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Banking in Thailand (Tips for Money Change in Thailand)

Banking in Thailand (Tips for Money Change in Thailand)

By Chris QuanUpdated May. 18, 2021

The official Currency of Thailand is Thai Baht; it comes in coins and banknotes of different denominations. Travelers are advised to carry cash everywhere, both in smaller and larger denominations for quick transaction.

The best way to get Thai Baht at the most prosperous rate is to bring some cash in your home currency and exchange at the forex booth on arrival, as the rates are better in Thailand. Since all airport exchange office rates will always be lower than anywhere outside, do not change all of your cash at the airport.

Quick Facts

  • The official currency is Thai Baht (THB or ฿).
  • The current exchange rate from Thai Baht to US Dollar is about 31.37:1.
  • There are heaps of foreign exchange booths at the airport arrival halls, and the rates are better than at home.
  • Banknotes come in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 Baht.
  • Coins come in denominations of 25 and 50 Satang (1 Baht is divided into 100 Satang) and 1, 5 and 10 Baht.
  • Banks offer the best exchange rates, and the rates differ little between them.
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Local Currency

Thai Baht is the only currency accepted in Thailand, although some jewelry or tailor shops still quote prices in US Dollars or Euros. So if you are planning to buy anything, you must change your currency into Thai Baht.

It is very important for everyone to respect their currency. The currency in Thailand, both paper and coin, bears a portrait of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej or a deceased relative.

Do not step on a coin to stop it from rolling away or step on a Thai banknote to stop it from blowing away. These acts can easily be perceived as disrespectful towards the King and may be considered offensive by any Thai person.

Changing Money

Exchanging cash in Thailand is relatively easy; most airport currency exchange services operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is recommended not to buy any Thai Baht before arriving in Thailand as the rates offered in Thailand are always better than you could get back home.

Cash exchanges in Thailand incur no commissions or fees. However, you should avoid changing cash at hotels, hostels or guesthouses because you will get a bad rate. To avoid losing money to fraud or error, be sure to count your money before you leave the exchange counter.

Rates do vary between banks, but not within branches of the same bank. Some independent Forex specialists offer more advantageous rates than any of the banks, but it is recommended to check the rates on the electronic display board or on the fax paper attached to the window before doing any transaction.

Here we list the exchange rates of the banks in Thailand that are more commonly used for travelers. The exchange rate will change from time to time. When you travel to Thailand, please check the latest rate.

Bank/Exchange Service USD-THB Rates
Super Rich 1.00 - 30.31
Climb Thai Bank 1.00 - 29.98
Siam Commercial (SCB) 1.00 - 29.93
Bangkok Bank 1.00 - 29.92
Krungsri Bank 1.00 - 29.24
Kasikorn Bank 1.00 - 29.14

Each of these banks will offer a slightly different exchange rate depending on the value of the banknote being used or whether you are using travelers’ cheques. However, the difference is always slight. Our advice is to take as many $100 bills as possible because these notes will harness the best exchange rate. On top of this, the rates will also change depending on whether you are exchanging from USD-THB or THB-USD.

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ATM Services

ATMs are easy to find in major cities and towns. If you are going into rural areas and to some lesser-known islands, it is recommended to withdraw money beforehand. Most ATMs in Thailand work with Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, and Maestro.

The fees for using ATMs in Thailand are high; most banks charge 200 Baht for withdrawals with a foreign bank card. There is an exception: AEON bank charges only 150 Baht per transaction. Please keep in mind that your home bank will also charge fees; expect to be charged a withdrawal fee and a foreign currency fee per transaction.

How to Use ATM in Thailand

ATMs in Thailand all have an English language option. Firstly, before you use the machine make sure that you check it accepts the type of card you have.

Nearly all the machines accept VISA which is the most commonly used credit/debit card. Most ATMs in Thailand have a maximum withdrawal of 25,000 baht so if you want more than this, you will need to make a second withdrawal.

Here is the general process for all ATMs in Thailand (different banks may have a slightly altered process):

1. Insert your card and enter your PIN

2. Select the option ‘Withdraw/Transfer/Bill Payment/Others’

3. Select English as your preferred language

4. Select the option to ‘withdraw'. Some ATMs will ask if you are using a ‘current’ or ‘savings’ account.

5. You can select fast cash with options to withdraw 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, or 10,000 baht.

‘Some ATMs’ will display a message explaining it will cost ‘220 baht’ (If you are using a foreign debit/credit card) – Press ‘Accept’ or ‘Yes’. 

‘Some ATMs’ will also give you the current exchange rate – Press ‘Accept’ or ‘Yes’.

6. Wait for and collect your cash

7. Now select whether you would like an ATM slip ‘Yes’ or ‘No’

8. Select ‘No’ and take your card

At step 5, you can also select to manually input the amount you want to withdraw. Here you simply input your amount and select ‘confirm’. You will then continue to ‘Step 6’.

Credit Cards

Credit cards can be used for over the counter purchases and ATM withdrawals in Thailand. Credit cards are accepted at most standard hotels, at medium to large restaurants, and at department stores and retailers. It is hard to find retailers that accept American Express, so plan on bringing a variety of cards just in case.

As for charges for using your credit card, this is entirely down to your card issuer. Some will charge a 5% fee for withdrawals and you will also need to pay the 220 THB fee on top of this because the THB charge is by the Thai bank for the transaction.

When it comes to using your credit card for purchases in shops for over the counter purchases, the Thai bank will not charge you. However, your card issuer may apply a 3% to 5% fee which is fairly standard.

Our advice is to choose a credit card that does not charge you for foreign transactions. There are a few deals out there depending on your home country. One of the best cards for a low rate and free foreign withdrawals is the Revolut card. It is very easy to sign up for, and if you use the ‘standard’ free version you will get up to $6,500 free foreign transaction.

For your trips outside the big cities, you will need to take cash for all of your expenses, including lodging, restaurants, and markets. It is recommended to inform the credit card company before leaving your country, to avoid any issues that may occur while traveling in Thailand.

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Traveler’s Checks

Traveler’s checks are pretty commonly used in Thailand; so most banks and hotels are able to cash them. However, if you are planning to use traveler’s checks, please keep these things in mind: There is a 153 baht fee per cheque, and also you are required to present a valid ID (i.e. Passport).

How to Get the Best Rates

Right now, the most popular service to exchange money is at the ‘Super Rich’ exchange rate booths. Super Rich is a currency exchange service that has popped up all over the main tourist areas in Thailand over the last few years. Their rates are fractionally better than that of local banks such as Bangkok Bank or Siam Commercial Bank.

Also, it is usually better to wait until you get to Thailand and use the local exchange rates. Thai rates are often much better than the rates offered in the USA or Europe. Furthermore, you should avoid using the airport exchange rate counters and use high street counters when you get to your destination. If you have just arrived and need cash, then only exchange a small amount at the airport and then seek out a high street exchange center later on.

Adding to this, if you are lucky enough to pass by a local ‘privately-run’ exchange rate service, then you will also get a great deal. However, these types of places are a dying breed in Thailand as of late.

As for ATM withdrawals and over the counter purchases in Thailand, either get a credit or debit card that gives you heightened exchange rate deals such as the Revolut card or ask your bank what deals it has for foreign exchange rates when using your card overseas.

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Banks and Banking Hours

Below are contact addresses for the five best-known banks in Thailand. These banks can cash traveler’s checks as well as exchange other currencies. Banking hours are generally 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, Monday to Friday.

Some banks have branches in department stores or set booths along the main street, which are open 10 am to 6 pm.

Aeon Bank, #78 Chaengwattana Rd., Kwaeng Anusaowaree, Khet Bangkhen, Bangkok 10220 – Tel 02-665-0123, e-mail at csd@aeon.co.th

Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri), #L5,511, Centralplaza Grand Rama 9, Ratchadaphisek Rd, Khwaeng Huai Khwang, Din Daeng, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10400, Thailand – Tel +66 1572

Bangkok Bank, #288/79 Moo 9 Chayangkun Road, Bung  Muang District Amnat Charoen 37000, Thailand – Tel 0-4551-1850

Krungthai Bank, #5, Sukhumvit Road, Khlong Toei Nua, Khet Wattana, Bangkok, 10110, Khwaeng Khlong Toei Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand – Tel +66 2 111 1111

Siam Commercial Bank, #1 Ratchawithi Rd, Khwaeng Thanon Phaya Thai, Khet Ratchathewi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10400, Thailand – Tel +66 2 246 8482

Local Prices

Thailand is one of the most affordable countries to visit, with a wide array of hotels and restaurants. 3- to 5-star hotels in Thailand cost between US$ 70 and US$ 300 a night, depending on the location and services provided.

A basic meal can be found at street carts and from simple restaurants, ranging from US$ 5, while a more comfortable restaurant will cost from US$ 15 per meal. Food portions are often smaller in Thailand than you may be used to.

The best way to travel around Thailand is by guided tour. Tours usually include hotel pick-up by private car/van (with a driver), and you will be accompanied by a guide who is familiar with the location and can help you to get around easily.

Safety

Thailand is one of the safest destinations in south-east Asia. Petty theft does happen, but violent crime against foreigners is rare. Most Thai are extremely polite and a little shy of foreigners. It is always a good idea to split the cash - some in the wallet, some in the bag, some elsewhere.

Keep small bills handy, this way you won’t pull out the bigger denominations while attempting to buy something cheap. Hide away larger bills in an under-clothing money pouch, or tuck them into a secure part of your wallet or bag. Do not attempt to put all your money and cards in the same place.

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