Restrictions on Taking Currency Into or Out of Thailand
You can bring in and take out any amount of foreign currency into Thailand, but must declare to Thai customs any amount over the equivalent of $20,000 US dollars.
You can take out up to 500,000 baht to a bordering country and up to 50,000 baht to other countries. If more than that, it must be declared to Thai customs.
Thai Baht will fluctuate on a daily basis with other currencies. There
are two primary exchange rates for Thai Baht. The exchange rate within Thailand
(onshore) is the one used by Thai banks for currency conversion. It is
usually more favorable than the exchange rate found outside of Thailand
(offshore). However, be aware that many financial institutions including your home country bank will use an unfavorable rate of exchange if you convert your home currency to baht before transferring it to Thailand. It usually is best to transfer in your local currency, even to Thai baht accounts, as the Thai bank will convert it to baht. Although it does involve a small fee, the onshore exchange rate will more than make up for any such fees.
major cities there are numerous Exchange booths including at most Thai
bank branches. Your passport is required and if the foreign currency is
defaced or old, it may not be accepted. Most banks will offer a more favorable exchange rate for Traveler Checks over currency as they will with higher dollar over lower dollar currency, e.g. US$100 vs US$20.
cities of any size will have ATM machines. Most Thai banks charge a fee
of 220 baht for foreign debit/credit cards [Expats report that some
banks do not charge the fee if you go inside for counter service - also,
you may wish to explore and open an account with financial institutions
in your home country that do not charge a fee for International
use and/or reimburse fees charged when used at other bank ATMs].
Bank ATM Machines
Most are part of the major ATM networks and will accept foreign debit and credit cards. Also, most ATM machines are limited on the maximum they will provide at one time - many will provide up to 20,000 Baht and a few up to 30,000 Baht. Thai bank ATM card transactions are usually free - when used in the issuing bank’s ATM and that ATM is within the province of the Branch where the Account is held. If used outside the Province, after a certain number of transactions, there is usually a small charge - for example, if you have a Bangkok Bank account in Pattaya and you use your card at a Bangkok Bank ATM in Buriram, you will be charged 10 Baht. Most Thai banks will not charge for up to five transactions per month for using another Thai bank’s ATM card in their machines. For more than five, they charge about 20 Baht per transaction.
CAUTION: As with most countries, you need to be careful when using ATM machines.
TIP: If you use an ATM at a Thai bank branch location, it is easier to recover the card if for some reason the ATM decides to “eat” your card. If the bank is open, you can go inside and immediately report it and ask to recover the card. If it is not open, you can go there when they next open.
Using a Foreign Credit Card
Most businesses in the major cities will take credit cards. In the case of small shops, it is common for them when using a credit card for the purchase, to add a charge of 3 to 4 percent of the purchase price. This is to recover the deduction made on the transaction for their bank's fee.
Also, many credit card companies will also charge a fee of 1 to 3% of the purchase amount when it is used internationally [review your card issuer's policy]. Larger merchants, hospitals, etc. do not add a percentage, but may require it be above a certain amount before accepting.
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