We compare over 160 currencies using RateCity’s currency converter – everything from the obvious (such as US dollar to Australian dollar), to the obscure (the Tanzanian shilling, or the Azerbaijani New Manat!)
The big ones for Aussies travelling include the US dollar, the Euro, the UK pound, the New Zealand dollar, the Thai baht and the Indonesian Rupiah. These currencies account for the vast majority of Aussies travelling overseas, and so for most of us, checking these rates will cover most of our needs. For online shopping, the US dollar, Euro and UK pound tend to be the main currencies. Even though many online shopping sites automatically convert to Aussie dollars these days, it’s never a bad idea to check another source.
New airline routes mean that you might be doing very different stopovers on a flight to Europe, however, and so you may need different currencies than travellers even 10 years ago. For example, many people now fly to Europe via Dubai, and so the foreign exchange rate between the Australian dollar and the Emirati Dirham might be important to you. Similarly, Malaysia is now a regular stopover on long-haul flights, so the Ringgit to dollar exchange rate can help you when in Kuala Lumpur for a night or two!
Some of the currencies you can compare in our currency converter appear pretty obscure – there’s not many people buying goods online from Fiji, or tourists going to Bangladesh, for example. But there is a real need for people to compare foreign exchange rates for these countries, because of what’s called “remittances” – where people in Australia (generally recent immigrants or people on working visas) send money back to their “home” country to support relatives or friends.
It’s actually a very big source of cash transfers – the most recent statistics from 2007 say that around $700 million was paid by “remittances” from Australia to other countries – with the stronger Aussie dollar and more short-term workers in resource industries, that’s now likely to be well over $1 billion being sent back from Australia to other countries. Finding out exchange rates is important to these people as the difference is very real in the pockets of people at the other end – it’s not uncommon to see a 10% difference in a month between the Aussie dollar and some of the “smaller” currencies, so transferring money at the right time can result in a lot more money going to the intended recipient.