This page contains posts related to the following tags:

#ATMs, #Money,
#Aeon Bank, #Banks, #Currency Cards, #DCC, #Maybank, #Fair FX, #Travelex

City/Country: Advice: Saving:
Some banks/people like to write numbers on cash notes. Usually when they are totalling up for the day. Be aware that banks/money exchanges abroad will not accept any bank notes with writing on them
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia
Some HSBC ATMs are now available in the KLCC shopping mall. For example by the escalators above the food court, in the center. I don't get charged to withdraw from these. No ATM fees
Not happy about the Aeon ATM fee. Outside of using Citibank in Bangkok not much can be done except to withdraw as much cash as you can from an ATM to lower the number of times you have to pay the withdraw fee. Most Thai ATMs will pay out max 20,000 baht. Some 40,000. ATM fees
Bad news. Aeon ATMs no longer provide free cash withdraws. Got charged 150baht using both Visa and Mastercard. New message warning about the charge popped up on screen. Shame. I think they were the last widespread bank in Thailand not to charge an ATM withdraw fee. Citibank ATMs usually free but hard to find outside Bangkok. (Nick). 150 Baht increase
All It’s easy to lose track of how much money is going out of your bank when abroad because of the extended delay between withdrawing cash or paying for something and it actually showing on the bank statement. If you withdraw exactly the same amount of cash every single time it is even harder to know how many more payments are due to come out, meaning a risk of being overdrawn and then fined by the bank.
To help keep track, take cash from ATMs or transfer money in slightly different amounts each time.
You can link these amounts to the date by withdrawing slightly more cash as the month goes on. It’s usually easy to remember how much you got the last time you went to the ATM so just compare that amount with the most recent amount showing up on the bank statement to get an idea of how much more is going to come out.
If sending money online to thing like currency cards, just use the day of the month after the decimal point when stating the amount :-)
No overdrawn bank fees
All of Asia
This was a surprise, so I’ll share it. Paid for a hotel online with Paypal (I’m in Malaysia). When it came to confirming the payment, Paypal gives the choice of paying in my own home currency or in the local currency (Ringgit). Usually it’s cheaper to pay in local and let the bank do the conversion. So that’s what I did. But I also noted down the price that Paypal quoted if I had allowed them to convert....
When I got my bank statement, the Paypal price would have been slightly cheaper! The exchange rate was about the same, but my bank then added fees for doing the conversion that made it a little more expensive than Paypal. Depends on your bank but something for fellow readers to think about/try. (FM).
Paypal currency conversion is cheaper?
All of Asia
The ATM note reminded me of an embarrassing mistake. In the UK when you withdraw money, the machine gives the card back first and then the money. In Asia it seems to be the opposite way around? Money first and card second. After a month of living in Bangkok I dropped my guard and walked off with the cash and left the card... ATM card
If you try to withdraw cash from an ATM machine but it doesn't work take a picture of the message on the screen with your phone as a record. Several times I've had machines in Thailand refuse to hand over money, sometimes because the machine was out of money, or because it didn't like my card, but I've still been charged. Having a photo of the ATM message saying your request was refused should get your money back from your bank. False ATM payments
All of Asia Ditch your mobile/cell phone contract if you are going to be in Asia for more than a few months. All the free minutes, texts and data you get with your contract at home count for nothing here. You will pay for every text, call or download at massively inflated prices.
Two choices: Either get a local sim or, better idea, change to a Pay As You Go sim card with your home operator before you leave for Asia.
People can still contact you on your usual number (call them back on Skype) but you won’t have to pay a monthly fee for 'free' stuff you cannot use and best of all you will have no nasty surprises by running up a huge phone bill without realizing. That is so easy to do in Asia (yes I’ve done it) especially with data downloads and automatic app updates on smartphones. The worst that will happen with PAYG is you will drain the pre-pay credit. Credit can be topped up online. (Rocket Ron)
Phone bill
All of Asia
Many people send money to Thailand or elsewhere overseas with Western Union, for a girlfriend/wife, or sons/daughters travelling. Western Union should be a last resort because the fees are so high. Instead take out a pre-paid currency ATM card (in your name) and give it to the person you want to have the money, along with the PIN code.
Top the card up online whenever they need to withdraw money, which can be done at most Visa/Mastercard ATMs worldwide. Full exchange rate given and lowest fees you can get.
Because it’s pre-paid the banks running the cards don’t really care it is not you withdrawing. Just don’t tell them! The maximum that can be withdrawn is the amount you put onto the card. No credit allowed. Travelex was a good currency card but they’ve recently stopped it for US customers. Lots of others available.
Money transfer fees
All of Asia
How to get a travel insurance discount. This works for me. I fill in a quote online, either a comparison website or more usually with the company I want to get insurance from. I include a telephone number as well as email in the contact details. Then I wait 5-7 days............. 90% of the time they call me and offer a discount from the website price. (Keith). Travel Insurance Discount
Thailand The strong Baht is really hurting expats in Thailand. The best way to protect yourself is to open a Thai bank account and transfer money into it whenever the exchange rate is favourable to your home currency. Then whenever the baht is strong, as now, you should spend from the Thai account for as long as you can.
The big thing to check is what fees you will be charged by your bank to do a money transfer from your home account to the Thai account. These fees are unavoidable, but different banks charge different rates. Also check who will give you the best (full) exchange rate, your home bank or the Thai bank. You can usually decide which of them you want to convert the currency.
The advantage of a Thai account is that you won’t have to pay a fee when you withdraw from a Thai ATM.
In theory you cannot open a Thai bank account with a tourist visa. In reality it’s up to each branch. If you are on a tourist visa and get turned down in one bank, just go to another branch and chances are they will open it for you. Dress smart and a decent amount of cash to start the account helps (Canny Scotsman).
Currency protection
Bali - Indonesia You should have no big problems getting bank cards to work in ATMs although use common sense in not choosing one in the back of a minimart at 3am. The “BRI” bank, which is blue and white, says it has no charge to withdraw. ANZ is another big brand. Be aware that many ATMs have a 1 million withdraw limit, which is not a lot if you have a hotel to pay for in cash. Have a phone with you to call the helpline if the worst happens and your card gets swallowed. (Luke) has some of the best hotel deals around, but they are also in on the currency converting price hike, the DCC described by others here, where they will charge you more for converting prices to your home currency.
Worryingly, some people have said that they are not even being offered a choice of which currency to pay in and Agoda are automatically converting to the customer’s home currency - costing a further 3-5% due to the bad exchange rate they use.
If you can, best thing is to always pay in Agoda’s home currency which is USD and let YOUR bank sort the conversion out. Unless you have a really bad bank.
Look up prices in USD to begin with (some people have problems trying to change later) and when you pay on Agoda a pop-up box should appear asking to confirm which currency you want to use (list of flags).
If you cannot see an option to pay in USD the next best choice is to pay in the local currency of the hotel, which should also be converted by your bank. Only chose to pay in your home currency if it is USD.
You won’t know for sure who has converted until you see your Credit Card statement. If the CC statement includes an exchange rate with the price paid then the bank has done the conversion. If the statement just lists a price paid like any other purchase you would make at home then Agoda has done it.
Avoid extra currency fees
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia
Good find with the HSBC ATM! I fly through LCCT regularly and it was free for me too, but maybe too many people have read about it on here because sometimes now it’s out of money!
I found this link to look up HSBC ATMs in Malaysia:
If you can’t find a HSBC, then Maybank are next best. They are reliable and although not free like HSBC the charge is only 1RM per withdraw.
You just have to make sure you select “Continue Without Conversion” after you say how much cash you want to avoid the “dcc” bad exchange rate. Read that here and for me it is definitely cheaper.(Nick Santos).
No ATM charge
Kuala Lumpur Airport - Malaysia Cash machines can be hit and miss in Malaysia. Some don’t work with cards from other countries (even if they have the mastercard/visa logo) and most charge. My new 'favourite' is the HSBC ATM outside the international arrivals area of LCCT airport. My mastercard works fine (the CIMB ATM machine refused it) and the HSBC machine also says it does not charge. Easy to find because it is opposite Starbucks. (Matt Capler). No transaction fee/ATM works
If you need to go to an Aeon ATM, the brand that doesn’t charge for withdraws, steer clear of the end of the month unless you like queuing…. Lot of Thais use Aeon to borrow money and have to pay back each instalment at the end of the month. Can easily be 10 people queues for each ATM and it seems to take them ages to pay the money in. A lot of time
All Firstly, the post by Greg on DCC is one of the best I have read. It allowed me to finally put 2+2 together regarding the currency options when buying a ticket for Air Asia online.
I have always wondered which currency I should pay in, as it flashes up all these warning boxes whatever you chose.
If you set it to pay in a local currency, it says something warning that the currency is different from your card. But if you change the currency to the same as your card, you get another warning!
Thanks to Greg it's now clear to me what is happening. The first warning, that the payment is not the same as your card, is just to try and scare you into changing the currency to your home country.
That is the DCC bit, so Air Asia then hit you with a bad exchange rate when they convert the price to your currency. The warning box that appears for that is a legal requirement to let you "accept" the DCC rate (like Greg was experiencing with the ATM) even though its far from clear that is what you are doing.
Air Asia does not tell you what exchange rate they will use for the conversion and in my view it is very dodgy.
I have some evidence to back this theory up. I booked two sets of flights, one in the local currency and the other in my home currency. When it converted to my home currency the price shot up by almost 8% from the estimate given on the page where you fill in your card details!
But when I paid in the local currency the price paid, when I checked my Credit Card bill to see what it had been converted at by my bank, was near enough a straight conversion from the figure quoted on the Air Asia card details page.
From now on I'm only paying for Air Asia flights in a local currency.
The only part I'm still not 100 per cent on is which currencies they use DCC on and which they do not. I think if you pay in Thai baht or Malaysian Ringet you will be safe and the slightly different wording of the pop up "warning" messages should be a tip off. Happy travels! (Wes).
Avoid Air Asia DCC charges
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia When I withdraw from ATMs in Malaysia (UK issued Mastercard and Maybank ATM) instead of just handing over the money it first offers me a currency rate and asks if I want to accept.
I can either 1) "accept the conversion" or 2) "continue without conversion". But it gives me the local money requested whichever option I choose, so I've never understood what it is all about.
Finally got around to researching and it seems that Maybank are offering to convert the currency, at a rate which by law they must give you the chance to "accept", or you can let whoever issues your card do the conversion as normal, which is what happens if you select "continue without conversion".
It seems this choice is often a trick by the banks that own the ATMs to make more money out of the transaction, as the exchange rate they offer is usually worse than the rate you would get from a normal transaction by your card-issuing bank. It also opens you up to further fees.
This is what I found from the Santander website: "If given the option of paying in either local currency or sterling, ensure you choose local currency unless you are certain that the exchange rate is more favourable. If you choose sterling, it means that the retailer or bank will handle the conversion and may charge you a conversion fee, a foreign usage fee, or both."
If you want to find out more, the technical term for this banking trick is "Dynamic Currency Conversion" (DCC) and Wikipedia has a good page about it.
The bottom line is that such conversions usually cost you more money: "The major drawback of DCC for the customer is the unfavorable exchange rates being applied by the merchant, resulting in a higher charge on their credit card."
To be sure, you could check the exchange rate for your bank card before going to the ATM and then compare it with the rate being offered at the ATM, but even if the ATM DCC rate was better it sounds like you could be hit by extra fees.
Avoid DCC by making card purchases in the local currency and turning down any upfront conversion offers at ATMs! (Greg).
Watch out for DCC charges
Udon Thani - Thailand A massive thank you to whoever posted about Aeon ATM machines not charging a withdraw fee. 
I tried it and it definitely works for me too. No fee (100 baht) for using the ATM with my British Credit or Debit cards, which are Visa and Mastercard.
So after some research this is where some Aeon ATMs can be found in Udon Thani:
1. In the UD Town nightmarket. The Aeon branch and ATM is outside Tesco. Also at big Tesco store on other side of town.
2. In the Big C complex. Aeon ATM is at the top of the escalator on the right hand side.
3. Central Plaza. Not easy to describe where this ATM is. Best thing is go the Aeon branch inside Central and ask them to show you.(Steven).
To find any Aeon ATM in Thailand, copy and paste this link into your browser:

Thailand ATM machines run by the Aeon Bank do not charge a fee for withdraw. They are the only brand I know that do not charge a 100 baht fee just to use the ATM machine. They have never charged me for use of any of my English debit or credit cards. 100 baht saving per transaction
Thailand Be really careful when opening a bank account in Thailand. Sometimes you have to have one for a non-tourist visa or just to try and lower the currency exchange costs, but my advice is not to put money in an account which has an ATM card linked to it.
ATM card theft is much easier in Thailand than the west - no 'chip and pin' in Thailand - and to make things worse the banks don't seem to compensate you for any loss that occurs from people cloning your card (and using hidden cameras at ATMs to get the pin code).
So check carefully for any theft compensation when you open an account, or better still open an account which does not have a card if you will be keeping significant amounts of money.
You will have to go to the bank in person to extract your money each time, but at least it's secure. (Craig)
All Use currency cards to withdraw from ATMs.
It's cheaper (you get best exchange rate) and safer (if someone steals the card they cannot withdraw from your bank account, only whatever cash you have preloaded onto the card).
You just top the card up online a few hours before going to the ATM. Best ones (cheapest) are 'Fair FX' and 'Travelex Cash Passport'. They use visa or mastercard, so work in just about any ATM. (Stephen, Isle of Man)
Save 200-300 baht for every 5000 baht withdrawn.
All I've heard this works and it may help someone so here it is. If your card gets jammed in an ATM, get another card out but hold it really tightly and just put 1cm into the machine (not enough for the machine to grip onto). The machine, being unable to read the card, should then spit out the original card.

Malaysia Some quick advice on ATMs in Malaysia. The Islamic banking ones don't seem to work with western cards and some others can be 'iffy'. Maybank (yellow) machines always seem to work. I've yet to find a machine that doesn't charge for use though. (Anna, London).
All Quickly compare currency exchange rates being offered by each bank brand worldwide by using this website:
You just say which currency you want to change from and to, then it lists the rates for the banks in the country whose currency you want.
The rates are accurate to within a few hours and it saves having to walk from bank to bank to find who will give you the best rate on that day. (Canny Scotsman)
Best currency deal
All If you use online banking (and who doesn't) it's worth paying for a virtual IP (software that allows you to change your IP once online). That helps stop people hacking in to your login data over the internet.
Changing IP software will also allow you to watch TV from other countries over the internet. So if you want to watch US TV select a US IP address from the list provided by the software. Only downside is that internet speed will be lower than usual.
All Pre-paid currency cards are much safer than debit or credit cards abroad. If the card is cloned you will only lose what money is loaded on the card and there is no direct link to any of your bank accounts.
You will also usually get a better exchange rate and lower fees than from your bank. Normal bank cards are also a pain because whenever you switch country the banks normally block the first transaction as a theft risk and you have to ring up and confirm it was you that tried to use the card. That doesn't happen often with pre-paid cards.
Money Cards