As a regular traveller, I’m often asked about managing money while overseas including ATM’s, traveller’s cheques and so on. So here is a brief summary of money in Fiji.
The current Fijian Dollar has been in existence since 1969, replacing the Fijian Pound. Even though Fiji has been a republic since 1983, Queen Elizabeth still appeared on their currency until 2013, when they changed the notes completely to feature local flora and fauna. The Fiji Dollar is like Australia’s decimal system and easy to use. The coins available are 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent coins and $1 and $2 coins. The notes that you’ll come into contact with are 5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 much like Australia.
BRING LOCAL CURRENCY
If travelling to Fiji you should bring with you local currency which is easily sourced from Banks, Travel Agents and Post Offices.
Australia Post offers good rates and no fees and you can pick up at any branch. Travelex is also good. You can order online and pick up at the airport. They have great rates and no fees.
If you are entering Fiji you can exchange money at the airport at a reasonable rate. It’s better than the hotels but not as good as what you may get in your own country. Beware they will charge you a $5 fee. Western Union at the airport were offering a good rate too. There can often be long queues at the airport as well. Banking hours vary and close on public holidays and weekends so take enough to get you through your travel period.
ATM’S AND CREDIT CARDS
ATM’s are more common and had no issues using them. You do get slugged $5 for using them but if you’re desperate it’s certainly worthwhile knowing they are around. Eftpos is commonly used in larger stores and hotels with little if no charges but I have heard of up to 3% charges on credit card transactions. International credit cards are accepted by most resorts, hotels, restaurants, shops and so on. Feel free to use them with the awareness of the extra fees you may be charged.
The days of traveller’s cheques are gone. Don’t bother.
BLACK MARKET MONEY EXCHANGING
Recommendation that you don’t. Having seen a few scams over the years, it’s just not worth the risk for the small gain that you might have. Play it safe.
Contact your bank at home so they know you’re travelling in case you do use your credit card. I was once cut off from funds in Vietnam because my bank was unaware of my travel plans. Doh!