No overseas fees
Malaysia is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse regions of the world and a popular destination for tourists. Before you head to Malaysia, make sure you’ve planned how you’re going to access your cash. Sorting out your travel money is just as important as finding travel insurance, accommodation and planning your holiday itinerary.
This guide will help you organise a safe and convenient way to access your cash before you travel. The right travel money option will depend on your financial situation and travel plans, so make sure to compare your options.
No overseas fees
Low overseas fees
No fees travel card
Low overseas fees
These cards have some advantages for travellers, but make sure you dig a little deeper into the travel card fees section in order to find the travel money card that will cost you less to use overseas.
Credit cards are widely accepted in Malaysia. You won’t have a problem using your card at shopping centres, large restaurants and hotels. Using a British credit card overseas comes at a cost though. Here are some fees you’ll want to keep an eye out for.
Debit cards and current accounts are usually free to open. Compare your current debit card against a debit card with travel credentials to see if you can save on purchase and withdrawal fees in Malaysia. You won’t have a problem finding an ATM or point-of-sale terminal in Malaysia that accepts Visa or Mastercard debit cards.
Money safety can be a concern in Malaysia, but traveller’s cheques may not be the answer to your money security woes. You need identification to cash your traveller’s cheques, as they can only be used by you. However, fewer and fewer places are cashing traveller’s cheques in Malaysia as the digital economy grows.
The Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) is Malaysia’s local currency. 100 sen makes up 1 Ringgit and you’ll need to access this currency if you want to pay in cash on your holiday. You can easily get your British pounds exchanged for the local currency at Malaysian money changers, which are located at numerous places throughout the country.
How much Ringgit should you bring on your trip?
|Food court lunch|
14.00 RM = £2.50
|Dinner at Indian Restaurant (for two)|
22 RM = £4
|Dinner at Ding Tai Fung|
40 RM = £7
|Canopy Walk at FRIM Forest Reserve|
5.50 RM = £1
|Train & boat to Pulau Ketam|
12 RM = £2
|KL Tower admission (for two)|
98 RM = £19
|Metro ride (for two)|
4.00 RM = 70p
|Bus from airport|
10 RM = £1.80
|Taxi from airport|
100 RM = £18
57 RM = £11
|Double room in a 3 star hotel|
167 RM = £30.00
|Double room in a 5 star hotel|
700 RM = ££125+
Prices are approximate and are subject to change.
If you’re wondering which travel money option is best to take to Malaysia, the answer is a combination.
It’s important to know how you plan on spending and where you plan on visiting to find the right travel money solution. Cards are widely accepted, but the majority of your spending it likely to be in cash, depending on what you’re planning to do.
Although there’s no limit to the amount of foreign currency you can take into the country and it isn’t hard to exchange your British pounds, ATM withdrawal fees and currency conversion fees should be factored into your comparison. Read on for an overview of the pros and cons of the different types of travel money you can use in Malaysia. You won’t have to worry about withdrawal fees if you opt for a banking app such as Revolut or Starling, though. These work in much the same way as conventional bank accounts do, coming with a debit card authorised by Visa or Mastercard which can be “topped up” from your mobile phone, but the key advantage is that they don’t charge withdrawal of transaction fees.
|Travel money option||Pros||Considerations|
|Debit cards for travel|
|Prepaid travel money cards|
|Credit cards for travel|
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. Familiarise yourself with these to ensue you don’t accidentally overpay.
It’s easy to exchange your money to Malaysian ringgit when you arrive in Malaysia. Banks and foreign exchange offices can be found in major tourist centres. There is no fee to exchange cash – just different rates between exchange offices. Shop around to find the best rate, but the difference between exchange offices is usually marginal.
Hotels can exchange cash as well as cash traveller’s cheques, but the rates they offer are less competitive than what you can get at banks and other authorised money changers. To find the best rate, avoid getting your cash changed around Kuala Lumpur Sentral, the airport or at a hotel.
Make sure you check you’ve been given the right amount of cash before you walk away from the teller, and resist the urge to get your money changed on the street or at shops. Street vendors and merchants may be able to offer you a better rate than what you can get at banks and Bureaux De Change offices. However, these vendors are more likely to rip you off.
Malaysia is still a cash economy; you’ll need cash to experience some of the best parts of Malaysian food and culture. Most travellers 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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