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Atm Exchange Rates, Beware There Can Be A Large Difference.


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Nice clear post, SantiSuk.

Where would you put bringing traveller's cheques instead of cash? Between 3 and 4 perhaps once you factor in the 1% charge when buying and the better exchange rate than cash when selling.

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I think you guys are missing something......There are 2 exchange rates you can now get from Thai ATMs using a 'Visa' or 'Mastercard' card and others which Im not familiar with. I rarely use any other ATMs now except Aeon when in Thailand to avoid the 150bt charge, but the last time or 2 when I had to use another ATM I noticed this:First u get offered on the ATM screen the exchange rate that the ATM bank itself uses and gives its customers. But SAY NO to this option as then u will get the Visa or Mastercard exchange rate which is far better. Not content with the 150 baht charge the greedy banking bustards have now come up with this little ruse/scam to skim off the difference, I assume, between the 2 rates. As I said I rarely use any ATMs in Thailand except Aeon so Im not sure if all the Thai banks r doing this. With Visa and Mastercard plastic u r meant to get their own exchange rates and not those that the greedy banks offer.....The banks have realised the consumer confusion on this, and once again they r taking advantage of u and cashing in. Also when shopping anywhere abroad or in Duty Free with plastic always ask to pay in the local currency and not in dollars or the currency of your home country or u will be ripped off in the same way.

Its not the first time that I have heard of banks being called greedy bastards, but its the first time I've seen the credit card companies get such an easy ride!

Does anyone have hard data as to what the actual differences are between the exchange rates used by banks on their own ATM/debit cards and those used by credit card issuers?

Not that I would ever use a credit card for an ATM withdrawal - forget the exchange rate - any plusses there I would assume to be gobbled up by the issuing card's transaction and financing fees. Always well down the pecking order as an option for getting cash from your home country bank account into your hot hand in Thailand IMO. It seems to me that the best options in order of best returns (for reasonably significant sums - say $2,500 up - are):

1. Bring cash and exchange it at Super Rich, Pratunam, Bangkok (if you stomach the security risks of carrying cash). Always likely to be the best whatever home currency amounts you are exchanging (but bigger home currency notes attract a slightly higher rate at Super Rich for some currencies)

2. Transfer from home country to Thai bank account specifying your home country's currency, rather than Thai baht to be sent by your bank (may not be cheap for small amounts though - the bank charge is usually fixed rate no matter how much you send).

3. Bring cash and exchange at other good exchange rate booths (including the Super Rich branch locations) on the streets of Bangkok (other tourist locations?)

4. ATM withdrawal in Thailand using home country ATM/debit card (still not sure Aeon are cheaper than others, notwithstanding thier lack of a fee, since I've never seen the exchange rate that Aeon use quoted and compared it to the TT rates usd by other Thai banks)

5. Transfer from home country to Thai bank account specifying Thai baht for the transfer

6. ATM withdrawal using a credit card

Not sure where Western Union fit into this.

It's difficult to be completely prescriptive about the best option because it partly depends on how much you are expecting to exchange.

......AEON ATMs do not offer the Dynamic Currency Conversion rate, so u should be getting the straight Visa or Mastercard exchange rate at the time of the transaction plus any fees from your home card-issuing bank. This should be the case at any Thai ATM if it does not offer onscreen the DCC + of course the 150 baht fee. The 2 best completely fee free cards issued in the UK for cash withdrawals are the N & P building society current account Visa debit card and the Halifax Clarity credit card. The latter only charges 1.29% per month interest on cash withdrawals. But Ive recently caught Halifax manipulating the exchange rate between the time of the transaction and the time when it shows up as a transaction online or on your monthly statement. It is very difficult to notice this unless u make a note of the change in your running balance for every card withdrawal/transaction and compare this with the amount that eventually shows up for the transaction online or on your statement. I just happened to notice it as there was just one isolated withdrawal made on the card while I was in the UK for 6 months. If u do notice this then please do report it to UK trading standards as I have done. It could be yet another UK banking scam where Halifax and maybe other banks r illegally manipulating exchange rates. I no longer trust Halifax and will only use their card now as a back-up to the N&P card.
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Nice post Sunset T.

I hardly ever make cash withdrawals in Baht using any of my UK debit or credit cards. I keep a healthy balance in my SCB a/c.

But naturally sometimes I have to make purchases in currency other than Sterling and for that I use my Halifax Clarity credit card if I cannot use cash. Some purchases have to be made with a card.

I have found them to be pretty spot on but I guess most credit card users, including me, would not notice the fractions of a percent change in the exchange rate.

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To clarify I was not using a Credit Card, I was using an ATM Debit Card, Interac, Cirrus card, issued from my Credit Union in Canada, and yes 1.32 baht is a large difference, but that is what it was. My daily limit is $500 Canadian, so that is how much I withdraw. The Canadian Dollar has being trading well above 30 baht for quite a while now, so I don't have any trouble withdrawing 15,000 baht, but twice in the last couple of months I have gone to the Krung Thai Bank and they would not give me my money. On Saturday night I noticed they gave the exchange rate and it was terrible. I have noticed for a long time now that I have been getting a low rate from this bank, but put it down to being because I was using an ATM card. I now realize it was the bank. I hate to say it, but I figure in the last 9 years I have been living here I have probably paid over $1,000 Canadian than I would have paid if I had used another bank. I use to always use the Thai Farmers Bank (Kasikorn Bank), but until recently they did not have a machine in my town, now there are many machines in my town so I won't have to use Krung Thai Bank again.

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To clarify I was not using a Credit Card, I was using an ATM Debit Card, Interac, Cirrus card, issued from my Credit Union in Canada, and yes 1.32 baht is a large difference, but that is what it was. My daily limit is $500 Canadian, so that is how much I withdraw. The Canadian Dollar has being trading well above 30 baht for quite a while now, so I don't have any trouble withdrawing 15,000 baht, but twice in the last couple of months I have gone to the Krung Thai Bank and they would not give me my money. On Saturday night I noticed they gave the exchange rate and it was terrible. I have noticed for a long time now that I have been getting a low rate from this bank, but put it down to being because I was using an ATM card. I now realize it was the bank. I hate to say it, but I figure in the last 9 years I have been living here I have probably paid over $1,000 Canadian than I would have paid if I had used another bank. I use to always use the Thai Farmers Bank (Kasikorn Bank), but until recently they did not have a machine in my town, now there are many machines in my town so I won't have to use Krung Thai Bank again.

Sorry to hear that George. But do the Krung Thai ATMs ask u to accept the exchange rate they offer on screen and ask a question something like "Do you wish to accept/proceed....Yes or No? Instead of saying 'Yes' which is what u would expect to do, u should choose 'NO'. The transaction should still go ahead and u will get the Cirrus rate and not the inferior Krung Thai rate. Even before the 150 baht charge I never liked Krung Thai ATMs and avoided them because very often for no reason, as u say, they would not dispense any cash. I have an account with Kasikorn. It was easy to open and I have had very good service from them so far.
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Nice clear post, SantiSuk.

Where would you put bringing traveller's cheques instead of cash? Between 3 and 4 perhaps once you factor in the 1% charge when buying and the better exchange rate than cash when selling.

Im not sure of the answer as I don't know how advantageous the exchange rate for travellers cheques is, not having used that route myself.

Here is a live example of GBP to THB rates that would have applied on the morning of Monday 24 September:

1. Bring cash and exchange it at Super Rich, Pratunam, Bangkok (if you stomach the security risks of carrying cash). Always likely to be the best whatever home currency amounts you are exchanging (but bigger home currency notes attract a slightly higher rate at Super Rich for some currencies)

exchange rate 50.1 for GBP 50 notes and 50.0 for smaller notes

2. Transfer from home country to Thai bank account specifying your home country's currency, rather than Thai baht to be sent by your bank (may not be cheap for small amounts though - the bank charge is usually fixed rate no matter how much you send).

depends on the bank - Bangkok Bank would have converted at 49.74 and charged about 250 baht for an incoming transfer of GBP 2,000 and exactly 500 baht for an incoming transfer of GBP 5,000 and up. HSBC bank in the UK would have charged a flat fee of GBP 17 to your UK acount, whatever the amount of UK currency used

3. Bring cash and exchange at other good exchange rate booths (including the Super Rich branch locations) on the streets of Bangkok (other tourist locations?)

Super Rich branches would have exchanged at 49.6 for all GBP notes. Other street exchange booths in Bangkok would have been between 49.4 and 49.6. The cartel rate at Suvarnabpum would have been 1 to 1.5 baht worse than this (though another recent thread suggests that there is a cartel-busting Kasikorn ATM machine on the train station concourse at Swampy which gives a rate similar to Bankok street rate)

4. ATM withdrawal in Thailand using home country ATM/debit card (still not sure Aeon are cheaper than others, notwithstanding thier lack of a fee, since I've never seen the exchange rate that Aeon use quoted and compared it to the TT rates usd by other Thai banks).

Bangkok Bank ATMs would have charged your bank at a rate of 49.74 and an extra 150 baht ATM fee.

AEON would have charged your bank at a rate of ? (I don't know) and would not have charged an extra 150 baht fee [and I don't understand why falang on ThaiVisa celebrate AEON's lack of a 150 baht fee without knowing the answer to this question!!]

As you can see the rate differentials are not huge. Changing cash at Swampy (other than at said Kasikorn machine), sending a bank transfer in baht (ie letting your home country bank do the exchange rate) and drawing cash on a credit card at a Thai ATM will however burn your cash up - typically 2% to 4% less than the best Super Rich rate shown in 1. above.

PS 50.1 is a historically good rate over the last 2-3 years. GBP has spiked up to this level only on a few occasions over that period. Worth changing a few months of expenses at the mo if you have the GBP resources IMO. Who knows whether this time will be different and whether it will continue to drift up this time.

[Ex Chartered Accountant (CPA) member!]

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Nice clear post, SantiSuk.

Where would you put bringing traveller's cheques instead of cash? Between 3 and 4 perhaps once you factor in the 1% charge when buying and the better exchange rate than cash when selling.

Im not sure of the answer as I don't know how advantageous the exchange rate for travellers cheques is, not having used that route myself.

Here is a live example of GBP to THB rates that would have applied on the morning of Monday 24 September:

1. Bring cash and exchange it at Super Rich, Pratunam, Bangkok (if you stomach the security risks of carrying cash). Always likely to be the best whatever home currency amounts you are exchanging (but bigger home currency notes attract a slightly higher rate at Super Rich for some currencies)

exchange rate 50.1 for GBP 50 notes and 50.0 for smaller notes

2. Transfer from home country to Thai bank account specifying your home country's currency, rather than Thai baht to be sent by your bank (may not be cheap for small amounts though - the bank charge is usually fixed rate no matter how much you send).

depends on the bank - Bangkok Bank would have converted at 49.74 and charged about 250 baht for an incoming transfer of GBP 2,000 and exactly 500 baht for an incoming transfer of GBP 5,000 and up. HSBC bank in the UK would have charged a flat fee of GBP 17 to your UK acount, whatever the amount of UK currency used

3. Bring cash and exchange at other good exchange rate booths (including the Super Rich branch locations) on the streets of Bangkok (other tourist locations?)

Super Rich branches would have exchanged at 49.6 for all GBP notes. Other street exchange booths in Bangkok would have been between 49.4 and 49.6. The cartel rate at Suvarnabpum would have been 1 to 1.5 baht worse than this (though another recent thread suggests that there is a cartel-busting Kasikorn ATM machine on the train station concourse at Swampy which gives a rate similar to Bankok street rate)

4. ATM withdrawal in Thailand using home country ATM/debit card (still not sure Aeon are cheaper than others, notwithstanding thier lack of a fee, since I've never seen the exchange rate that Aeon use quoted and compared it to the TT rates usd by other Thai banks).

Bangkok Bank ATMs would have charged your bank at a rate of 49.74 and an extra 150 baht ATM fee.

AEON would have charged your bank at a rate of ? (I don't know) and would not have charged an extra 150 baht fee [and I don't understand why falang on ThaiVisa celebrate AEON's lack of a 150 baht fee without knowing the answer to this question!!]

As you can see the rate differentials are not huge. Changing cash at Swampy (other than at said Kasikorn machine), sending a bank transfer in baht (ie letting your home country bank do the exchange rate) and drawing cash on a credit card at a Thai ATM will however burn your cash up - typically 2% to 4% less than the best Super Rich rate shown in 1. above.

PS 50.1 is a historically good rate over the last 2-3 years. GBP has spiked up to this level only on a few occasions over that period. Worth changing a few months of expenses at the mo if you have the GBP resources IMO. Who knows whether this time will be different and whether it will continue to drift up this time.

[Ex Chartered Accountant (CPA) member!]

Bangkok Bank ATMs would have charged your bank at a rate of 49.74 and an extra 150 baht ATM fee.

AEON would have charged your bank at a rate of ? (I don't know) and would not have charged an extra 150 baht fee [and I don't understand why falang on ThaiVisa celebrate AEON's lack of a 150 baht fee without knowing the answer to this question!!]

Great advice SantiSuk but u dont seem to be acknowledging what I have been saying above about 2 exchange rates being offered at ATMs. The rates published by the banks, such as the 49.74 for BKK Bank u quote above, ARE NOT the rates u will get when using their ATMs unless u choose to accept their rate on the screen. If u say NO on screen to this u will get the VISA or MASTERCARD exchange rate, or whatever your card is. This rate is usually, if not always, superior. You cannot find AEONs exchange rates because they are not a bank so they probably dont exist. They dont need them as Visa, Mastercard etc. do the conversion. With AEON you automatically get the Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, etc. rate just as you used to receive from all the bank's ATMs before they started this ruse of using this Dynamic Currency Conversion or whatever it's called a couple of years ago. I rarely use any ATM except Aeon so I've no idea if all Thai banks are using this scam now. I am not in Thailand until October so I cant back this up with any ATM 'research', but someone needs to check this out thoroughly as many Farang like Briggsy above are obviously getting systematically ripped off by this.

PS: You dont work for 'Super Rich' do you whistling.gif ..........?

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Yes it is.

See these examples from June 2012:

AEON_20120616.jpg

And this is an excerpt from the account statement of my bank:

15.06.12 15.06.12 AS CENTRAL KHONKHEN (1)(S, THB 90.000,00 39,36412 2.286,35

16.06.12 18.06.12 LOTUS CHUMPAE (S9000), BANGKOK THB 98.000,00 39,55433 2.477,60

39.55 is exactly the exchange rate published by VISA for June 16.

Bangkok Bank TT exchange rate for June 15: 39.47750.

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AEON would have charged your bank at a rate of ? (I don't know) and would not have charged an extra 150 baht fee [and I don't understand why falang on ThaiVisa celebrate AEON's lack of a 150 baht fee without knowing the answer to this question!!

Answer is easy. I've done countless transactions across many banks before and after the 150b fee began and AEON's rate has always been competitive. I always check the rate when I get home and compare it to what Googles exchange rate says.

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The 2 best completely fee free cards issued in the UK for cash withdrawals are the N & P building society current account Visa debit card and the Halifax Clarity credit card.

You forgot Metro bank visa debit card

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