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Going to thailand for the first time in august and I always pay for everything in US with my debit/credit cards. I'm wondering if I'd be able to pay for things, like at the mall and stuff with my cards? If the cards work, is there a fee for using them like how there is a fee for withdrawing cash at an ATM?

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Depends on the card issuer. Several banks do not have fees or refund fees paid but most charge a fee for both purchases and atm withdrawals. Check with your card issuers. I use Capital One and USAA bank cards for purchases without fees. 

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22 minutes ago, asiaexpat said:

Depends on the card issuer. Several banks do not have fees or refund fees paid but most charge a fee for both purchases and atm withdrawals. Check with your card issuers. I use Capital One and USAA bank cards for purchases without fees. 

well when it comes to buying things i know most people use cash but can you use cards?

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I use my Capital One CC as often as possible. That way, I get the Master Card rate and I'm able to circumvent ATM fees, foreign transaction fees and money transfer fees.

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Credit cards are very widely accepted in Thailand, but smaller merchants often tack on a fee of 3 or 4%; hotels rarely do.  Most US credit cards have a foreign transaction fee; best to check with your card issuer.  Debit cards are a very different animal.  If you use them as ATM cards you will usually pay a foreign transaction fee, plus the foreign card fee at Thai banks of 220 baht.  It's best to make large withdrawals (some banks allow 30,000 baht) to keep the fees to a minimum.

 

Charles Schwab refunds all fees to their customers.  Get an account with them if you can.

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VISA is accepted at any ATM in Thailand. Best to make the maximum withdrawal to dilute fees, then just pay for everything with cash. Fees will be charged by the ATM and possibly the credit card issuer.

WARNING: Always withdraw cash at an ATM attached to a bank when said bank is open. Or do a counter withdrawal. If ATM's are used elsewhere, and the ATM swallows your card, you are SOOL.

Carry your cards in a metal wallet ( Faraday cage ). Card skimming has been known to happen here.

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1 hour ago, prevaill said:

well when it comes to buying things i know most people use cash but can you use cards?

 

Amazingly in third world Thailand you can use Visa, Mastercard, AmEx even Diners at the bigger outlets. I rarely use cash these days

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The US seems to be well on the way to a cashless economy as nearly every business will accept cards and/or electronic payment systems (ApplePay, etc.). Thailand is definitely not even close to that.  I've used credit cards in big department stores in Thailand. Most small stores and restaurants (where I do a lot of my daily shopping) are not set up to take credit cards. 

 

There are also some businesses that will take credit cards but will charge you a 3-4% fee to do so.  If you're going to use your card, always ask if they will charge you an extra fee.  I would be ready to use cash most of the time, as some of the best and cheapest stuff (i.e. food/drinks) can only be paid for that way.

 

There are ATM's all over the place here and you can easily withdraw money (in Thai baht) using your US cards. The fee the banks here charge to withdraw money from your US account is around $7 with a maximum withdrawal of $650-980 per transaction, depending on the bank. There may be other fees from your home bank as well.

 

So, you definitely want to ask your card issuers about international transaction/ATM withdrawal fees, daily limits, etc. Some banks, like Charles Schwab, will refund all fees, which is great. Check out your banks' fraud protection policies as well. It most likely won't be an issue, but better to be prepared.

 

Finally, you can give your banks notice of the dates that you will be in Thailand. It's not always necessary but some banks might block international transactions unless you tell them ahead of time that you will be using your cards abroad and where.

 

Happy travels

 

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Posted (edited)

Your US credit cards are welcome in most frequently visited retail businesses in Thailand. As someone mentioned, you are sometimes charged 1.5 to 4% additional to use your card, sometimes no added charge.  This is because the business is being charged this from their bank in most cases.  The more credit card traffic, the better deal a business gets with their bank.  In your favor, there are plenty of larger businesses that will give you a discount for certain cards.  You will need a cash withdrawal facility on your card to get cash from an ATM machine with it. Same as your ATM card.  You should also inform your bank you will be in Thailand for the date to date you will be in country.  Normally not an issue, but some have said their cards did not work when they arrived until they called their bank back home to inform that they were in Thailand.  That can make the first half day more painful then the jet lag already is.  Good luck and have a nice time in Thailand!

(I started on the above, then took a break for dinner, ilms covered all of it very well above)

Edited by jmccarty

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Posted (edited)

I have used my US debit and credit card for purchases and a few times when I was short for cash advances even on my credit card.   Never had a problem.  I do suggest you use an ATM that is in the lobby or entrance ways to one of the larger banks that are all over town.  It just minimizes the  chances of a card skimmer.  The fees vary with your card holder.  Thailand will charge I think a 220 baht fee for every debit card withdrawal.  So if you are going to make a cash debit card withdrawal, try to make as large a withdrawal as possible, 20,000 baht is the norm, but some ATMs may give 30,000 Baht.  Over the years, I found minor differences on the exchange rates if I use my Debit card or if I bring in crisp new $100 bills, so the cost difference is not worth worrying about.  I never had my debit card compromised, although Etrade my bank was a pain sometimes with the credit card.  I had told them in advance I was going to Thailand.  No problem.  Later when I returned to the states, they flagged the card and I was in a Walmart checkout lane and the card was declined!  Yeah, like I didn't have money.  I am a freakin millionaire but of course the people at Walmart see cards declined at the register all the time!  So you may or may not want to notify your bank in advance of your trip. 

 

Highly recommend cash for most transactions over there.  I charge everything in the USA and get the credit card points and cash back.  Still leery about doing that over seas and I use my credit card there just for the plane tickets to and fro.

Edited by gk10002000
add

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You will need cash upcountry and in smaller shops.  7/11 as an example won’t let you use a card for less than 500B.

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On 7/17/2019 at 4:18 PM, prevaill said:

well when it comes to buying things i know most people use cash but can you use cards?

For the great majority of my day-to-day buying here in Thailand (I live in Bangkok) I use my US credit cards....no foreign transaction fee credit cards that pay cashback also.

 

Absolutely no problem....I use the cards to buy vehicle fuel, grocery stores buys, hardware store buys, big and small buys in malls...even pay for my fast food at Burger King and McDonalds.  

 

Just be sure you understand what (if any), foreign transaction fee your "card-issuing bank" applies to your card for foreign use..  Very common for a 1 to 3% fee to apply....remember, that fee is applied by your card-issuing bank.  Also, be sure your card-issuing company knows you will be traveling to Thailand....some card-issuing companies will block your card if it sees unusual spending like all of a sudden they see your card being used in Thailand when its never been used there before.   

 

Also, some merchants default to processing your foreign card purchase as a Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) transaction which means they are using their exchange rate which will be around 3% lower (worst) than the Visa/Mastercard rate.  DO NOT accept a DCC transaction. If the receipt they want you to sign shows both dollars and baht then it's a DCC transaction. 

 

Tell them to cancel that transaction and rerun in Thai baht....it only takes them about 2 minutes to do all of that.   Just be sure your receipt of signature only shows baht.   When unsure if a merchant defaults to DCC for a foreign card best to tell the checkout clerk upfront when handing him/her your card: "Charge in Thai baht, not US dollars."  Saying it in English is fine....make direct eye contact...make sure they heard you.  That way if the merchant's policy is normally to default to a DCC transaction when a foreign card is used (their point of service machine is just setup that way) the checkout clerk will instead press an extra button or two while swiping/inserting your card to ensure the charge is in Thai baht (i..e., not a DCC transaction).

 

Yeap...wide spread use of credit and debit cards to pay for purchases...I would say at least 50% of the people I'm standing behind in a checkout line here in the Bangkok metro area flip out their debit/credit card to pay.

 

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