Get the best exchange rates for Thai Baht (and probably every other currency)
Living in Thailand has so many benefits, like the endless blue skies and sunny days, amazing food choices, cheap exotic fruits and being maximum an hour’s flight from some of the world’s best beaches. But there are a few downsides, especially for foreigners, the biggest one of them being money.
When in Thailand you don’t have the usual money worries like in the UK or USA – do I have money for my rent? why has petrol gone up again? I wish I could afford to eat out everyday. Brexit has made everything completely un-affordable! No, Thailand is much cheaper than western countries, and that is one reason many tourists, expats, digital nomads and families move here. But once you are here very quickly you find that the banking system across South East Asia hasn’t quite caught up to the rest of the world. There are fully functioning banks and ATM’s, but every time you want to take cash out you need to pay fees to both the issuing bank and to your home bank (in addition to the lousy exchange rate). Cash is king, but the airport exchanges don’t offer good exchange rates, so ATM withdrawals are the best option (until now). Transferwise is a debit card that works worldwide and allows you to transfer Thai Baht (at great rates) and use the card all over Thailand (including ATM’s) without home fees. As a long time expat in Thailand, I really wish I knew about this card in advance, as I would have saved a lot of money transferring between Pounds, Euros, Dollars and Baht. And it’s a great card for travellers too – on a recent trip to Japan we exclusively used this card to pay everywhere!
Pro’s of Transferwise
- You know the exchange rate in advance (so you can convert currency in advance of payment, which means that you can take advantage of e.g. a strong pound on a day in advance and convert money at that time, knowing you will be paying in Baht in the future (when future exchange rates can be worse)
- They offer (fair) best exchange rates
- You will have a Thai Baht debit card (as well as a Euro/Pound/USA/Singaporean Dollar/Yen/many more)
- Your card can be used in over 40 different currencies & countries
- You can hold multiple currencies in your debit card and when you pay in Baht, will automatically convert the currency with the most favourable rate e.g. if you have dollars and pound (but no more Baht in the account).
Cons of Transferwise
- There’s only one card colour (lime green)
- It’s a MasterCard (might not be accepted everywhere in the world)
- Thai ATM’s may charge a one-off fee when you withdraw as the card is foreign-issued (every foreign card will pay this). It is better to convert and withdraw large sums instead of withdrawing a little Baht frequently (the best would be to pay with the card directly, where no commission will be charged as the transaction will be completed in local currency).
Personally I wish I had this card years ago, and I cry to think about the fees I’ve paid through Paypal and banks when travelling. Transferwise even estimates that they help customers save $4 million in bank fees everyday (and one of their founders was the founder of Skype, so you know this company is going places).
Check it out for yourselves, but if you go through this link (https://transferwise.com/u/laurag1669) you will get a free international transfer of up to £500 (around $600).
Seriously, if you live in Thailand or you are going to travel there, save yourself some Baht!