7 Tips to Get the Best Philippine Exchange Rate

Are you going to visit your virtual assistants in the Philippines soon?

I’m here to provide awesome tips on how to handle Australian dollar to Philippine peso exchange!

In this article, I’m offering you my 7 most important “hacks” when it comes to getting the most out of the currency exchange. I’ve learned this all from recent experience during my last six trips to the Philippines.

If you prefer watching the video instead of reading, click on the video below:

I share with you the practices that have proven useful to me. The next time you’re travelling to the Philippines, you can pull these tricks out of your sleeves like a real pro!

Tip#1. Make sure to leave with a little bit of Philippine Peso in your pocket.

Before boarding your flight to the Philippines, make sure that you already have a few Philippine pesos handy. You can use this for taxi/cab fares or buying snacks or water when you arrive.

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Personally, I hate arriving into Manila or Cebu International Airport without Philippine cash on hand, only to end up using one of my credit cards to pay for a taxi ride.

Travelling to so many countries over the last 20 years, I’ve become more skeptical about using my credit cards overseas.

In the past, I’ve seen unexplainable charges appearing on my bank statements just a few months after my trips. It’s quite a frustrating experience, so as much as you can, avoid using your credit card.

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Pro tip: Use the Grab app if you don’t have cash on you and you want a safe ride. It charges directly onto your card so you wouldn’t have to give your card details to the cab drivers.

You cannot install Grab in Australia, so make sure you get wifi access in Singapore or Hongkong during your layover to download the app.

Tip#2. Check the live exchange rate from Google.

This sounds like something you would already do, but I’m adding it here for emphasis. Checking the currency rates and getting yourself familiar with the ballpark exchange helps set your expectations.

Google currency

Obviously, you’re never going to get the ₱37.97 pesos that you see on Google (as of November 2018). The exchange rate will always have a margin left for the exchange provider. Which is why you have to subsequently follow Tip#3.

Tip#3. Go to Westpac.com.au see what the exchange rate is there.

Checking Westpac’s rate will give you a ballpark idea on how local banks convert Australian dollar to Philippine peso (AUD to PHP). As you see on the snapshot above, Westpac’s rate is $1 AUD = ₱35.99 PHP (as of November 2018). That almost ₱2.00 PHP difference is what Westpac is keeping as margin of profit.

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The rate above is fairly good. The only catch is, you’ve got to wait for 3 to 5 business days before you can access the cash. If you have that much time to wait, then it’s good.

However, if you need the cash ASAP, then you might want to do the following tip…

Tip#4. Print out Westpac’s exchange rate and present it to Travel OZ Money Exchanger.

Try this trick to get yourself a better deal!

Bring a printout of Westpac’s rate to Flight Centre’s Travel Oz Money Exchanger. Show the printout to them and they guarantee to beat the exchange rate from Westpac, and any other rate you find available.

This is the best way to get Philippine peso before boarding your flight!

travel OZ

Tip#5.  Take a few Australian dollars (AUD)  as well.

I mentioned on the first tip that it’s ideal to have a few Philippines peso before coming into the country. But, what I don’t do is to convert ALL my money into Philippine peso.

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Bring a few hundred AUDs as well. Having $300 to $400 AUD in your pocket is just about right. It’s just about right for a week if you’re eating out at restaurants at night.

If you run out of Philippine peso, you can get your AUDs converted in a money changer located in the airport or inside the local malls in Manila or Cebu.

You’ll be amazed at how you can get ₱36.50 or even ₱37.00 for $1 AUD (as of November 2018), whereas in Australia, where you usually get ripped off.

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Tip#6. Take a couple of different credit cards when you travel.

In the multiple visits, I made to the Philippines, for whatever reason one of my credit cards gets blocked.  It might be some security feature with the bank or that they consider any out of the country transactions sketchy. No matter what, it’s best to have at least 2-3 of them. This is simply to have a backup card in case one of your cards get blocked.

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It also helps if you call your bank in advance telling them that you are travelling so they can anticipate the overseas charges.

I usually bring 3 cards: Mastercard, Visa and American Express.

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Tip#7.  Avoid going to local ATM to withdraw cash.

Not exactly for security reasons, but as much as you can, don’t go to the local ATMs in the Philippines and use your ATM card to withdraw cash.

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This is because most local ATMs follow the exchange rates of the banks in Australia, which normally plays around ₱34.00 to ₱32.00 or in some cases even less than ₱30.00 (as of November 2018).

Honestly, it’s not worth it. So, unless it’s going to be for an emergency,  prepare your cash beforehand or just bring some Aussie dollars with you.

There you go! My personal tips on how to make the most out of the current Australian dollar to Philippine peso (AUD to PHP) exchange. If you have other tips in mind, don’t forget to share them in the comment box!

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