonus for new HSBC customers.
Earn 2% cashback on tap and pay purchases (T&C's apply).
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.

Great Southern Bank Everyday Snap Account
Refund of international ATM withdrawal fees and international card transaction fees (conditions apply).
$0 monthly account fee. Unlimited fee-free everyday transactions.
Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay available. Savings Top Up tool automatically transfers to linked savings account.
Citi Global Currency Account
Earn up to 0.6% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free.

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Name Product Minimum Order Amount Maximum Order Amount Delivery/Pickup Method Commission Fee
Foreign Xchange Travel Money
In Store,Home Delivery
Order multiple currencies in one transaction and have it delivered directly to your door anywhere in Australia. No delivery fee for orders over $1,000. A $10 flat fee applies to orders less than $1,000.

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Should I bring a prepaid travel card, credit card or debit card to Vanuatu?

Travel money optionProsCons
Pre-paid travel money card
  • Protected by a PIN and a chip
  • Pre-load and secure your exchange rate in multiple foreign currencies
  • Accepted worldwide
  • Emergency card replacement and back-up cards
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • Can't lock-in exchange rates for AUD to Vatu when loading your pre-paid card
  • Limited use outside the main towns and resorts of Vanuatu
  • Providers use their own exchange rates, which vary.
  • Some cards charge you for not using them.
Credit card
  • Protected by a PIN and a chip
  • Access to funds up to your credit limit
  • Benefits include reward points on spending and frequent flyer perks
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Limited use outside the main Vanuatu towns and resorts.
  • Standard surcharge of 4-5% per transaction in Vanuatu.
  • Higher spending limit can seduce you into going over budget.
Debit card
  • Accepted at most major banks and hotels in Vanuatu
  • Protected by a PIN and a chip
  • Good for sticking to a budget – you can only withdraw as much money as you have
  • Fees may apply when withdrawing money at ATMs
  • Surcharges when using one over the counter.
  • Transfer rates charged
  • No back-up cards
  • Withdrawal limit is $600 per day
  • Can be used at markets and local businesses
  • Needed for taxis and water taxis
  • Coins and smaller notes are handy in remote areas.
  • Easy to lose
  • Easy to spend
  • Foreign exchanges are not always readily accessible and queues can be long.

Today's exchange rate AUD to VUV

What's the Vanuatu currency?

Vatu is the national currency of Vanuatu and there are no additional names for the denominations.

Over the last few years, rates have fluctuated between 80-85 vatu per AUD$1.

Stores and restaurants round prices up to the nearest five vatu. You can get coins in 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 denominations and notes in 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 denominations.

Travel money tips for Vanuatu

  • If you're planning on spending just cash in Vanuatu, it's best to exchange your Australian dollars when you get to the country since rates will be better. Start by exchanging a handful of dollars at the bank at the airport. Then head to a large town to exchange the rest. The foreign exchange company Goodies on the main drag in Port Vila has a good reputation for offering competitive rates.
  • Unless you have a debit or credit card with low or no fees (which you can find above), use ATMs sparingly because there are significant fees associated with using them.
  • Be mindful that you can only withdraw the equivalent of $600 a day from ATMs.
  • There are money exchange bureaus at the banks on the islands of Lakatoro (Malekula), Lenakel (Tanna) and Pango (Pentecost); however, they're not the most reliable and tourists often find them closed or out of stock.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    TerryAugust 23, 2019

    my wife and daughter will be travelling to Vanuatu in mid October and I am trying to sort out the best idea for finances for them. I was thinking of about $500 AUS in Vanuatu cash & $2000 AUS in a Qantas prepaid mastercard. can you tell me if this would be the way to go?

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiAugust 24, 2019

      Hi Terry,

      Thanks for getting in touch! What a great destination for a mother and daughter trip! There is no sure-fire way of knowing how much money is enough for a trip to Vanuatu. This will ultimately depend on your daily agenda (day trips, hotel stay, dining and shopping)

      Note that when you use a physical card, there is limited use outside the main towns and resorts of Vanuatu. It’s always good to bring cash but make sure you budget well.

      Hope this helps!


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