A practical foreign exchange and currency guide to Tuvalu
What's in this Tuvalu currency guide:
The official currency of Tuvalu is the Australian dollar, with symbol A$ and currency code AUD.
The Australian dollar is the fifth most traded currency in the world and is popular with currency traders, because of the high interest rates in Australia, the freedom of the foreign exchange market from government intervention, the stability of Australia's economy and political system, and the view that the Australian dollar offers diversification benefits in a portfolio containing the major world currencies, especially because of its greater exposure to Asian economies and the commodities cycle.
The currency is commonly referred to by foreign-exchange traders as the "Aussie dollar".
Australians are more focussed on their currency exchange rate than are the citizens of most other countries, along with perhaps the British and Canadians. This is may be due to the open and trading nature of the Australian economy and also due to their love of 'overseas' travel.
Aussie Ups and Downs 2011-20
The Aussie is very volatile for a major currency, for example between 2008 and 2011, AUD rose 80 per cent against the US dollar, ultimately going up through parity at one point.
Then during 2011-12 AUD started to track the Chinese economy much more than it tracked any of the traditional domestic economic and monetary indicators.
From 2013 to 2015 it dropped against the US dollar, especially when the Chinese stock market sold off in 2015, followed by a decent cyclical 17 per cent rally in 2016-17.
Then from early 2018 it again began its steady way down before being king-hit by the Covid pandemic flight to safety in March of 2020 which took AUD/USD all the way back to its 2008 lows to $60 cents.
In mid May AUDUSD fell below the 69¢ level (it has since recovered back above 70¢), over escalating concerns over the Covid lockdown on Chinese companies.
In late January and again in May the AUD slipped below the key 0.70 USD mark, its lowest level since mid 2020.
However, AUD is widely expected to rise to US75¢ by the end of 2022 – the Aussie dollar is forecast to have a volatile year against a range of currencies.
05 May 2022
18 Feb 2022
19 May 2021
20 May 2017
21 May 2012
24 May 2002
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make a Transfer or Spend Australian dollar.
Because Tuvalu is one of those off-the-beaten-track destinations (most of your friends won’t know where it is when you say you’re going there), it can be handy to have a bit of pre-travel information up your sleeve before arriving. Tuvalu is a remote island nation in the Pacific Ocean. It’s just south of the Equator, west of the International Date Line, two hours by air north of Fiji and part of the Commonwealth. It consists of nine islands and atolls (three true islands and six coral atolls), of which the main one is Funafuti, an atoll with the country’s only airstrip. Visitors are issued with a free 30-day tourist visa on arrival, and there’s no departure tax.
The local currency of Tuvalu is the Australian dollar, with Tuvaluan coins featuring Queen Elizabeth II on one side and local marine life (turtles, octopus, flying fish) on the other. There are no ATMs and credit cards aren’t accepted anywhere, so it’s cash-only even at hotels and guesthouses.
In Funafuti, the best way to get around on the main island (called Fongafale) is by motorbike – rent one for $10 a day or hitch a ride on the back of someone else’s. No one wears a helmet, and there don’t seem to be any available for rent, but people tend to ride slowly and there’s little traffic. There are no flights to Tuvalu’s outer islands; they’re accessible by passenger ferry from Funafuti, and it can be a long trip (overnight or multi-day trips aren’t uncommon).
Most Tuvaluans speak English, even if they’re shy of using it, and all signs are in English. Still, it’s a good idea to learn a few words of Tuvaluan as an icebreaker, such as “talofa” (hello), “fafetai” (thank you) and “fetaui” (see you later).