Travel money guide: Best travel cards for Cambodia | finder.com

Travel money guide: Cambodia

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Traveling to Cambodia? Learn the best ways to access the Cambodian riel and tips to manage your travel money.

A beautiful country with beautiful people, there’s so much to see in Cambodia. You’ll find that you can cary both USD and the local currency, the Cambodian riel. Most vendors accept both, so there’s no need to exchange your money when you arrive.

Like most countries in Southeast Asia, cash speaks loudest, so be sure to bring an ATM card to access money when you need it. Here we look at the different travel money options for travel in Cambodia.

Our pick for travel

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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Promoted

Compare travel cards for Cambodia

Before packing your bags for Cambodia, take a look inside your wallet. If your cards charge foreign transaction fees, consider getting one that doesn’t. Thankfully, strong travel cards like those below don’t charge these fees, and most offer great travel perks, too.

Name Product Currency Conversion Fee Annual Fee APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases
None
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.99% to 24.99% variable
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
None
$450
17.99% to 24.99% variable
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
None
$0 annual fee for the first year ($89 thereafter)
17.99%, 21.99% or 24.99% variable
Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
None
$0
14.99%, 18.99% or 24.99% variable
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees.
None
$0
12.99%, 16.99% or 20.99% variable
An 18 months 0%% Intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers, plus zero foreign transaction fees, makes this is a strong well-rounded card. See Rates and Fees

Compare up to 4 providers

Promoted
Travelex Money Card

Why we like: Travelex Money Card

Load GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD, JPY or MXN onto this prepaid travel money card and use it at millions of locations worldwide.

  • Not linked to your bank account for safety.
  • Convert currency with a 5.50% Foreign Exchange Fee
  • Contactless payments
  • Reload, withdraw, or replace your card for free.

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

    You’ll find your money will go far in Cambodia. You can spend any where from $15 to $100 a day if you budget properly. You’ll find that there are many vendors who are willing to negotiate prices — another way to keep costs down.

    Phnom Penh (capital of Cambodia) Budget Mid-range Expensive
    to-sleep Cheap guesthouse room
    $3.50–$10
    Air conditioned hotel room
    $12–$40
    Boutique hotel or resort
    $30–$350
    to-eat Local meals and street eats
    $1–$3
    Decent local restaurant meal
    $5–$10
    Fancy meal with drinks
    $20–$40
    bus Local buses
    $2
    Local tour guide per day
    $15
    4WD rental per day
    $50–$100

    *Prices are approximate and are subject to change.

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

    You can use USD in Cambodia, but if you plan to go to more countries or you want flexibility to pay in riels, you have other travel money options:

    Credit cards make the perfect travel companion. You can make interest-free purchases and there are a number of perks like emergency card replacement, access to emergency cash and complimentary insurances to protect you, your family and the things you buy. Find a credit card that waives foreign transaction fees to save the most when you spend.

    Take a preloaded travel card and withdraw USD from an ATM in Cambodia. Travel card ATM fees can be lower than debit cards — Cambodia is one country where a travel card can work in your favor.

    The other choice is to use a debit card to get cash. There are a few travel-friendly debit cards for you to compare. Some debit cards waive international transaction fees such as ATM fees and currency conversion fees. Checking accounts are free to open and won’t cost you anything unless you use the card.

    Travel money options for Cambodia at a glance

    Travel money option Pros Cons
    Debit cards for travel
    • Emergency cash facilities
    • Ideal for managing your travel budget
    • Unlimited free withdrawals at selected banks
    • Save on ATM fees when you withdraw overseas
    • Currency conversion and international ATM fees
    • Can’t be used over the counter
    • No emergency cash
    • No backup cards
    Prepaid travel money cards
    • Can preload USD which is 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 or transaction fees
    • Benefits include 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)
    Traveler’s checks
    • 2% charge for cashing traveler’s checks can be cheaper than the flat fee for using an ATM
    • Secure and can be easily replaced if lost or stolen
    • Photo ID needed to cash checks
    • Can be costly with initial purchase charges
    • Not all merchants accept traveler’s checks
    Cash
    • Both USD and KHR are used in Cambodia
    • Payment flexibility
    • Convenience
    • 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 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.

    Using a debit card

    Debit cards are another way you can take your cash overseas. They are a great way to keep your budget on track, making it easy to keep track of how much you spend. Not all debit cards are suitable for overseas use though, so you’ll want to compare your options. Using your debit card for ATM withdrawals can cost you between $50 and $100 in fees. Find a bank that waives foreign ATM withdrawal fees, and spend the money you save on a guided tour.

    Using a travel money card

    Travel cards can lock in conversion rates once you load USD. Use it for purchases without worrying about rates each time you spend — debit and credit cards often charge a currency conversion fee of 3% for each transaction. But In Cambodia, because the US dollar is an accepted currency, you won’t pay the the currency conversion fee.

    Where you save in the conversion rates you may pay in fees. You’ll pay fees each time you load the card, ATM withdrawals and sometimes even an inactivity fee.

    Using a credit card

    Credit cards are accepted in larger restaurants and hotels, and you’ll likely have to show ID to use them. Find yourself a credit card that waives foreign transaction fees. Carrying a credit card gives you the added benefit of travel insurance and discounts, depending on your provider. For added savings, take advantage of the interest-free period by paying your balance in full each month.

    Cards that offer travel perks and waive fees often charge an annual fee, so make sure the fee is worth it before you bring it along on your travels. If you’re ever in a jam, credit cards also offer cash advances, though we don’t recommend it. You’ll pay high fees and interest rates apply the moment you get your money.

    Using a traveler’s check

    Security is the main advantage of using traveler’s checks. Each check has a unique serial number and can only be cashed with photo identification. Fees are the main disadvantage. Banks charge a fee to get a check and to cash them. You’re better off using a debit or travel card which lets you make cheap or free ATM withdrawals.

    Bringing cash

    You can bring US dollars to use in Cambodia, but if you run out of cash or would like to have it waiting for you upon arrival, you can use a money transfer company to get it there safely.

    Learn more

    Find and compare the best ways to send money to Cambodia.

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    David in Cambodia and Southeast Asia

    David and his friends spent three weeks in Southeast Asia: One week in Cambodia and a week each 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.
    david-cheng-finder
    What cards did you take with you?

    Why did you take these cards?

    David says he used the Charles Schwab debit card for his everyday expenses at home, but it offers the benefit of no foreign transaction fees or ATM withdrawal fees when he travels. He used his Barclaycard for big purchases like flights and other travel and for much of his accommodations.

    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 use his cards at convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants — both big and small, 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. But luckily for him, Charles Schwab reimbursed him for all those charges. He didn’t have problem using ATM machines and was able to withdraw about $200 each transaction.

    What is your travel money recommendation?

    He says he didn’t have to worry about any purchases or ATM withdrawals with the Charles Schwab debit card. David said he liked the flexibility of not searching out a certain ATM when he needed cash.

    Do you have any travel money tips?

    David says that it’s always a good idea to tell your bank about your travel plans so it doesn’t think the charges are fraudulent and block your account.

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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 $5.00 gives you $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 works out to be roughly 4,000 to 4,200 Cambodian riels.

    For example:

    If an item costs $1, pay $1 or 4,200 riels.

    If an item costs 5,000 riels, pay $1 and 1,000 riels.

    The value of a 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?

    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 ATMs that only accept Visas. 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. Most ATMs dispense USD, 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

    Get a travel insurance quote for your vacation in Cambodia

    Details Features
    Atlas Premium
    Atlas Premium
    Comprehensive coverage with higher limits and a range of additional benefits.
    • Trip cancellation: Not available
    • Emergency medical expenses: Up to $2,000,000
    • Baggage coverage: $1,000
    • Trip delay: $200/day up to $400
    Go to site More info
    Travelex Travel Max
    Travelex Travel Max
    The most comprehensive protection plan offered by Travelex. Offers optional Cancel For Any Reason upgrade.
    • Trip cancellation: 100% cost of trip
    • Emergency medical expenses: $100,000
    • Baggage coverage: $2,500
    • Trip delay: $1,000
    Go to site More info
    RoamRight Travel Insurance Essential
    RoamRight Travel Insurance Essential
    Coverage includes trip cancellation insurance, tourist health insurance and baggage insurance.
    • Trip cancellation: 100% cost of trip
    • Emergency medical expenses: $15,000
    • Baggage coverage: $750
    • Trip delay: $100/day up to $500
    Go to site More info
    STA Travel Standard International
    STA Travel Standard International
    Affordable coverage for the essentials needed when traveling outside of your home country.
    • Trip cancellation: Not available
    • Emergency medical expenses: $25,000
    • Medical evacuation & repatriation: $250,000
    • Trip delay: $100/day up to $250
    Go to site More info
    RoamRight Travel Insurance Preferred
    RoamRight Travel Insurance Preferred
    Increased limits of coverage, plus trip interruption insurance worth 150% of the trip cost.
    • Trip cancellation: 100% cost of trip
    • Emergency medical expenses: $50,000
    • Baggage coverage: $1,000
    • Trip delay: $200/day up to $1,000
    Go to site More info
    Travelex Cancel for Any Reason
    Travelex Cancel for Any Reason
    Not 100% sure you're going to make your trip? Cancel For Any Reason upgrade is available with the Travel Select plan.
    • Reimburses up to 75% of the insured trip cost
    • Must cancel within 48 hours before scheduled departure
    • Offered on trips with a maximum value of $10,000
    Go to site More info
    Atlas Travel
    Atlas Travel
    Customizable policy that balances between the basic essentials and premium coverage.
    • Trip cancellation: Not available
    • Emergency medical expenses: Up to $2,000,000
    • Baggage coverage: Up to $500
    • Trip delay: $100/day up to 2 days
    Go to site More info
    Seven Corners Trip Protection Insurance
    Seven Corners Trip Protection Insurance
    Comprehensive coverage for the cost of your trip, your medical expenses and your belongings.
    • Trip cancellation: 100% cost of trip
    • Emergency medical expenses: Up to $250,000
    • Baggage coverage: Up to $2,500
    • Trip delay: Up to $1,500
    Go to site More info
    Travelex Flight Insure Plus
    Travelex Flight Insure Plus
    Choose the coverage amount that meets your needs. Baggage and trip delay protection included.
    • Flight accident AD&D: Up to $1,000,000
    • Emergency medical expenses: $10,000
    • Baggage coverage: $1,000
    • Medical evacuation & repatriation: $100,000
    Go to site More info
    STA Travel Explorer Plus
    STA Travel Explorer Plus
    Premiere coverage for a range of travel mishaps with additional riders for sports and other leisure activities.
    • Trip cancellation: $3,000
    • Emergency medical expenses: Up to $100,000
    • Baggage coverage: $500/item up to $2,500
    • Trip delay: $200/day up to $1,000
    Go to site More info
    Allianz Domestic Travel Insurance
    Allianz Domestic Travel Insurance
    Make sure you're covered in case your planned trip unexpectedly goes awry.
    • Trip cancellation: $1,000
    • Emergency medical expenses: Up to $25,000
    • Baggage coverage: Up to $1,000
    • Trip interruption: Up to $1,500
    Go to site More info
    Allianz International Travel Insurance
    Allianz International Travel Insurance
    Customizable coverage that can give you peace of mind when traveling to popular or remote destinations.
    • Trip cancellation: $1,000
    • Emergency medical expenses: Up to $50,000
    • Baggage coverage: Up to $2,000
    • Trip interruption: Up to $1,500
    Go to site More info
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    Frequently asked questions

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    Kyle Morgan

    Kyle Morgan is a producer for finder.com who has worked for the USA Today network and Relix magazine, among other publications. He can be found writing about everything from the latest car loan stats to tips on saving money when traveling overseas. He lives in Asbury Park, where he loves exploring new places and sipping on hoppy beer. Oh, and he doesn't discriminate against buffalo wings — grilled or fried are just fine.

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