How to buy Sri Lankan rupees with a credit card

By   |   Verified by Andrew Boyd   |   Updated 22nd March 2022

Want to get some Sri Lankan rupees (LKR) banknotes to take with you on an upcoming trip to Sri Lanka?

Scroll down to find out everything you need to know about using a credit card to buy Sri Lankan rupees in Australia or while you’re in Sri Lanka.

Before travelling

Buying Sri Lankan rupees with a credit card in Australia

If this is the first time you’ve used a credit card to buy a foreign currency like Sri Lankan rupees in Australia, or even if you have but just aren’t sure of the costs, here are your options.

What cards you can use

  • American Express, Mastercard, and Visa. You can buy Sri Lankan rupees using any Australian credit card. However, buying foreign currency will be classed as a cash equivalent which will incur the interest rate for cash advances and the cash advance fee.

Where you can buy Sri Lankan rupees with a credit card

  • Your bank's local branch. Although convenient, there are a couple of issues with buying foreign currency at a bank: exchange rates are not very competitive and they may need to order Sri Lankan rupees in for you.
  • Currency exchangers. Exchangers that sell Sri Lankan rupees and other currencies are widely available. Their exchange rates are typically better than what banks offer.
  • Money transfer services. You could use an international money transfer service to send Sri Lankan rupees to a recipient in Sri Lanka. Their rates are typically very competitive.

While overseas

Buying Sri Lankan rupees with a credit card while in Sri Lanka

If you’re already in Sri Lanka, here’s how to get cash using your credit card.

  • At a bureau de change. Given the high number of tourists visiting the island, exchange bureaus are widely available. However, banks classify credit card transactions made at a bureau de change as a cash equivalent. They will charge interest immediately on the transaction at the cash advance rate. You will also have to pay a one-off cash advance fee plus a foreign currency transaction fee (if your card charges one).
  • Withdrawing from an ATM. Using a cash machine is the most expensive way to get Sri Lankan rupees. Use them when there are no other options available. Not only will you be charged interest at the cash advance rate and a cash advance fee, but you’ll also incur a fee for using an overseas ATM. There's also the possibility of an additional 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)

You don't have to be a frequent traveller to get a frequent flyer credit card.

Want more help?

FAQs

Can you earn credit card points when buying Sri Lankan rupees?

No. Whether you are buying Sri Lankan rupees, Thai baht, or Indian rupees, it will be classified as a cash equivalent and won't earn any points.

Can you get a cashback when buying Sri Lankan rupees?

No. Since buying foreign currency is regarded as a cash equivalent transaction, it won’t be eligible for cashback.