International & travel
Here’s a brief checklist of what you should consider before you go.
- Get hold of essential documents such as your passport and visas.
- Register with smarttraveller.gov.au
- Let us know when and where you're travelling with our simple online form in NetBank, or alternatively by visiting us in branch. We will then be expecting to see foreign transactions on your cards and/or accounts and we'll be able to keep an eye out for any unusual activity.
- Take a combination of foreign cash, Travel Money Card, traveller’s cheques, credit cards and your Debit MasterCard® or Keycard. This way you will never be stranded without access to your funds.
- Ensure you have requested a PIN for your Debit MasterCard, Keycard and credit cards. Some overseas terminals may require you to add "00" after your four–digit PIN.
- If you plan to transact on your Everyday Account while overseas, make sure it is linked as the primary savings account on your Debit MasterCard or Keycard. The primary savings account is the account you access when you press the ‘savings’ option at an ATM or at the checkout in Australia.
- Don’t leave purchasing your foreign cash, cards or traveller’s cheques to the last minute.
- Consider locking in your exchange rates up-front with foreign cash, a Travel Money Card or traveller’s cheques. This way you know exactly how much currency you have to spend.
- If you need to increase your credit limit, arrange it before you leave the country.
- Apply for, and set up your Commonwealth Bank accounts on NetBank so you can manage your accounts while you’re overseas.
- Arrange travel insurance to cover you should the unexpected occur.
For more information see the Accessing your money overseas brochure.
Q. Why should I notify the Commonwealth Bank before going overseas?
A. By notifying us before you go overseas, we can ensure we have updated contact details should we need to speak to you, and if we know exactly where you are, we can more accurately monitor transactions coming from your account. Just call 13 2221 or go into your closest branch.
Q. Do foreign ATMs and EFTPOS work the same way as those in Australia?
A. Using ATMs overseas is very similar to using those in Australia. Overseas ATMs will usually give you a choice of instructions in the local language and in English. PIN-based Maestro and Electronic transactions are also the same as in Australia, just swipe your card and enter your PIN at the time of purchase. In some countries, you may be asked to sign for your purchases instead of entering your PIN.
Q. Will my PIN work overseas?
A. Yes. Please note that some countries in Europe will require a six-digit PIN. If your PIN consists only of four digits, please add two zeros (00) at the end.
Q. What classifies as a satisfactory identification document when buying or selling travel funds (foreign cash, travel money card and travellers cheques)?
A. Satisfactory identification is considered:
1x primary photographic identification document. For example:
- Australian drivers license
- Proof of age card issued in Australia);
2x primary non photographic identification documents. For example:
- Birth certificate
- Citizenship certificate
- Pension card issued by Centrelink that entitles financial benefits
1x primary non photographic and 1x secondary identification document. Secondary identification documents must show your name and residential address and include:
- A foreign drivers licence
- A recent notice issued by the Australian Taxation Office
- An electricity, gas or council rates notice showing details of any service provided to you
Q. Why should I take foreign cash when travelling?
A. Foreign cash is a great way to pay for items like a taxi fare, a cup of coffee or a bite to eat as soon as you arrive in a new country. Taking a couple of day’s supply of local currency means you won’t be caught out not being able to access your travel funds when and where you need to.
A. All of our branches buy and sell a variety of foreign currencies (see table below). If the currency you would like is not in stock, it can be ordered in for you.
Alternatively, you can pre-order and pay for your foreign currency online using ExpressFX. ExpressFX orders are delivered to your nominated branch within 48-72 business hours.
|Great British Pound||
|Hong Kong Dollar||
|New C/Tahiti Franc||
|New Zealand Dollar||
|Solomon Island Dollar||
|South African Rand||
|South Korean Won||
|Sri Lankan Rupee||
|Western Samoa Tala||
*Argentine Peso (ARS) is only available for Bank sell transactions.
Q. What are the fees to buy and/or sell foreign cash?
A. To buy foreign cash from the Commonwealth Bank:
- 1% of sale amount (minimum $8 per currency)
To sell foreign cash to the Commonwealth Bank
- $8 per transaction
Q. Do I have to be an existing Commonwealth Bank customer to buy or sell foreign cash?
A. Both existing and non existing Commonwealth Bank customers can buy or sell foreign cash through us. All you need to do is satisfy the customer identification check required for opening a bank account.
Q. Why should I take traveller’s cheques?
A. American Express Traveller’s cheques:
- Are a safe and easy way to protect your travel funds
- Can be replaced with a single telephone call (usually within 24 hours)
- Are available in numerous currencies and denominations
- Are accepted to be cashed or exchanged at a wide variety of locations around the world (more information on locations)
- Never expire, so you can save unused traveller’s cheques for your next trip
Q. What traveller’s cheque currencies and denominations can I buy?
A. The following currencies and denominations can be bought at any of our branches or online via ExpressFX.
Please note that currencies and denominations will vary between branches and are subject to availability.
|Canadian Dollars||CAD||50, 100|
|Euro||EUR||50, 100, 200|
|Japanese Yen||JPY||10000, 20000, 50000|
|Pound Sterling||GBP||50, 100, 200|
|United States Dollar||USD||50, 100, 500|
Q. What is the fee to buy and/or sell travellers cheques?
A. Buy travellers cheques from the Commonwealth Bank
- 1% of sale amount (minimum $12 per currency)
Sell travellers cheques to the Commonwealth Bank (ie cash them)
- $8 per currency
Q. Where can I buy traveller’s cheques?
A. You can pre-order and pay for your traveller’s cheques online using ExpressFX. ExpressFX orders are delivered to your nominated branch within 72 - 96 business hours.
Alternatively, you can request traveller’s cheques from one of our branches who will order them in your behalf. Orders will be ready for collection at your nominated branch location within 72 - 96 business hours.
Q. Where can I exchange my travellers cheques?
A. All Commonwealth Bank branches accept American Express travellers cheques for cashing.
When overseas, travellers cheques can be exchanged at a wide variety of stores, restaurants and hotels, as well as banks and foreign exchange bureaus
Q. Will I have to pay commission to exchange my traveller’s cheques?
A. Commission charges may apply and can vary by country and/or exchange partner.
For information on where to use your traveller’s cheques, visit www.americanexpress.com/useTC
Q. Do travellers cheques ever expire?
A. American Express travellers cheques do not expire. Unused travellers cheques can be used for future trips.
Q. What if I lose my traveller’s cheques?
A. American Express traveller’s cheques can be replaced virtually anywhere in the world, and usually within 24 hours. Simply telephone the traveller’s cheques Service Centre on the local telephone numbers provided at time of purchase.
Q. What currencies can I order through ExpressFX?
A. You can order any of the currencies that the Commonwealth Bank offers for foreign cash and travellers cheques.
Q. What happens if the currency I request online at ExpressFX is unavailable?
A. We stock sufficient volumes of all currencies listed. However, if we are unable to supply you with your requested currency we will contact you and discuss your options.
Q. What is the fee to buy foreign cash/ travellers cheques online via ExpressFX?
A. Foreign Cash:
1% (minimum $8) per currency
1% of sale amount (minimum $12 per currency)
Q. Do I have to be a Commonwealth Bank customer or provide any identification to buy foreign cash and/or traveller’s cheques using ExpressFX?
A. Both existing and non existing Commonwealth Bank personal customers can use ExpressFX.
The only requirements are:
- You have the ability to make a BPay® payment through your financial institution
- You must provide satisfactory identification at the time of collection
Q. Can I send someone else to collect my online ExpressFX order for foreign cash and/or traveller’s cheques?
A. For security and identification requirements your ExpressFX order will only be handed to the person whose name appears on the order.
Please ensure you bring the required satisfactory identification requirements with you when you are going to collect your order (see above for more information).
Q. Where can I collect my online ExpressFX order from?
A. You can choose to collect your online ExpressFX foreign cash and/or traveller’s cheque order from more than 1,000 branches across Australia.
Visit our branch locator to find your closest branch.
Q. When can I collect my online ExpressFX order?
A. ExpressFX orders for foreign cash and/or traveller’s cheques are delivered to your nominated branch within 72 - 96 business hours. Once you have selected your nominate branch for your order to be delivered to, you will be advised of the collection date.
If you place your order prior to 4pm Sydney time you will need to complete your BPay® payment by 4pm Sydney time in order for us to meet the advised collection date. If your payment is made after4pm Sydney time please add an extra business day to the advised collection date.
Q. Will I need to produce any identification when collecting my online ExpressFX foreign cash and traveller’s cheques order?
A. Yes. You will have to produce satisfactory identification at the time of collection and need to ensure you have documentation that meets one of the following requirements:
- 1 primary photographic identification document;
- 2 primary non photographic identification documents; or
- 1 primary non photographic and 1 secondary identification document”
Q. What is the minimum and maximum amount I can order online via ExpressFX?
A. Foreign cash and travellers cheques ordered by ExpressFX must be between $500 and $10,000 Australian dollars equivalent.
Q. Can I change or cancel an online ExpressFX order after it has been placed and paid for?
A. If you require any changes or to cancel your order, please send American Express an email firstname.lastname@example.org (by clicking on the link) or calling 1300 133 289. Make sure you have your reference number handy.
You can cancel an order at any time prior to collection; however your order of foreign cash and/or traveller’s cheques will be repurchased at the prevailing buy exchange rate of the day which may result in a foreign exchange loss.
Any changes to your order may impact the advised collection date.
Q. What is a foreign currency account?
A. A foreign currency account is held in Australia and gives you the ability to receive and make payments in a foreign currency. It helps protect you against movements of that currency by holding the funds in the foreign currency.
Foreign Currency Accounts may be useful if:
- You are an overseas investor, because it allows you to receive and hold foreign currency dividends or payments until you wish to convert them into Australian dollars or reinvest them offshore.
- You are an importer / exporter, because it allows you to process receipts and pay invoices without the inconvenience of exchanging currencies.
Q. Where can I open a foreign currency account?
A. Any organisation or individual can open a Foreign Currency account online via NetBank, at any Commonwealth Bank branch or by discussing with your Relationship Manager. You must be 18 years or older and hold an eligible CommBank Australian Dollar (AUD) transaction or savings account in order to open an account.
Q. What currencies are available for foreign currency accounts and where are they domiciled?
|United States Dollar||USD|
|Great British Pound||GBP|
|Hong Kong Dollar||HKD|
|New Zealand dollar||NZD|
|South African Rand||ZAR|
Foreign Currency Accounts are domiciled here in Australia. We do not offer Foreign Currency Accounts domiciled offshore.
Q. What fees are associated with a Foreign Currency Account?
A. There are no recurring account maintenance fees associated with this account, some related products and services such as International Money Transfers will incur a separate fee. Please refer to the Standard Fees and Charges for International Payments and Travel Funds.
Q. How do I access my Foreign Currency Account?
A. You can access your account either electronically using NetBank, CommBiz or through any Commonwealth Bank branch.
Q. What interest is being paid on my account?
A. Interest rates are based on the rates applying in the country of the currency and the interest rate we receive on its foreign currency deposits. You can view these interest rates here.
Please visit the Commonwealth Bank website for more information on foreign currency accounts.
*For deposits exceeding $1 million, customers need to ‘opt-in’ and pay monthly in arrears a government charge equal to 0.70% pa on the average deposit balance greater than $1 million to receive the guarantee.
As this advice has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, you should, before acting on the advice, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances. Terms and Conditions for Foreign Currency Accounts are available by calling 13 2221, from commbank.com.au or from any branch of the Bank. View our Financial Services Guide (PDF 56kb). If you have a complaint, the Bank’s dispute resolution process can be accessed on 13 2221.
Q. What is an International Bank Draft?
A. An International Bank Draft is like a bank cheque, issued by the Commonwealth Bank that is presented to an overseas bank. Drafts can be issued in Australian dollars or in a foreign currency.
Q. What are the fees for International Bank Drafts?
A. The fees for International Bank Drafts are:
|Issuing a international draft||$30 per draft|
|Reporting a draft as lost or stolen||$35 per draft|
|Being notified once the draft is received||$25* per request|
|The Commonwealth Bank repurchasing the draft off the customer||$25 per draft|
*Follow ups to an overseas bank to find out about the progress with the draft is included in the initial fee.
Fees and charges are subject to change at the Bank's discretion.
Please note: The beneficiary may be charged to bank the cheque into their account.
Q. What currencies are available?
A. In addition to drafts in Australian dollars, the Commonwealth Bank issues International Bank Drafts in the following currencies.
|Great British Pounds||GBP|
|New Zealand Dollars||NZD|
|South African Rand||ZAR|
|Hong Kong Dollar||HKD|
Q. How do I buy an International Bank Draft?
A. International Bank Drafts can be purchased at your local Commonwealth Bank branch.
Q. Can I stop an International Bank Draft?
A. It is possible to stop an International Bank Draft and have the funds returned, however there may be a delay in the return of the funds from the overseas bank the draft was sent to. These delays vary from country to country and can be up to 90 days.
Funds that are returned are converted back to Australian dollars at the exchange rate of the time the returned funds are received. This rate may be different to the rate the draft was originally purchased at.
Q. Can I cash an International Bank Draft when I’m overseas?
A. International Bank Drafts issued in foreign currency need to be banked into an account of the same name as the name on the draft. We therefore do not recommend drafts as a source of funds for overseas holidays.
Q. Will the Commonwealth Bank accept a cheque in a foreign currency?
Q. How are foreign currency cheques processed?
A. Foreign currency cheques cannot be cleared like a cheque that is issued in Australia. The Commonwealth Bank must send the foreign currency cheque overseas to the bank that issued the cheque to obtain clearance and receive the money.
The Commonwealth Bank uses two options to process foreign currency cheques.
1. Cheques $5000 or less can be processed by negotiation.
Under this method the Commonwealth Bank converts the funds to Australian dollars today (using the current exchange rate), and deposits funds to your account immediately. Whilst these funds will show in your account they are not available for you to withdraw for 28 days. This 28 day period is to allow time for the issuing bank to advise the Commonwealth Bank of any foreign cheques that are dishonoured. The cheque can still be dishonoured after the 28 day period. You will need to return the funds to us if this happens.
If the cheque gets dishonoured, the value of the cheque will be reconverted back into the foreign currency (using the exchange rate at the time we are notified the cheque is dishonoured) and that amount is deducted from your account. The amount deducted from your account may be more or less than what was originally paid into the account due to changes in exchange rates.
This option costs $18.
2. Cheques greater than $300 can be processed on collection.
Under this method the Commonwealth Bank sends the cheque overseas to be processed by the bank that issued it. After we receive the money from the issuing bank, we convert it into AUD and deposit funds into your account. The cheque can still be dishonoured after you receive payment. If this happens you will need to return the funds to us.
This option costs $30 (overseas bank charges may also apply), but this method is less riskier than negotiation as you are not exposed to the shortfall if the cheque is dishonoured and exchange rates have moved.
This method can take up to 8 weeks for the money to be available.
Q. Once the value of a foreign cheque has reached my account, can it still be dishonoured?
Foreign cheques processed by negotiation have the value of the cheque shown in your account balance, but are not available for withdrawal. When foreign cheques processed by negotiation are dishonoured, the value of the cheque at the time of dishonour will be removed from your account. This may be more or less than the value of the uncleared funds originally deposited to your account.
Q. What are the fees for depositing a foreign cheque into my bank account?
|Name of Fee||Fee amount|
|Dishonoured cheques||$5 *|
* Overseas banks charges may also apply