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Credit cards and exchange rates on Koh Samui


Credit cards and exchange rates on Koh Samui
Credit cards and exchange rates on Koh Samui
Credit cards and exchange rates on Koh Samui
Credit cards and exchange rates on Koh Samui
Credit cards and exchange rates on Koh Samui
Credit cards and exchange rates on Koh Samui

Euro and the U.S. dollar exchange rates in Thailand, which currency to take with you on vacation to Koh Samui, where you can pay by credit card and what will be the withdrawal fees, how and where to withdraw with minimum... - All of these questions we shall consider below. The very first thing you should do before going to Thailand is notifying your bank that you are going to use your credit card in Thailand.

The fact is that Thailand is considered a country with a high risk on bank operations, so without such notice your bank may block your card automatically.

It is better to use ATMs that are located close to the banks and major shopping centers. First it gives some sort of assurance that there are no additional cameras and readers which can be used by someone else to withdraw all the money from your card.
Second, if you do something wrong and the card gets stuck in the ATM, you can quickly ask for bank / shopping center staff to extract it.

ATM - a regular ATM, includes the following languages: Thai, Chinese and English. You can check the balance of your card here (there is a small fee for this service) and withdraw cash. Please note that you can only withdraw Thai baht from those kinds of ATMs!
ADM – is used for refilling your or somebody else‘s accounts (can be refilled in cash or by transfering the money from your bank account).

Money transfer / refill of a Thai baht account is carried out as follows:
Select the option “Without Card Press This Button” - different banks might have different text (can differ slightly (press the button next to the option).

Then click on DEPOSIT.

There are two options - "your home bank", its name (the one that owns the CDM), and INTERBANK. Press the first option if you need to refill an account in the same bank as the CDM. If the account is in another Thai bank - choose INTERBANK option and then pick the desired Thai bank from the list.

Then (the first option) dial the 10-digit numeric code of your card and press CORRECT.
In the second option, if the bank is chosen from the list, you will see two fields. In the upper field enter two digits in the beginning of the bank’s name in the list. Click CORRECT. After that, enter the 10-digit code (card number) in the second field. Press the CORRECT button again.

After that the system will automatically detect the name of the person you are sending money to (the name appears on the screen in Latin). Make sure that everything is correct.

Next put your money in the box at the bottom (it opens automatically).

The machine will recalculate the bills and let you know how much money there is. It will calculate the commission for the deposit and let you know the amount that will eventually be credited to the account (fee is deducted from the amount paid).
You are prompted to print a check. Better print it out, so that in case of any trouble you will have a document.

Payment by credit card

On Koh Samui it is now possible to pay for products or services by credit card but not everywhere.
Often they would still take an additional percentage on top of the payment, notifying you before processing your payment. Usually it is 3-5%.
The commission is not taken automatically and is added by the seller manualy. This small percentage is the commission that goes to the seller, as it covers the costs for banking services. Therefore it is more advantageous to pay in cash.

There is no such a commission at the supermarkets such as Tesco Lotus (all three stores: at Lamai, Chaweng and Nathon) Big-C, Home Pro, Fuji restaurant, at the Samui airport, Bangkok Hospital Samui (BSH) and in some other places.

In Makro only cash is accepted.

Recently (the date of writing this article is 1 October 2013 ) when paying by card you might be asked the currency in which you prefer to reform the operation. When using any currency except for the Thai baht a "dynamic conversion” takes place (DCC), and the total purchase becomes more expensive, about 2.5 %.

The issuing bank usually does not take any extra commission if you are using the card in a store or when paying for services. The commission is taken only for the service of "dynamic conversion / dynamic exchange."

ATMs in Thailand only dispense Thai baht in cash. In the bank offices only Thai baht can be obtained.
The official response of employees of Koh Samui banks was that no matter what currency your card has, you can only get the Thai baht in return.
That is buying (except for in exchange offices at the airports before flying out of the country) another currency with Thai bahts or exchange pounds for euros is impossible. Officially impossible.

In reality, even in Samui (and even in Bangkok) you can find a branch of some particular bank, where they will sell you dollars or traveler's checks without checking the work permit and the origin of the money.

Fees for the money withdrawal
A commission of the issuing bank is charged for each operation of cashing funds abroad.
All banks have different conditions, it could be 1% of the withdrawn amount, but not less than an equivalent of 150 baht, 5 $ or 5 euros, depending on the currency of your account) in one operation.
Also, since April 17 2009, at any ATM owned by the bank of the Association of Thai Banks, with each funds withdrawal (the amount is not important) using the cards issued not by Thai banks you have to pay an additional fee of 150 baht.

Only at AEON ATMs you can withdraw money avoiding the commission.
Generally, AEON is a huge group of companies, consisting of Asia's biggest retailers, with roots in Japan, which has its own system of payment, cards and ATMs operating at retail shopping centers.

On Koh Samui the AEON ATMs are located only in two places - in Tesco Lotus, Chaweng (near the entrance to the Home Pro store, opposite the Fuji restaurant) and in Big-C (on the second floor, near the playground).

There is some information that the Citi Bank’s ATMs can be used to withdraw money without commission (only with cards issued by Citi banks, and there are other nuances - check with the bank) and UOB (United Overseas Bank) (limit - up to 30 thousand baht for a single withdrawal).
Unfortunately we could not have this information personally verified, since there are no such ATMs on Samui. But there are plenty in Bangkok and other cities in Thailand.

Update on the February 10, 2014: it has been confirmed that the "freebie" from AEON has ended - from now on the ATM will charge fee for each withdrawal operation. 150 baht per transaction by VISA and 180 baht per Mastercard transaction.

Also, without paying the same 150 baht you can withdraw your money at any bank by presenting an identity document.
The employee makes a copy of your passport, a copy of the card (both sides on the single sheet, the CVV code is also copied, so you might want to have it carefully plotted), then you have to sign this paper to verify the signature on the card and get your money. Sometimes you are asked to specify your address. English or Thai.

Please note that for the MasterCard cards, since May 17 2013, some banks in Thailand have increased the commission from 150 to 180 baht. By the way, comparing to Visa, MasterCard in Thailand is less used.
In any case, all the information about the commission will be presented to you before the begining of any ATM operation.

As a rule, there is a 20 bills limit on the one-time withdrawal of funds at most of the ATMs. That is, if the machine has a few thousand bills, the maximum that can be withdrawn at a time is 20,000 baht. If there are only 500 baht notes available - then you will get only 10,000.
But there are exceptions such as the ATMs of Bank of Ayudhya which can give you 30,000 and Bangkok Bank ATM – 25000 max.

In the banks offices the maximum amount for a single withdrawal is usually limited to 20 000 baht.
But there are banks where you can have more, up to 100,000 baht.
This can be done in Siam Commercial Bank («purple»), Bank of Ayudhya ( «yellow») and Bangkok Bank («blue").

Cash currency exchange
Basically, in addition to U.S. dollars and euros, when traveling to Thailand you can bring any freely convertible currency - Japan, China, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. By and large, it does not matter since you wont be able to win significantly with the difference in rates.

Note this - if you're carrying dollars take only notes of 50 and 100 USD, since the rest of the bills will be exchanges at a reduced rate. That is, if the 100 or 50 $ notes the bank buys at 30.75 baht per dollar, 5-20 dollars will be bought at 30.31 baht, and 1-2 dollars - at 29.97 baht (October 1, 2013).
It is best to carry bills issued after 2000 as older bills are exchanged for Thai baht only in Bangkok Bank - the main bank of the country.

You can exchange your currency in bank offices and in small exchange offices, there are plenty of those in the tourist centers. And if in banks you will be asked for your passport, in those usual exchange booths they may not even ask for it.

Additional information on 24 October 2013 : Many bank branches will require a passport from now on for the baht exchange procedure.
The following regulation have come into force since October 1, 2013 (to prevent money laundering ), although it has only recently became impossible to perform the exchange without passport.

Note: if you may need to do a reverse exchange from baht to a foreign currency and the amount is significant - save all your bank statements confirming that you have not earned those Thai bahts here illegally, but have exchanged them from a foreign currency brought into Thailand.

Generally, banks are open 5 days a week, excluding weekends and holidays, from 8-30 to 15-30 , without a lunch break.
Bank branches in shopping centers are working longer hours, their schedule is almost identical to the working hours of the shopping center.
Exchange offices can operate around the clock. There are mobile exchange offices in the form of vans.

In addition to the bank cards you can bring traveler's checks of American Express. They are safe and secure. Moreover, the exchange rate for traveler's checks is higher than for the same amount in cash.
For cashing a traveler's check in Thailand a fixed commission of 153 baht is taken. All the information on the usage of Travel cheques in Bangkok Bank is here. Therefore it is better to have those checks of the largest possible value for your needs.

American Express checks In Thailand are freely accepted at any local bank (but, for example, in Laos and Burma, they are not accepted), so if you have one or you can purchase these travelers' checks in any other country in the world, you can safely carry them in Thailand - they are reliable and safe, as well as more profitable than cash.
By the way, please note that Thomas Cook checks in Thailand are accepted for exchange.

Foreign exchange rates

The rates of the Thai baht to the major national currencies typically vary from one bank to another. Typically, Kasikorn Bank («the green one») and Bangkok Bank («the blue one») have good exchange rates.

Even better rates are offered by the famous exchange office SuperRich. It is found only in Bangkok, but just in case someone needs it.

The exchange rates of the Central Bank of Thailand are here.

Author of the article - Алевтина Рассказова

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