Money in Thailand
May 16, 2022
The currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht.
You will see a currency conversion guide at the top left of every page which is very accurate and dynamic but is the forex rate so on the street you will get slightly less but it is a great guide.
It's worth hanging on to 5 and 10bt coins and a supply of small notes to pay for transport, toilets etc as change may not be available!
Don't buy any Baht before traveling, you will only get the tourist rate and as exchange shops and ATM'S are available 24 hours at Suvarnabhumi airport so its easy to get Baht to pay for transfers and your first few nights in resort at a much better rate than you will get in your home Country.
The exchange rate at the airport will be marginally worse than you will find in resort itself.
Do not change cash or travelers checks at your hotel desk as this will be at a very poor exchange rate and there will be a exchange shop or bank not too far away in main resorts.
Many choose to withdraw cash using a debit card from ATM machines which is often a good way of getting your spending money but do check with your card provider what costs are involved and tell them you will be abroad with dates!
Most local terminals have a charge for using them but compare well with the charges on travelers cheques so get a few days spending money at each transaction. Be aware that although you will get a good exchange rate there may be a charge from your bank. If you travel regularly it is worth researching which bank accounts and debit cards in your home country give you the best deals for getting cash abroad.
Although having a credit card available is useful it is a very expensive way of getting cash!
When paying for goods or services by card be aware there may be a surcharge of 3% to 5% for using a card so using cash may be more sensible!
Also be aware that some places, even well known international business's may offer to charge your card in your local currency. This is a very poor idea as you will get a dreadful exchange rate decided by the business itself. This is called Dynamic Currency Conversion and is best avoided!
We used to favor Travelers checks but these days almost all exchange booths will only exchange cash. In large resorts you can still exchange travelers cheques at some bank branches but not all. There is a charge per check which is at least as expensive as using a debit card if using them don't let your bank fob you off with small denomination checks. As they are insured,you get a slightly worse rate than for cash and there is no danger of your card, debit or credit, provider freezing your card for unusual use. This happens quite often even if you tell them you are traveling abroad.
In Pattaya on the 4th floor of Central Festival, Kasikorn, Bangkok Bank, SCB, Krung Thai, and TMB banks all will cash travelers cheques at good rates and are open 7 days a week. Other branches of these banks only open Mon to Fri.
With higher charges (153 bt per cheque) and fewer places that will cash them travelers cheques are only useful as emergency back up and then only in major resorts! Pattaya excluded at this time.
There are a number of independent exchange places opening that give a slightly better rate for large denomination notes than for Travelers checks, but of course carrying large amounts of cash is not advised!
Regular visitors to Thailand may open a local bank account, this has got more difficult over time especially for Americans with US reporting rules and you may have to visit several banks and jump through a few hoops to get your account and be issued with a local ATM card, a good solution that gets you the best exchange rate. For up to date information on getting an account the forums are a great guide and the Pattaya ones are the best.
When making a deposit from abroad ensure the money is sent in your local currency to be exchanged to Baht in your Thai bank account. You will only get the tourist rate which will be much less if you convert before transfer!
A combination of Cash, Cards and possibly Travelers Checks gives you all the options.
How to transfer money to a bank account in Thailand from abroad
Using cryptocurrency, you can make international money transfers with minimal commissions and at the most favorable (for you) exchange rates. Thanks to the anonymity of cryptocurrencies, you can transfer money from one country to another without going through validation. See the article for details: Alternative to LocalBitcoins: instructions for using LocalCoinSwap.com
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