Vanuatu Travel Money Guide

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

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.

Updated March 19th, 2019
Name Product Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB
AUD $3.50, USD $2.50, GBP £2.00, EUR €2.20, NZD $4.50, CAD $3.00, HKD $20.00, SGD $4.00, THB ฿95, JPY ¥260
$0
$0
Hold up to 10 currencies and lock in your exchange rate. No load, reload or transaction fees on purchases and part of a worldwide ATM alliance.
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, AED
AUD $1.95, CAD $2.00, EUR €1.50, GBP £1.25, HKD $15.00, JPY ¥160, NZD $2.50, SGD $2.50, USD $1.95, THB ฿70.00, AED 6.50
1%
$0
Earn up to 12,000 Qantas points when you sign up for a Qantas Travel Money card and preload funds by March 29. You must load at least $2,500 to qualify for the deal. T&C's apply.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated March 19th, 2019
Name Product Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Cash Advance Fee Annual fee Product Description
28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
3% of the cash advance or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a.
No foreign transaction fees on international purchases including international purchases online, together with a no annual fee.
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
ING Orange One Platinum
2.5%
of transaction value
$2.50
$149 p.a.
Enjoy cashback rewards of up to $30 per month, complimentary insurance covers and rebated foreign currency conversion fees.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
0% of transaction value
$5
$0
$225 p.a.
Receive 40,000 bonus Velocity Points, 2 yearly Virgin Australia lounge passes, plus enjoy $0 overseas purchase transaction fees.
Bankwest Qantas Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% or $4 (whichever is greater)
$160 p.a.
Enjoy 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary travel insurances and earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases.
Bankwest More Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$160 p.a.
Earn 2 More Rewards Points per $1 spent, 75,000 bonus points when you meet the spend requirement and save with 0% foreign transaction fees.

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Rates last updated March 19th, 2019
$
Name Product Product Description Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Eftpos Fee
HSBC Everyday Global Account
No foreign ATM or transaction fees.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.
Visa
$0
$0
$0
Citi Global Currency Account
Hold up to 10 currencies.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free. Earn up to 2.25% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.
Mastercard
$0
$0
$0
ING Orange Everyday Account
Receive a rebate on any international transaction fees and international ATM fees when you deposit at least $1,000 a month and make at least 5 card purchases.
Visa
$0
$2.50
2.5%

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Updated March 19th, 2019
Name Product Minimum Order Amount Maximum Order Amount Delivery/Pickup Method Commission Fee
$500
$10,000
In Store, At Airport
$0
Order over 60 currencies online at the best price against the Australian dollar and collect at one of over 130 locations across Australia.
$500
$5,000
In Store, At Airport
$0
Travelex makes it easy to exchange and get the best rate on over 40 currencies so you can be prepared for your next holiday.
$0
$9,999
In Store, Home Delivery
$0
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 option Pros Cons
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
Cash
  • 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.

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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