Travel money guide to Malaysia - Compare how to spend | finder.com

Travel money guide: Malaysia

Learn the tips that will help you get your travel money in order for your trip to Malaysia.

Before you head to Malaysia, make sure you’ve sorted out your travel money. It’s just as important as finding travel insurance, accommodation and planning your vacation itinerary.

The right travel money option depends on how much you’re looking to spend and travel plans, so make sure to compare your options. This guide will help give you tips on how to organize your money safely and conveniently before you travel.

Which option is right for your next trip?

Compare travel cards for Malaysia

Rates last updated April 23rd, 2018
Name Product Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Cash Advance Fee Annual fee Product Description
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
0% of transaction value
$0
$10 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
$0 annual fee for the first year ($89 thereafter)
Enjoy 40000
bonus miles after you spend on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase.
Simmons Bank Visa® Platinum
2%
of transaction value
$0
The Simmons Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers multiple perks, including one of the lowest available APRs on the market.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card
0% of transaction value
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants.
BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card
0% of transaction value
$0
Ditch the restrictions of typical airline rewards cards. Any airline, any hotel, anytime. No blackout dates.

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 ringgit should you bring on your trip?

    The Malaysian ringgit (MYR) is Malaysia’s local currency. 100 sen makes up 1 ringgit and you’ll need to use this currency to pay in cash on your vacation. You can easily get your cash exchanged for the local currency at Malaysian money changers, which are located throughout the country.

    Here’s an idea of how much a few things cost.

    Kuala LumpurBudgetMid-rangeLuxury
    meal-2Food court lunch
    $4
    Dinner at Indian restaurant (for two)
    $10
    Dinner at Ding Tai Fung
    $45 per couple
    to-seeCanopy walk at FRIM Forest Reserve
    $2.50
    Train & boat to Pulau Ketam
    $5
    KL Tower admission (for two)
    $70
    transportMetro ride (for two)
    $1
    Bus from airport
    $2.50
    Taxi from airport
    $25

    Prices are approximate and are subject to change.

    Exchange rate history (USD to RM)

    USD to RM for the last 10 days

    Apr 13 Apr 14 Apr 15 Apr 16 Apr 17 Apr 18 Apr 19 Apr 20 Apr 21 Apr 22
    1 USD = 3.8735 Inverse: 0.2582 3.8735 Inverse: 0.2582 3.8785 Inverse: 0.2578 3.8855 Inverse: 0.2574 3.8905 Inverse: 0.2570 3.8855 Inverse: 0.2574 3.8900 Inverse: 0.2571 3.8985 Inverse: 0.2565 3.8985 Inverse: 0.2565 3.8975 Inverse: 0.2566

    USD to RM for the last 10 months

    Jun 2017 Jul 2017 Aug 2017 Sep 2017 Oct 2017 Nov 2017 Dec 2017 Jan 2018 Feb 2018 Mar 2018
    1 USD = 4.2870 Inverse: 0.2333 4.2850 Inverse: 0.2334 4.2810 Inverse: 0.2336 4.1974 Inverse: 0.2382 4.2385 Inverse: 0.2359 4.1097 Inverse: 0.2433 4.0785 Inverse: 0.2452 3.9105 Inverse: 0.2557 3.9185 Inverse: 0.2552 3.8769 Inverse: 0.2579
    How to send money to MalaysiaBack to top

    Travel card, credit card or debit card?

    It’s important to know how you plan on spending and where you plan on visiting to find the right travel money combination. Cards are widely accepted, but there are times when you’ll need cash.

    There’s no limit to the amount of foreign currency you can take into the country and it’s not going to be hard to exchange cash. That being said, when looking at credit cards and debit cards, ATM withdrawal fees and foreign transaction fees should be at the top of your list for perks.

    Travel money options for Malaysia at a glance

    Travel money optionsProsCons
    Travel cards
    • Can load multiple currencies
    • Comes with a backup card
    • There are currently no prepaid cards in the US that supports Malaysian ringgit
    • May be subject to currency conversion fees in Malaysia
    Credit cards
    • Widely accepted in Malaysia
    • Convenience
    • Complimentary travel insurance
    • Rewards and signup bonus points
    • Average currency conversion fee of 3%
    • Cash advance fees apply
    • Most cards have an annual fee
    Debit cards
    • Usually no charge to open an account
    • Currency conversion fee may apply
    Traveler’s checks
    • Secure as your ID is needed to cash checks
    • Commission is paid to cash check
    • Handling fee applies

    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 Malaysia

    Using prepaid travel cards

    These cards have some advantages, but make sure you dig a little into the fees section in order to find the travel money card that will cost you less to use overseas. Using a travel card in Malaysia will be subject to a currency conversion fee as you can’t load ringgit onto the card.

    What’s great about these cards is that you’re spending your own money, so it’s easy to keep track of your expenses. You can also lock in your exchange rate when you load money onto the card and can easily withdraw cash from ATMs. And just in case you lose your first card, you can use the backup card that was issued to you.

    Using credit cards

    Since credit cards are widely accepted in Malaysia, you won’t have a problem spending at shopping centers, restaurants or hotels. Look for a card that waives foreign transaction fees and offers complimentary travel perks like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard. Be sure to avoid cash advances with your credit card unless it is absolutely necessary, as they come with hefty fees and attract interest immediately.

    • Tip: Credit card perks could include anything from complimentary travel insurance when you book your return ticket with the card, to reward points and interest free days.

    Using debit cards

    Debit cards and transaction accounts are usually free to open, but look for an account that will save you on those unnecessary fees. Keep an eye out for cards that will waive international ATM fees and foreign transaction fees.

    When spending with your debit card in Malaysia, the exchange rate is set in place by your credit card lender and it is likely close to the interbank rate – giving you a good deal.

      • Tip : Local ATM fees are charged by the ATM operator, but you can avoid this fee in some countries by using an ATM within your bank’s ATM network – Citibank has an ATM alliance in Malaysia.

    Using traveler’s checks

    Fewer and fewer places are cashing traveler’s checks in Malaysia as the digital economy grows. They lend some peace of mind because they’re secure and need ID to cash, but they fall short in acceptance and fees. You’ll pay a commission to cash the check, but if you avoid hotels and go to a bank or a foreign exchange office, you’ll get a better rate.

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    Currency exchange

    You’re going to need Malaysian ringgits when you visit Malaysia. Exchanging dollars to ringgits is straightforward and you can bring as much as you’d like – although you’ll have to declare large sums of money at customs. Don’t get your money changed before you get to Malaysia, you’ll get a better rate buying ringgits once you arrive.

    Banks and foreign exchange offices can be found in major tourist centers. There is no fee to exchange cash – just different rates between exchange offices. Shop around to find the best rate and make sure you check you’ve been given the right amount of cash before you walk away from the teller.

    Malaysian banknotes

    Malaysians sometimes refer to Malaysian ringgits as dollars and some prices use the prefix dollar sign. All prices are in ringgits even if you hear the vendor saying dollars.

    Banknotes are divided into the following denominations: 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100.

    malaysia-currency-ringgit-1

    malaysia-currency-ringgit-5

    malaysia-currency-ringgit-10

    malaysia-currency-ringgit-20

    malaysia-currency-ringgit-50

    malaysia-currency-ringgit-100

    Using a mix of travel money options

    You’ll need cash to experience some of the best parts of Malaysian food and culture. Most travelers visiting Malaysia opt for a combination of debit, credit and travel cards. Debit and travel cards are a good way to pay for your everyday spending, while credit cards can be used for deposits, big purchases and emergency situations.

    If you do plan on using your credit card in Malaysia, make sure you tell your card provider about your travel plans first so that your credit card is not blocked.

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    Find the most ideal insurance policy for your travel to Malaysia

    Make sure you have travel insurance for your trip to Malaysia so you are not left paying out of pocket for hefty medical costs if you get sick or injured. These policies can also help you replace stolen personal items like luggage and cameras.

    Common items and events covered by travel insurance policies can include:

    • Emergency medical and dental assistance
    • Lost luggage
    • Missed flights and cancellations
    Details Features
    Seven Corners Trip Protection Insurance
    Seven Corners Trip Protection Insurance
    Travel with a smile - protect your trip cost, your medical expenses, & your belongings.
    • Emergency Accident & Sickness Medical Expenses up to $250,000
    • Trip Cancellation – 100% of Trip Cost
    • Trip Interruption – up to 150% of Trip Cost
    • Political Evacuation - $20,000
    • Lost, Stolen or Damaged Baggage – up to $2,500
    • Emergency Medical Evacuation – up to $1 million
    Go to site More info
    Travelex Travel Max
    Travelex Travel Max
    TravelEx's most comprehensive protection plan for the comprehensive traveler. Offers optional Cancel For Any Reason upgrade.
    • Trip Cancellation - 100% of Insured Trip Cost
    • Trip Interruption - 150% of Insured Trip Cost
    • Trip Delay - $1000
    • Medical Expense Benefits - $100,000
    Go to site More info
    RoamRight Travel Insurance Essential
    RoamRight Travel Insurance Essential
    RoamRight’s Essential travel insurance package can be broken down into three critical parts: Trip Cancellation insurance, tourist health insurance, and baggage insurance.
    • Cancellation Cover - 100% Cost of Trip
    • Emergency Medical Expenses - $15,000
    • Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation - $150,000
    • Baggage and Personal Effects Cover - $750
    Go to site More info
    STA Travel Standard International
    STA Travel Standard International
    Get affordable cover for the essentials of options with STA's mid-level cover policy. This option will still provide up to $1500 in luggage cover and up to $100,000 in medical cover.
    • Trip Cancellation Cover - 100% of trip cost insured up to $10,000
    • Emergency Medical Expenses Cover - Up to $100,000
    • Baggage and Personal Effects - Up to $1,500
    • Trip Delay - Up to $500
    Go to site More info
    RoamRight Travel Insurance Preferred
    RoamRight Travel Insurance Preferred
    As the name implies, the Preferred package provides coverage for most trips and vacations.
    • Cancellation Cover - 100% Cost of Trip
    • Emergency Accident & Medical Expenses - $50,000
    • Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation - $500,000
    • Accidental Death and Dismemberment - $10,000
    Go to site More info
    Travelex Cancel for Any Reason
    Travelex Cancel for Any Reason
    Cancel For Any reason upgrade available with the Travel Max plan. Cancel for any reason - no questions asked.
    • Reimburses up to 75% of the insured trip cost
    • 100% cover if delayed to departure and loose at least 30%
    Go to site More info
    Atlas Travel
    Atlas Travel
    Provides customizable coverage for specific losses. Cover can be tailored to provide a balance between the basic essentials and premium cover.
    • Illness and Injury Cover - Up to $1 million
    • Emergency Medical Evacuation - Up to $1 million
    • Lost Checked Luggage - Up to $500
    • Travel Delay - $100/day up to 2 days
    Go to site More info
    Atlas Premium
    Atlas Premium
    Provides quality cover for a range of benefits with higher cover limits. Premium plan is perfect for travellers with health concerns looking for total protective cover.
    • Illness and Injury Cover - Up to $2 million
    • Emergency Medical Evacuation - Up to $1 million
    • Lost Checked Luggage - Up to $1,000
    • Travel Delay - $200/day up to 2 days
    Go to site More info
    Travelex Flight Insure Plus
    Travelex Flight Insure Plus
    Provides option to choose between different levels of flight insurance protection.
    • Flight Accident AD&D - Up to $1 Million
    • Baggage - $2,000
    • Medical Expense Benefits - $2,500
    • Medical Evacuation / Repatriation - $25,000
    Go to site More info
    STA Travel Explorer Plus
    STA Travel Explorer Plus
    Get premiere cover for a whole range of options with STA's premium policy. This option will still provide up to $100,000 in medical expense cover and up to $3,000 in cancellation cover.
    • Trip Cancellation Cover - $3,000
    • Emergency Medical Expenses Cover - Up to $100,000
    • Baggage and Personal Effects - Up to $2,500
    • Trip Delay - Up to $1,000
    Go to site More info
    Allianz Domestic Travel Insurance
    Allianz Domestic Travel Insurance
    Allianz Domestic Travel Insurance makes sure you are covered incase your planned trip unexpectedly goes awry.
    • Trip coverage - Depends on plan
    • Baggage coverage - Up to $1,000
    • 24-hour hotline assistance
    • Existing medical coverage - Up to $500,000
    Go to site More info
    Allianz International Travel Insurance
    Allianz International Travel Insurance
    If you frequently travel abroad and want extra coverage in case you get sick, injured, or need to cancel your trip, Allianz International Travel Insurance is the perfect solution.
    • Trip coverage - Depends on plan
    • Baggage coverage - Up to $1,000
    • 24-hour hotline assistance
    • Existing medical coverage - Up to $1,000,000
    Go to site More info
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