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The US dollar is the official currency of the United States. The US dollar is also used by several other countries as either an official or alternative currency. Some countries ‘peg’ their currency to the US dollar. Pegging is when a currency is fixed at a certain rate against the US dollar. Hong Kong, for example, has its domestic currency pegged at approximately HKD7.8. This means for every US dollar, you could get $7.80 in Hong Kong dollars.

Getting US dollars before you leave

If you’re heading overseas, travelling with small amount of US dollars could be a good idea, even if you’re not going to the United States. That is because in some countries the US dollar is treated as an alternative currency or can be easier to exchange to the local currency if needed. If you are travelling to countries where USD is an official currency, you could consider using a travel money card that is pre-loaded with USD. The Westpac Global Currency Card1 is a prepaid Visa card that allows you to lock in your exchange rate in advance of your trip and you can preload the card with up to 5 of the following currencies:

  • US Dollars (USD)
  • Euros (EUR)
  • British Pounds (GBP)
  • Japanese Yen (JPY)
  • Thai Baht (THB)
  • Canadian Dollars (CAD)
  • New Zealand Dollars (NZD)
  • Singapore Dollars (SGD)
  • South African Rand (ZAR)
  • Hong Kong Dollars (HKD)

If you don’t end up using the US dollars on your travel card while you’re away, you can either change the dollars into one of the other available currencies or change the money back into Australian dollars.

Find out more about Westpac travel money cards

Things you should know

1. You must be 16 years or older and have an Australian residential address to be eligible for this product. You should read the Westpac Global Currency Card Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision and consider whether this product is appropriate for you. A foreign exchange fee is payable when you make a purchase in a currency that has not been loaded to your card or is not supported by the Global Currency Card.