I Have USD Notes, Do I Bank It or Find Somewhere to Exchange?

Hi All,

I have approximately 20k USD in cash. I was exploring citibank and HSBC options, I am a bit confused by citibank's response to about depositing USD notes at their branch into a global currency account. HSBC seems to be the way to go (as I can deposit USD notes directly into the account @1% fee) but the fees to transfer out seem a bit confusing and costly (2-3%). Could I deposit into HSBC and then transfer it to transferwise?

If anyone can shed some light on this it would be great!

Otherwise, looking for good exchange places around Sydney!


  • +1 vote

    AU$ at near ten year lows - seems like a decent time to do it, but I wouldn't bet against it going lower.
    In fact I think it is highly likely it will continue to drop at least until the end of July because that's when I'm going overseas!


    Yep i'm off in December, so will be at new all time low

  • +1 vote

    Need to consider what you want to use the funds for.
    If you want to buy in USD, or transfer to someone else in USD, or speculate on currency exchange rate movements, then HSBC is probably a good option.
    If you are travelling soon and the USD cash will be accepted where you are going, just put it under your mattress until then.
    If you don't need to do any of those, why don't you just ask you own bank what their best rate is. It won't be great, but it will give you a baseline to compare with other options (other currency exchange shops, certain shops in certain suburbs, etc.)

    In general, ending up with USD20k in cash is not usually a preferred outcome for however you came across the money.

  • +1 vote

    Hi MT,

    Was in a similar position recently. Have the HSBC Global Everyday Account, with multiple currency accounts set up under it. Also had some hard USD from some travels. Deposited it into the USD denominated HSBC GE Account via the Branch. Of course they wanted to know where the cash came from. Seemed satisfied with the truth. Their take was 0.15%, NOT 1%. Makes a difference, with a big enough sum.

    Would have been fine if I was buying things in USD with that account. But that wasn't my plan.

    Was not able to perform the Currency Fair transfer out from HSBC (since I also found their HSBC internal exchange rates adverse, from USD to AUD). It is either locked down to prevent this - to ensure HSBC clips the ticket every time - or I couldn't find the way to do it.

    Ended up waiting for a dip in the AUD/USD exchange rate and got them converted to USD without any loss. Certainly didn't turn a profit from it, and won't be messing with other currencies in that account again.

    Now with ING/Citibank/28Degrees cards/accounts, I really don't want to hold foreign currency anymore. Previously used travel money cards.

    Maybe I missed something, and maybe HSBC has more functionality than I can find.



      Hi AM,

      Thanks for feedback. I will be using it for purchases overseas (mainly a direct transfer so I can avail on a discount). I was trying to read their policy and it seemed to be 2% to transfer.. will have to look into it, HSBC is definitely more attractive now that you've said they only take 0.15%.


        Hi MT,

        An update to the post I made above.

        Tried to drop some more USD notes at HSBC today. And was surprised that the fee is actually 1.25%.

        From their fees & charges PDF: "1.25% of amount handled (minimum charge of $20)"

        So I mis-remembered in the earlier post. After checking what they charged previously, it doesn't look like they have changed the rate. The process also takes a while.

        Exchange/fee-wise, it is still probably better than getting a Travelex TMC charged up with USD, and also a little better when turning the USD to AUD after the trip.

        Just a shame work requires the funds to be taken out in the currency of the destination. Makes the Citi+ & ING accounts a little redundant!


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