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Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) Not Accepted by Thai Money Changers? Try This Alternative

Lately there have been rumors flying around that the Ringgit is no longer accepted by some money changers in neighbouring Thailand and Indonesia. This evening, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when I stumbled upon this post:

According to the post, a notice saying that the Malaysian Ringgit was no longer accepted from November 29, 2016, was seen outside of an airport in Bangkok, Thailand. However, it does not detail whether it was at the Don Muang or Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Whatever the rumors are, and whether or not the claim is valid, the fact remains that Malaysia’s currency has suffered a drastic drop in value on foreign exchange markets since 2014.

While I was in Hatyai the same year, some stalls that used to accept payment in Ringgit were no longer accepting it. A stall keeper said to me that the Ringgit was not “stable” and that “no one would accept it anymore.”

Until the Ringgit is recovered in value, the reality is there for us to accept – that the currency is no longer favourable. The purpose of me writing this entry is not to debate over the weak Ringgit value, or to address the aforementioned rumours; it is to offer an alternate method of exchanging the Ringgit into another currency.

As a Malaysian currently staying in Thailand, this is what I have always been doing: withdrawing Thai baht (THB) with a Malaysian ATM/debit card. I had used this method both effortlessly and conveniently while in Indonesia and Vietnam, and it didn’t cost me too much.

Withdrawing Thai Baht (THB) with Malaysian cards

In Malaysia, this service is known as “overseas withdrawals.”

Major Thai banks now charge a fee of 200 baht (25 MYR) per such withdrawal when we use their ATM’s with a foreign card. Most Thai ATM’s accept cards issued by any of the major international banking networks such as Plus and Cirrus.

While the 200 baht ATM charge is in addition to any fees added by our home bank, so far I have never been charged any of the latter fees.

I know 200 baht or 25 MYR sounds like a lot, but if that can save you a drive across town and a hassle to get your currency changed, then it is worth the small amount of the said fee paid.

CIMB at this point offers free cross-border cash withdrawals from any CIMB Bank ATM Regional Link, which covers Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia. As a CIMB ATM/debit card holder, this means that I am, thankfully, exempt from the 200 baht ATM fee.

Hatyai Thailand (37)

Besides withdrawing THB with a CIMB ATM/debit card, I have also tried the same with my Public Bank debit card successfully.

To be ale to withdraw THB using a Malaysian card, one must remember to first activate his/her card for overseas withdrawals before travelling into Thailand.

As I have a CIMB Clicks Internet Banking account, I have always activated my overseas ATM card usage via the portal. However, with my Public Bank card, I normally do it over the ATM in Malaysia before travelling into Thailand or call Public Bank for customer service.

Most Thai banks have a withdrawal limit of 20,000-25,000 baht per time. However some banks allow up to 30,000 baht per withdrawal. The more money one can withdraw at a time, the less likely he/she will have to withdraw it another time and be incurred the 200 baht ATM fee.