Hello, Dandv! Welcome to Wikitravel.
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Noted your comments about 3G Internet on Sydney. This info is all on the Australia article, and we probably don't need to duplicate it on every city article in Australia. Have a look at the Australia#Contact and see if there is anything to add. Also note, we don't use explicit references here, and we try to get the info in the articles rather than link to it. --inas 23:51, 18 December 2009 (EST)
- I added information about 3G frequencies to Australia#Contact and directed Sydney#Contact to it.
GST on currency exchange rates..
Hi. There is no GST charged on currency exchange rates. --inas 17:16, 6 January 2010 (EST)
On December 29, I exchanged USD 300 for AUD 270 at an office on George St. When I asked how come I got less AUD than USD, even though the USD is stronger, I was told that GST was charged.
- In Sydney airport, I got 312 AUD for 300 USD on December 26.
- Both offices had rates around 0.90 for "We sell" and 0.83 for "We buy", while the official exchange rate is around 1 USD = 1.08 AUD.
- Using an ATM located at the Opera house, I got AUD 300 for USD 269, corresponding to a rate of 1.11.
- These are the facts; maybe the clerk at the George St. office lies, but I think it is still useful to mention the difference in rates among ATM withdrawals and exchange offices.
-- Dandv 17:27, 6 January 2010 (EST)
- These are issues that are encountered in a free market anywhere in the world. If you change money in a tourist area at private exchange office, or at the airport similarly, you are going to get ripped off. There is no GST charged. However, if you change money at a bank branch, and check out the exchange rates and commissions carefully, then you can often get as good a rate as an ATM, especially when many banks change flat fees and percentages for currency conversion and overseas withdrawals at ATMs too. These issues are really ubiquitous, and I'm not sure if we want to be going into all the in's and outs in every destination guide, as these things aren't just exclusive to Sydney. However, if there is information specific to Sydney that we can include that assists getting a good exchange rate, I'm keen to include that in the guide. Have a look at the Money article. I have noticed the tactic that you allude to used at many currency exchange booths - that in order to reduce the appearance of a large spread, they reduce the margin on the side of the transaction that they conduct least of, and increase it on the other side. I've just checked the rates at a couple of banks, and the cash exchange rate seems to be on average around 2.7% from the mid exchange rate today, i.e the bank is taking a 2.7 margin on that side of the transaction. I'd be surprised if you would get a significantly better rate from an ATM or credit card after foreign currency fees and exchange rates are added to the mix. --inas 18:07, 6 January 2010 (EST)
- Got the point about the money issues being ubiquitous, and thanks for editing the Currency exchange section. -- Dandv 18:31, 6 January 2010 (EST)
- It is obviously impossible to get a 1.11 exchange USD -> AUD, when the official mid-rate was 1.08, without your bank being extraordinarily generous to you! :-) The exchange rates swings around a bit from day-to-day. --inas 18:07, 6 January 2010 (EST)
- I found later in the bank statement that a USD 2.69 fee was charged separately, amounting to a rate of 1.10, still higher than 1.08. So it was probably the daily swing. -- Dandv 18:31, 6 January 2010 (EST)