How to buy British pounds with a credit card

By   |   Verified by Andrew Boyd   |   Updated 7th March 2022

Travelling to the UK and want to take some Pound Sterling (GBP) banknotes with you?

You can use a credit card to purchase British pounds from Australia and also while travelling abroad. There are however some important points to be aware of. Scroll down for more information.

Before travelling

Buying British pounds with a credit card in Australia

If you're planning to use your card to purchase pounds in Australia, there are a number of options to consider. If you aren’t sure what your credit card might charge, check what interest and fees may apply.

What cards you can use

  • American Express, Mastercard, and Visa. You can buy pounds Sterling with any credit card in Australia. However, you'll be charged interest at the cash advance rate, as well as the cash advance fee.

Where you can buy US dollars with a credit card

  • Your bank's local branch. It is possible to exchange Australian dollars into British pounds, i.e. buy GBP, at most local banks. The exchange rates might not be very competitive though.
  • Currency exchangers. Travelex, Travel Money Oz, and other exchangers sell pounds and accept card payments.
  • Money transfer services. You can also use a money transfer service to send pounds to a person or business in the UK from Australia (additional fees may apply).

While overseas

Buying British pounds with a credit card while in the UK

If you're in the UK, there are several options, each with their own pros and cons.

  • At a bureau de change. It won't be difficult to find a bureau de change where you can buy British pounds in the UK. If you use your card to pay, this will be categorised as a cash advance. This means that, typically, you'll be charged interest at the rate for cash advances as well as a cash advance charge. A foreign currency transaction fee may also be applied.
  • Withdrawing from an ATM. You can withdraw British pounds at an ATM. However, this is a very expensive way to get pounds since you'll be charged the rate for cash advances, the cash advance fee, plus the fee for withdrawing from an overseas ATM. The card could also charge a foreign currency transaction fee.

What it might cost

Fees

Type of feeIncurred in Australia?Incurred overseas?Cost
Cash advance interestYesYesAround 20% (daily, no interest-free period)
Cash advance feeYesYes2 - 3% (one-off)
Foreign currency feeYesYes2 - 3% (one-off)
Overseas ATM withdrawal feeNoYes2 - 3% (one-off)

Credit cards with no foreign transaction fees can save you money on British pound transactions.

Want more help?

FAQs

Can you earn credit card points when buying British pounds?

No. Buying foreign currency like British pounds, US dollars, and Euros will be categorised as a cash equivalent and will not earn points.

Can you get cashback when buying British pounds?

No. You won’t get cashback on the transaction since buying a foreign currency like British pounds will be classified as a cash advance (because it is an equivalent to cash).