TravelMoneyThailand450250

Travel Money Guide: Thailand

Credit, debit or cash? Compare your travel money options so you can switch off and relax sooner.

Crystal-clear beaches, colourful nightlife and a magnetic culture combine to offer a great holiday at a budget price in Thailand.

And to avoid needing to increase your budget, consider getting a debit/credit card that won't charge you any foreign transaction fees on those bigger purchases, like hotel stays, and doesn't have any ATM fees for when you're in need of cash to pay for smaller things like meals and souvenirs at markets.

Compare your travel money options for Thailand

No one option will get you through your holiday in Thailand so you'll need the right combination of debit card, credit card and cash. Find out which options give you the most flexibility and take the least out of your pocket.

Rates last updated December 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.
Skye Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Get 90 days interest-free, $0 foreign transaction fees and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
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)
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Pay 0% p.a. interest on purchases for the first 6 months and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 26 months. Plus, a $0 first year annual fee.
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

Updated December 19th, 2018
Name Product Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB
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
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, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, AED
USD: $2.50, EUR: €2.50, GBP: £2.00, NZD: $3.50, THB: ฿80.00, CAD: $3.50, HKD: $18.00, JPY: ¥260.00, SGD: $3.50, AUD: $3.50, AED: 10.00
0%
$0
Get discounted rates on USD in Cash Passport's rates sale. Plus free global Wi-Fi and more. Offer ends on 13 December 2018.
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, AED
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
Get the chance to win a share of 1 million Qantas Points for every $100 in foreign currency you load onto your Qantas Travel Money card plus earn up to 5000 bonus points.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated December 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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Updated December 19th, 2018
Name Product Minimum Order Amount Maximum Order Amount Delivery/Pickup Method Commission Fee
$500
$10,000
In Store, At Airport
$0
Order over 60 currencies online at the best price against the Australian dollar and collect at one of over 130 locations across Australia.
$500
$5,000
In Store, At Airport
$0
Get better rates for new travel money cards and travel money card reloads when you use our exclusive code: FINDER
$0
$9,999
In Store, Home Delivery
$0
Order multiple currencies in one transaction and have it delivered directly to your door anywhere in Australia.

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated December 19th, 2018
Name Product Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB
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
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, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, AED
USD: $2.50, EUR: €2.50, GBP: £2.00, NZD: $3.50, THB: ฿80.00, CAD: $3.50, HKD: $18.00, JPY: ¥260.00, SGD: $3.50, AUD: $3.50, AED: 10.00
0%
$0
Get discounted rates on USD in Cash Passport's rates sale. Plus free global Wi-Fi and more. Offer ends on 13 December 2018.
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, AED
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
Get the chance to win a share of 1 million Qantas Points for every $100 in foreign currency you load onto your Qantas Travel Money card plus earn up to 5000 bonus points.

Compare up to 4 providers

Which travel cards, debit cards and credit cards?

Visa and Mastercard branded travel cards, debit cards and credit cards can be used for over the counter purchases and ATM withdrawals in Thailand. You can use a Visa or Mastercard card to pay for hotels and some hostels, for food at medium to large restaurants, when shopping at department stores and retailers, and, of course, when you want to withdraw cash from ATMs. American Express is accepted on a case by case basis, you'll need a Visa or Mastercard too if you plan on travelling with an AMEX card. If you're venturing outside the cities, you will need cash to pay for your expenses. Smaller guesthouses and restaurants (often family run) are cash only, as are markets. Make sure you have a stack of baht for the times when you'll need cash, which will be often.

Travel money options for Thailand at a glance

Travel Money Option Pros Considerations
Debit cards for travel
  • Most places have ATMs
  • Convenience: Citibank Plus Transaction Account allows instant global transfers to any other Citibank account you own
  • Charge a currency conversion fee when you use the card to make a purchase or withdrawal in Thai baht
  • Citibank Plus Transaction Account is the only debit card which waives currency conversion fee
Prepaid travel money cards
  • Locked-in exchange rates
  • A safe way to carry money – protected by pin and signature and can easily be cancelled
  • There are issue fees, reload fees and inactivity fees to compare as well as ATM and currency conversion fees.
  • Not all travel cards support baht
Credit cards for travel
  • Accepted everywhere
  • Some credit cards offer complimentary international travel insurance when you charge the cost of your return travel ticket to your card
  • Some credit cards need a pin to access which gives you extra security
  • Overseas ATM fees and currency conversion fees
  • Cash advances accrue interest from the moment of withdrawal
  • American Express can be used in less places and Diners card even fewer
Traveller's cheques
  • Security
  • Traveller's cheques can be easily cashed in Thailand
  • There's a fee of about 150THB charged for each cheque you try to cash
Cash
  • Greater 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 travel cards, debit cards, credit cards and traveller's cheques work in Thailand

Using a prepaid travel card

Travel cards offer value if they allow you to convert funds into the currency of the country you're visiting. You load aussie dollars and convert the funds to Thai baht via the card provider's online portal. However, not all travel cards support baht. You'll also need to consider the currencies of neighbouring countries if you're travelling around Southeast Asia as well. If you pick a travel card which can't hold baht, you'll pay a currency conversion fee when you make a purchase or withdrawal in Thailand.

In this case, a travel money card will cost you more to use than the cards you already have in your wallet. Some travel cards don't charge for currency conversion; however, these cards will certainly charge you to make an ATM withdrawal. There are issue fees, reload fees and inactivity fees to compare as well as ATM and currency conversion fees. Travel cards can charge a premium for the benefits on offer: a dedicated travel dual card travel account separate from your savings.

Using Australian debit cards

Most debit cards will charge a currency conversion fee when you use the card to make a purchase or withdrawal in Thai baht. The Citibank Plus Transaction Account is the only debit card on offer which waives these fees. The other major advantage of using a Citibank Plus Transaction Account is that it allows instant global transfers to any other Citibank account you own. So if you are an Aussie with an account in Thailand, all you have to do is transfer money into your Thai account.

  • Tip: You can avoid the local ATM fee by using the Citibank Plus account at Citibank ATMs in Thailand (there are only a couple in Bangkok).

Travelling to Thailand with an Australian credit card

Credit cards have a reliable acceptance rate in Thailand, especially Visa and Mastercard branded products. Similar to Australia, American Express can be used in less places and Diners card even fewer still. Travel friendly credit cards waive fees for currency conversion when you make a purchase in baht at the point of sale in Thailand. There are a few financial institutions which waive this fee. When comparing cards, weigh up the additional benefit on offer, such as complimentary travel insurance or an increased frequent flyer points earn rate when you spend in baht.

  • Tip: Some credit cards offer complimentary international travel insurance when you charge the cost of your return travel ticket to your card.

Using traveller's cheques

Unlike other countries, traveller's cheques can be easily cashed in Thailand at exchange offices and banks. However, debit cards and travel cards have largely replaced traveller's cheques. Although you can get a better rate transferring funds using traveller's cheques, there's a fee of about 150THB charged for each cheque you try to cash.

Getting a refund if you're the victim of a fraudulent transaction

Paying with cash in Thailand

Make an ATM withdrawal when you arrive or exchange Australian dollars at an exchange office or bank to get Thai baht. You won't pay a commission to get cash changed, but avoid exchange cash at hotels, hostels and guesthouses as you'll get a bad rate. As always, avoid changing money at airports.

  • Tip: Treat Thai banknotes and coins with respect. It depicts the royal family.

ATM withdrawals in Thailand

Thai ATMs charge a 180THB fee when you make an ATM withdrawal using your Australian issued credit, debit or travel card. Aeon ATMs charge 150THB per for each withdrawal. Using a Citi card and a Citi ATM is free.

  • Tip: Currently, there are no ATM machines on the island of Ko Lipe near the Malacca Strait, so make sure you're carrying more than enough cash when you travel there.

Thai-Baht

Buying Thai baht in Australia

It's best to wait till you arrive in Thailand before buying Thai baht. The best way to get baht is to make an ATM withdrawal using an account which doesn't charge an international ATM fee or currency conversion fee. You can do this at the airport as soon as you arrive as well as throughout your trip when you need more cash. You'll pay a couple of dollars each time you withdraw baht from a Thai ATM. However, this will be cheaper than paying the exchange office commission and Visa and Mastercard give you one of the best rates on the market.

If you do want to purchase baht in Australia, you can buy foreign cash at these financial and foreign exchange institutions:

Why we recommend a combination of travel money options

No one product will be the 'best' option for your holiday, so using several methods will give you greater accessibility and security.

For example, a line of credit could give you the peace of mind that you won't be stuck without money in an emergency. Plus, the additional perks such as complimentary travel insurance and rewards could come in handy. A travel card can be valuable if it allows you to load Thai baht; however, you'll pay ATM withdrawal fees charged on both ends. A travel debit card such as the Citibank Plus will let you withdraw money for cheaper. Spread your travel budget across a couple of cards so you have multiple ways to spend and access your money depending on the situation.

More than half a million Australians visit Thailand every year and it's mind boggling to think of how much we're paying to the banks for international transactions. Be savvy with your budget and apply for a product which saves you at least the currency conversion and international ATM fee. If you have any questions about travel money products for Thailand or using travel money in Thailand, ask a question using the form below.

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Exchange rate history

Between 2014 and 2015, the Aussie dollar dropped in value compared to the baht by about 5 baht to the dollar. If you think this trend will continue, you can travel money card to lock in a rate during your trip.

Year Average annual exchange Australian Dollar (AUD) to Thai Baht (THB)
2012 32.20
2013 31.82
2014 29.14
2015 26.97
2016 26.29
2017 25.81
2018 25.42

*Exchange rates based on 1 January of each year listed above.

How much baht do I need to bring to Thailand?

Although prices in Thailand are increasing steadily each year as a result of tourism, it's still a budget destination for Australian travellers. Example holiday expenses in Bangkok are outlined below.

Some of the daily costs for a Thailand holiday

Bangkok Budget Midrange Expensive
Hostel
$10 - $20 AUD per night
2 star hotel
$40 - $80 AUD per night
5 star hotel
$150 - $300 AUD per night
to-eat Khao Gang (curried rice/street food)
$1 - $3 AUD
Gaeng Kiew Waan (Green curry with fish balls/restaurant)
$10 AUD
5 star restaurant
$100 AUD or more for 3 courses and drinks
shop Marketing shopping on Koh San Road Bangkok food tour
$40 AUD per person
Rent a Lamborghini
$1,800 AUD for a day

*Prices are indicative and subject to change

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10 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    August 5, 2017

    I will be making a large purchase while visiting Phuket ($5000+) as well as general holiday expenses. What would be the best options for me?

    • Default Gravatar
      ArnoldAugust 5, 2017

      Hi Helen,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      For credit cards, you have to take note of 3 charges. Foreign transaction fees, Annual fees, and ATM withdrawal fees. For travel money cards, you need to be mindful of conversion rates and the time it takes to reload the card. Travel money cards can take up to 3 days to make funds available when you transfer more money onto your card in a reload. This is not ideal because it can leave you stranded if you do not have another payment method with you and you have run out of money on that card. For convenience, I would opt for a credit card. You may check a list of overseas travel credit cards here https://www.finder.com.au/best-credit-card-for-overseas-travel

      Hope this information helped.

      Cheers,
      Arnold

  2. Default Gravatar
    RickAugust 17, 2015

    Can I use Australian travellers cheques in Thailand instead of a Travel Money Card?
    This way should be able to get a better exchange rate at the currency exchange booths?

    • finder Customer Care
      SallyAugust 18, 2015Staff

      Hi Rick,

      Thanks for your question.

      Using travellers cheques are another travel money option, and the best alternative will always depend on your individual financial situation and preferences.

      You may wish to visit our travel money card vs travellers cheques page for further information.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Sally

  3. Default Gravatar
    john1953July 1, 2015

    Do you need a visa prepaid travel card with in and chip and if you do please advise?

    • finder Customer Care
      SallyJuly 1, 2015Staff

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question.

      Both of the suggested Visa prepaid travel cards suggested on our Thailand Travel Money Guide, the ANZ Travel Card and the Westpac Global Currency Card, are chip and PIN protected cards.

      Depending on what suits you best, there are also some chip protected prepaid travel MasterCards available for use in Thailand.

      I hope this has helped answer your question.

      Thanks,

      Sally

  4. Default Gravatar
    SuzanneMay 26, 2015

    A global currency card – is this accepted to pay accommodation in Thailand

    • finder Customer Care
      SallyMay 29, 2015Staff

      Hi Suzanne,

      Thank you for your question.

      The Westpac Global Currency Card supports Thai Baht (THB) and is accepted wherever Visa is. Visa is accepted widely in Thailand. So if the accommodation you’re staying at accepts Visa, you should be able to use the card fine.

      However, you may not want to use your prepaid card for hotel pre-authorisations because this can hold up your funds for weeks. In this case, it may be best to use your credit card.

      I hope this has answered your question.

      Thanks,

      Sally

  5. Default Gravatar
    nickAugust 11, 2014

    I have a commonwealth bank travel card in Baths but I have difficulty get any money from atm machines specially if the mc is close to an money exchange booth.
    Where can I use the card in Ching Mai?

    • finder Customer Care
      ShirleyAugust 12, 2014Staff

      Hi Nick,

      On the Commonwealth Bank website it states that the card is accepted at more than 35 million MasterCard locations worldwide, and that you can use it where the MasterCard symbol is displayed.

      If you’re having troubles with the functionality of the card, I’d recommend speaking to the customer service centre at Commonwealth Bank Travel Money.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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