How to Avoid ATM Fees in Bangkok Thailand
When I first came to Bangkok over 5 years ago, there were no such things as “ATM fees in Thailand”. The only fee you received was the one from the bank that issued your credit card in your home country.
Then a couple of years later, half the banks realized, “Hey, ATM fees are a great way we can make money from foreigners in Thailand.” So they then implemented an ATM fee of 150 baht (5usd) to all credit cards not issued in Thailand.
Recently they increased this fee from 150 baht to 180 baht (6usd).
Now I’m not a cheap person by any means, but ever since I was in high school, ATM fees have always pissed me off. And even to this day, they still piss me off. (Which is kind of odd, because I’ll easily spend 500 baht (15usd) on a drink at a rooftop bar in Bangkok, but I’ll go out of my way to save the 180 baht “foreign tax”.)
So here we are, if you are similar to me and don’t want to throw away a little money with this stupid fee that they only charge foreigners, read on:
How to Get Money From Your Credit Card with No Fees in Thailand
Credit Card Cash Advance Inside a Bank Branch
To do this, you need to keep three things in mind.
1- Some credit cards charge a fee for a “cash advance”. Make sure your credit card does not.
2- You will need to pay off your credit card as soon as possible because you are charged interest the day after you withdraw the cash. NOT after 30 days like with purchases.
3- If you use a credit card at an ATM, you will almost always get a better exchange rate because you are receiving Visa / Mastercard exchange rate. If you use a debit card, you receive the exchange rate of your bank which is worse.
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Step 1- Okay, so if you are good on those three points, this is what you do. Go inside a bank branch with your credit card and passport.
Step 2- Tell the banker you want to do a “cash advance”. Some bankers will have no idea what that is and tell you to go find another bank, while other bankers will instantly understand. I have bad luck with Siam (Purple Bank), but I have never had an issue with Krungsri (Yellow Bank).
Step 3- Tell them you need to withdraw at least 20,000 baht (650usd). If you use a small number like 5,000 baht (150usd), they will sometimes say no and tell you to use an ATM. But if you want to withdraw a larger amount, they won’t normally blink an eye.
Step 4- The banker will take a copy of your passport, run your credit card through their machine, and have you sign a couple of pieces of paper.
Step 5- Within 5 minutes you will have your cash with NO FEES and an amazing exchange rate!
Bonus Option- Citi Bank
As of 2015, just every bank in Bangkok Thailand has implemented this fee. Hell, why not, every foreigner is rich and it’s okay to make foreigners pay more than Thai people. Or at least this is the belief among some Thai people. “They are only foreigners, it’s not like they are Thai people. (Which is why we are charged extra to play golf, enter night clubs, step onto islands like Koh Phi Phi Don, and much more.)
Can you imagine if we tried that in USA or Europe. “Oh you’re Asian, you will need to pay double…”
Ahh well, I digress a bit…Racism in Thailand is a small thing, but can get very annoying once you’ve lived here for years…
There one bank that is not issuing the standard 180 baht ATM fee to all foreigners in Bangkok. And this back is:
Unfortunately, there aren’t many locations and some international card holders have been charged the ATM fee, though this isn’t with every international card.
The Citibank ATM machines are located in Asok, Silom, and Centralworld. Go here for exact placement:
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Hope this helps,
-Gods of Thailand
Posted on Gods of Thailand March 20, 2015 in Bangkok, Tips & Advice