Back in the good old days, you could withdraw your money out at Thailand’s cash machines for free, but sadly, those days are now gone.
When the banks realised they could charge a fee for each withdrawal, they weren’t going to pass up on all that extra cash. So it went from 100 to 200 and now to 220 baht each time you visit an ATM.
But you can fight back! And avoid those pesky fees!
At the end of this guide, you’ll know how to:
- Withdraw Money For Free In Thailand
- Avoid the awful currency exchange rate at ATMs
*Your local bank fees will still apply. This guide is to avoid Thai banking fees. Check out our FAQs at the end for more info on zero exchange fee card options.
Withdraw Thai Baht For Free At The Banks Kiosk
There’s a little known hack where you can withdraw money using a credit card and not pay any of the Thai withdrawal fees. You’ll be getting your local banks exchange rate, which for me, is the mid-market rate, almost exactly what Google says : ), more on that later.
What You’ll Need:
- Your Bank Card
- Your Passport
- Your Address or Phone Number to hand.
Head to Bangkok Bank’s exchange booth, or if that’s not available head inside and get a ticket for ‘foreign remittance’.
- Head to the currency exchange / foreign remittance counter
- Ask for the amount you want in Thai baht.
- Hand over your passport & credit card.
- Check the amount and enter your PIN / Sign.
- Sign the receipt and passport copy.
- Receive your Thai baht.
- Pay off the money via your banking app asap.
If your bank is like mine, you’ll be getting the Google Exchange and avoiding the pesky 220 baht ATM fee. Great right!?
There will be times when you need to use a Cash ATM though, so we’ve got some top money-saving tips for this below as well. Check it out!
How Much Can You Withdraw?
This depends on your bank’s daily limit. U.K credit cards are limited to £500 per withdrawal. Approx 20k Baht. I’ve also found that some Thai ATM’s limit withdrawals to a maximum of 20,000 Baht per transaction.
Thailand ATM (Cash Machine) Withdrawals – The Smart Way
How to avoid the Thai bank exchange rate in favour of your home country bank exchange rate.
If you’re not an intrepid adventurer, drawing cash out in a foreign country can be quite a scary experience. I remember the first time I tried and failed at using my bank card at Suvarnabhumi Airport, more on that later.
And that’s why I’ve made you a step-by-step guide (with pictures) to make your cash withdrawal easy as pie.
By following the steps below, you’ll still have to pay the ATM fee (220 Baht) but you can avoid the Thai bank’s awful exchange rate.
After you insert your card & enter your PIN and choose your language.
Next, you can choose what type of transaction you want. Click ‘withdrawal’.
The machine will then ask you which account you’d like to withdraw from. Choose ‘credit card’.
Enter the amount you want to withdraw and click ‘correct’.
The next screen will ask if you accept the 220 baht fee. To continue press ‘yes’. If you press no at this point then your card will be returned without being charged.
This screen asks you to accept or decline the exchange rate given. Press ‘decline’ to receive your bank card’s VISA rate.
Different bank machines may ask you this question again or use confusing language to make you think you’re cancelling the entire transaction. Keep selecting decline.
You’ll receive your Thai baht and choose if you need a receipt.
Wait for your receipt and card.
Top Tip: After you have agreed to the charge and chosen your exchange rate, the ATM might say ‘invalid transaction please contact your bank’. Firstly, don’t worry. You don’t need to call your bank. ATMs say this when they don’t have enough money in there to withdraw.
Invalid Transaction Please Contact Your Bank
When I first arrived in Bangkok, 3 years ago, my first mission after picking up my backpack was to get some cash out. I’d set up my travel flags, remembered my PIN and felt ready.
All the ATM screens above worked normally but instead of receiving cash I was met with the message ‘invalid transaction please contact your bank’.
I started to panic.
But you don’t need to. There’s actually nothing wrong with your card or your bank. It’s just a lack of funds in the machine. Try a different machine or request a lower amount of Baht.
Top Tip: ATMs that are attached to banks tend to have more money available. I’ve had the worst luck withdrawing Thai baht at stand alone ATMs or ATM’s in busy airports that often run low.
How common are ATMs in Thailand?
ATM’s are readily available all across Thailand.
What Bank Card Do I Use In Thailand?
In the U.K, we have an awesome travel credit card from a bank called Halifax. This allows you to withdraw money anywhere in the world at VISA exchange rates without any fees if you pay the amount off straight away.
You should look out for similar cards in your country.
If your local banks don’t have this type of no-fee travel credit card, then you could apply for a Transferwise Borderless account. Their debit card has zero transaction fees whilst using abroad and automatically converts your money at the real exchange rate.
Where Can You Use Your Credit Card In Thailand?
You can use credit cards in most shops & larger supermarkets in Thailand with the exception being 7/11. Thailand is still very much a cash country so it’s wise to always carry cash.
Popular food services such as Food Panda, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC and taxi app Grab all accept credit cards.
I hope you find this Thai baht guide useful! Maybe you can spend the money you saved going shopping at one of these Chiang Mai Shopping malls?
I’d love to hear your top travel tips or experiences, so comment below : ).