Travel Money Guide: Cambodia

Travelling to Cambodia? Read this guide to learn the best ways of accessing the Cambodian Riel and tips for managing your travel money.

The official currency of Cambodia is the riel (KHR). The unofficial currency is the United States dollars (USD).

You can pay for goods and services in Cambodia using KHR, USD or a combination of the two. Don’t bother getting your money changed to riel when you arrive in Cambodia, as you will get riel as small change when you pay with US Dollars.

A dual currency system gives you more travel money options than other countries in Southeast Asia. Like most countries in the region, cash speaks loudest. The best travel money strategy for Cambodia will give you a convenient way to get cash at a good price. Here we look at the different travel money options for Cambodia and the best ways to spend and save.

Compare travel cards for Cambodia

Rates last updated October 19th, 2018
Name Product Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Cash Advance Fee Annual fee Product Description
Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a.
Offers a $0 annual fee, 0% foreign transaction fees, complimentary international travel insurance and a balance transfer offer.
28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
3% of the cash advance or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a.
No foreign transaction fees on international purchases including international purchases online, together with a no annual fee.
Bankwest Breeze Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
$99 p.a.
Receive a 0% p.a. interest rate on purchases and balance transfers for 13 months, complimentary travel insurance and 0% foreign transaction fees.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
0% of transaction value
$5
$0
$225 p.a.
Receive 40,000 bonus Velocity Points, 2 yearly Virgin Australia lounge passes, plus enjoy $0 overseas purchase transaction fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated October 19th, 2018
$
Name Product Product Description Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Eftpos Fee
ING Orange Everyday Account
Receive a rebate on any international transaction fees and international ATM fees when you deposit at least $1,000 a month and make at least 5 card purchases.
Visa
$0
$2.50
2.5%
NAB Classic Banking with Platinum Visa Debit Card
$10 cashback on contactless purchases, $0 foreign transaction fee and complimentary travel insurance.
$10 monthly account fee.
Receive $10 cashback when you spend $1000 on contactless purchases. Complimentary travel insurance, transport accident insurance, purchase protection insurance and more when you meet eligibility criteria.
Visa
$0
$5
0%
HSBC Everyday Global Account
No foreign ATM or transaction fees.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.
Visa
$0
$0
$0
Citi Global Currency Account
Hold up to 10 currencies.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free. Earn up to 2.25% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.
Mastercard
$0
$0
$0

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Rates last updated October 19th, 2018
Name Product Description Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
Hold up to 10 currencies and lock in your exchange rate. No load, reload or transaction fees on purchases and part of a worldwide ATM alliance.
AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD
AUD 3.50, USD 2.50, GBP 2.00, EUR 2.20, NZD 4.50, CAD 3.00, HKD 20.00, SGD 4.00, THB 95, JPY 260

0%
$0
Earn up to 15,000 bonus Qantas Points when you load foreign currency onto your Qantas Travel Money card before 31 October 2018.
AUD, AED, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, USD
AUD 1.95, CAD 2.00, EUR 1.50, GBP 1.25, HKD 15.00, JPY 160, NZD 2.50, SGD 2.50, USD 1.95, THB 70.00, AED 6.50

1%
$0

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Rates last updated October 19th, 2018
Name Product Description Minimum Order Amount Maximum Order Amount Delivery/Pickup Method Commission Fees
Order over 60 currencies online at the best price against the Australian dollar and collect at one of over 130 locations across Australia.
$500
$10,000
In Store or At Airport
$0
Travelex makes it easy to exchange and get the best rate on over 40 currencies so you can be prepared for your next holiday.
$500
$5,000
In Store or At Airport
$0
Order multiple currencies in one transaction and have it delivered directly to your door anywhere in Australia.
$9,000
In Store or Home Delivery
$0

Compare up to 4 providers

How much Cambodian Riel (KHR) will I need for my trip?

Phnom Penh Budget Midrange Expensive
to-sleep Cheap guesthouse room
$5 – $10
Aircon hotel room
$15 – $50
Boutique hotel or resort
$50 – $500
to-eat Local meals and street eats
$1 – $3
Decent local restaurant meal
$5 – $10
Gastronomic meal with drinks
$25 – $50
bus Local buses
$2 – $3 per 100km
Local tour guide per day
$25
4WD rental per day
$60 – 120

*Prices are approximate and are subject to change.

Exchange rate history

Year Average annual exchange Australian Dollar (AUD) to Cambodian riel (KHR)
2012 4184.550539
2013 3887.292466
2014 3640.041002
2015 3047.487958
2016 3015.452791
2017 3087.886365

*Exchange rates are accurate as of 4 September 2017

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What’s the best way to take money to Cambodia: Travel card, credit card or debit card?

Use a combination of travel money options for your trip to Cambodia. Credit cards make the perfect travel companion. You can make interest-free purchases and there are a number of conveniences like emergency card replacement, access to emergency cash and complimentary insurances to protect you, your family and the things you buy.

You can take a travel card preloaded with U.S Dollars and withdraw USD from an ATM in Cambodia. USD can be used almost everywhere. Travel card ATM fees can be lower than debit card ATM withdrawal fees, Cambodia is one country where a travel card can work in your favour.

The other choice is to use a debit card to get cash. There are a few travel-friendly debit accounts for you to compare. Some debit cards waive international transaction fees such as ATM fees and currency conversion fees. Transaction accounts are free to open and won’t cost you anything unless you use the card. Read on to compare your different travel money options and to determine which one is best for your trip.

Travel money options for Cambodia at a glance

Travel money option Pros Considerations
Debit cards for travel
  • Emergency cash facilities
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • Unlimited Free withdrawals at selected banks
  • Save on overseas ATM fees when you withdraw
  • Currency conversion and international ATM fees
  • Can't be used over the counter
  • No emergency cash
  • No backup cards
Prepaid travel money cards
  • Can pre-load USD which is one of the currencies widely accepted in Cambodia
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Accepted worldwide
  • Emergency card replacement and backup cards
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • No prepaid cards support the KHR
  • Local ATM fee
  • Reloading time
Credit cards for travel
  • High availability of ATMs in Cambodia for cash withdrawals
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Accepted worldwide
  • No currency conversion/ transaction fees
  • Benefits including rewards points on spending, 0% purchases, frequent flyer perks
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Can charge high withdrawal and cash advance fees
  • Higher spending limit (depends on your approved credit limit)
Traveller's cheques
  • 2% charge for cashing traveller's cheques can be cheaper than the flat fee for using an ATM
  • Secure and can be easily replaced if lost or stolen
  • Photo I.D. needed to cash cheques
  • Can be costly with initial purchase charges
  • Not all merchants accept traveller's cheques
Cash
  • Both USD and KHR currencies used in Cambodia
  • Payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • More difficult to manage expenses
  • Higher risk of theft

This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.

How the different travel money products work in Cambodia?

There are many ways you can take your money to Cambodia, but the most valuable option will depend on your financial situation, spending habits and travel plans. Compare prepaid travel cards, credit cards and debit cards to find the right option for you.

Using a credit card

Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit cards are accepted in a few places in Cambodia such as large restaurants and hotels. You usually need identification to use a credit card in Cambodia, so make sure to have your passport or licence handy.

Consider some of the following factors when considering whether you should use a credit card in Cambodia:

  • Line of credit. As a credit card offers a line of credit, they can be a good option for large and emergency purchases when you’re overseas. If you’re prone to overspending though, you’ll need to reign in your purchases and remember that everything that you charge must be repaid.
  • Currency conversion. If your card isn’t designed for overseas purchases, you’ll incur a currency conversion fee when spending in Cambodia. Compare credit cards with no foreign currency conversion fees to keep these costs low.
  • ATM withdrawals. A credit card can come in handy, but you’ll also need cash on your trip. Unfortunately, ATM withdrawals are considered cash advances and immediately incur a high cash advance rate. If you’re planning on frequently getting cash out on your trip, you might want to save your credit card for EFTPOS purchases and use a prepaid or debit card for withdrawals.
  • Extra features. Credit cards often come with beneficial features such as complimentary overseas travel insurance, airport access and a rewards program. However, these cards usually come with high fees. Consider the cost of the card and the value of the benefits to determine whether the extras worth the fees.
  • Interest-free purchases. Look for a card with 0% on purchases for a promotional period or with interest-free days (when you pay your balance in full before the due date). This will help keep your interest costs under control and will reduce how much you have to repay.

Using a debit card

Debit cards are another way you can take your cash overseas. Not all Australian debit cards are suitable for overseas use though, so you’ll want to compare your options to find one that offers you the most convenience on your holiday.

  • Using your everyday debit card. We all have a transaction account that more or less works the same in Australia as it does overseas. The big difference is the fee schedule. Using your everyday debit card overseas has the potential to smash your bank balance each time you make an ATM withdrawal.
  • Currency conversion fees. Most Australian debit cards will charge a currency conversion fee when you use your card overseas, so you might want to look for a travel debit card that doesn’t.
  • ATM withdrawals. Debit cards are an easy way to access cash overseas, but you’ll usually be charged an international and ATM operator fee when you make a withdrawal. If you use your Australian debit account to make frequent cash withdrawals in Cambodia, don’t be surprised if you end up paying as much as $50 - $100 a month in ATM fees. Look for a travel debit card that belongs to an ATM alliance to avoid paying some of these withdrawal fees.
  • Your own money. If you open a debit account to take overseas, you’ll have the benefit of accessing your own savings without the inconvenience of having to top up your card as you run out of money. Plus, accessing your own funds might help keep your travel budget in check more than if you had access to a large line of credit.

Using a travel money card

Load your holiday savings on to a prepaid travel card and spend in multiple currencies with a prepaid travel card. These cards have many benefits, but there are also some limitations you’ll need to keep an eye out for. Consider the following:

  • Multiple currencies. The currencies you can spend in without incurring currency conversion fees will vary from card to card. Unfortunately, no Australian travel cards currently support KHR, but all of them support USD. This means that if the merchant accepts USD, you won’t be hit with the standard currency conversion fee or 3% that is charged when you make a purchase or withdrawal in an unsupported or unloaded currency.
  • ATM withdrawals. Like a debit card, you can use your prepaid travel card for ATM withdrawals. Depending on the card you’re using, you might be charged an ATM withdrawal fee, so that’s something you’ll want to confirm before applying.
  • Load and reload fees. Depending on the card, you might be charged a fee when you first load funds onto your card or when you continue to top up the card with money. If you’re thinking you’ll need to top up your card with Australian dollars to transfer (to a foreign currency) several times throughout your trip, you’ll want to look for a card that doesn’t charge high reload fees.
  • Exchange rates. When you load your funds onto your card, they’ll be locked into the exchange rate that’s in place at the time. Travel card foreign exchange rates are higher than Mastercard and Visa debit and credit card forex rates. Prepaid travel cards use the bank’s ‘cash’ foreign exchange rate, which is usually quite high.

Using a traveller's cheques

For a small fee you can cash traveller's cheques at Cambodian banks and exchange offices. This can be a cheap way to get US Dollars. A 2% charge for cashing traveller's cheques can be cheaper than the flat fee for using an ATM.

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David in Cambodia and Southeast Asia

David and his friends spent 3 weeks in Southeast Asia. One week in Cambodia and a week in Thailand and Vietnam. He visited Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple in Siem Reap and then headed to Sihanoukville on the coast. This is what he told us about using travel money in Cambodia.
What cards did you take with you?

Why did you take these cards?

David says he used the Commonwealth Bank for his everyday banking in Australia, CommBank suggested he apply for the Commonwealth Bank Travel Card as it supports US dollars, Vietnamese dong and Thai baht. He took their advice and kept his card loaded with the three currencies while he was travelling between the 3 countries. He transferred funds from his Smart Access account when he needed to top up his travel card balance and kept his Low Rate Mastercard for the times he needed to put down a security at hostels.

Where could you use your cards?

David says he mainly used cash in Cambodia. For the times he did use his card, besides ATMs, David says he was able to make over the counter purchases at convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants (big and surprising some small ones too), department and clothing stores.

What about ATM withdrawals?

He withdrew funds from his travel card at Canadia Bank ATMs, which he read online were free, but when he checked his statement, he saw that he was charged a $4 fee by the ATM operator. He paid a small amount ($2-$3) to Commonwealth Bank as well. He didn’t have problem using ATM machines and was able to withdraw about $200 each transaction, which he needed to do twice in the week he was there (even cheap beers can add up).

What is your travel money recommendation?

David says he would have applied for a debit card with no currency conversion fee instead of take a travel card. He had his eye on the Citibank Plus Account but took the advice of his bank and applied for their product instead.

Do you have any travel money tips?

David says that it’s always a good idea to tell your bank about your travel plans. He was in touch with the Commonwealth Bank before he left (to talk about travel money options for Cambodia), so there was no need. However, one of his friends was with ANZ, and they blocked his credit card after he made a purchase in Southeast Asia.

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A quick guide to Cambodian riel

Two currencies, one country: USD and KHR

USD and KHR are both used in Cambodia. Buying an item worth $2.50 and paying with a US$5.00 note gives you US$2.00 in change and the rest in Cambodian riels. There are different exchange rates between riels and dollars used in Cambodia, too. $1.00 US dollar works out to be roughly 4,000 - 4,200 Cambodian riels.

For example:

If an item costs $1.00, you can pay $1 US dollar or 4,200 riels.

If an item costs 5,000 riels, you can pay $1 US dollar and 1,000 riels.

The value of a US Dollar changes between 4,000 and 4,200 riels depending on how you pay. Use riels to make smaller purchases to get the best price.

  • Tip. Make sure all the money you get back as change and money you get from the ATM is clean, crisp and untorn. Many Cambodians will not accept dirty or weathered bank notes.

Did you know?

The riel has been issued twice in Cambodia’s history. During the Pol Pot period, the country did not have a currency.

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How do I access money in Cambodia?

ATMs are widespread throughout Cambodia. You shouldn’t have any issues finding an ATM in the large cities that accept Mastercard and Visa issued credit, debit and travel cards. Note there are some Visa-only ATMs. Be sure to look for the Visa and Mastercard logos displayed on the front of the ATM if you’re unsure which cards the ATM takes.

The standard charge is approximately $5 per withdrawal. ANZ Royal charges the most and Bank of Canadia ATMs are the cheapest. All ATMs dispense US Dollars, while some dispense riels.

ATMs will dispense large denominations, which can be hard to change. Request an ATM withdrawal that includes multiples of $20. For example, instead of withdrawing $300, you can ask for $280. This way you get some smaller notes as well as larger notes.

  • Tip: Be sure to spend all your riels before you leave, as the currency has no value outside Cambodia.

Common ATMs where you can withdraw cash in Cambodia

  • Agribank
  • ANZ
  • ACLEDA
  • Canadia bank
  • Maybank Cambodia
  • Sacombank
  • Western Union

Finding cash and ATMs in Cambodia

Why you’ll need a combination of travel money options

Each of the travel money options discussed has its own benefits and drawbacks, so using a combination of options can help balance it out. For example, you could use your prepaid travel money card and debit card for everyday purchases and cash withdrawals and save your credit card for large or emergency purchases. Not only can you avoid some fees, having more than one travel money options means you have a back up in case one card is lost, stolen or damaged.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    KarenAugust 22, 2017

    Just need confirmation. I have VND loaded on my C’Wealth travel card. Can i use this card in Cambodia without any cash. Do i need to load up USA dollars for the 3 days im there or do i take Australian cash and change it at a bank?

    • finder Customer Care
      HaroldAugust 22, 2017Staff

      Hi Karen,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Yes, you can use Commonwealth Bank Mastercard Travel Card in Cambodia. You can find further details here.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

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