Currency Exchange

May 4th, 2010, 05:41 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 40
Currency Exchange

Hi, I'm trying to understand the recommendations for exchanging currency for my trip this summer. Burma: Easy - bring crisp, clean $100 bills, a few small bills... For Hong Kong and Thailand, I'm more confused. I'm not part of a credit union. I have a credit card with CITI and a Chase debit card. I gather they both have a high exchange rate. So I'm willing to open another card, but what? A Capital One credit card might make sense, but what's the best way to get cash in local currency in Thailand and Hong Kong? I gather converting US cash dollars doesn't make sense, gone are the days of travellors checks, so am I right in assuming I should get another debit card - maybe through Capital One also?
Thanks much~
ArtsyJudi is offline  
May 4th, 2010, 06:23 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
I convert my dollars in Thailand. Vasu is the best place to exchange in Bangkok. They give a slightly better rate than the walk-ups and the banks. I used a debit card ONCE in the last two weeks in BKK, and could only take out 5000Bt although my personal card limit is much higher than that!! I don't want to keep hitting the ATM for 5000Bt at a time when I can take my crisp hundreds into Vasu and do better! Just my opinion. Most people here will recommend an ATM card. I just prefer NOT to use one.
simpsonc510 is offline  
May 4th, 2010, 06:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,943
i use my debit card or any bank card to get all the cash i need.... see what chase will charge you--ask at your branch for cost...

make large withdrawals to limit fees.....i never w/d less than $300-500 and that last for several days...

capital one is a good card to have....american express often only charges a 2% conversion fee...

i do not personally favor taking large amounts of american cash with me, but of course that is the easiest way to do it...
rhkkmk is offline  
May 4th, 2010, 06:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,988
You can take US$100 bills to exchange in Hong Kong and Bangkok, but it depends on your level of comfort in carrying all that cash. I use ATMs to get local currency, but do check and see what your debit card charges. If you want to open a new account just for foreign transaction, check especially with credit unions (as they often have low fees) or with your brokerage account. You want to know how much they charge per withdrawal and what premium they add to foreign exchange. You don't want to use a credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM, as that is a cash advance and it will cost you a lot.
Kathie is online now  
May 6th, 2010, 07:47 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 532
Many years ago I opened up a credit union savings account specifically for my travels overseas. This account has a debit card that I use overseas. This credit union also pays some of my ATM fees, even overseas! They also provide travelers checks without any commission too!

In Thailand it is easy to cash travelers checks and the fee is only 33 baht. Only bring the largest size TC's so you don't pay a lot of fees for small amounts. I use my ATM card in Thailand and the Philippines pretty often. Thailand has a 150 baht surcharge for ATM use so take out the maximum you can at one time to avoid lots of fees for small withdrawals. I have no problem finding an ATM in Thailand that will allow an 10,000 baht withdrawal.

In Thailand as far as changing money over to Thai baht I don't find any big difference between the banks. Maybe a satang difference. Since the exchange rate changes every day when you are comparing rates you have to compare what the rate is for the same days!!

I never use a credit card or debit card for small purchases. I use cash for cheap items, especially meals in restaurants to avoid any credit card fraud. I only keep the credit card for emergencies that come up. If my debit card account is going low on funds I can transfer money from my bank to my credit union account where I have my debit card account.

Cash always works! Like the previous post mentioned make sure your currency is not all beat up and dirty also not the older series - bring the newer bills. I keep a record of my hundred dollar bill serial numbers and my travelers check serial numbers. I record those numbers in an email that I send to myself and then save into memory. If my cash or TC is stolen I can get a record of my serial numbers using an internet shop. Lots of other "need to remember" information can also be put in email form and then saved.

Remember to notify your bank or CU that you will be using their credit or debit cards overseas otherwise the withdrawals may be denied because of suspected fraud. Don't rely on a single debit card only, if that card is damaged or stolen you will be out of funds. I prefer to use an ATM when their bank is open in case the card gets stuck the bank employee can open the ATM up.

I had a good time in Myanmar. I liked my trips to Bagan and Mt. Popa and other places. It has been a long time since I was there, maybe it is time to go again.

Good luck.
SirHalberd is offline  
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